I STOPPED writing this column, blog, whatever, because it became so relentlessly tedious. Every week was an unremitting catalogue of job losses, office closures and the wholesale destruction of our once-proud regional newspaper industry. For once the word ‘decimated’ could be used correctly.
But that was then and this is now. Even I have to embrace the Brave New World of recycled press releases, bite-size bollocks, amateurish photography (sorry, UGC) and clickbait twattery. So here it is – an old hack’s often bewildered look at the week in modern media. Enjoy, as they say in crap fast food joints.
I THINK it was The Argus in Brighton that began the craze for ridiculous newspaper bills which would inevitably go viral. Now, with digital clicks valued more than copy sales, everyone is at it, competing for the silliest half a dozen words imaginable.
‘Dead Man Found In Graveyard’ is an old favourite which, given the propensity of junkies and alkies to loiter in such places, gets a regular airing. ‘Grandad Returns From Cornwall By Bus’ was this week’s favourite. His family must be so proud of him.
I suppose these daft bills do their job. They must surely generate some local sales, even if they do end up being ‘shared’ across the interweb. And they’ve always been a valuable tool when it comes to shifting newspapers.
When I were a lad and a new editor took over, the circulation manager (aka “a van driver in a suit”) would carefully plot the chap’s route from home to office. All newsagents along the way would be carefully nurtured with plenty of copies on the counter and a fresh, new bill every day. It was an easy win in an environment when a week-old bill and three tattered copies hidden beneath Dogger’s Weekly might be the norm on the other side of town.
Anyway, can’t stop. I’m off to peruse the kittens who look like Hitler.
FRESH from relentless flammed-up coverage of Celebrity Big Brother (no, I didn’t have a clue who they were either), Richard Desmond’s Daily Star has reverted to type with one of its familiar themes – killer clowns. You can all relax though. They only attack great white sharks, massive spiders, fish that swim up your willy and black-eyed children.
THOSE of us with memory cells still intact will recall the launch of the Sunday Sport, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this week. It really was an extraordinary project and quickly found an an appreciative audience amongst those lured by the promise of eight pairs of naked breasts per issue and the legions of freelance subs who landed well-paid shifts. And it gives me a chance to mention launch editor Mike Gabbert, an unsung hero of Fleet Street, who was lured out of semi-retirement on the Sunday Independent in Plymouth to take what he regarded as the lazy, foreign-owned, establishment titles.
While ‘World War 2 Bomber Found On Moon’ looks pale by comparison with today’s pathetic splashes in the Daily Star, at the time it was truly remarkable. Sadly, today the Sport seems more interested in how many savoury snacks a chap can push up his bottom, but I suppose that’s progress of sorts.
IS THIS the end for Lunchtime O’Booze? A devastating memo from Daily Telegraph bean-counters emerges in the pages of Private Eye, threatening that expenses incurred over lunch will only be paid if the bill is timed before 3pm. Good luck with that one. Never underestimate the rat-like cunning of the thirsty journalist with his own printer.
I’M SURPISED that no-one has ever invented the brick-proof TV screen – not because of the terrible dross we’re served up as so-called entertainment, but because of the increasingly annoying adverts.
Take Heinz Baked Beans, for instance. Now nobody in their right mind is going to buy any other brand than Heinz. They’re the market leader by a mile, have the best product and, even in these days of discount supermarkets, any price differential will be in the pennies Mark Carney wants to bin.
So why are they advertising at all, you might ask? And if they are going to advertise, why do it with a minute of rage-inducing, moronic can-tapping, all designed to push a stupid hashtag?
And just don’t get me started on moneyfuckingsupermarket.com and its dance-off ad. Mildly amusing the first time around; depressingly hateful in its latest denim short-clad incarnation. For God’s sake, if you’re going to spunk millions up the inside of my telly, at least spend it on something with a bit of class and imagination.
The Grey Cardigan has been in newspapers since the days of hot metal and expense accounts. After a lengthy career as chief sub on several regional newspapers, plus a multitude of shifts on the nationals, he was appointed editor of the Evening Beast in 2009 before being ignominiously 'rationalised' last year. He is currently collecting gas in jam jars in case the Russians cut us off. @thegreycardigan