The feral beast: To the spoiler, the victory

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The Independent Online

Only a week since Rupert Murdoch's The LondonPaper breathed its last and the London Lite is booming. Advertising figures are, I gather, looking extremely healthy.

So much so that as of tomorrow it's to have 56 pages. It will be music to the ears of Lord Rothermere who only reluctantly sold a controlling stake in his other London paper, the Evening Standard, earlier this year. The Lite was launched as a spoiler to Rupert Murdoch's TheLondonPaper three years ago, but if he keeps it going, it'll be Rothermere having the last laugh.

Farewell, Gilligan. Not many tears

It was farewell to Andrew Gilligan from the Evening Standard last week, who starts work at The Daily Telegraph tomorrow. At his leaving party in the office of editor Geordie Greig there was some staring at toecaps as he admitted his undying allegiance to the previous editor, Veronica Wadley, and paid tribute to his old mate Boris Johnson. Staff gave a rather warmer send-off to long-serving deputy editor Andrew Bordiss on Friday night at a swanky Kensington hotel. He leaves after 12 years, having overseen the transition of the Standard's ownership.

Does the answer lie in the soil?

Has metropolitan Mark Lawson got it in for The Archers? I only ask because the plangent-voiced presenter of Front Row has a habit of ending trailers for his show by saying "Come back at 7:15 for Front Row", as if we all switch off during The Archers. Maybe some do, but surely it's not to be encouraged. So I ask him. What is it about the everyday tale of bourgeois country folk you don't like? No response. Nada. Says it all.

No FT? No computers

It was a tricky question for all editors: how many hacks to send to the Lib-Dem conference? Despite The Guardian's woes it was business as usual, the paper sending more than 10 staffers to Bournemouth, including cartoonist Steve Bell who crouched at Nick Clegg's feet for a close-up study for the next day's paper. It was a different story with the FT, which sent just two scribes. Oh, and an IT chap who helpfully packed up their computers during Clegg's speech, so they had nothing to write on when they emerged. Doh!

Spinning for Satan?

Journalist Charlotte Raven's 40th birthday party was spiced up by an exchange between two of her ex-lovers, Julie Burchill and former spin doctor Derek Draper. "So, Draper, you old fraud – call yourself a Christian these days?" trilled Julie. "He got very offended," she tells me, "so I thought I might as well go for it; 'Those smears weren't very Christian, were they? Sure you're not a Satanist?" Draper was, I'm told, unamused, and turned a brighter shade of puce. "I liked his wife though, Kate Garraway. She's gorgeous, like a little doll." So Julie blundered on: "So I said 'Gosh, you're much better looking than you are on TV!' Draper looked murderous; obviously he still hasn't forgiven me for taking Charlotte off him 15 years ago and figured I was knocking on to his wife."

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