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Gossip Column - 21 January, 1980. [21 Jan 2005|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

We're well in to the New Year, gossipettes, and it's around this time that people start breaking their New Year's resolutions. Especially those silly celebs - me thinks they need to get their personal assistants on to those resolutions, pronto.

But enough of that - I have simply oodles of rumors for you today, concerning a very masculine designer who, according to a few friends from 'the old country' wasn't always so masculine; and a blonde singing sensation (ugh, personally I'm getting a bit sick of her) whose usually top-notch PR skills have been on the fritz lately.

But first, this morning (or, in the middle of the night), socialite Narcissa Malfoy (nee Black) gave birth to a baby boy! The as-yet-unnamed heir to the Malfoy name was born early this morning at the Malfoy Manor to proud parents Narcissa and Lucius, who have been keeping out of the public eye amidst rumours and concerns about Narcissa's eating habits. An insider at Gloria's Hat Store, a small shop in Diagon Alley, says 'About five months into her pregnancy Narcissa stopped going out so much. She'd send her assistants in here to buy hats for her and, more often than not, they'd return a few hours later saying that she didn't like the hat they'd picked out for her. Apparently, her husband - I don't know his name - sent her away to some sort of resort where her eating habits were monitored all day, so she didn't start losing too much weight." Hmm! Very interesting indeed - I'm willing to bet that Narcissa won't be seen around many social circles for a few months until she loses all that post-pregnancy weight.

Incidentally, Cherie Abbott, everyone's favourite soon-to-be-mummy, seems to be losing her impeccable way of dealing with the press. Last fortnight, I caught up with Cherie in a little cafe and conducted a quick, unplanned interview. I published the next week and one would think that everything was hunky-dory, right? Wrong. Cherie went crying to her manager the next day, saying things like she didn't know it was an interview, she wanted to be kept out of the public eye, she needs her privacy now - blah, blah, blah. Here's a little tip from me to you, Cherie-baby - if reporters approach you while you're out and start asking questions? Chances are they want an interview, darling. Maybe you should write it on the back of your hand so you don't forget - you know, so next time when you're sucking your thumb and bawling about sneaky reporters you can read it.

One last story for this week - and a rather accidental one at that. I was sitting in my office yesterday, writing up this column for you, my lovely readers, when I was visited by a new member of the cleaning staff here at The Prophet. After the obligatory introductions and chit-chat, the cleaner - known only as Rosa Marie - pointed to a newspaper clipping of Franco Casablanca - you know, the very famous shoe designer - on my wall. "I went to school with him," she said, "back in Italy. Of course, he looked very different then - hair was longer, he didn't have the moustache - he used to be a cross-dresser, you know.". Of course, my ears perked up, and Rosa Marie continued. "When he was a teenager, he used to wear these feminine clothes - not skirts or anything but pink cardigans, women's pants...he wore lipstick and eyeliner too. And he was always combing his hair." When I went to Franco's publicist for a comment, she denied, saying only that Franco has always been very in touch with his feminine side, which is why he's so popular with the ladies. I bet he is - he probably lends them his cardigans and everything.

Anyway, sweethearts, that's enough from me - I have a nail appointment to keep (oh, the things one must do when one doesn't have a plethora of assistants catering to every whim). Until next week - keep safe, keep informed, and most of all, keep gossiping!

18th January, 1980 [18 Jan 2005|07:00am]
Wedding Weekend Massacre
By Fabian Prewett

Ministry officials have just confirmed the death of nearly an entire wedding party in Haddington, Scotland this past weekend. The deceased were discovered by the bride's party early Saturday morning before preparations for the ceremony commenced. Among the dead included the groom, Kenneth McKinnon, along with the rest of groom's immediatefamily- Wallace, Brigit, Katherine, Marlene, and Malcolm McKinnon. Also among the dead was a yet to be identified body believed to belong to a member of the Death Eaters. The intruder appears to have died in the attack upon the McKinnon family household. Aurors estimate that five to ten Death Eaters were involved and have put the time of death to be late Friday night, after the bride and company left a rehearsal dinner. The bride, Florence Blooms, could not be reached for comment.

It is believed that the attack was not specifically aimed at the groom, but rather the groom's father, Wallace McKinnon. The elder McKinnon worked for the Ministry in the Department of Muggle Relations as department head. A strict zero tolerance against muggle baiters and raid offenders had earned McKinnon many enemies. Previous threats are now being more carefully examined by the Ministry to identify possible suspects. Neighbors identify the McKinnons as being strong muggle sympathizers and activists. Brigit, mother of the clan, was muggleborn and at least two of the children, Malcolm and Marlene, have been involved in muggleborn right's causes in the past.

The Ministry has declared this a murder case is asking persons with any information regarding the deceased or their murder to come forth.

17th January, 1980 [17 Jan 2005|07:00am]
Ministry Confirms Encounter with You-Know-Who!

Ministry officials today released information regarding a confrontation on 12 January between Ministry Aurors and none other than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The event resulted in four arrests, no deaths, and no further information about the present whereabouts of You-Know-Who.

The conflict, which took place in a defunct train station near the Scottish village of Burnspath, was apparently the culmination of a two-week investigation by Aurors Alastor Moody and Alice Longbottom. They were joined on-site by ex-Auror Gideon Prewett, who, despite being brother to the Daily Prophet's own Fabian Prewett, refused to comment on his unexpected return. At least, refused to comment with anything printable.

Upon his release from St Mungo's, where Auror Longbottom was also treated for undisclosed injuries, Auror Moody confirmed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was indeed there and unmasked. Also present was an unidentified Death Eater and five young adult wizards, three of whom are residents of Burnspath and surrounding areas. Though they have not been identified as Death Eaters, four of the five wizards have been taken into custody and will appear before the Wizengamot on 20 January. They are expected to stand trial for the deaths of Muggle brothers Paul and Gregory McEver, both 20, and Squib Rowena Rathbone, 38 [See Holiday Murders, page 4]. All four are expected to be sentenced to a term in Azkaban Prison, while the fifth culprit remains at large.

