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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:

  • Daily Mini-Quiz results
  • Paper Monitor
  • Your letters
  • Punorama (Weds)
  • Caption Comp (Thurs)
  • 10 things we didn't know (Sat)


10 clothes pegs by Tony Janes, Herts

Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.

1. More women read the heavy metal bible Kerrang! than men.

2. The Japanese get through 25 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks a year.

3. Sir Paul McCartney is only the second richest music millionaire in the UK - Clive Calder, is top.

4. Publishers have coined the term "Brownsploitation" for the rash of books that have sprung up in the wake of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code blockbuster.

5. NBC has acquired the rights to develop and screen a US version of the Eurovision Song Contest in which the 50 US states will compete against each other.

6. Noel Edmonds dyes his goatee.

7. Cloud seeding - putting chemicals into clouds - was reportedly used during the 1976 drought in an effort to make it rain.

8. Modern teenagers are better behaved than their counterparts of 20 years ago, showing "less problematic behaviour" involving sex, drugs and drink.

9. You can be prosecuted for putting non-recyclable rubbish into your household recycling bin.

10. Children are smuggling junk food such as crisps and sweets into schools which have banned unhealthy food.

(Sources, where no links are included: 1 - Guardian, 15 May; 2 - Guardian, 15 May; 5 - Slate, 19 May; 6 - Press Gazette; 9 - Times, 18 May)

If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it.

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The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


Letters logo
No, I didn't watch Big Brother. I prefer to dip in and out later on, having absorbed the key characters and running gags from the blanket media coverage/water cooler chatter, thus doing away with all that tedious "getting to know you" malarky that passes for social contact these days.

Anyone noticed the similarity between the Channel 4 building and its giant Big Brother eye, and its new neighbour, the recently relocated home office HQ? Who is learning from whom? Yours etc...
Donald Shelley,

Channel 4 makes much of how this will be the cruelest Big Brother yet. Where will they go from here - a contestant who is, unbeknowst to all but the producers, on suicide watch? "Who'll exit the house first?!?"

Usual cast of fourth rate wannabes and weirdos for BB. But I couldn't help noticing "35-year-old Lea claimed to have won Miss Butlins in 1975". Hmm, four at the time. Are her claims, like much else about her, a little inflated?
London, UK

Bet the counterfeiters who produced the 7.2m fake cigarettes were gutted when HM Customs pointed out the plans should have said centimetres.

I was disappointed to see there were no related internet links for Officers discover sex-slave cult.

This is the first time in months that I've been to your page. Was there absolutely nothing else to occupy you other than some eighth-witted TV show? No cat caught up a tree? No pensioner who won $50 at bingo? Come on, wake up!
Tamaal Ghosh,
New Zealand

I'd like to nominate myself (and no copycat Yorkshire or Edinburgh residents) for the slow on the uptake award. Apple Corps. Very funny! Only took me till now to get the pun. Incidentally, have been under severe pressure at work, and have had to watch Champions league final... Nurse, over here please...
pj ,

My husband thinks I would like him to put his collection of deeply unfashionable attire on eBay (Thursday letters). He is quite wrong. It is the loft full of the other extensive collection of junk, much untouched since at least the 80s, that I have my eye on. Should fetch at least 20p.
Mrs Stig,
London (for the moment)


It's time for the caption competition.

This week, it's a piano found on top of Britain's highest mountain Ben Nevis. Volunteers clearing stones from the peak were astonished when they discovered the musical instrument. But what's being said?


The mysterious disappearance of Chas and Dave is finally resolveD
Ketan Mistry, Dublin

Steinway to heaven
Kip, Norwich, UK

"It can't be students AGAIN, Scully. It's ALWAYS students."
Aidan, Thaxted, UK

Wyle E. Coyote's final resting place.
John Sinclair, Norwich

"Chopsticks it is then..."
Julianne Gannon, Letchworth, Herts, UK

"Poor Jamie Cullum, he never saw it coming"
Jon, Newcastle


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There is some mention of the arrival of Big Brother 7 in the newspapers.

