Sunday, June 01, 2014

The Oldie: Richard Ingrams tells it as it probably isn't

Madame Arcati offers her condolences to Richard Ingrams, the nat tresh who co-founded Private Eye in the previous century just as sexual promiscuity was getting into its stride; or so it is imagined. The poor poppet finds himself unemployed after he 'resigned' as editor of The Oldie, a tiny magazine that soldiers on for people no longer as moist as they once were.

The circs of his departure he tells in the Mail on Sunday today. Here we go you lazy, solipsistic cunts. Read all abaht it. Of course what he says is about 10% of something: apparently there were bitching sessions with the publisher James Pembroke. Ingrams tells of his horror at being summoned to anal 'brainstorming' sessions. Then following a slapfest with handbags flying all over the place, Pembroke compelled Ingrams to submit to a disciplinary hearing. Can you imagine? At this, the ancient satirist flounced out, in full knowledge that newspapers would be gagging for the deeeetails. Ah, the attentive duvet of celebrity insurance!

The piece Ingrams has written could be the truth, the whole truth, etc etc. He attributes his departure to the curse of modern management techniques with its petty rules, procedures and whatnot. He can't abide that sort of thing, having made his ascent in life through the informal wilds of making-it-up-as-he-goes-along, with charming people by his side giggling on cue. But I am not convinced that's the real story. The impression I get from Ingrams' doubtless well-rewarded article is that Pembroke wanted him out and simply used legislated procedure to start the process. That's the actual story, in my view. How procedure advertises employer animus and alerts the subject to the exit door, now ajar.

In all of the media places I have plied my trade, the 'disciplinary hearing' is only activated once a decision is made to sack someone. It matters not what the reasons are. Only that the power-in-charge has tired of you. If you want someone to stay in your employ you don't put them in the virtual stocks - you talk to them privately; offer carrots with implied stick. Such hearings usually are part show-trial, part kangaroo court. I don't say Pembroke planned to act as judge and jury in a quasi-judicial charade. Only that he most likely couldn't stand the old fart any more and had to find a way to get him out, so began a legal process. Circulation was slipping after all. Ingrams tells us so.

That angle is not complimentary to Ingrams, of course, who now recasts himself as some sort of worthy champion of gentleman journalism cast upon the rocks of MBA-inspired martinet bureaucracy. Old stagers know how to carry on the show - 'All right Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up.' I do hope Pembroke breaks cover with his (honest) version of events.

7 comments:

MaisonCheeseford said...

It is all a bit rum, isn't it, Madame? I think what's happened is that Pembroke regards Ingrams as a member of staff on a magazine HE runs, whereas Ingrams regards Pembroke as a necessary evil to keep HIS magazine going. It's a very different setup to Private Eye, where the hacks are very much in control. It'll be interesting to see how the post-Ingrams Oldie fares, and I wish it well, but I'm not sure Ingrams is as indispensable as Pembroke thinks. The relationship between them has always been an interesting one. Certainly I remember sitting in the Oldie office, while one of the other members of staff was dealing with a call from Pembroke, with Ingrams cheerfully yelling 'BASTARD' across the office when he realised who was on the other end of the line.

Winter/Dec said...

Why the bile, Madame? Did Richard do you down once? I know what a vindictive deluded cunt you are.

Madame Arcati said...

Dear Winter/Dec, sooo lovely to hear from you. Still at the Sunday Times are you? Job for life because of daddy? La dolce vita!

MaisonCheeseford said...

Didn't Pembroke uninvite the saintly Molly from an Oldie do? He uninvited me from the Oldie of the Year but by the time it happened, it was a blessed relief as I couldn't take the pace of the all-day drinking any more. He also used to give me a bottle of champagne each year at the Oldie Christmas do if I promised not to join in with the singing. He said my voice was unpleasant. I used to stand there mouthing the words, knowing he'd come up to me and put his ear to my mouth just to check that no actual sound was coming out.

Madame Arcati said...

My dear MaisonCheeseford, I have a suspicion that Mr P has some kind of perverse hetero-crush on you. I am always right about these things, My emotional intelligence is legendary. you are correct to remind me that Molly was disinvited from an Oldie party, and all because of some, er, embarrassing knowledge about the publisher's fascinating private life. Perhaps he thought this could be excised from the body public. Heh heh.

Shoe said...

Pity the Telegraph wouldn't do the same with that old Queen christiansen.

P Tatchell said...

I'm surprised Madame published that homophobic comment from Shoe. What a let down you are.