Despite this one escape, Head of Law Enforcement Bartemius Crouch was insistent in pronouncing the mission a success. "Considering the disadvantage of our numbers, and the arrival of You-Know-Who himself, the fact that our Aurors were able to escape with their lives, much less any successful arrests, is commendable. Thank you, no more questions."

Though the confrontation has provided no new intelligence regarding the activities of You-Know-Who, Ministry officials assured the townspeople of Burnspath that there is no reason to expect further Death Eater activity in the area.

7th January, 1980 - Gossip Column [07 Jan 2005|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

Hello and welcome to the New Year, kittens! Hoping you all stayed safe over the festive period, and didn't party yourselves into exhaustion on New Year's - I know I did. This time around I have a little something different for you - over the holidays I managed to catch up with Cherie Abbott who despite lying low and waiting for her little baby to arrive, has still been in the forefront of everyone's minds at the moment. I sat down with her and had a chat about her career, her baby, and everything in between.

It's easy to see why Cherie Abbott has been so successful - as well as having looks that could put an Alberto Vargas painting to shame (not all muggle art is trash!) she's down to earth, friendly, and incredibly sweet.

When I met her in a little out-of-the-way cafe a few days after Christmas, she was only too happy to sit down and have a talk with me over a bottle of butterbeer.

Rita Skeeter: So I take it you spent the past few days celebrating with your family?

Cherie Abbott: Yes, yes - Rodney and I spent the morning at home, and later in the afternoon we went to his mother's house to have lunch with her, and the rest of his family.

RS: Did you see your own family that day?

CA: Oh, of course! We went to my mother and father's house for dinner - they live [pretty far away] so we went [to see them] and stayed the night, then came back to London the next day. It's great - seeing my family, that is - I've only recently been able to spend time with them because I've taken some time off. So it's good to be back with those closest to me, kind of re-connecting.

RS: How do your parents feel about your decision to go back to work while the baby is still young?

CA: Well, they were a little apprehensive at first - they weren't too sure if leaving the baby with only one parent was a good idea. But I had to say, y'know, this is the eighties! [laughs] Things are very different now compared to [when my parents were growing up] and people are a lot more receptive to women entering the workforce, obviously. But I'm lucky that I've chosen [singing] as a career, not something like working in an office because that way I'd only have a few hours with the baby every morning and night. But with singing - I've always though it was a bit like a week of boredom and then a weekend of mindless panic - running around doing shows and interviews and autographs, and most of the time I perform at night. So I can spend my days with the baby and nights at work.

RS: Evidently you're budgeting your time well!

CA: Exactly! [laughs] I'm budgeting my time well. Very good. But really, I'll be spending the first two years or so with the baby and no work - teaching him to walk and talk and things like that, and I think that after those two years then I can start working again, little by little. It'll be trial and error, I suppose.

RS: What about [husband, Rodney Scod]? How does he feel about taking care of the baby while you're at work?

CA: Oh, well he's always been very supportive of me and my career choices. He's great, he doesn't mind at all taking care of the baby for me. Of course, it's only occasional, it's not like he'll be doing it all the time. But yes, he's looking forward to it.

RS: Do you think your career will go in a different direction after you have the baby? Maybe your musical style will change?

CA: Well - it's very hard to say - but maybe. I will probably mature heaps over the next year or so, so my music will as well. Before I used to sing about, y'know, things that were interesting to a much younger audience - dating and feeling unsure in a relationship or whatever but now, with things so settled, my lyrics and the tone of my songs might change. Because I'll be writing about different things.

RS: I understand this is one of the last interviews you'll be giving before the birth of the baby?

CA: Yep - from now on anything I want to say will be coming straight from my publicist.

RS: Excellent. It's been great talking to you, Cherie.

CA: You too.

As Cherie slings her bag over her shoulder and leaves the little café, one can only wonder where her career is taking her next. And one can only hope it’s to where she wants to be - but given Cherie’s impeccable knack for coming out on top in any situation - it will.

[24 Dec 2004|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

Seasons greetings and holiday cheer to all my gossip-thirsty readers out in the hustle and bustle of pre-Christmas festivities! This year, as a special treat from me to you, rather than report on the dreary goings-on of celebrities doing the ‘holiday’ thing (who really cares what colour wrapping paper Melissa Cambra wraps her gifts in? Not me!) I’ll be recapping the annual WWN Christmas Gala, the night of nights where all the stars that aren’t off getting snoggered at The Red Umbrella come out to shine.

The Gala was attended by a number of illustrious idols, including the gorgeous Kathy Kisses and the not-so-gorgeous Stubby Boardman (more on him later). Cherie Abbott managed to stop by for a moment (sporting a very noticeable bump) with husband Rodney Scod, and Fae Mock-Falcon popped her pretty little head in towards the end of the night but left, dejected, when she found out that no-one of her calibre (ha!) was there. Rounding out the more well-known of the pampered pack was The Witching Hour's Glenda Chittock and her bespectacled beau (more on that later, too) and the WWN contest winner for this year, Marlene McKinnon.

The luminary on everyone’s lips that night was Stubby Boardman, who arrived on his trademark motorbike looking unshaven and a little worse for wear (personally, I think that Minjonet Mirabel’s rejection may have hit him a little hard, but then again, what do I know?). The brave Mr. Boardman ducked inside without speaking to press and headed straight for the bar (after sharing some air-kisses with Cherie Abbott) where he ordered himself a firewhiskey on the rocks - which may explain why the supply dwindled down so quickly.

The aforementioned Cherie Abbott was looking gorgeous in soft pink dress robes that highlighted her pregnant and now-curvy body (and when asked about a delivery, she said that she was expecting her little visitor around March of next year), and her husband Rodney Scod was looking a wee bit out of place amongst the glitz and glam of the Gala in a pair of ill-fitting black robes and slicked-back hair.

