Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Curse of Kelvin Came Right Yet Again

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Curse of Kelvin Came Right Yet Again

Article excerpt


MOST of the dodgier moments of my life have begun through contact with a man called MacKenzie. Somehow those 'MacMoments', which seemed forever destined to end disastrously, always turned out happily.

In 1979, Kelvin plucked me from a comfortable desk at the Daily Mirror and persuaded me to join him at the New York Post, then abandoned his Manhattan managing editor's desk leaving this young and inexperienced sub-editor to hold the fort.

Seven years later, reunited under his editorship at The Sun, he put me in charge of the revolution we old journos refer to simply as Wapping, the biggest reformation in printing and publishing since Caxton. It was an industrio-political hot potato that eventually resulted in my debut editorship in Australia.

I came across MacKenzie again when I returned to London to edit the Mirror; Kelvin as editor of The Sun, although a career-long friend and mentor, was now my nemesis. Luck and sheer brilliance (plus a huge price cut which made his paper 20p cheaper than mine) conspired with leukaemia to bring my time at the top to a premature end.

We remain great friends. But the Curse of Kelvin still stalks me.

After dining with him at my Red Lion domino den, I unwisely referred in this column to his annoyance at having to seek a car permit to drive beyond the Hethpool car park should he choose to enter the beautiful College Valley.

MacKenzie, of course, fled back to his bigshot TV presenter's job in London leaving me (shades of Manhattan again) to pacify the people who run the College Valley Estate. But, as ever, a potentially dodgy occasion turned delightful.

Charles Baker-Cresswell, the soon-to-retire chairman of the estate company, squired 'Er Outdoors and me the length of arguably the most beautiful valley in Northumberland and provided a slap-up picnic and a non-stop running commentary.

As a result, I can reassure Kelvin and others who believe access is restricted that quite the reverse is true: vehicles are welcomed into the valley, to be accommodated in a splendid new car park at a point where drivers are asked to leave their cars and take to the road or hills on foot. …

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