Monthly Archives: March 2009



 Helevision is using her ‘Easter Break’ to indulge in a spot of journoporn.

Don’t worry, it’s not Andrew Marr in hotpants again.

 Nor, for those of you coming from Julia Raeside’s Guardian blog, does it involve Robert Peston. Sorry.

No, ‘journoporn’ is my very own collective noun for the autobiographies of famous journalists. Preferably foreign correspondents. With war-wounds.

It’s the sort of book designed to make me think I might not spend the rest of my natural life reporting on cake sale bans (headline news in the world of student journalism this week).

So, in the spirit of sharing the love, here’s a list of my favourites:

1. Jeremy Bowen – War Stories

Journoporn par excellence. Bullets, near death experiences, slightly crazed TV ranting, it’s got it all.

Bowen himself terms his war-reporting days an addiction and it certainly feels that way. Very interesting to read how he changed though.

2. John Simpson – too many to list

Helevision’s current journoporn of choice; I’m on “Strange Places, Questionable People”. Which I probably should have started with, given it’s the first one.

Fascinating stuff; the section on reporting Ireland during the Troubles is particularly good. Slightly off-the-wall anecdotes include getting punched by Harold Wilson.

It’s not as instantly likeable as Jeremy Bowen though; there’s often a sense of ‘and then I outsmarted them all’ but then he is one of the greatest broadcast journalists ever so fair’s fair!

3. Kate Adie – The Kindness of Strangers

No porn top 5 would be complete without some girlie action now, would it?

I read this a few years ago but remember it being excellent.

It’s also very encouraging for student journalists to know that even Kate Adie didn’t really have a clue when she started out (read about her Radio Sussex days to find out).

4. Fergal Keane – Letter to Daniel

Actually, this one isn’t really journoporn in the bullets and bayonets sense.

Rather, it’s a collection of reports and columns filed from around the world. I’ve included it in this list because the writing is the most movingly beautiful I’ve read in a long time. His pieces on South Africa and Rwanda genuinely made me cry.

5. Piers Morgan – The Insider

Now, from the sublime to the cretinous.

To be read with a large pinch of salt but highly entertaining nonetheless.

And definitely journoporn for those who prefer red carpets to green zones.


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Don’t Mothers like a laugh too?

Helevision has been shopping for a Mother’s Day card today.

So, yes, you can add ‘errant daughter’ to the list as well.

But that’s not the point of this post. (Yes, there is one).

No, as I gazed at the endless rows of ‘marvellous mummy wummy I love you best’ pink ,glittered monstrosities, it struck me that cardmakers obviously don’t think mothers have a sense of humour.


Now I love Mummy Helevision dearly. I owe her a lot – in appearance, in character and now, thanks to the journalism course, in sterling.

But we have never, ever felt the need to exchange nausea-inducing Hallmark sentiments.

In fact, sending her one would smack of a lack of effort.

Fathers Day

Father’s Day, on the other hand, is a doddle. Papa Helevision has received countless comedy missives over the years.

Dads, it seems, are allowed to be funny. Mums are not.

Of course, there’s a whole debate about the so-called humour gap. Have a look at Christopher Hitchens’s Vanity Fair article for an idea.

Nobody says mums need to be comediennes. But they do have a sense of humour like everyone else.

And not all of them like pink…..

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Going postal

Helevision has had her very own Monty Python moment in the Post Office this week.

Being an errant grandchild, I had left it until yesterday to post a birthday card to Nanny Helevision, who turns 86 tomorrow.

So, feeling slightly ashamed I asked how much it would cost for special delivery to arrive today.

“Oh that’ll be £4. 70” said the counter assistant.

“Right, and to get there Saturday?”



“So, it’ll cost me more to get it there a day later then?”


“Yep” she replied with a smile.

Gannet-on-a-stick, anyone?

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