The contest winner for the year, Marlene McKinnon, was having a great time hob-nobbing with the hotshots, dressed in sandy-coloured robes and matching kitten heels; and was congratulated on her win by the WWN’s own Glenda Chittock, who arrived on time as always, wearing long black robes teamed with black heels. Glenda flitted around the party for an hour or so, sipping from a flute of pink champagne in her neatly-manicured hand. It was about an hour or so after she arrived that a young chap walked in - a young chap by the name of Fabian Prewett - and made a beeline for Glenda’s table, surprising the radio hostess with a kiss directly on the lips before making himself comfortable at her table and not leaving her side for most of the evening. May I take a little moment to say I told you so, England? Young Fabian has been making himself scarce since the beginning of his relationship with Glenda but it seems as though the happy couple have finally told convention to go climb a tree and decided that even though there is an age gap between the two, there won’t be an emotional gap - and I’m just thankful they’ve decided to be seen in public now, before their meetings begin to look more like a covert operation.

Another fellow who arrived late (as Cherie Abbott and her hubby were leaving to get some well-deserved rest) was Mordicus Egg, muttering something about losing his hat somewhere in the Floo network before joining Stubby Boardman at the bar and downing a few firewhiskeys. Jimmy Fry, the manager of The Den, arrived with wife Linda Fry in tow (Linda basically attached herself to a waiter serving hors d'oeuvres and didn’t let go until main course was served) and was joined later at his table by long-time pal Goodie Spector, and Spector’s date for the evening, a haughty little blonde thing.

As the evening was winding down (well, it was getting late but people were just getting started on the partying-front), Fae Mock-Falcon popped her head in looking for her best chum Kylie Nevergren and then popped her head right back out when she realised that Kylie was nowhere to be found (and come to think of it, has been for the last few weeks). Starkey Close arrived with his tie hanging half off his neck and only realised when Franco Casablanca pulled him aside and gave him a heads-up.

As the crowd moved to the dance floor, Stubby Boardman left and it was a few minutes afterwards that Mary Anna Gatesey was heard to exclaim “Oh my God, no more alchohol? I’m leaving!”. However, most of the group seemed to be enjoying themselves - Starkey Close made a great impression on the dance floor before the band began playing a rendition of The Flaming Magoos famous song ‘Buttercup of Butterbeer’ - the last song that Close wrote before he left the group in ’77. He heckled the band with a number of obscene gestures before he was escorted from the club by a very strong man named Ted.

It was at this time - a bit after word of the lack of booze spread around - that the partygoers began to shuffle towards the door, some tired and some just clamouring for a drink. I left along with most of the crowd, and as I made my way to the nearest Floo fireplace I was almost knocked off my feet by Goodie Spector, leaping into a fireplace holding the hand of a brunette - a brunette who he definitely did not arrive with. If I had not been thrown to the ground I may have seen her face, but alas, her identity goes unknown this time.

Happy holidays, and I’ll see you all on January 7th, with gossip that you definitely will not want to miss!

[03 Dec 2004|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

Welcome to the latest installment of the Chatterbox, where yours truly, Rita Skeeter, will be revealing some spicy scandals from here to Spain. Oh yes - Spain. In this issue I’ll be exposing the romantic misdoings of an illustrious young illustrator, and going international when I reveal exactly who didn’t want to be left alone - but as usual, my “top” story.

Stage actress Marlina Spike - you may remember her from last fortnight’s column - has caused a bit of a furor around London this week. The gorgeous redhead was centre stage, right in the middle of a heart-wrenching soliloquy in her latest play, The Crystal Zoo, when all of a sudden her costume departed from her bosom and fell to the floor. To say the least. See, the particular dress that Miss Spike was wearing was a tight little number - or, should I say, a number too tight. The suit burst at the seams, and Spike was left standing on stage in just her underwear - fortunately, she was wearing an undershirt underneath the navy blue bodysuit so she was able to run off the stage with some dignity - but this incident has only added fuel to the fire of rumours that a circling about the poor dear. She’s gaining weight, and gaining it fast - she’s just been so busy, you see, trying to bring a nice boy home to mummy, and memorizing all her lines for her new play - the darling has resorted to eating comfort food to deal with all her stress, and in an attempt to hide the fact she’s been wearing all her clothes two sizes too small. But that’s not the end of it. A certain former-raven-haired-now-blonde contact of mine popped into the powder room at The Den last week, and her impeccable sense of timing had her face-to-face with Spike, who was unmistakably busy smoking dried Billywig stingers, which seem to be the trend among partygoers these days. Tsk tsk, Miss Spike, a combination of drugs, over-eating, and stress sounds like a recipe for disaster, and we can’t have anything too terrible happening to you yet - your play’s just opened, and I have tickets.

Now on to a slightly more...pressing...matter. We were all deliriously happy when artist Akai Ying got married to famous divorce lawyer Soren Rene (because marrying someone who could sue you from here to next Tuesday when you decide to leave them is just such a good idea - read on!), but it seems that their so-called love-filled marriage is going right down the toilet. Rene, you see, is a career man - a nine-to-five, workaday chap who throws himself into his work with reckless abandon. Miss Ying hasn’t really taken a liking to this. So, why, you ask, would she not have parted ways with Mr Rene? Counted her losses and remembered that there are plenty more fish in the sea? Well, word has it that Rene is a rather big man. And I’m not talking about his law firm, if you get my drift. The ever-so-lucky Ying has been sticking around with Rene for the sole reason that he can bang his gavel better than any man she’s ever met. Regrettably, for Ying, that’s the only thing he’s good at. So she’s been rushing over to a new man - a tall, dark, and handsome stranger - whenever she needs someone to talk to. Someone to hold hands with and walk along beaches and sip wine with, and all that icky romantic stuff. It’s only a matter of time before Rene finds out about her romantic indiscretions and sues Ying’s tush until she’s got nothing left. And I, for one, can’t wait.

Finally this week we come to another matter of legal content. Singer/guitarist Roman Dew, famous for the tear-jerking ballad Love Me or Leave Me has attracted the attention of a young Spanish woman this week when he released his latest song, I Didn’t Really Want You to Leave Me. Sue Casa, who emigrated to London only a month ago, was shocked and hurt when she heard the song playing over the WWN - because she wrote it, not Dew. “I was sitting in my garden when I heard [the song] coming from inside, where I had left my wireless on. I though it was pretty nice at first, but then it hit me! I had written the song two years ago.” Casa went on to explain that she and Dew were involved in a steamy fling when the soulful singer visited her hometown of Guadix. “We met in a restaurant one night and we hit it off really well. I asked him if he’d like to go for a walk with me, and one thing led to another...” The singer dated the Spanish beauty for a month before he left to return to London, leaving Casa broken-hearted and alone. “I wrote [the song] as a kind of tribute to my relationship with him. He came back to Guadix a year later to visit me, but I didn’t want to see him. He came to [my house] but I sent him away, and he must have stolen [the song lyrics] out of my diary while he was there.” Dew was unavailable for comment, but his manager did stutter and spill his drink down the front of himself when asked about the issue.

