DIARY: Bates' Sporting Knife fires a parting shot of classical proportions

Sad to see that the imminent demise of Bates UK, currently undergoing death by a thousand cuts at WPP's hands, has also put paid to The Sporting Knife - the scandal sheet that's been helping keep staff peckers up while they await either a new job or a P45.

As you'd expect, there's no shortage of targets for a shaft of cold steel between the shoulder blades. You just have to hope that the depiction of Bates' new owner "Mr Sorrell" on the front cover as the Grim Reaper won't prove to be a slight too far.

First up for assassination are those clients who recently rushed for the exit. In a section entitled "Fuck 'em", one advertiser is described as "a complete joke of an organisation who couldn't organise their way out of a postbag".

A second is called "an outdated excuse for a retail outlet selling cheap tat and overpriced CDs to grotkids and single mothers".

And a third is brutally dismissed as "an absurd excuse for a TV company with less class than an Australian stag do". So no hard feelings then.

This is followed by a looting guide, which helpfully informs all the company thieves what they might get down Brick Lane for their Bates memorabilia.

For example, the Merc driven by the oh-so-posh European chairman, Toby Hoare, is thought to be worth "£40,000-plus. But remember to check the boot for pheasant."

Other Bates bric-a-brac given The Knife's evaluation include the yacht-owning former executive creative director, Andrew Cracknell ("Seen its day. Might get a few quid for it down the docks").

Perhaps the best moment, however, is the e-mail from a pissed-off account man, sent in response to his systems manager's request that he complete his outstanding timesheets ASAP.

"In case it has escaped your notice, we've lost rather a lot of clients over the past few months - including all of mine," he fumes. "I've therefore spent the last three months sitting on my arse waiting to be fired (when I've not been playing crazy golf in the Sky Area). Please could you amend the timesheet form to include these new categories and I'll fill them in."

As for Michael Bungey, the former boss of Bates' Cordiant parent who bet the farm and lost but still trousered £1.6 million, The Knife deems Shelley's poem Ozymandias a sufficient epitaph. "Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!" one of its lines proclaims. Nuff said.


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