Diary… Puppet regimes win the day

Includes Sweep’s annoying family and pissing around with the Periodic Table

We started the day giggling at a vintage TV clip of ‘The Sooty Show’ on YouTube, in which Sweep’s extended family swoops in and takes over Sooty’s home with their incessant high-pitched buzzy squawks. They include characters such as Swoop and Swipe, and they wear a variety of stupid outfits. One of Sweep’s Australian relatives wears a brimmed hat with corks hanging from it.

See the full version (18 minutes).

◾At the Guardian Archive Iona and Ryan were talking about how people get good jobs these days.

It seems the best route is still “I went to university with…”

They asked how I got my job in editorial all those years ago.

It wasn’t because I went to university with anyone.

Back in the day, several of the Guardian’s senior editors (Peter Preston, Roger Alton) had started their careers training as reporters in Liverpool.

The Guardian originated as the Manchester Guardian and connections with the Northwest have always been strong.

So these editors carried fond memories of the city and its people.

So when I pitched up at the Guardian in the early 1990s, good favour for Liverpudlians was already in place.

Ryan and Iona then asked where I’d worked before then.

I told them Time Out, and before that in the music press, first in 1983 as a self-starting writer at NME.

They were impressed by that, especially when I name-dropped Echo & The Bunnymen, who I interviewed quite a few times.

“Hanging out with the Bunnymen” was, to them, far cooler, and presumably of more merit, than “I went to university with…”

Maybe I should ask for a certificate.

◾’They’ keep adding elements to the Periodic Table.

I know this only because the new elements always end up in one of the questions on Pointless. 

The one I’ve just learned about is tennessine.

It is a synthetic element and would never have made it into the Periodic Table back in my day, when things like the Periodic Table were set in stone, waiting to be learned off by heart for your Chemistry A-level exam.

Tennessine’s symbol is – imaginatively – Ts, and its Atomic Number is 117.

It is the “second heaviest element” and was born in a lab at a research institute in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Read Tuesday’s diary.