I will see you all next fortnight, kittens, for more saucy scandals and salacious secrets. Until next time, keep safe, keep informed, and most of all, keep gossiping!

26th November, 1979 - Late Edition [26 Nov 2004|02:00pm]
Couple Found Murdered In Home

The Dark Mark was seen over the Longbottom residence in Burley, Lancashire yesterday evening. Aurors arrived soon after to find the bodies of Hugh Longbottom, 28, and his wife Sarah, 26. Cause of death is unconfirmed at present, but from the state of the bodies it is believed that there was some level of torture involved.

Hugh married Sarah, a Muggle, in September of 1975, and the couple had lived together happily up to this point. Sources cannot confirm whether the motive for these terrible murders has any relation to the fact that Hugh’s cousin Frank Longbottom and his wife Alice are presently employed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as Aurors.

Frank and Alice were unavailable for comment, but Hugh’s father, Adonis, gave the following statement when approached by reporters:

“Hugh and Sarah were good people. They obeyed the laws, paid their taxes, and helped out their neighbours when they needed it. There was no reason for them to be treated as they were, and I intend to see their killers brought to justice, one way or another!”

Adonis’ wife Chloe quickly added that Adonis had no intentions of vigilantism, but judging from the look in Mr Longbottom’s eyes, the truth of the matter remains to be seen.

Bartemius Crouch, Sr , head of the Department of National Law Enforcement, assured both reporters and the Longbottoms that these murders would not go unpunished. This, too, remains to be seen.

22nd November, 1979 - Late Edition [22 Nov 2004|02:00pm]
Halfblood Witch Found Dead!

The body of Brooke Grant, a 32 year old halfblood witch, was found this morning in a patch of forest near Flatford Mill in Essex. Muggle authorities were alerted to the corpse's presence after a local stumbled upon her during a stroll. She had been viciously stabbed fifteen times. Marks around her neck indicate that she was likely strangled, though it is unclear whether the cause of death was suffocation or the knife wounds. A search of the surrounded area turned up her broken wand.

Brooke had disappeared a week ago, sending her parents, 58 year old Diana Rupert-Grant and 62 year old Julian Grant, into a frenzy of worry. "We didn't think she would go away, not for so long," said a sobbing Diana, a muggle. "She disappeared sometimes, yes, but not for so long."

Julian Grant, himself a halfblood wizard, concurs. "We knew there was something wrong," he told Ministry officials. "The truth is, we didn't want to believe it, but we knew."

The Ministry is looking into the question of who did this, and why. Thus far, there are no suspects, but Department of Magical Law Enforcement head, Bartemius Crouch Sr, says the culprit should not rest easily. This morning, he told reporters, "We'll find whoever did this, and I personally guarantee he... or she... will rot in Azkaban."

[19 Nov 2004|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Chatterbox, in which I, Rita Skeeter, will be spreading gossip across London like jam across the proverbial scone. In this issue, I “expose” a certain radio host who should definitely not be hiding her pretty face behind the WWN, and two young starlets who have been black-mailing with some black cheques. But, as always, onto our first story...

And what a story it is. It actually dates back two generations. See, kittens, way back in 1900, there was a gentleman named Magnatus Crouch (does the name sound familiar? Oh, you haven’t heard the half of it!). See, Magnatus was quite a fan of flying carpets - the family had, at one point, a twelve-seater. In fact, Magnatus was such a fan that he decided to import them from Persia (where the best flying carpets were made) and sell them, at a marked-up price, here in London. Unfortunately, when the Ministry passed their ban on flying carpets in 1940 (such a pity, I would have loved one!), Magnatus Crouch was left with a plethora of carpets and nobody to sell them to. Poor Magnatus passed away in 1958, leaving his wife and son behind to take care of his debt. His only son, in need of money to support him and his mother, did the only thing he could think of - in 1959, he married rich. Very rich. To a woman named Elspeth Baika. Oh, and the son’s name? Bartemius Crouch, Sr (well, the Sr was added later.). Yes, Bartemius Crouch, who became famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) for employing some rather, erm, harsh methods of dealing with supposed dark wizards; in a state of absolute monetary need, married the lovely Elspeth Baika, whose parents were quite rich - cakes and bread was the family business, let’s just hope they don’t ban that any time soon! I can only fret about what Mr. Crouch’s gold-digging marriage means for his adolescent son, who hopefully has not suffered any because of his mother and father’s apparent loveless marriage.

On to a lighter note, hm? Early this week I was lucky enough to get my hot little hands on a camera somebody left lying around the Daily Prophet offices - and my oh my, what a surprise I got! Along with the ubiquitous photos of the sky, what seemed to be somebody’s bare foot, and the age-old thumb-over-the-lens shot, I discovered a very saucy picture of the WWN’s own Glenda Chittock!

I don’t know who our mystery photographer was, but one thing’s no mystery - before falling asleep (possibly in the arms of her young - and I mean young - lover), the workaholic Glenda seems to have reached straight for a Witching Hour running sheet, which she no doubt keeps by her bedside. My advice to Glenda? Relax a little, darling! Working non stop will only lead you down the path to mental breakdown, and we all know what a sore spot that is with you. Get out there and party a little, enjoy life - though if someone was taking photos of you in lingerie like that, I’ll bet you were enjoying something.

