It’s been a while since I last caught up with Gordon Hay (universally known as Jocky), who was my gaffer for a while on the Daily Record newsdesk.
Last time I saw him in action, Jocky was manfully trying to calm down an editor who was rather prone to overheating.
That was a mere footnote in a a distinguished newspaper career which saw him work for most of the papers you could care to name – including stints on various Fleet Street titles (when Fleet Street was still a force to be reckoned with).
Jocky was legendary for collecting handsome redundancy payouts from virtually every one of those titles. His special knack was working for papers just long enough to qualify for a golden handshake whenever the newspaper market went through one of its all-too-frequent readjustments. Right place at the right time and all that.
After he finished at The Scotsman a couple of years ago I thought Jocky might have called it quits, especially when news reached me he’d bought a rather swanky villa in the Spanish sun.
It’s been even longer since I last caught up with Jocky’s good pal, Ian McKerron, another newspaper heavyweight – and the man with the greatest nickname in Scottish media: Molecatcher. Last I heard he was living off the royalties from a golfer’s handbook he’d written.
After years of grafting at the coalface of truth, you’d think the guys had earned the right to ride off into the sunset?
Nope. The duo have reinvented themselve as crisis management specialists and currently have their hands full handling media inquiries for the group which is mouting a legal challenge in an attempt to prevent the Bank of Scotland being bought by Lloyds TSB.
It would be hard to imagine a couple of newspaper bruisers like Jocky and Molecatcher quietly disappearing into early retirement. Even harder to see them reinventing themselves as a couple of PR luvvies.
So crisis management is probably the ideal solution to provide them both with a regular fix of media contact and adrenaline. Which just goes to show that the best hacks never really quit – they just find new ways to lurch from calamity to catastrophe.
Whisper it though – Jocky and Molecatcher still make an unlikely couple of flacks!