Friday, September 23, 2005


Further trouble which can be blamed on Kate Moss, or Pete, if you'd rather: the people drawing up the fresher's week fliers for Garlands nightclub in Liverpool thought it might be amusing to make an arch reference to Moss' troubles, and put a gentle crack onto the leaflet:

"You look like the type of person who would have a ball at Garlands! You must take your documents with you, ie NUS card, money and any narcotics you wish to take on the night!"

Not, perhaps, very funny as jokes go, but then it's a nightclub flier - you wouldn't expect great belly laughs. But there were less than that when the Echo got hold of the ads. They were thinking of the children:

The flyer was handed out to the city's students, many of whom are just 18 and had only been away from home for a few days, during freshers week.

Well, yes. You don't want to be encouraging students to take drugs - the idea wouldn't, say, have been occuring to them naturally about three seconds after their parents had unpacked the last box into their Halls of Residence room. Jesus, we spent a year of our lives living in Lady Mountford House, and we could understand any tennant of that or a similar flatpack uni room rushing into town on the 86 to find anything to take the edge off. Not one of the drugs which makes the walls close in on you, though - the architecture has already done that for you.

The Echo, though, was hot under its collar. It called the police for a comment. The police called upon the licensing committee to investigate:

The chief inspector for the city centre, Jon Roy, said: "I will be asking our dedicated licensing team to investigate and we will seek to prosecute the individuals responsible. We will be taking a robust stance. This is completely contrary to all the work we have been doing in the city centre. It is irresponsible. Students need to be aware that if they are caught with drugs we will arrest them."

We're not sure quite what the robust stance would be - we picture something with shoulders back, legs apart. We're also not entirely sure what crime Roy thinks has been committed here - incitement?

But the Echo had more calls to make. What do the council think? They, too, want the licensing committee to investigate:

Last night, Cllr Richard Marbrow, executive member for community safety, said he would be asking the licensing department to investigate."

For some reason, the Echo didn't bother to call on the licensing department to find out what they think - "we're calling on ourselves to investigate," probably - as they had to talk to someone who knows about drugs. They actually had trouble breathing when they were told:

Diane Bird, chief executive of Liverpool Lighthouse, a support centre for drug users, said: "It is breathtakingly irresponsible and sends out a very dangerous message."

Or, perhaps, it was a bit daft and sends out a silly message that nobody would take seriously. Liverpool Uni students - and, we're fairly certain, most John Moores students - would be able to decode the joke on the flier, rather than thinking "Blimey, I'd better get some crack cocaine before I go there, then."

But, as with Kate, the paper wants an apology. And so manager Paul Connolly shuffles forward to give the paper its money shot:

"Two junior members of staff have admitted printing the leaflets as a prank. These members of staff have been suspended indefinitely. The people concerned thought it would be funny to include the comment as a jibe at the Kate Moss revelations.

"This, of course, is totally unacceptable and both will be dealt with in an appropriate manner. As our customers already know, Garlands operates a zero tolerance policy where drugs are concerned and in no way condones the actions of so-called role models or organisations in the promotion of the use of drugs."

Note at the very end of it, Connolly attempts to shoulder-off the blame from his two "junior" members of staff (interesting to hear that Garlands puts its publicity in one of the key weeks of the year into the hands of junior staff members and doesn't appear to have even a sign-off by a more senior member of the team before the fliers go out) onto Kate Moss...

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