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BBC NEWS | Magazine Monitor: Paper Monitor

The Magazine's recommended daily allowance of news, culture and your letters.

Last Build Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:06:00 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2013

Paper Monitor

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:06:00 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Hair we go again. Sorry, Paper Monitor couldn't resist. Yes, it's another hair story, and yes, there's a picture of Jennifer Aniston. This time, however, the Daily Mail reports that the Friends star has finally fallen out of favour. At least, her hairstyle has anyway. It says a survey on the best onscreen hairstyles reveals her locks are no longer the most influential. "Sorry, Jen... Anne's top of the crops," is its headline, revealing that Anne Hathaway's crowning glory has outshone the competition. The elfin cut was first sported in the 2011 adaptation of David Nicholls's hit novel One Day. But it was her Oscar-winning turn in Les Miserables, as Fantine, which saw her cut it off for an extended period. The actress was said to be "inconsolable" after the chop so it's quite a turnaround. For those interested in which other celebrities made the cut, Miss Aniston's long curly style in Along Came Polly was in second place. And Audrey Hepburn's "up do" from 1963 film Charade in third.

Paper Monitor

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 11:49:56 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. There's crime stories. And then there's quirky crime stories. The Daily Telegraph headline gives you a clue that this is a nice, light story about how crime doesn't pay. "Happiness is... a burglar wasting three days for pouch of tobacco." The ne'er-do-well spent three nights chiselling away at the wall of Medway Motorcycles in Rochester to make a hole big enough to squeeze into. Finally he breached the 2ft-thick wall. The high performance bikes were to be his. And then he realised he'd forgotten about the alarm. "One false move towards the bikes would have sent the alarm ringing," the paper reports. "So the thief crept up to the first floor instead, looking for items to steal." In the end he left with just a packet of rolling tobacco worth £3. "When I got here the next morning the place was in a right state but all I can see he has nicked is my Golden Virginia," the owner says. The proprietor's surname is Eastwood. If only he'd caught the burglar in the act. Imagine the scene, burglar holding the Golden Virginia, Eastwood - first name Jez but we'll gloss over that - reaching for his pretend, concealed .44 Magnum: "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" It took Paper Monitor a while to work out the happiness allusion of the headline. A clue - it depends how many TV ads you remember from the 1980s that used Bach's Air on a G string to conjure up plumes of sensuous tobacco smoke. Answers to the usual place.

Paper Monitor

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:08:36 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. The electronic Daily Telegraph is now behind a paywall. Paper Monitor has effected an old-school breach of that wall - buying a copy of the actual paper. It's almost like going undercover. Reading an actual paper edition of a newspaper. Page two has the gratifying news that Carol Vorderman's nose is better. She fell down and broke it. She did not have a nose job. That was speculation. Page six reveals that cheats in school games are copying footballers. For clarity, in Telegraphland a common equation is footballers=bad. But you have to wait until page 11 for the really serious news. "Here's to you, Mrs Robinson. Why more 40-somethings are dating younger men". That's the headline. And there's a massive picture of Helen McCrory. Massive. The anchor on the same page is Catherine Deneuve saying flat shoes are sexier than "twisted" and impossible high heels. Further on there's a leader. It quotes the Song of Solomon. Oh, to wear one's erudition so lightly.