After last year's parade of nudity and Jacuzzi sex, short of introducing hungry lions into the house at night while the contestants sleep, it's hard to think how this year's instalment can be any more outrageous.

But the newspapers gleefully detail how hard the BB producers have tried.

The Sun runs its two-page spread under the headline "2 to a bonk", revelling in the news that the contestants will have to share beds and promising "rolling news" coverage of the show. The Mirror invites readers to "check out this year's Big Bro weirdos", and the Metro celebrates the "freakish" 30M breast implants of "model" contestant Lea.

The Independent surprisingly dedicates much of page five to profiling this year's cast of characters, leaving less space for coverage of climate change and poverty in Africa. Monitor hopes Bono OKed this.

One newspaper does seem to have decided to take a stand against the tawdry phenomenon of Big Brother. The Daily Telegraph finds no space for the arrival of the contestants.

But it does manage to find room for the much-reported story about a sex slave cult based on a science fiction novel operating out of a terraced house in Darlington.

With pictures.


We asked on Thursday what, in a monkey language discovered by scientists, was the meaning of "hack"? The correct answer, which was "eagle", was spotted by 33% of readers, while the most popular, and incorrect, answer was "Let's get frisky". Another mini-question is on the Magazine index today.


Letters logo
Hooray for 'undercrackers'. Could we have a story about jimjams tomorrow please?

Re Paper Monitor and the sale of those old vests. My wife has asked whether this is restricted to just underwear. Dunno why, but apparently she's got her eye on some of my shirts, trousers, jackets, ties.
London, UK

I have a new head line category, ones that contradict themselves. Todays entry from the Mail ''Incalculable loss' as 50,000 of Duchess's Jewels stolen at airport'.

I would like to give my apologies to Stephen Buxton from Coventry - It was probably me that hit you in the eye - I was playing the air trombone at the time.
Luke May,
Leicester, uk

So "Royal Mail gets 1.75bn package". Bet it was delivered to the wrong house first.
Paul H,
Hull, UK

I mistook your monkey talk story headline of 'Pyow, pyow, pyow, hack, hack, hack' (see quote of the day)for the plot of Quentin Tarrantino's latest movie.

Iain (responding to Clare's Tuesday question) is not quite correct about an age being biblically 51 years -I well remember the death of JFK (and Diana) and I'm just a bit over 51 - I reckon an age would have to be an equally Biblical three score and 10. Oh, but it's Thursday, what are the chances.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Sir Paul and Lady Heather are splashed on every front page today as the papers play catch-up on news of their split, broken by the Daily Mirror.

The Independent, possibly by way of tacit apology to its celebrity-watching readership, says the couple met at a function organised by the Mirror. And columnist Bridget Jones puts voice to the hopes of her generation, wishing that now Paul's free he'll marry her, just like she wanted when she was six.

The Daily Telegraph, among others, looks to the divorce settlement. It sets its legal experts to decoding the couple's statement that they're parting "with sadness", which "[leads] lawyers to believe that that Lady McCartney might seek a divorce settlement of 200m... a quarter of the former Beatle's estimated fortune."

But while others scramble, the Mirror leads, following up its scoop with "Macca has been wanting to end it for 18 months"... "Heather accused him of 'not caring' after her op"... "She'll get 50m in quickie divorce".

And there's more. Heather dislikes being ignored by her husband's fans and is annoyed by constant claims that she's after his money. And he's irritated by her ban on spliffs and complaints about his "total lack of style".

Speaking of which, the Telegraph describes how a vintage string vest and pair of pants have proved a unexpected goldmine. After John Clarke's wife reacted with dismay when he returned from M&S in 1969, he hid the unopened undercrackers in the loft.

"There they remained until his daughter mentioned there was a collector's market for old underwear," the paper says. He made 273 on eBay, having paid about 9s for each.

Hmm. Perhaps Sir Paul has a few items stashed in the attic should the settlement prove a stretch...


We asked on Wednesday which newspaper is UK's most loved in a brands survey? It's the Daily Mail, which 37% of you got right. Your second choice was the Times with 35%, then the Guardian with 20% and 8% of you chose the Express. Today's mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo
Very good article about Bono editing the Independent. When I read aloud the link "If you were Bono", my oh-so-charming friend said (remembering that I had just got back from a band practice) "If you were Bono? Pah! U2 would be devastated!"

