Sunday, July 10, 2011

Woot-gone: The News Of The World vanishes

As the Screws slithers out its last issue, time for a quick look back. There was a time when I'd pick up on the bigger music-y stories from their pages on a Sunday, but you'll have noticed that started to fade away shortly after Dan Wootton took over from Rav Singh.

This was mainly because, while Singh was a comic creation, Wootton managed to run stories that weren't interesting of themselves. Nor was his stuff presented in a way that - unlike, say, Gordon Smart's work, to take a random example - had enough personality to be worth commenting about.

In effect, Wootton's entire clippings book consists of "I really like one of The Saturday's shoes and she really likes me telling her that I like her shoes" over and over again.

You can catch up with his farewell on the digital version of the paper, where Dan sees it somehow differently:

Naughty celebrities of Britain, you can breathe a sigh of relief as I sign off today
Dan then lists his "top ten scoops". Shall we take a look?

Cue the Pick Of The Pops music, please.

10. Alex Reid claiming he was pushed to suicide by Jordan
Dan remains completely unaware that the various Jordan love triangles are, on a scale of fiction that runs from Newsnight to Doctor Who, somewhere close to Torchwood.

9. Noel Fielding revealing he took drugs
To which the world went "what? the man with the crazy eyes, funny laugh and the cloak took drugs, like nearly everyone else in his generation? Really?"

8. The slightly less illiterate two of N-Dubz have had sex together
"Fans didn't want to believe it" claims Dan. Yeah, they're all in denial like it never happened.

7. Susan Boyle's suicide hell
Dan is proud of getting Susan Boyle to open up about how she nearly offed herself when she was a teenager. He dates this report as "October 2010". What else happened to Susan Boyle in October 2010? Oh, that's right, she released her autobiography which had the same story in it. So Dan's "scoop" was, erm, a plug for a book.

6. The Royal Wedding Party
"I was the only showbiz columnist to take you inside Kate and Will's post-wedding party. It was WILD!" shouts Dan.

Really? Let's see how wild:
One highlight of the night came when [the DJ] played The Beatles' classic All You Need Is Love. One guest explained: "The song begins with a royal trumpet fanfare so all the guests gathered round William and Kate. During the fade-out The Beatles sing the famous chorus of She Loves You.

"At this point the DJ faded out the music and the guests started chanting, 'She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!' It was a very special moment. I had goosebumps."
Yes. That was wild.

5. Duncan James and Pink announce bisexuality
What Dan fails to mention is that Pink says that she never told any such thing to Dan and that the claim he printed was "made up".

4. Charlotte and Gavin split
This one makes me feel a bit sorry for Dan; the fourth-greatest thing he did at the News Of The World is a story that most people will struggle to remember ever having happened.

3. Dannii quits the X Factor
A SENSATION it was, when yet another judge on a rotating panel of judges quit. Or joined. Or quit and came back two weeks later. Still, it's not like Wootton basically relies on the X Factor circus to keep his page filled with large photos and words...

2. Cheryl moves back in with Ashley Cole
... Or maybe it is. Is this one even strictly true? Even Wootton's original story just said "spends the night in the same house as". Splendidly, Wootton is so used to misrepresenting people he can't even quote himself in a straight way.

1. Stephen Gateley dead
Fair enough, this is a proper scoop. Although it was just lucky for Dan that Gateley died on a Saturday, with enough time for a 2am change to the last edition of the News Of The World. In effect, then, Dan is most proud that the timing of young man's life being snuffed out happened to fit in with his paper's print schedule. Unless Wootton believes that the story would have remained unreported until the next edition, it's hard to see what he's proud of here.