One last story for this week, then I’m off to the manicurist. We all remember the so-so attendance of The Irish Alphabet’s last performance at The Red Umbrella, no? Well, lead singer for the group, Anto Alzapheron, needed to fill out the venue because things have apparently been a little worse for wear, financially. And, rather than take out a load from Gringotts or borrow some money from a friend, Anto has been writing checks to all and sundry - cheques that have been bouncing, left right and centre. And what’s worse, two of his little friends - romance novelist Kathy Kisses and stage actress Marlina Spike have found out about it and are using Anto’s financial woes against him. Kathy and Marlina both needed a man on their arms during the past month - both of the girls were being pestered by their mothers into finding a man and, rather than disappoint their mummies, the girls took turns bringing Anto home for the weekend. Why, you ask, would Anto consent to such a Wilde-esque scheme? Why, to please his own mummy, of course. See, Anto’s mother obviously reads the paper more often than Kathy and Marlina’s mothers do, and rather than letting Marlina and Kathy reveal to the press that he’s broke, he’s been shepherding them around town to keep their lipsticked mouths shut. Ooh, I think I just let the secret out. Such a pity Anto wasn’t shepherding me around town. Hmph.

On that note, my darlings, I’ll leave you to digest this week’s gossip - much like the proverbial scone! Oh, I do love it when everything comes full circle. Until next week, keep safe, keep informed, and most of all, keep gossiping!

5th November, 1979 - Gossip Column [05 Nov 2004|07:00am]

The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

Welcome to the third issue of the Chatter Box, cats and kittens, where I’ll be presenting you with more gossip than you can shut away in a box and bring out at dinner parties. As they say, the third time’s a charm, so in this issue I’ll be talking about a particularly charming Quidditch player and a rather famous singer whose affection for a certain older woman has gotten him into a bit of a pickle. But first, we at the Prophet would like to say “We told you so!”.

Last fortnight I mentioned that singer Cherie Abbott maybe expecting a little visitor. Well, some silly people out there made it known that they thought I was wrong. Hah! Not likely. Only yesterday, the shapely blonde announced that yes, she is pregnant! (Remember, you heard it two weeks ago here). Cherie announced that she fell pregnant five months ago in Milan while on holidays with her husband, Rodney Scod, an accountant. Cherie says “I’m very pleased to announce to you all that I am expecting. [I will be] taking time off singing, as you can imagine, to devote to taking care of my baby and myself during this joyous time.” I managed to grab the talented Mrs Abbott after her statement, and I asked her if she has any idea what she’ll name the child. She responded “Well, I’m thinking Leif for a boy or maybe Hannah for a girl. Rodney particularly likes the name Brian for a boy, but I think it’s a little too common.”.

Speaking of common, Quidditch player Manchester Sale (Seeker for the Appleby Arrows) was seen early this week partying at The Den with two unknown blonde witches. Sale, who became infamous in 1978 when he divorced his then-wife Vanilla Canoli for young socialite Fae Mock-Falcon, was seen sipping drinks with the two ladies (and I use the word lightly, of course) before leaving with them at around 1:30am. Sale was confronted outside the club by a rampant photographer who commented on Sale’s leaving with the two women. Sale did not respond but one of his companions tossed a drink at the photographer before shouting obscenities at him and leaving. This, interestingly enough, comes only a few days after Fae Mock-Falcon was seen leaving a Dublin clothing store in tears. A close pal of Fae’s said of the incident “Fae and Manchester have just been having a bit of a rough patch as of late. But y’know, they’re a good pair and they’ll get through it.”. I’m sure they will, dear, I’m sure they will...

Finally, it seems as though London’s own Stubby Boardman (lead singer for The Hobgoblins) has revealed that he has a passion for exotic (and much older!) women. French Hotelier Minjonet Mirabel has been receiving some very saucy letters from the raven-haired rocker recently and apparently, neither she nor her husband are particularly pleased. “I’m 78,” said husband Mortimer Mirabel, “I don’t have time to be dealing with [this] and neither does [Minjonet]. She’s 65, for Merlin’s sake, and both of us just want to settle down and run our hotels without that Studly fellow interfering. What was his name? Stewey? Steven? Oh, never mind.” Stubby is apparently very upset at Minjonet’s unwillingness to accept his various proposals (one of which involved a very interesting way to use a non-explodable balloon, oh my!) and is considering traveling to France to speak to the business woman face-to-face.

Well, my pretties, I’m off again. As always, I’ll be keeping my peepers peeled for any other particularly outrageous rumors, so until next time, keep safe, keep informed, and most of all, keep gossiping!

22nd October, 1979 - Gossip Column [22 Oct 2004|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

I’d like to welcome you all back to the second issue of the Chatter Box, in which I spill more celebrity secrets that you can poke your wand at! In this issue, we look at what a particular comedian did for 20£, and exactly how a certain author has gotten all that fancy new furniture for his new London abode. But before we get to that...

Earlier this week, popular singing star Cherie Abbott was seen about town with her husband Rodney Scod, who married the singer in a quiet ceremony in Paris, France, three months ago. Abbott, who shot to fame after a performance at London’s hottest nightspot, The Avery, back in ‘77; was seen concealing a possibly pregnant stomach under her maroon robes. An insider hints “Rodney and Cherie may not have gotten married if it weren’t for Cherie getting knocked up – five months ago they were on holidays in Milan and from what I saw, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.” However, Abbott has not released a statement yet and Scod has been avoiding press. We here at the Prophet will keep you posted!

Speaking of avoiding press, a certain comedian has been shying away from the prying eyes of various reporters recently. The comedian? Derwent Shimpling. And the reason why our dear Mr. Shimpling is so reclusive as of late? He’s been in St. Mungo’s...getting a teacup removed from his forehead. Only yesterday, Mr. Shimpling’s manager, Goodie Spector, gave a statement at his London home referring to Shimpling’s injuries. “Derwent is feeling a little worn out from performing, recently. After the incident with the tentacula and last year’s UK-wide tour, he just needs a bit of a rest.”. Hmm. I smelt something fishy, so I went to St. Mungo’s myself to find out what exactly is going on with our favourite purple-faced jester. The fact is, Shimpling was partying hard at The Red Umbrella last week and was dared to transfigure one of his eyebrows into a teacup by singer Mary Anna Gatesey. Never one to back down from a challenge, Shimpling did – and has not been able to get the teacup off his face since. A close pal of Shimpling says “He’d had a bit to drink, so maybe the spell was affected by that? Whatever happened, he’s been pretty reluctant to leave his ward since.”. When asked to comment, an anonymous healer would only say “We’re taking very good care of Mr. Shimpling, that’s all you need to know. Didn’t his manager give a statement?”.

