Diary… Puffin advised to switch identity

New name will haul in the hungry punters, says expert


Wednesday 26 February, London

>> A leading food-fad commentator has urged the Puffin to consider transitioning to the less niche Muffcake.

My wife made the daring observation that the deviant pancake/muffin combo would gain wider acceptance if it rebranded as the Muffcake.

The internet is already awash with lip-smacking variants of the Muffcake.

Recipes are freely and widely available at the touch of a thumb.

Currently trending in cyberspace are the ‘Mini Pumpkin Muffcake’,  the ‘Corn Dog Muffcake’ and the ‘Frisky Muffcake’.

The Muffcake news comes hot on the heels just minutes ago of the introduction on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show of the ‘Gruffing’.

This new trend – initiated by some former TV soap star or other – is a hybrid of gravy and stuffing mix to make a sort of pâté to spread on Melba Toast or crusty artisanal bread.

I’ve never seen anyone eating Melba Toast in EastEnders.

 >> The free movement of people was a big part of the UK debate about our membership of the EU.

And now, with Coronavirus, it is revealed that the stock markets worldwide have plunged to record lows as nations shut up shop and people lock themselves indoors. 

The free movement of people across the globe has ground to a halt.

The reaction was far swifter than the Brexit Party ever could have hoped for.

>> The makeover of the Guardian’s York Way entrance/reception is finished, and pretty underwhelming it is, too.

A new airport-style security system has been installed which makes you think you are up to no good even when you’re not.

Once you’ve been able to navigate your way in, a travesty greets you immediately.

This is the disappearance of the splendid free curated exhibitions that previously met all visitors to the once-accessible entrance area.

These exhibitions varied from the proud promotion of the Guardian’s brilliant use of photography to special themed exhibitions on subjects typically Guardian – investigations, women, war, science, war, etc.

These displays were a constant reminder that journalism is the first draft of history.

The exhibitions, curated mostly by Luke Dodd, have been replaced in the lobby area by a maze of steel and glass gates and a backdrop of crude blow-ups of Guardian products and pages.

On my session today at the Archive, I came across a set of Don McPhee negatives from 1988 of shots from a Sex Pistols convention.

Ryan, another volunteer who works in payroll, was surprised that Sex Pistols conventions were still being held as late as 1988.

He had been filing a group of vintage punk rock pictures from the late 1970s.

I told him that Sex Pistols conventions are probably still being held even today. In Japan, I guessed.

Pistols fans in negative form…

Later I bumped into Bill from ESD (Editorial Systems Development).

Bill was the first aider who took me to hospital all those years ago when I had my stroke and waited with me until my wife arrived.

I told him about the wax printing workshops I am doing and his face lit up.

He said wax printing was used by the Dutch underground press during WW2 to spread the anti-nazi message.

I later got an email from him stuffed with fascinating links and PDFs of wax-printed pages in what I presume is Dutch.

Wax printing back in the day when it could save lives…

>> As I arrived at a newspaper workshop in the Guardian’s Education Centre, the primary school class were getting stuck into a rich selection of stories.

Their enthusiasm was infectious, and when that happens it is a joy to work with fresh young minds on telling the news as they see it.

The stories they were covering included not only the evolving drama of the Coronavirus spread but Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

“Blues battered by Bayern” was one of the best headlines, if only for the poker of Bs.

A story about the recapture of some escaped baboons in Australia was also popular, along with “Nasa maths pioneer dies aged 101”. An intriguing choice for 10-year-olds.

It’s always fascinating to see what stories they select as ‘news’ and how they then present them to their imaginary ‘readers’.

And how much they choose to charge for their ‘newspaper’. This is one of the most hotly disputed topics during any class.

>> The external lift on the building on Euston Road opposite Kings Cross station is at the bottom floor again.

I’ve never seen it move. I have to presume it does, otherwise the world really has gone mad.

External lift…

>> Some div on Quora is complaining that their 18-year-old son wants to drop out of school to be a YouTuber.

“He only has 62,000 followers,” the parent frets, to guffaws of ridicule from Quora’s sensitive correspondents.

>> Read yesterday’s diary.

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