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Not Strictly Confidential – 10 October 2007

Joe Riley becomes accidental hero of students, plus other bits and bobs that you may or may not know already....

Published on August 23rd 2008.

Not Strictly Confidential – 10 October 2007

GOOD news this week for Joe Riley, arts editor of the Liverpool Echo, cathedral organist of note and thorn in the side of the Laurent Perrier classes. He not only stays in his job but he has become an unlikely symbol in a press freedom debate.

For those of you who still don't know, Mr Bumble, as he is affectionately known, got into trouble after snatching forty winks at the King Cotton premiere last month - unfortunately just a few seats away from the play's creator, Jimmy McGovern.

The Cracker man failed to see the funny side, we hear, and allegedly went off on one at Riley in the interval, his rumble continuing on Radio Merseyside the next day. Rumours were rife that an official complaint about the journalist's behaviour was made to the Echo by Paul Newman, PR chief of the Liverpool Culture Company, although this has since been categorically denied by Mr Newman who called us insisting we say so.

Meanwhile one prominent city “lifestyle” PR who was said to be at the event, allegedly chipped in to the fray with a call to the Echo's ed. Riley, with 38 years service, was suspended from duty and has spent the last couple of weeks “on death row”.

But now Bumble is back in the building, a "final written warning" stuffed in his back pocket (shorthand for a 12 month suspended sentence) along with the tobacco pouch, writing snappy Echo leaders as only he can.

But wait - we detect an unusually pungent air of triumph. Yes. Bumble has emerged not only intact from his ordeal, but a hero. That's right, a hero, to a whole year of journalism undergraduates at Liverpool John Moores University. It seems they have been following a take of events on the impish Liverpool Subculture blog (but we're not finished, so don't you dare navigate away from here yet).

Worried that issues of press freedom were being compromised by all these shenanigans they have been reading about, the students, we are told by a LMJU source, have been up in arms. Some, in danger of becoming jaded and cynical early, have even called for a debate; their concern being that the whole affair has been a case of PR people dictating the dance of the press and not the other way round.

Hopefully, there are enough of those youthful arms up and available to triumphantly carry the now slightly beatific Riley through the streets next time he dozes off. A clear case of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Confidential also relishes the refreshing prospect of LJMU someday unleashing a class of rookies, with Bumble as a role model, on a largely timid local media. Facebook fan club for The Man anyone?

**OVERHEARD in a works canteen not a million miles away from Riley's desk:

Customer: What's that soup?
Canteen operative: Broccoli and Stilton.
Customer: What's Stilton?
Canteen operative: I don't know.

**LIVERPOOL Confidential is delighted by the fact that many of the many thousands of email newsletters it sends out to you lot each week are opened and read by people with city council IP addresses. Indeed, the lovely and often put-upon workers are often to be found, after hours, relaxing on one of our offers.

But, sadly, the other week it was not to be. Pourquoi? The council's “profanity filter”, that's pourquoi.

The profanity filter is an email tool that blocks out messages containing what it deems offensive words. Our jovial use of the phrase “cock up”, in a piece about John Lennon, meant our newsletter got the knock-back when the filter kicked in. So LCC staff missed out.

One council worker also told us: “I was working with an outside contractor called Dick and couldn't understand why I never got any emails back from him. But it was the filter doing its work.”

Another word/phrase that you won't get past the filter, we are told, is "nitty gritty" which, some say, has origins in slavery and is banned elsewhere.

With the first two examples being abundantly bandied about by an ungrateful public where council matters are concerned, might this be the world's hardest working email application and/or the world's most blissfully sheltered workforce?

Moral of the tale: If you want to be PC, check with your PC.


Coleen McLoughlin canoodling with the cast of The West Wing in Greggs, Walton Vale.
• Loveable scouse singer Ray Quinn in the bear house in Knowsley Safari Park
• Respect MP George Galloway dancing late, late, late in the Bling Bling Building.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

Has he still not come clean?

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

Which one of those bears is Joe Riely

So, the gauntlet has been issuedOctober 10th 2007.

Is Randy Newman a liar or not, then? Will he sue? will he try and forget about it? will he tell his wife? These are the questions that need to be answered...

realistOctober 10th 2007.

There's about as much chance of Randy making a clean breast of it (whoeerrsssmissus) as there is of spotting Nobel Prize winner Al Gore giving advice on the environment to fireman Bradley

The TonysOctober 10th 2007.

He's a liar if that is what he is saying.

A. E. ScousemanOctober 10th 2007.

Hurrah for Joe Riley! If you see me out and about Joe, pluck my sleeve and claim your pint!

Rusty SpikeOctober 10th 2007.

I think you'll find that Mr Riley's alias is 'Badger' and not 'Bumble' ( as him if you dare, and wait for the chuffed smile) - methinks you are fraudulent friend or wannabe acquaintance seeking to embrace fame in the spotlight of the great. Take your pies elsewhere, sir

Old Mother RiellyOctober 10th 2007.

He's definitely Bumble.

London RoadOctober 10th 2007.

It's good to see Joe back, one of the few characters left in newspaper offices.

