The feral beast: Entertaining Mr Jones

Sunday 08 February 2009 01:00

Spotted: fresh-faced 'Evening Standard' proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, having lunch at a top London eatery with 'GQ' editor Dylan Jones. Both noted dandies, no doubt they passed the time discussing Gucci man-bags. But who was grooming whom? Having poached one Condè Nast editor, was Evgeny hoping for another? For now, there are no vacancies, but redundancies at the 'Standard' are on the cards. Dylan paid, so we conclude that he was softening Evgeny up for a 'GQ' profile.

Book battle was a mere accident

Turmoil at the 'Standard' has taken its toll at the most senior level. Staff report that as they filed out of one fraught meeting, they thought they noticed a minor agitation in the editor's ante-room, in the shape of an airborne book. Contrary to some of the more outlandish versions of the story, executive editor Anne McElvoy, who had been seeking help from one of the editor's secretaries as she sought to juggle childcare arrangements, is able to reassure me she merely "dramatically dropped a book" from her desk.

You can't keep them from work

Much of Britain has been enjoying a skive but not the staff of Associated. When Tubes and buses ground to a halt, Becky Barrow, business correspondent at the 'Daily Mail', walked into the Kensington office from Hammersmith despite being heavily pregnant. But perhaps the greatest hero was David Gardner, who works in accounts. He lost part of a leg in the 7/7 bombings but managed to battle in from West Hampstead. We salute you!

Guardians of Spears

Hacks at Guardian News and Media have been invited to "search-engine optimisation classes". The idea is to learn how to write copy so that it is picked up by Google, maximising traffic to the paper's website. Staff at the 'Telegraph' have had to do this for some time, and, as one says, "it basically means putting Britney Spears in the intro of every story, regardless of what it's about".

Final bow for theatre critic

A vacancy for a theatre critic at the 'Sunday Times' is coming up, as I hear Christopher Hart has asked to be relieved of his duties. "It's been great fun but surprisingly time-consuming," he tells me, "I will continue to write elsewhere in the paper, though." Hart has a sideline as a novelist, writing literary fiction in his own name and thrillers under the pseudonym William Napier. He is unlikely to be missed by David Hare, whose recent play he slated.

Tories on alert for mystery woman

Young Tories on Facebook are on high alert after warnings that an undercover 'Mirror' hackette is out to access their embarrassing pictures, by befriending them. Carla Jones, who bills herself as "Conservative, Christian and single", protests her innocence and is championed by blogger Recess Monkey, who says she is a former Central Office worker. So far she has 63 friends, including MPs David Davis and David Whittingdale. We hope to read all about them in the 'Mirror'.

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