Estate agents

Ok, so people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and I have made my share of mistakes in my time as a journo.

But this example from an estate agent flogging a house in Oxfordshire just cracked me up. And to think these 'professionals' take a pretty sizable fee for this kind of toot (thanks Alan).

Hull Daily Mail and Smeargate

Sorry for the use of ....gate in the title - it's the lazy sub in me!

Fascinated to read about the Hull Daily Mail's unique tactic for fighting back against hyperlocal rival - to smear its creator as a pornographer in chief.

I love the moral outrage in all this and the lazy attitude which typifies regional media these days. Instead of using Northcliffe's enormous resources to take the competition head-on it opts for a Sunday red-top style sting.

I particularly like the repeated mention of the pictures of young people in the town - some of which have been take by web designer Paul Smith!!!! Clearly that's a major issue and we should light torches and carry pitchforks to drive this monster from our town.

Of course, he's doing nothing illegal so maybe we shouldn't. What's that you say? Until recently all regional media knowingly carried adverts from prostitutes? Completely different and unrelated to the matter in hand. Harrumph.

I have some sympathy with the regional media. They (we perhaps - for I was there) were slow to react to the web and constantly five years behind and they battle against unfair competition in the form of the licence-fee supported BBC (as does all media in this country).

But come on. Make an effort. Stop spitting the dummy and get back to creating good content that might encourage people to come to you. Get reporters out of the office, stop relying on press releases and PA and don't forget you are part of a community, not in competition with Heat or NOTW.

The only pleasing aspect has been the way the online community has responded so quickly to put the Mail in its place. Way to go commenters.

Football fans and the breakdown of society

Alright so the title is slightly over-the-top but football fans are getting on my nerves.

I used to love football. I was a regular at Pride Park and worked my holidays around major championships that England or, more rarely, Scotland were involved in.

But football fans have ruined it for me. Not all of them, but the snarling, vociforous majority who excuse their shocking behaviour by whimpering 'it's because I'm so passionate'. I'm passionate about plenty of things without turning into a cross between Norman Tebbit and the Kray twins.

And I'm not talking about traditional hooligans here. I'm talking about normal people who turn into Neanderthals when their beloved team in mentioned. People who have nice families, hold down good jobs, are involved in their community and don't hold criminal convictions.

They seem to have seen Green Street,thought 'now that's passion' and hold it aloft as an aspirational standard which their middle-class upbringing will never allow them to achieve.

It's the blinkered view on the world that gets me. Their player commits a foul and it's ok. A foul is committed on their player and you can expect frothing at the mouth and death threats against the ref who failed to spot what they could quite plainly see after 12 different camera angles were played at super slowmo over a period of five minutes.

They must know the truth. Deep down the reality of the situation must flash like a beacon but hypocrisy knows no bounds with football fans.

The truth is that Vidic should have been sent off after five minutes of the Carling Cup final, that Shawcross did not commit a horrific foul and that Wayne Bridge does not deserve to be booed just because his best mate had an affair with his (ex?) partner.

Maybe we in the media are to blame. Certainly some of the responsibility rests with us.

Transferring sport from the back pages to the front has resulted in the minute details being picked over and the elevation of sports stars to A List celebs and cultural prophets.

Muppets like Adrian Durham on Talksport excuse bad behaviour and violence as the understandable result of passion and we attack the perception of failure by managers in the same way we attack politicians.

All I know is that I am glad I have rugby and that so far it hasn't gone so far down the wrong road as wendy ball.