Author Mordicus Egg has been moving into a London flat as of last month – and several people have been wondering exactly how Mordicus has been paying for all that gorgeous furniture after the only so-so sales of his book, The Philosophy of the Mundane: Why Muggles Prefer Not to Know. Well, darlings, I have the answers. Egg has been doing some very shifty deals with famous interior designers Elian Calc and Igor Yon. Calc and Yon, who lost a lot of money in late 78’ when their studio mysteriously burst into flames, were seen on Sunday night talking in very hushed tones with Egg. Although I can’t repeat what was said here (we wouldn’t want to invade on anyone’s privacy, hmm?), Egg was seen handing Yon a large purple box of what appeared to be dried Billywig stingers – which, as we all know, have a place on the party circuit as what some witches and wizards take if they don’t want to drink that evening. Calc had various items of furniture delivered to Egg’s flat the next day, namely a chintz lounge suite, a large enchanted dining room table, and a small footrest that hissed when agitated. Yon, on the other hand, was seen the next night in the back room of The Overture, a very posh music store, giggling and hovering above the ground.

Well sweeties, that’s quite enough for this week – I must go and have my nails done. As always, keep safe, keep informed, and most of all, keep gossiping!

12th October, 1979 - Gossip Column [12 Oct 2004|07:00am]
The Chatter Box: More Gossip than you know what to do with!
By Rita Skeeter

Hello again, darlings! After a short break, I’m back with more rumours, whispers and gossip to keep you whispering over the fence to your neighbours for days on end. In this issue, I examine a certain young socialite’s penchant for Pepper-Up Potion, and a rock singer’s apparent affiliation with He Who Must Not Be Named. But first...

We all know Ludovic “Ludo” Bagman as a celebrated Quidditch player (Beater for the Winbourne Wasps, for those of you who have been living under a cockatrice for the past few years), but according to my sources (and what saucy sources they are!), Bagman hasn’t just been beating a bludger as of late. A source close to Bagman says “He’s been spending a lot of time around the practice grounds...with that Roche fellow...something tells me there’s something funny going on.”. Of course, I had to look into such a wicked tale myself, so I pulled a few strings and found out that it is indeed true – Bagman may be swinging his broom to the other side! When confronted about the issue, Doko Roche (the teammate who has set everyone’s tongues wagging – and maybe even Bagman’s!) became emotionally upset and physically disruptive, and had to be restrained.

In other celebrity news, Ezra Aswad, lead singer and bass player for The Flaming Magoos, caused a furor when he reportedly uttered the name of He Who Must Not Be Named on stage during a concert at the trendy London club The Den on Friday night. Aswad, who has played in the Magoos for two years (since the sudden departure of their front man and bassist, Starkey Close in 1977), reportedly proclaimed his devotion to He Who Must Not Be Named after an encore performance of the band’s hit single ‘Stop Calling Me Shirley’. A witness says “It sounded like he said ‘I give my soul to V********, come and take me now!’ but I was pretty far away from the stage so I’m not sure if that’s true or not.” Another eye-witness said “I was standing right there, I heard it with my own ears – he said “I’ll give my life to...well, you know his name; and then I’ll go and kill a cow.”. According to the club’s manager, Jimmy Fry, “People started screaming and shouting...I half expected [him] to appear, but he didn’t. People pretty much left after that and I did, too.”.

One last tidbit of tittle-tattle for today: socialite Kylie Nevergren was seen cavorting around town this weekend with her beau Christian Dock, sipping occasionally from a flask of Pepper-Up Potion concealed in her coat. What’s so unusual about this? Well, not much, apart from the fact that three weeks ago, I happened to be attending a very posh shindig at The Orenda and happened to meet the lovely lass over a glass of red wine and some hors d’oeuvres. Even then, while not looking very ill at all, she was taking swigs from the Pepper-Up Potion at least once or twice an hour! Me thinks Miss Nevergren might have a little addiction in the back of her couture-filled closet.

Well, that’s it for this week, sweethearts, join me next week for more scintillating scandals fit to make you blush (or at the very least, chat loudly amongst your co-workers). Until then, darlings, keep safe, keep informed, and most of all, keep gossiping!

30th August, 1979 - Late Edition [30 Aug 2004|07:00pm]
Hogsmeade Attacked!

During last night's full moon, an attack was launched on Hogsmeade by masked figures believed to be Death Eaters, and accompanied by werewolves. The assault began just after midnight, and laid waste to two homes, as well as causing extensive damage to local shops. Eyewitnesses claim that the larger group of Death Eaters struck residences, along with a group of werewolves, whilst a second, smaller number began an attack on such establishments as Gladrags and Zonko's. Says eyewitness Myrtle Melvin, "It was chaos! There were masked sorts everywhere, and then there was this awful shrieking! Howling, like hell beasts coming down on us! That's when I saw the wolves: there had to be at least ten."

Residents started into the streets, attempting to flee the danger. At around 2a.m., the attack came to an end with the arrival of Albus Dumbledore, whose presence appeared to frighten the Death Eaters away. When asked for comment, Dumbledore responded, "Interestingly enough I had simply come round for a spot of tea."

Left in the wake of battle were the corpses of seven wizards and witches, as yet unidentified, who were apparently killed as they tried to flee Hogsmeade. Also killed was 18 year old Selkie Simmons, a half-blood girl who had recently finished her education at Hogwarts, where she was a prominent member of Gryffindor house. Notable, the Death Eaters may have targeted young Selkie, as her house was the focus of the initial assault. Ministry officials suspect that this may have been a result of hostilities between Miss Simmons and known Death Eater Bellatrix Black, who has been in hiding since her disappearance in May. The two were reportedly rivals in the months just before Black's arrest for the murders of Slytherin Head of House Cassiopeia Corvus and fellow student Leanne Mason. Miss Simons was found dead in her bedroom, apparently a victim of the Killing Curse, though her facial expression suggested torture as well.