Cannes opens with Da Vinci Code - I always knew there was a use for the thing, but me, I still prefer a tin-opener.

Dave asks about the difference between bombs and unexploded bombs (Tuesday letters). I should think that the fact it didn't go off is quite an important distinction.

If Clare assumes an age equals a generation (Tuesday letters), using the Biblical argument of 42 generations between Abraham and Christ, one age equals just over 51 years. Therefore riding to the defence of the BBC, the deaths of JFK and Diana can legitimately be classed as falling within one age.

Re: the gender of Paper Monitor. Am I right in assuming that all discussions on the gender of PM have been wrong so far? Either PM is a machine or has been neutered, as PM refers to itself as "it" in today's entry. Which begs the question, how much did the BBC pay for such a fantastic AI machine, and where can I get one?
Lester Mak,

It sounds like Sean is the one repressing the role of women, commenting on the da Vinci Code, that he is a working class male like "78% of the world's population".

David (Monday letters) asks where we can see medieval poo - I believe it's in the Museum of Canterbury, along with Bagpuss and the Rupert Bear Museum. Incidentally, I wonder if the exhibit placards are written in corny rhymes?
Marseille, France

I really hope Guy Goma got that job (see also Punorama). If not perhaps the Monitor could give him the job of publishing Thursday letters now that Anna Ford has left?

I used to play the air tambourine until someone thought I was being rude and gave me a black eye.
Stephen Buxton,
Coventry, UK, thelbiq.co.uk

Re Porridge watch - Paul O'Grady Show (why I was watching I don't know, and yes I am ashamed). Smeared himself and some poor child with the sticky stuff to show that the Ancient Egyptians used to use it as deodorant.
Steve K,
Fraserburgh, Scotland

Daily Mail, Monday. Lorraine Kelly, TV presenter "likes to add bananas or blueberries and honey" to her "favourite healthy breakfast". What's her favourite un-healthy breakfast?
Steve, Rotherham,
South Yorks

More repeats on the BBC! Two versions of the same joke from Keith Butcher and John Thompson. Moses in his Triumph indeed. Thou shalt not covert fellow MM readers gags.


Guy Goma
It's Punorama results time.

The rules are straightforward - we choose a story which has been in the news, and invite you to create an original punning headline for it.

There could only have been one choice this week. It was The Wrong Guy - Guy Goma - the Congolese graduate who arrived at the BBC for a job interview, and found himself, in a hilarious case of mistaken identity, whisked into a studio to answer questions on Apple Computer's court battle with the Beatles' Apple Corps.

He made a game effort, but it's safe to assume the intended interviewee Guy Kewney might have offered more insight.

Our punners made a beeline for Guy Faux, with Kieran Boyle from Oxford, Helene Parry, South Wales expat to Brentford Lock, John Russell, Nigel Bell, of Ipswich, Daniel, in Newcastle, and Glenn J, from the UK, all jumping on the bandwagon.

There were variations with Guy Faux Day, from Richard Ryan, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Paul O'Neill, in London, giving us Guy Faux Pas. Both Schteve in Sunderland and Andy in Epsom offered Guy Fakes. Also dwelling on Guy were Kip in Norwich, Simon Rooke in Nottingham and Stephen Ross in Dunfermline who all offered Guy roped in.

There were some fairly ripe Apple-based efforts including Apple-I-can't from Gareth Jones, in Anglesey, Apple fumble from Kip in Norwich (again), Apple of their Guy from Debbie Skeet, in Essex, and BBC Cox up from Tony Doyle, in Holmes Chapel.

An honourable mention goes to the Phoney and Guy offered by Joe Jenkins, in London, but all those who offered mis-Guy-ded shall remain nameless.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Confirmation that Sir Paul McCartney and his much younger bride Heather Mills are to split came too late for the papers (bar the Daily Mirror).

But, having caught a glimpse of the Sun's agony aunt page over someone's shoulder on the Tube, Paper Monitor realises it too infrequently delves into the deeper recesses of the newspapers.

