When I was last in London I had lunch with an editor I work for at the Daily Mail. Thankfully the credit crunch has not yet hit Derry Street. As we sipped our champagne he asked me if I ever read Allison Pearson’s column in the paper.
“Yes,” I replied.
“And what do you think?” he asked.
“I think how much more amusing I could be.”
And how much more amused. It has to be said, hers is a dream job. Apparently she earns around a quarter of a million pounds a year for a weekly page and has a full-time researcher to help her. She gets to write about anything she wants to and millions of people read what she has to say. But I don’t resent her, in fact I think she’s rather good. And she did write that very funny book (with cop-out ending though) called I don’t know how she does it.
“What do you think of Liz Jones?” asked my editor.
I almost had to down my champagne in one. This is a woman I really do resent. I find her futile, irritating, boring and totally self-obsessed.
“I hate her so much I won’t even click on her stories online in case her rating goes up,” I told him.
For some reason the powers that be at the Mail think otherwise. They have turned her into a star; their star. She always has some drivel in there, invariably about her. Her and her ex-husband, her and her horse, her and her underwear, her and her move to the country. Today the top slot online is dedicated to a story about her and her assassination attempt. Yes someone tried to shoot her (not me, I promise). Actually they shot her mailbox. She was in New York at the time (like you are) so in no immediate danger.
But why have they decided this talentless woman who seems to live through the press a la Jade Goody is someone worth turning into a star columnist?
“Why not me?” I asked Rupes.
“You’re too posh,” he told me. “Drop the Frith. I know, call yourself Wright.” (His surname)
He has a point. I remember being on some morning breakfast show once when one of the other participants turned to me and said “nobody likes a toff”.
I am not a toff. And anyway, even if I were, now that an Old Etonian is about to become Prime Minister, surely they are all the rage?
But while I wait for my chance I figure my best bet is to write a hugely successful book along the lines of Allison Pearson’s and then take her job when she retires. Either that or wait for the mystery mailbox gunman to strike again….
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009