July 28th, 2005

News Values

Now we're being told that the Brazilian man the police shot in Stockwell wasn't wearing a puffa jacket and didn't vault over the ticket barrier to escape.

This is the problem with our rolling 24 hour news services: reporters are so hungry for product they'll accept and process anything that comes their way- conjecture, rumour, misinformation, lies- and the obligation to speak to camera every fifteen minutes means that they don't have time to go check their "facts". More news means worse news.

In Brackets

I was just out of school and waiting to go up to uni and I took a job in a Sheffield hospital working with paraplegics.

It's a part of my life that has brackets round it. There's little connection with anything else before or since.

I'm listening to Billie Holliday and that's what brings it back. It was my Sheffield landlady who got me hooked on Billie Holliday.

Her name was Maureen Tingle. She was a young widow. Irish. With bright red hair.

I was too young for her and she was too old for me. It never crossed our minds.

She had the sight. The Virgin Mary appeared to her just before her husband died to prepare her for it.

The Virgin was very little and appeared in a vessel of light. I'm not sure it was the Virgin. I think it was more probably the Banshee.

He dropped dead suddenly in the kitchen doorway. I wish you hadn't told me that, Maureen! There I was cooking my egg and chips in the evening- all alone in the house- and I had to keep glancing over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't standing behind me.

She was very lonely. She was very highly strung. I liked her as one would like- what- a crazy aunt.

But now I think of her as younger than me.