Perhaps there might be some consolation for the grieving multi-billionaire rocker and the "vegetarian amputee supermodel humanitarian crusader" (Daily Mail)?

Sun - "Dear Deidre, I caught my girlfriend in bed with my parents."
"Dear MoneyMail, I am recently separated and need to time my bank outgoings to correspond with my salary."
Daily Telegraph - "Dear Hilary, can you tell me where I might find white footless tights to wear under linen trousers?"
Handy, but hardy applicable.
The Times - "Dear Bel, my children are ashamed of my new job as a butler..."

That'll be a no, then.

Meanwhile, the Mail continues its World Cup coverage of the footballers' partners. Notable is a pic of teen sensation Theo Walcott dining with his girlfriend, Melanie Slade. No smiles and waves for the lurking snappers now - it didn't take long for the novelty of being paparazzi prey to wear off.


We asked on Tuesday which piece of Elvis memorabilia is going to be auctioned next month; it's a chest x-ray take in 1973, which 30% of you opted for. Wrong answers were dental records (37%) and gall stones (33%). Today's mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo
I see that ship passengers have been held up by an "unexploded bomb". What is the difference between this device and a "bomb"?

I agree with Howard: Football free please ... and if you could leave out Big Brother ...
Liam Higgins

I got very excited when I spotted that the results for today's mini quiz were evenly split at 33.3% for each answer, then slightly less excited when I realised that only three people had responded. Then excited again that I was the third person to have a go. It's been a rollercoaster of a morning!
Adam G

In "The Da Vinci phobe's guide" is the line "in the age of 9/11, Diana and JFK." I feel that that spans two ages, but is there an agreed time length that constitutes an age? Or even Red Route buses?
Milton Keynes

Rick Naylor's comment in the BBC's article about arming more police officers; "In an ideal world each force would have enough resources" - surely in an "ideal world" there wouldn't be any crime... Or is that just my ideal world?

I'll send you Maltesers if you publish this letter...


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Day two of official World Cup fever in the tabloids and they are focusing on the serious issues. Forget Rooney's injured foot or Theo Walcott's lack of playing experience, what the nation really wants to know is what do the players' wives and girlfriends look like?

The Daily Mirror provides the most comprehensive answer with a two-page spread on the subject. It starts off so nicely, saying football may be a man's game but it would be nothing without the women who support them - then it puts the boot in. Shown the red card is Peter Crouch's girlfriend, described as more Primark than Prada. Ouch.

The papers' other summer obsession gets underway as well, and boy, does Big Brother deserve the column inches it is given in The Sun. A hidden camera in a 5ft rabbit-shaped hedge and the inclusion of three double beds for housemates this year instead of usual two. The tabloids may be getting excited, but Paper Monitor has a feeling it's going to be a very long summer.

This is definitely true for nurses working for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The Times reports that they've been told to complete a "chocolate audit" of all the gifts they get from grateful patients. This will apparently provide a good picture of patient satisfaction. If the trust's managers are right, and the gift of a box of Maltesers is a measure of good performance, PM is not doing well. All Maltesers - and other chocolates - will be gratefully received.

And finally, how could today's musings be drawn to a close without a mention of Guy Goma, the man quizzed live on BBC News 24 after being mistaken for an IT expert. He'd been waiting in reception at Television Centre for a job interview when he was whisked off to bluff his way through questions about iTunes winning a battle with The Beatles' Apple Corp to keep its logo.

And who should have it splashed across the front page? None other than the Daily Mail, with a headline that screams REVEALED: The truth about that BBC "cabbie". It refers to an early suggestion that the mix up happened because Mr Goma was a cab driver holding a sign for the actual guest Guy Kewney. But PM can finally clear up the confusion, it was clearly a case of the wrong Guy. Sorry.


We asked you on Monday for the width of the world's biggest HDTV screen. The largest proportion of readers, 46%, opted for the incorrect answer of 14.8m, when the correct answer, spotted by 39%, was 40.8m.