Paper Monitor

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:14:13 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. If you're a woman, it may be worth reading the Times before getting dressed this morning. The paper reports how Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, an academic at the University Hospital of Besancon in eastern France, has broken the post-war consensus. Bras may not be necessary for holding up breasts. Or "norks" as Carol Midgley calls them in her commentary. The Frenchman tracked 320 women's breasts over 15 years. I'll bet he did, a wag might mutter. "Our first results validate the hypothesis that the bra is a false need," the professor says, adopting a most unpage 3 lexicon. "Medically, physiologically and anatomically, the breast derives no benefit from being deprived of gravity. If it is, the tissues that support it are going to decline and the breast will progressively suffer damage." Prof Rouillon is not one to shirk the detail. He notes that after a year of not wearing a bra, the nipples of women aged between 18 and 35 rose by 7mm on average. Older and underweight women might need a bra but for the young it could be damaging, he argues in a technocratic idiom that comes naturally to a Francophone scientist. "If a woman puts on a bra when her breasts first appear, the suspensory apparatus does not work properly and tissues of the bra distend." It's left to Midgely to shoot his theory down with some anecdotal evidence of a less professorial tone. "Going without them gives you backache, a dowager's hump and the impression that two labrador puppies are tussling under your jumper." Paper Monitor, who cannot confirm or deny the presence of a bra about its person, is keeping an open mind until Monsieur Rouillon's full research is published.

Paper Monitor

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:48:32 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Sometimes an incongruous detail is all you need for a great story. Like putting Madonna and Gary Neville in the same headline. "Madonna's very rude...Gary Neville has equally dazzling stature but better manners", goes the Daily Mirror headline. The story is badged "It's Official" suggesting there may be an element of tongue in cheek. As might the picture of Neville wearing an England tracksuit, captioned "Dazzler", on one side of the page with Madge in a Panama hat on the other. The paper reports that the Malawian government made an "astonishing attack" on the US artiste after she visited her charity in the southern African country last week. The reason for the spat remains vague. The paper reports that she was "left fuming after being snubbed by president Joyce Banda and having to queue with economy passengers at the airport as she flew out of the capital Lilongwe". The government statement accuses her of wanting Malawi "to be for ever chained to the obligation of gratitude". Other papers note though that the government diatribe follows the sacking of the president's sister as head of Raising Malawi, Madonna's charity there. But the story's real joy is in the ill-assorted mix of celebs the government lists. "It is worth making her aware that Malawi has hosted many international stars, including Chuck Norris, Bono, David James, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville who have never demanded state attention or decorum despite their equally dazzling stature." Paper Monitor guesses that the Mirror subs had a little chat about which of the three footballers to pair with Madge in the headline. Which would jar most incongruously next to the "Queen of Pop"? Somehow, ineffably, Gary Neville wins every time.

Paper Monitor

Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:08:14 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Margaret Thatcher's ability to kick off what Mrs Merton used to call a heated debate, is apparent on today's front pages. The Sun has commissioned a poll of Britain's favourite prime ministers. "Maggie wins again!" it cries. Margaret Thatcher pushes Churchill into second place, and Clement Attlee can only manage 5%, behind Tony Blair and Harold Wilson. In the YouGov poll of 1,893 adults, poor old Ted Heath and David Cameron finish with nil points. Pitt the younger doesn't get a look in either although that's because the poll confines itself to post-war leaders. The Times strikes a conciliatory note. "Royal respect as Queen leads Thatcher mourners." The paper says that whatever misgivings the Queen may have had about Thatcherism have been put to one side. "The conjecture that the Queen was fundamentally opposed to much of what her longest-serving prime minister stood for will be forgotten in the significance of the moment." "Operation True Blue: Thatcher funeral in security clampdown," warns the Guardian about fears that the funeral service may foment civic unrest and terrorist attacks. The ipaper risks not only spreading alarm and confusion but enraging pedants. "Britain at war over Thatcher funeral". Erm, tanks on the streets, pitched battles? Oh, not literally. The Daily Mirror goes in hard but with better grammar. "The £10m goodbye. Why is Britain's most divisive Prime Minister getting a ceremonial funeral fit for a Queen?" It may not come as a total surprise to find that the Daily Mail is angry. Very angry. "The flames of hatred: 30 years of Left wing loathing for Lady T explodes in sick celebrations of her death." (There's also a medium range ballistic missile launched from page 10 at the good people of this parish...) The Daily Telegraph tries to calm things down. "No gushing hysteria, just quiet, dignified respect" is the headline over Michael Deacon's report from Finchley, the Iron Lady's constituency for 33 years. A local recalls how she had a soft spot for a bar called Cheers. "She would pop in and have a drink. Denis would have gin and tonic and I think she would have a glass of wine...She was very approachable and friendly." It's cosy and sepia tinted, like the credits of Coronation Street relocated to prosperous middle class suburbia. But amidst all the gentle colour, the writer can't resist one pot shot at those celebrating Thatcher's death. "For those who insist that Left-wing ideology is motivated above all by compassion for others, this must be a difficult week." Ouch! Which leaves one paper not doing Thatcher on its front page. Come in Daily Express, your taste for bathos knows no bounds. (Yes, even the Daily Star splashes on the funeral costs). "Gel to wipe out arthritic pain" runs the headline. And on that bombshell...

