Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prime ribbing

THE gossip was circulating all week: Someone important was coming to Meeja Wales.
As a result, on Friday the normally scruffy, unwashed and slightly dazed all turned out in their best bib and tucker. Even Smashy had a tie balanced on his well-dressed paunch.
It made no difference to me, of course. I was the usual figure of sartorial elegance.
My first clue that this celeb was going to be a bit out of the ordinary was when a couple of Men In Black (special branch, I reckon) were loitering outside the tradesman's entrance, eyeing me suspiciously as I puffed on a roll up.
Moments later, back at my desk, a media scrum emerged when all the bright, beautiful and incredibly important people from Twee Bee C Wales and ITV gathered in our news room, making it incredibly difficult to concentrate on ones work or, more to the point, get a sneaky 40 winks in.
Then, to a fanfare of trumpets, HE arrived. Gordon Brown. Prime Minister. Former Chancellor. Lord of all he surveys. And he was surrounded by all the "Yes Minister" entourage you would expect, plus a couple of additions - our very own Editorial Director and MD.
Fair play to Mr Brown. Rather than make for the minor B list Welsh celebrities present - rugby player Neil Jenkins and WRU chief executive Roger "the Dodger" Lewis - he decided he would talk with some of the journalistic staff in our esteemed sports section.
Big mistake.
For some ill-thought-out reason he chose Tucker to have a conflab with. Now, our resident stand-up comedian may have a bit of a liking for Cardiff City, but he wouldn't know a rugby ball if it pounded him in his not insubstantial beer gut.
"So how do you think Wales will get on in the Six Nations," inquired Mr Brown.
"Um... um... oh... um".
Fortunately the boy Wathanovski stepped in to save the day, beguiling the VIP with his sporting knowledge and informing him of the vast array of Scots now in the Bluebirds ranks. To be fair, the PM showed a fair bit of sporting knowledge himself.
He later moved around the office and finally plocked himself in front of my desk, thrust out his hand and said "You must be Rippers. I read your blog." Well, no, actually he didn't. But he did ask how I was and how I enjoyed my new job. I lied, of course - understandable with the powers-that-be in earshot.
It was a great shame that Mr Brown couldn't stay a bit longer. I would have shown him the vast array of intelligent letters in the Echo mailbox that day, including the one from the irate former ASW worker who was blasting Mr Brown for spending taxpayers' money for his jaunt across Britain with his "muppets and puppets".
But good Gord was already deep in conversation with the Prince of Darkness. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the security guards getting edgy. They kept touching those concealed earpieces and reaching behind them so their tasers were ready for operation.
Gord was undaunted by his meeting with the Prince. "So you put all your stories on the internet now, do you?"
"Yes," said the Prince eloquently, doing a passable impression of a rabbit caught in some particularly high-beamed headlights.
"What even your exclusives?"
"Well... er... no, not them," conceded the dark one.
At this moment the Boss felt it only right to leap to the Prince's aid.
"Och aye, the noo, Aam the Soonday editor. We ne'er share our stories with anyone, particularly our exclusives."
The PM nodded vaguely and moved on.
"I'm shocked, the noo, that he didn't recognise ma Scoootish accent," said the Boss miserably.
Of course, we who know better, are well aware that the Boss is, in fact, from the emerald isle. Maybe Brown was perplexed by his blarney.
Mind you, I wasn't surprised to see the British establishment's No 1 figure being whisked away. They had obviously been tipped off in advance about the danger posed by Wales on Sunday's version of Martin McGuiness.
I did find the Prince's comments a bit bizarre, too.
"I couldn't understand a word Gordon Brown said. It was his thick Scottish accent."
This from a man who has to deal with The Boss on a daily basis and has been seen in dark corners of dodgy drinking establishments locked in whispered conversation with him on many occasion. If you can understand The Boss in those circumstances, you can understand anyone.

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