Alastair McIntyre worked for 32 years a journalist on the Daily Express, a national newspaper for Britain, based in London. He has now retired from the Express after accepting voluntary redundancy from a management who co-operated in his Great Escape by waving a few tenners under his nose. He has wisely spent some of the money on a Jaguar motor car which he drives, à la Toad of Toad Hall, around the verdant English countryside.
Before the Express, McIntyre worked on a variety of magazines, weekly and evening newspapers and the Press Association, the national news agency for the UK. He also had a less-than-illustrious career in the Westminster Bank until he left out of sheer boredom. It must be admitted, however, that his innumeracy did not further his career in the bank.
Strangely, he actually climbed the journalistic ladder to become Chief Sub-Editor of the Daily Express, a position he held for seven years. He then retreated down-table to rejoin the real journalists, the Yeomen and Yeo-women of the News Sub-Editors, where he could sometimes enjoy a late afternoon power nap.
McIntyre is an expert on hooting, whistling and other silly noises, comfy chairs, pubs and the design of fart machines to break the ice at parties. He plays the banjo very badly and is a soloist on the duck whistle, which on one famous occasion he used to waken the duty night lawyer, Robin de Wilde, QC, who had fallen asleep at his desk after drinking in the apparent excitement of seeing a daily newspaper in production.
Mr de Wilde once found limited fame when he stood as Tory Candidate for Merthyr Tydfil, which was at the time the safest Labour seat in Britain. He lost handsomely. Mr de Wilde no longer works for the Express and fails to see the funny side of any of this. If you Google his name you will discover that he is now a greyhound - and a bitch at that. Life can be very confusing at times...
McIntyre has a long-suffering wife, three daughters, six grand-daughters and a grandson.
Many years ago, the Daily Express was famed for the legendary wit of its Beachcomber column. The author, J B Morton, died on May 10, 1979, aged 85 and is buried in Bagshot, Surrey. He was one of Britain's finest humorous writers, but is now largely forgotten.
The Beachcomber column was not published for more than 20 years, but in 1996 it was revived by the Express and has had various authors in the past 10 years.
McIntyre carried on the Beachcomber tradition in his website The Gentlemen’s Trumpet which, while not to be mentioned in the same breath as Beachcomber, is based in the fictional and rather odd world of Steeple Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley), and is now available on the World Wide Web at absolutely no extra charge. The folks on The Trumpet (see Dramatis Personae) view Beachcomber as a Johnny-come-lately). The Trumpet is currrently offline.
The Trumpet was originally published in the form of the Daily Thanks when McIntyre was Chief Sub. In those days of yawn, (surely yore - Ed), it carried a one-line weather forecast on the front page, which was sent down to the printers on a piece of paper. To brighten this up, McIntyre would add a few words, usually a comment on the events of the day, for the entertainment of the sub-editors and printers (who have since retreated with wheel barrows full of cash). The message always ended with a brief word of thanks, like: 'I thank you', or maybe 'I find myself thanking you' or even 'It is you to whom I proffer my sincerest thanks'.
This may seem a very odd thing to do. But the Trumpet is a very odd sort of newspaper. In fact, to call it a newspaper is probably an offence under Britain's Trades Description Act, if it still exists.
Editor’s note: Owing to a cock-up which has yet to be sorted out, the address www.thetrumpet.co.uk is not functioning at the moment. Life can get chaotic sometimes, particularly when one’s nemesis Lord Drone is involved.