I wasn’t going to post on this because it’s essentially bigging up my own work when the weekend has churned out far better headlines (viz the Sunday Mirror’s response to a new checked Manchester United strip, WELL PLAID, SON). However, one that I wrote on Friday for The Times has become more interesting since I heard it read out in church this morning. And not just any old church – St Bride’s on Fleet Street, where worshippers today included one Rupert Murdoch.
We didn’t chat or anything. RM has no idea who I am or what I do, and that’s the way I like it. Still, it was gratifying when the Rector, David Meara, in his sermon on the defence of the Christian faith got a ripple of laughter when he mentioned that “Giles Coren, in yesterday’s Times, called himself a pro-antidisestablishmentarian”.
Because Giles didn’t quite do that. He made a very witty point about mounting a defence of antidisestablishmentarianism in the face of Richard Dawkins’ floccinaucinihipilification, which I quite wanted to use in the pull-quote but would never, ever have fitted there. Then I realised that there was an opportunity to work one of the longest words in the English language into the headline and… well, you know, red rags and bulls. This became WHY I’M PRO ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM.
A headline I probably would have remembered even if I hadn’t seen it put a smile on the face of my boss’s boss x 109 and subsequently had a Twitter chat with one of Britain’s best columnists about it (summary: he’s a bit gutted that he couldn’t get a sitter this morning).
Sometimes a silly approach does generate a good line - I’m reminded of one that sub Matt Dupuy recently sent me: NO-GO WOE FOR DOUGHNUT CO AFTER VO VO BLOW. “Cheered up an otherwise dull story about copyright,” he says. (I also like his standfirst: SO NO-SHOW FOR ICED DOUGH-VO.)
So if I started by trying to big myself up, at least I can finish with offering respect to Matt. My decent headline was handed to me on a plate like so many Krispy Kremes. His outstanding one seems to have popped into his head at a moment when most subs would have been half asleep with boredom.