Friday, 9 March 2012

60,000 Hits and the Tanks are on my Cabbage Patch

I MEANT to do the tabloidy thing and boast in a vulgar fashion about circulation when my blog hits reached 50,000 this week.
But thanks to you all, as soon as this landmark figure was reached, it surged forward towards 60,000 in just a few days.
I’ve only had Google analytics on the blog for four weeks.
But in that time, it shows the blog has been read in 85 countries from Australia to Uganda. And in 1004 towns or cities from Archamps to Zagreb by way of Vishakhapatnam, Kozhikode, Beverly Hills, Kuala Lumpur and St Petersburg. I can only assume my mother must be on some sort of world cruise and is logging in at every port.
Apart from the usual media crowd and “Houses of Parliament”, some more surprising watchers are James Murdoch’s lawyers Clifford Chance who drop by twice a day every day. Kerching! It would have been cheaper for him to pay my redundancy than hire Sir Alfred Cash-Register QC to keep an eye on me.
News Corp in the US is also keeping a beady eye on me. Must be worried in case I say something which sends the share price crashing through the floor.
Frequent visitors too are “The Met” (Oo-er! Crikey! Good afternoon gentlemen!)
Mishcon de Reya tried to lay siege to the ‘umble, ‘ovel on the ‘ill this week by parking their tanks on my cabbage patch, frightening great aunt Hattie in the outside privy.
Apparently Will Lewis got upset and was demanding the removal of my posting about him.
Next time, it would be more helpful to him if his PR outfit Powerscourt (yes, he has one of those too as well as a security outfit) responded to press queries rather than blank them as they did on February 2, allowing rumours to sweep through Wapping.
There was also the suggestion that the detail in the story concerning the security company somehow implied I had put his home under surveillance. Bonkers!
The simple explanation here I’m afraid is the obvious one. A very good source. And one which is surprisingly close. But in the time honoured Lewis fashion, I will of course be declining to name them.
I accepted their point that printing the name of his street was distressing to his family and took this down immediately as I have absolutely no wish to do this. Although I have not been asked to do so, I would like to apologise to Mrs Lewis for any distress.
Will Lewis however, has not afforded the same courtesy to staff at News International. He handed their addresses to the police on a plate so their homes could be raided at dawn and their wives ordered out of bed.
So he must expect more than a little scrutiny as he performs his controversial duties which are deeply repellent to all journalists and unprecedented in the media industry.
This small spat is nothing to the terrible toll events have taken on three of my colleagues at News International and I wish them speedy deliverance from their ordeals.
Whatever the outcome, no one will be able to rob them of the high regard in which they are held in the industry or of the love of their friends and families.
And sooner or later, they will come to realise there is adventure in adversity.

* This post has now been followed up by the Press Gazette


  1. pj139 March 2012 14:02

    Hold on. You're not seriously equating your publication of Will Lewis' home address to all and sundry, to Will Lewis releasing his employee' addresses to a serious police investigation

    That would be seriously bonkers.

  2. Neville Thurlbeck9 March 2012 14:19

    Yes. Reporters' addresses shouldn't be raided at dawn. They aren't bank robbers. And a lot of information provided by legitimate but confidential sources is being seized as a result. So it is a breech of News International's duty of care to its staff and to the protection of sources.

    Will Lewis' address is freely available on the electoral register. He was more than happy to print the addresses and pictures of homes of MP's in the Daily Telegraph before they had been found guilty of any offence.

  3. Anonymous9 March 2012 14:36

    Another interesting post, Neville. I think you should carry on publishing the Wapping insiders' snippets. They clearly 'don't like it up 'em'!
    And the sooner Will 'rat' Lewis gets his corporate comeuppance the better for hacks who have felt the full weight of MSC tank tracks squash them into the sewers.

  4. pj139 March 2012 14:39

    I think you've hit the nail on the head, Neville, and explained a core bit of tabloid journalist thinking

    Two wrongs=One right

    1. Neville Thurlbeck9 March 2012 21:58

      I don't think you understand the core principle of journalism - the protection of sources. It's very important to us and our readers.

    2. Reply
  5. Madame Arcati9 March 2012 15:42

    Madame Arcati gets 60,000 hits a month, with one visitor pa from Liechtenstein. I trust this puts things in perspective.

    1. Neville Thurlbeck9 March 2012 22:01

      Ah! Is that a miniature photo of the excellent Margaret Rutherford I see on your site? If so, she was an excellent Mme Arcati but the pic you have is of her some years after she played the role.

    2. Reply
  6. Madame Arcati9 March 2012 23:38

    I know, but the pic is my idea of me, so to speak. There are so few really good pics of Rutherford - and no decent blogger has a budget. The very idea.

  7. Neville Thurlbeck10 March 2012 09:38

    How interesting. She was indeed a compelling actress. I dug out my old copy of Murder She Said (1961) last night to watch her again. Her Mme Acarti in Blithe Spirit has never been bettered either. I saw Penelope Keith play the role on stage about ten years ago and she came pretty close though.

  8. Madame Arcati10 March 2012 12:12

    I sooo agree with you. I have been saying this for years. The Penelope Keith I saw at the Savoy - she can do high-end scatty but actually Rutherford blended eccentricity and shrewdness: you don't end up as Arcati by accident. And I have to remind atheist friends that Blithe Spirit does actually have ghosts in it. Love the '45 astral tints in Lean's movie.

    My permanent fiancee Molly Parkin and I bonded via the ghost of Arcati... but that's another story. This is your show, after all.

    I think I may have to post something on you. Madame Arcati is starting to regret being so rude about the Screws (which I miss), though Coulson and Brooks were always my target. He's Volde and she's Mort.

    Perhaps you may feel inclined to do an email interview with Madame Arcati.

    1. Neville Thurlbeck11 March 2012 17:14

      Send me a list of questions and I'll see what I can do. I've a feeling they will be interesting, to say the least! -

      BTW I loved Molly's candid account of her relationship with James Robertson Justice in the Mail last year.

    2. Reply
  9. Oscar11 March 2012 07:57

    Amazing! I just discover Mr Thurlbeck's blog and lo and behold-there is a conversation going on between he and the infamous Madame Arcati.

    Undoubtedly the 6am visit from Mr Plod is a most unpleasant experience (happened to me about 25 years ago) as it catches one at their lowest mental point but surely that is the idea?. I doubt, in the current atmosphere that the police are going to make appointments and such and give the soon to be arrested time to destroy evidence.

    The strangest thing is that those arrested were really done so at News Corp's instigation and they have now been re-employed by News Corp which is good for them. On the whole, you have to say the company is bungling their handling off all this. What journalist is ever going to again feel they will be supported by the boss through thick and thin?

  10. hengist mcstone14 March 2012 17:17

    I'm not entirely convinced that the entreaty Reporters' addresses shouldn't be raided at dawn sits well with the established methods of reporters down the years ie doorstepping 24/7. Cops have a job to do, they are governed by numerous laws and rules etc and , but they're not guided by shoulds and shouldn'ts written up on blogs (Not even this fine blog)

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