Tagged: kathryn flett

Subtext at the Observer

I admit, I wasn’t really serious when I suggested that Kathryn Flett was politically motivated in her failure to name one ‘remotely famous’ Carolyn for her recent Observer Magazine column.

But take a look at p6 of Private Eye (no. 1244). Flett may well be leading a subtle Observer resistance movement, with subtext (buried in the trivial undergrowth) as its weapon!

“As Observer hacks wait to hear if Alan Rusbridger and his Scott Trust chums will kill off their title, coded messages to the underground resistance are creeping into print.

Reviewing Top Gear, the paper’s TV critic Kathryn Flett notes that “according to Clarkson, J, it only takes four people to pick up a G-Wiz and throw it into a canal, but (he reminded us, as if we need reminding) this is something one really ought not to do under any circumstances, however tempting it may be.” This is of course a reference to the G-Wiz-driving Alan Rubbisher, whose office in King’s Place overlooks the Regent’s Canal.

Mutterings of dissent can even be heard in Rubbisher’s own paper. Last week the Grauniad devoted an entire editorial, rather surprisingly, to the travails and possible closure of the Reader’s Digest, but readers who persevered to the end probably spotted a sub-text. “It would certainly be a shame,” the leader concluded, in a none-too-cryptic message to the Scott Trust, “to lose a publication which has been part of the furniture of our lives for so many years.””

An ode to the boss, or perhaps not: Carolyn who?

Guardian Media Group’s chief executive must have been thrilled to read a column dedicated to her own first name in this week’s Observer Magazine… Or perhaps not. The future of Kathryn Flett’s pay cheque is at the economising hands of GMG, but she couldn’t think of one famous Carolyn for her most recent OM article.

[context: Flett is opening the local arts festival in her town, ‘Random-on-Sea’]

“And all this before our charming mayor called me “Carolyn”, sending me into a tailspin of insecurity, if such a thing is possible, making me wonder which Carolyn had originally turned down the gig. Only I couldn’t think of a single remotely famous Carolyn – and if you type “Carolyn” into Google (yes, I know it’s sad but it had to be done for journalistic purposes) the first suggestion is the Washington Post’s agony aunt, Carolyn Hax – and quite obviously Ms Hax would have been far too busy helping the good folk of DC to visit Random for Coastal Currents, so I felt a bit better.”

Flett must have missed the internal memo when GMG chief exec Carolyn McCall (35th in this year’s MediaGuardian list) told staff that the Observer’s closure is one of the options being considered in the publisher’s operational review. It couldn’t be a deliberate lapse of memory on Flett’s part could it? Perhaps the column is more politically tactical than it looks…

And McCall – Veuve Clicquot businesswoman of the year in 2008 – may need to work on that Google juice, if she wants the fame of WaPo’s Hax.