Letters logo

Re: The Nation's Attic. You can't tease us like this: Where can we see the medieval poo? I well remember a school trip to The Jorvik Museum in York and seeing fossilised Viking poo, but (much to my 8 year olds disappointment) it is no longer on display. We deserve to be told!

Re: Officers quit in "favours" probe . "Four police officers... revealed they had offered remand prisoners favours in return for confessions. Prisoners were allowed to have sex with their girlfriends." Gosh! What these officers' girlfriends would do to help the police is astonishing.
Norwich UK

I couldn't help but laugh at the phrase contained in Telewest offers World Cup in HDTV. I've heard of Lost, I've heard of Desparate Housewives, but there seems to be a new show out there - "Lost and Desparate Housewives". tee hee
Cameron Smith,
Bath, UK

I've just read that article about What would Jesus drive? I seem to remember him coming down from heaven in a Jaguar, doing a skid and racing back to heaven in a dust-bin lid in the playground song. I don't know if this was corroborated by witnesses.
Andrew Lawrence,
Sheffield, UK

Re: What would Jesus drive? I seem to remember that Moses descended from the mountain in his Triumph.
Keith Butcher,
London UK

Have got a new "watch" for you, in recognition of upcoming World Cup, which newspaper will be the first to predict that we will have a beer shortage...
Tony Doyle,
Holmes Chapel, UK

I realise that I am in a minority here, but I feel that I should speak out none-the-less. Contrary to many popular stereotypes, I am; male, hetrosexual, happily married, and I hate Football. So, today's Paper Monitor made my heart sink. Can I propose that for the sake of my sanity Magazine Monitor becomes the one Football/Word Cup free zone in the media this summer? Please?

Re: Ralph, the smell at the end of the M32 is not toast.... it's coffee. There is a place that roasts it just next to the Staples office equipment store. It drives me mad whilst stuck in the aforementioned jam.

Re: Ralph, you never know, those on the M32 may also be in a bit of a pickle.

Air drumming is much too sweaty. I'm an air triangle man myself.

Do I count as a PJ watch??? I was always a bit backwards!!
Northampton, UK

I have been away for the last month getting married and honeymooning and stuff - can someone sum up what has happened on the Monitor as too busy to go back through the past four weeks? Thanks.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Another tradition tumbles to the ground. It's Monday and the Daily Express doesn't have a front cover story suggesting that there was something suspicious about the death of Princess Diana.

There's not even a story about mortgages. It's a health story, about the departure of family GPs from Britain.

But traditionalists might take a crumb of comfort. At least there's still one princess story on the front page - in the form of a promo for a DVD giveaway of The Princess and the Pea.

The Sun also has a front cover dominated by a DVD giveaway - in this case a compilation of England football matches.

And it looks as though for the tabloids the whistle has been blown to mark the official beginning of the World Cup Fever season.

It's going to be a long tough tournament, with plenty of twists and turns. No, not the football, but the challenge facing newspapers to keep talking about the World Cup before a ball has been kicked.

The Daily Mirror has taken an early lead in the World Cup saturation stakes, giving most of its front page to a promotion for its 32-page World Cup magazine. And there are even more World Cup stories inside the paper itself.

If you can't talk to the players, what's the next best thing? The Mirror has a lengthy article about a charity supported by Coleen McLoughlin and an interview with Theo Walcott's brother. And both the Mirror and Daily Mail examine the team's hotel options in extreme detail.

The Mirror's pull-out supplement is produced in association with electrical retailers, Currys. And that's a reminder that the World Cup is going to be a key time for many businesses hoping to benefit from a footie mini-boom. If you sell televisions and DVD recorders, the World Cup could be good news - and this pull-out intersperses football info with pictures of people relaxing in front of their new electrical kit.

Mind you, there's no escaping how this World Cup in Germany is going to be interpreted - when the pull out describes the Nuremberg football venue as the "Hitler Youth's old stamping ground".

The Daily Telegraph, staying above the World Cup mania, takes the Monday prize for using an interesting word in a headline. This is "cyberchondriac", a neat way of describing people who think they're developing the ailments they've read about on the internet.


We asked you on Friday how many under-twos in the United States had a television in their bedroom. The correct answer, one in four, was identified by 48% of readers.

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