Pissed-off Toff pays tribute to a giant of Fleet Street, and to the time when carefree banter in the newsroom was the order of the day.
As last summer turned to autumn, the great Paul Dacre stepped down as the Editor of The Daily Mail, having occupied that position for as long as anyone could remember.
Famously, his morning meetings were nicknamed ‘the vagina monologues’, the reason being that he liked to make liberal use of the C-word, and that he furthermore made no secret of his views.
His departure marks the passing of an era … and at this historic moment, I cannot resist the temptation to add a modest anecdote of my own to the many others that already honour this colourful figure.
So … we now see Paul Dacre patrolling the floor of the news room, where his well-trained staff know what to expect. And today it is the turn of a certain Smith – let us call him that – to field the Editor’s banter.
“You know what are you, Smith, don’t you?” says Dacre, at the conclusion of a short and no doubt sweet exchange. Smith is only too familiar with this routine; and of course the boss has to be humoured.
“Yes, I do,” he replies, sighing discreetly and raising his eyes to the heavens … if not literally, then metaphorically. “I’m a cunt.”
Normally that would be an end to it. But today Dacre is on especially good form, his wit more sharp than usual, his appetite for harmless fun especially keen.
“A cunt?!” he says, shaking his head and pausing for effect. “No you’re not! You’re a fucking cunt!!”
In his dealings with the fairer sex, however, this same Editor was invariably sweetness and light.
“I worked for him for years,” a well-known former employee of his told me. “And he was always an absolute poppet!”