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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Can the heavyweight press get a bit less heavy, please?

Simon Mayo messaged me to say he'd quoted me in his new column in the Telegraph. This led me to do something I stopped doing years ago, which is buy a newspaper at the weekends. I stopped wading through over-inflated weekend papers when I realised that they could only be read at the expense of things that were worth reading, like books. Anyway, vanity always gets the better of me and so a trip down the end of the road and and one pound and sixteen shillings later I am confronted by the sheer bulk of a contemporary Saturday paper, even in these straitened times. Never in the history of media has so much fluff been combined to manufacture so much mass. There's a newspaper. There's a review. There's a sport section. There's the family bit. There's the gardening bit. There's the travel bit. Then there's a magazine with, inevitably, Corrine Bailey Rae on the cover. There's a DVD of "The Odd Couple". That's the kind of thing they used to support with TV advertising. Not any more. Now they just chuck it in the lucky bag. Then there's lots of advertising supplements, a TV thing and no doubt plenty of other things that I'll never get around to locating, let alone reading. As the newspaper business careens towards hell in a handcart you'd think that somebody would bite the bullet on their central problem. They're giving people too much about not enough and charging too much for it.

Not that this applies to Simon's column which is required reading for all middle-aged Spurs supporting fathers who wake up in cold sweats worrying that their sons are being drawn to the Dark Side. There have been times, thankfully long past, when my own f & b almost fell victim to the blandishments of the Woolwich Wanderers but after a stern word pointing out that the supporting of the Lily Whites is a guarantee of iron in the soul and a steady moral compass, he came around. That did the trick. As did the sight of his possessions in a tidy pile at the bottom of the garden path.