Rather Eat My Own OnionsOctober 10th 2007.

Bumble's irregular outbursts are a tonic to the eyes and ears (if you put some of the Echo inside a shell and hold it your head, you can hear the strains of Hello Kitty pealing from the bunged orifice) of insane folk around the Liverpool area and even sometimes further afield. I often spent a happy hour or some more regaling the intricacies of an egotistical musical production or other with Bumble, having trodden the local 'meeja' turf for a few years. Heavens, to think how many times Bumble must have sat through another Blood Brothers matinee (reported by the McGuinness Book of Records as having been shown 9765 times in Liverpool, audiences never tiring of its rare wit and stylish sets, etc), it's little wonder he might occasionally and ALLEGEDLY take a nap to regain some form of composure. Long live Bumble, even though he already has. Long live him again, once more with passion.

Newman's wifeOctober 10th 2007.

Can we just be clear about this? Is Randy Newman claiming that he has made no representations to The Echo whatsoever about Joe Riley? If so, it wouldn't be the first time he has lied about his actions.

fat gitOctober 10th 2007.

I have been on incapacity benefit for the past 15 years but I always get an Echo for quiet moments when I'm parked up on the taxi rank at Lime Street. I wouldn't mind being invited to one of those celebrity parties that they all go to in those pictures. I've got a real eye for the ladies and those WAGS

V.I.Lenin AirportOctober 10th 2007.

Actually, Gripey old pal, it DID happen in the early 1990s. I remember articles about the so-called ‘dance centre’ (more than three times the height of the old Liverpool Institute's gymnasium gymnasium) in the Echo (there was even one in Private Eye). Then the news articles stopped suddenly, which made sense when I was told the story about the selfish, multi-millionaire’s press officer warning off the Echo by a Mount Street resident who was one of those making the protest.

Stanley StreetOctober 10th 2007.

A final Written Warning for Joe Riley? That’s outrageous when one considers that last Thursday the Liverpool Echo was covered in modish and sensationalist hand-wring over gun culture among local teenage gangs, and in the midst of it all was a 'column' of self-obsessed, vapid trivia by a blonde pictured posing in a swimming cozzie holding an illegal PISTOL. Why not sack this useless dope?

Lex E. CographerOctober 10th 2007.

I see that the Council's so-called profanity filter cocks-up as much as the idiots that run the authority! (Still no-one sacked? What inefficiency!)'Nitty-gritty' as a reference to the sleeping arrangements aboard slave ships was a hoax that took in the p.c. chumps and made them look silly.It could be traced no further back in time than 1994. It was a mischievous 'back-formation' that was exposed in the last century! But then this is Liverpool City where buzz-words hide appalling ignorance and astounding incompetence.Liverpool Confidential, please don't change the English language to suit these repressive idiots, it is for them to adjust their mindless (and offensive) censorship, not for normal people to adopt fashionable gibberish.

that's Mr Bollocks to youOctober 10th 2007.

The PR shysters concerned in the Riley case - aka Randy and Yosser - should be forced to eat a slice of Bumble pie now that their attempt to shaft the great has been foiled.

ace personOctober 10th 2007.

c'mon Randy, fess up......

V.I. Lenin AirportOctober 10th 2007.

What? The Echo suppressing the truth? Like the story years ago about the plight of householders on Mount Street who were losing their daylight as the building of the much-vaunted Liverpool Institute of Poncing About grew and grew, far higher than the original school gymnasium upon which it was being built. The Echo was reporting this until (it is said) a press officer for some bloke called McCartney told the paper to suppress the story or else go without pointless, dull, Beatles-related trivia and tittle-tattle in future. The Echo toed the line, the story vanished without trace. Press freedom, eh!

Staggered Old Hall Street-erOctober 10th 2007.

It's ironic that your Mr Bumble was spotted in the interval of King Cotton that night, chatting pleasantly to Newman's boss, Jason Harbarow. If Joe Riley was behaving that badly that night you would have thought that it would be Mr H who would have made the complaint to the Echo, but, oh no, instead it was the PR man Newman. Oh, and don't believe for a second that Newman didn't make that complaint. Is he in denial or did we all just dream it? JMU students must not take this Newman-sponsored hype and tripe, or anyone else for that matter. Don't be shouted down!

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

he's the big cheese

The TonysOctober 10th 2007.

We are extremely grateful to the JMU students for following our humble efforts on the Liverpool subculture blog, with those of their own in the groves of academe.Who knows? They may be ready to storm the barricades, burn down the Millennium House Fun Palace and consign those acres of glossy brochures produced by the 08 company to a giant purple wheelie bin, any minute now!

BaffledOctober 10th 2007.

Can someone please tell me what this has got to do with anything?

GET A GRIPEOctober 10th 2007.

Sorry V.I. Lenin Airport. As the sun shines along Mount Street and it is so wide that the buildings opposite, LIPA would never effect the light, this story is was total nonsense like nitty gritty, St. Georges Hall being built the wrong way round and slaves being chained up on the Pier Head, but is still being pedeled by people would want a example of press censorship. It never happened.

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