Captain Moonlight: New Yorkers' guide to Brillo

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The Independent Online
YOU WILL have rejoiced with the Captain at the news that Andrew Neil, the editor of the Sunday Times, is to take up a job in the United States as editor and chief reporter of a new television current affairs programme for Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV network. It is always good to see someone getting on in life, and it is no secret that Mr Neil has for some time wanted to get into 'serious money', as opposed to the figure of between pounds 100,000 and pounds 200,000 he is reported to be earning currently.

Mr Neil is a man who has attracted his fair measure of controversy. It is the sad lot of all thrusting, young, talented and hugely successful people in this country to be the butt of envy, scorn and all manner of scurrilous stories; Mr Neil has not escaped the attention of the pygmies. It occurred to the Captain, though, that our American friends might not be as au fait with the Neil phenomenon as we all are.

For them, therefore, I have compiled what I think might be an extremely useful 10 Things You Might Quite Like To Know About This Challenging Anchorman: 1 Andrew Ferguson Neil - or 'Fergie', as he is known to close buddies - has rugged, statesmanlike looks which belie his 44 years. 2 His grandfather was a pipe major in a Scottish regiment. Andrew has inherited his love of loud music and dancing. 3 He was brought up in Paisley, Scotland, 'the Jewel of Renfrewshire'. The humbleness of his early surroundings have been exaggerated. His brother says: 'It was a good class of tenemental property on the south side of Paisley'. 4 His nickname is 'Brillo Pad' from the household product familiar to you, manufactured by the Dial Corporation of Phoenix, Arizona. Some claim this is a reference to his appearance; in reality it sums up his abrasive approach to life and determination to get down to the nitty-gritty. 5 He is a bachelor, likes girls and has a 72-bottle wine rack. 6 He once gave a girlfriend an automatic food mixer, a man with the unlikely name of Sir Peregrine Worsthorne objected and it all ended up in one of those funny little English court cases. 7 He also likes owls, aftershave and Michael Winner. 8 He's a great one for sending himself up, and once pretended never to have heard of Nabokov. 9 He will be frighteningly good at his new job. 10 He just loves to be teased.