Ladies and Gentleman, Mr Iain MacIntosh.
I’ve been married for almost a year, so there’s a fair chance that I’ve lost touch with the…erm…ins and outs of modern sexual etiquette. Doubtless since I took my vows, you’re all sticking it in each other’s ears or something. I thought I was fairly clear on the basics though. An orgy, for example. I always thought an orgy was when lots of people had sex. Like, loads. Arms, legs and fleshy bits all clattering off each other like a poltergeist was loose in a butcher’s shop. I didn’t realise that an orgy now meant ‘unmarried man having sex with unmarried woman with another unmarried woman going upstairs later and we don’t know if she joined in or not she might have just watched’.
The News of the World’s ‘cocaine and sex orgy’ story, written with the clear intention of annihilating Kevin Nolan’s marriage and further destroying Andy Carroll’s burgeoning career, has to be the most startling non-story in the recent history of mainstream media, doesn’t it? No, actually. That accolade is reserved for The Sun who followed their sister paper’s example with the revelations that the hooker at the centre of the Wayne Rooney scandal had been texting naughty pictures of herself to Nolan’s mobile phone. Oooh! That’s news, isn’t it? No. No, it’s not. It’s olds. Hidden away in the text of The Sun’s story were a few important details that weren’t included in the headline. Like the fact that the texting took place in 2007. Before Nolan was married. So, the story is basically, ‘unmarried man gets nudey snaps of disconcertingly mannish bird with obvious daddy issues.’ Christ on a bike. But, back to the orgy.
If you’ve just spanked your rivals like a naughty puppy, I reckon you deserve to go out and cut loose for a bit and the Newcastle lads did it properly. They took their security man, they didn’t break anything and Andy Carroll managed to last the WHOLE night without getting arrested. I’d say it went pretty well. Granted, I don’t think my missus would be too happy if I brought three young floozies back to my house after a night out, but that’s pretty much the most nefarious thing that’s happened here. Married man makes decision that will put him in the doghouse. Hold the front page!
The cocaine angle is my favourite bit. Cocaine shame of Newcastle players! Except, you know, they didn’t actually do any cocaine. The girls might have done. Nobody really knows. So it’s a cocaine orgy that wasn’t an orgy and the key protagonists didn’t take cocaine.
This isn’t an empty rant against the media machine, not least because in a very small and inconsequential way, I’m a part of it. There are genuine reasons to execute this kind of story. The press have an obligation to expose anyone who uses a false perception to influence or profit. That was the case with John Terry when his representatives were touting him for sponsorship deals on the basis of, among other things, his being ‘Father Of The Year’. It’s the same with Wayne Rooney, who sold pictures of his wedding to OK Magazine. If you profit from the perception that you’re happily married, you have to expect to be taken down if you go whoring. But for the life of me, I can’t see what poor old Nolan has done to invite this kind of hatchet job and, while Carroll may or may not have done naughty things in the past, he didn’t do any of them after Newcastle beat Sunderland. This is a crappy story with no justification and it makes all journalists look bad. No wonder people hate the press so much.
Iain is the UK Football Correspondent for The New Paper (Singapore). You can follow him on Twitter @iainmacintosh.