Finally, a dead werewolf was found as well, identified as Cainen Arlott, the 32 year old rogue werewolf whose escape in April began nearly five months of terror for the Wizarding World. Arlott had recently been released from a three month term at Azkaban.

29th August, 1979 [29 Aug 2004|07:00am]
Hogwarts Professor Johi Delphi dead at 208

The Hogwarts community was greatly saddened yesterday to lose one of their own. Professor Johi Delphi died peacefully in her sleep last night at the age of 208. She had been faithfully serving the Hogwarts community as their professor of Divination since finishing her own seventh year in 1788. “One hundred and ninety-one years of service is certainly admirable, and she will be remembered accordingly,” states Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

The remembrances planned for Professor Delphi include the addition of her portrait to several rooms throughout Hogwarts castle, most notably her former classroom. This room will also be retired in her honour. Friends and former pupils are encouraged to send their condolences to Hogwarts, as Professor Delphi has no living relatives.

As a young girl in Wales, it was quite apparent that Johi Delphi had a gift as a seer. She accurately predicted the weather as well as the value of gold, allowing her family to make a fortune in both farming and banking. She chose to refine this gift at Hogwarts, where she was a prefect for Slytherin house. Immediately following her seventh year she was asked to take up the position of Divination professor, something which she did with enthusiasm. Students and colleagues report that she was admired and well-liked for the air of legitimacy which she lent to her often disparaged craft.

Professor Delphi’s departure from this world was certainly sudden. Though some have said that she accurately predicted her own death, others—such as Headmaster Dumbledore—were certainly taken by surprise. As the new term will commence on Wednesday, September the 1st, the search for a new Divination Professor is currently under way. All letters of inquiry should be owled to Headmaster Dumbledore no later than Sunday at noon.

17th August, 1979 [17 Aug 2004|07:00am]
Six Muggles Killed - Death Eaters Suspected

Just after midnight Monday morning, the Scottish town of Arbroath became the latest muggle settlement to fall victim to Death Eater activity when several masked figures thought to be members of the organisation tortured and murdered six muggles.  The Dark Mark was spotted shortly thereafter, confirming suspicions.  Confused muggles contacted their own law enforcement agency, known as "police," but it was too late.  By the time these "police" arrived on the scene, the muggles' bodies had been burnt.  The Dark Mark was seen in the vicinity shortly thereafter.  Aurors arrived within an hour of its appearance, along with representatives of the Muggle Worthy Excuse Committee, which took charge of gathering information and administering memory charms.

According to muggle witnesses, the torture must have begun around 12:30am.  That is when the screaming began.  "Well, at first we thought it was a party," said Sophie Langley, a 64 year old muggle, "You know kids, they've always got some sort of raucous behaviour going on, but the screaming didn't stop.  Then it did, but by then it was too late.  That's when we smelled the burning."

When contacted, the Ministry representatives issued this statement:
Minister Bagnold is infuriated.  The muggles in question have been subject to memory alteration - they now believe that their neighbours simply vanished, and were found sometime later, their bodies burnt.  They will likely attribute this to some sort of foolish behaviour, or perhaps a camping accident.  As for the Death Eaters involved, we do not know who they are, but we will certainly make it our priority to find out and stop any further killings.

9th August, 1979 [09 Aug 2004|07:00am]
Millicent Bagnold Named Minister for Magic!

At long last, after a debate that lasted for nearly a month, the Ministry of Magic has announced our new Minister, Millicent Bagnold.  Mrs Bagnold, formerly the Head of International Magical Cooperation, has been gathering support for some time, both from fellow Ministry employees and from the public, with her message of unwavering self-reliance and pride.  Her belief that wizarding Britain must deal with the plague of Death Eaters on its own, rather than seeking help internationally, has resounded in the hearts of many who had lost hope. 

Minister Bagnold addressed common concerns about this approach in speech frequently interrupted by applause and shouts of agreement and encouragement.

There are many who believe that we cannot overcome on our own.  There are many who believe that we are helpless without turning to others for support.  I say these people are wrong.  I say they do not understand the strength we hold in our own hearts, our own wands, our own land!  I say it is the belief that we cannot accomplish our goals on our own, independently, without accepting the burden of debts of both money and honour, which has crippled us for these past years.  We have not believed in our power.  It is time for that to change.

The new Minister has a solid record of strong and effective action in the past.  In 1962, when the Quidditch World Cup erupted in hostility between the Falmouth Falcons and Canadian Stonewall Stormers, Bagnold stepped in and managed to circumvent an international incident by convincing the Department of Magical Games and Sports to suspend Kevin and Karl Broadmoor for their 10th time and, when a group of Death Eaters, apparently acting without the consent of the Dark Lord himself, broke off and invaded France in 1973, it was Bagnold who arranged for Aurors to be sent to assist in their capture. 

The Ministry appears confident that they have chosen correctly, but is not without sceptics.  Bartemius Crouch Sr, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, issued a press released from him secret holiday location, in which he made the following statement:  "Millicent is a fine woman, and a fine leader, but she will lead us to our downfall if allowed.  When dealing with monsters, one must be willing to put aside their ill-placed pride and stamp out the beasts.  Afterwards, we can worry about how we 'feel' about it."

Minister Bagnold is expected to make announcements regarding any staff changes within the next week.

July 25th, 1979 [25 Jul 2004|07:00am]
Bartemius Crouch Reveals New Policies On The Use Of "Unforgivable" Curses!

It has come to the Daily Prophet's attention that Bartemius Crouch Sr, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, has recently revised the laws regarding the use of the three Unforgivable curses: Imperius, Cruciatus, and the Killing Curse.  Under this new law, the curses will be permissible for use by Aurors during times of battle against Death Eaters.  This controversial move has sparked debate inside the Ministry of Magic, reportedly even amongst the Aurors themselves, with a political split arising that echoes that of the two primary Minister potentials, Hamal and Bagnold. 

Crouch, however, says that these measures are a necessary step in the battle against the Dark Lord, citing the recent murder of Minister Cygnus as the final catalyst for this decision.  "I had been considering it for some time," he said Saturday in a response to our inquiries, "As the war grew darker, I began to realise I could no longer permit this madness to continue without striking back in any way possible. These creatures are mad, animals, and as long as they were willing to use magic we could not, we could not stop them.  Now, we have a very real chance at victory."

Asked for comment, wizards and witches on the street were conflicted.  Interviewed on the street, Diana Dippett, a private tutor for the middle-class wizard or witch says claims that the tactics are justified:  "The battle is getting worse all the time, isn't it?  How can we even consider not stepping up the tactics used?  Are we going to let them just kill us because we're too nice to fight fire with the same?"  Muggleborn wizard Philip Thomas, however, disagrees.  "These tactics are the true unforgivable acts," he says.  "If the side of right cannot maintain their dignity, what is the point in fighting?  Why not simply give in and join them?  We become the same thing."

Crouch responds to these important questions with a shake of his head.  "This isn't a question of dignity, it is a question of war, and the winner will determine what the wizarding world will be like for Merlin only knows how long.  We cannot allow that decision to lie in the hands of The Dark Lord.  We simply cannot."

16th July, 1979 [16 Jul 2004|07:00am]
Who Is Our Next Minister?  Hamal and Bagnold In A Fierce Competition For The Title

Left without a formal leader since the death of Cepheus Cygnus nearly two weeks ago, The Ministry has been kept in working order through the joint efforts of Millicent Bagnold, Junior Minister of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, and Porrima Hamal, Senior Under-secretary to the late Minister Cygnus.  Now, after weeks of harmonious cooperation, it appears the truce is nearly at an end, as each party has announced their interest in the position of Minister for Magic, each on a different platform.

Senior Under-secretary Hamal promotes a continuation of the policies set in motion by Cygnus, but left unsigned with his death.  According to him, "Minister Cygnus's plans must be honoured, not only for him, but for us.  The plans he left behind were already in motion, and would have drastically increased the power behind the Ministry in fighting this war.  We must not stop now."  According to Hamal, it is this position which has forced the split between himself and Bagnold.  "Junior Minister Bagnold appears to believe that there is such a thing as excessive action.  I could not disagree more."

Millicent Bagnold describes this philosophical split differently.  "He claims that I believe we can act with too much severity?  Ridiculous.  Of course there is no action too strong in preventing more tragedy and death inside our beloved community.  However, I cannot approve of a plan which would place so much of that increased strength in the hands of uninvolved outsiders who do not owe Wizarding Britain, or even Wizarding Europe in some cases, any loyalty."  She goes on to say that, having dealt with others governments throughout the world, she is in a unique position to judge the likeliness of such a plan proving beneficial, and has decided it would not be so.  "I've nothing bad to say of other governments," she says.  "They are good people, and mean well.  But they do not understand our ways."

Hamal, when presented with this argument, issued the following statement:  "Mrs Bagnold has grown xenophobic in recent years due to an unfortunate accident involving a group of Arabian Wizards and a flying carpet.  No credence should be lent to her words, which are based more on fear and continued distrust than rationality, or the best interests of our community."

Each of these respected figures are supported by prominent members of Wizarding Society.  Other names mentioned as possible replacements for Cygnus include Bartemius Crouch Sr (Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement,) Junior Minister Cornelius Fudge (Head of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes) and Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore.  None of these potential candidates have expressed interest or disinterest, thus far.

9th July, 1979 [09 Jul 2004|07:00am]
Amelia Cygnus Found

Last night, the mystery of Amelia Cygnus's whereabouts finally came to a conclusion with the discovery of her body, behind a shop in Knockturn Alley; the same shop, in fact, in which the bodies of two squib girls, Allisa Emerald and Diana Veece-Morris, were discovered some months ago. Jorus Borgin, proprietor, has been brought to the Ministry for questioning, but is not considered a suspect at this time.

Amelia, wife of Cepheus Cygnus, vanished during the recent battle at Beaulieu; there was question as to her location, as no one had seen her leave. Her body was discovered unmarked and without injury, presumably a victim of the Killing Curse. Her family is shocked. Peter Cygnus, Amelia's brother in law, expressed his grief in the following public statement:
Amelia was a wonderful, warm-hearted woman who would not have done anyone any harm. She was always present with a smile, a joke, anything to lighten up the mood in these increasingly dark days. We are all shaking from the loss, especially so soon after Cepheus was murdered. This is a tragic, terrible loss. I don't know what else to say.

This death, even more than that of the Minister himself, has caused controversy inside the Ministry itself. According to an unnamed worker inside the Department of Magical Law, there has been increasing reluctance to act against the Death Eaters. According to this anonymous source, "There's a lot of blokes what don't want to do anything any more, because oi, how can you fight a group that'll off and kill you on holiday, then kill your wife too? Even if you don't mind getting killed yourself, no one wants their family risked, right?"

Bartemius Crouch, head of that same Department, disagrees, and indicates that it is time to put stronger measures into effect. "There is only so much filth one can tolerate," he says. "And it is worth the risk to one's own hide to make certain that filth is tossed in the rubbish bin, where it belongs."

4th July, 1979 [04 Jul 2004|07:00am]
Minister Cygnus Murdered

Today, the Wizarding World mourns the loss of its leader, murdered last night in the small town of Beaulieu. The Minister had been staying there on holiday, along with his wife Amelia Cygnus. He had chosen the muggle town, previously devoid of any major wizarding activity, because of its peaceful quality, and the beauty of the surrounding forest.

Last night, around six o'clock in the evening, a group of people believed to be Death Eaters were spotted marching on the town, and heading directly for the Minister's holiday retreat. Civilian wizards, as well as the Minister's own guards, engaged the Death Eaters in combat - both sides appeared to suffer heavy casualties.

Reports are unclear, but muggle witnesses (later subject to memory charms) claim that the civilian fighters were eventually forced into retreat, the Death Eaters leaving soon after, as well. Left in their wake were the bodies of nine fallen wizards and witches, as well as twelve innocent bystanders. Seven others were wounded, a mix of wizards, witches and muggles. Two are in critical condition. The Dark Mark was seen almost immediately after the battle drew to a close.

The identities of the wizards and witches who emerged from the crowd to assist in driving off the Death Eaters are unknown. The names of the fallen have not been released at this time, as their families have not yet been notified. Amelia Cygnus remains missing.

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