Paper Monitor

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 09:17:04 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Never let it be said that "serious" newspapers are afraid to carry images of topless women when there's a "serious" reason for doing so. The subject? International politics. Well, a visit to a trade fair in Hanover by Russian president Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel. The two leaders are pictured as they are ambushed by protesters from the feminist group Femen, which has staged demonstrations on issues including Russia's detention of punk band Pussy Riot. While Mrs Merkel's face gives little away as she surveys the slogans daubed on the naked torsos before her, Mr Putin appears frozen to the spot - somewhat goggle-eyed and apparently transfixed by the messages conveyed. "There's no doubt Vladimir Putin noticed the protester who got within a few feet of him yesterday," says the Daily Mail. For the Guardian the demonstration is a test of new rules which threaten media outlets for printing swear words - such as those it handily pictures painted on the front of one protester. The Telegraph describes Mr Putin as "bemused-looking", adding that he later suggested "you should undress in other places, such as on nudist beaches". A stickler for detail, it also points out that five women were arrested - two Germans aged 18 and 22, one Russian aged 33 and two Ukrainians aged 24 and 26. Meanwhile, The Times notes the advice given by a "grinning" Mr Putin to the protesters: "I think it is better to be dressed if one wants to discuss political matters." There is of course space in the other papers to carry the story, although the weighty issues highlighted by the protest are less apparent. "I liked it," is the quote from Mr Putin in the Daily Star, Daily Express, Daily Mirror...

Paper Monitor

Mon, 08 Apr 2013 18:08:09 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Paper Monitor is unwell today. Not sick per se. Nor indeed unwell in the Jeffrey Bernard sense of alcohol-induced unavailability. Just not able to write anything. Paper Monitor, had it not been unwell, might have written about the lovely picture of a white lion on page three of the Daily Mail. Here it is. Or indeed about dogs in £4,000 outfits. Made of ostrich feathers. And Harris tweed. Here it is. Probably a load of other serious stuff too. Probably.

Paper Monitor

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 11:22:22 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. The outraged drivers of Cambridge find a voice in Friday's papers, for Fleet St has thrown its weight behind criticisms of a council - all together now - accused of having "gone mad". "Crackpot" and "barmy" are two of the terms levelled at the officials who have transgressed. Their crime? To have painted what are thought to be the UK's shortest double yellow lines, accessorised with a £70 fine for those who park on them. At a mere 13in (33cm), it is true to say that the markings - which separate two disabled parking bays - look as though they were done by a workman with a bit of paint left at the bottom of the can. But how best to communicate this preposterous shortness to readers? Traditional comparisons don't help. They certainly can't be measured in double-decker buses, and working out how many would fit into Wales would be a challenge too far. But not to worry, words and imagery can be found. "You can't even fit a remote control car on it," Nik Hazell, 21, tells the Sun. "Less than the width of a car wheel," offers the Daily Mail. For the Daily Telegraph, a picture of four toy cars parked bumper to bumper along the lines is sufficient. "Perhaps a child with a toy car could park there," says former mayor Rob Dryden in the Daily Star. And it has a quote from Cambridgeshire County Council to set things in context. "This is common practice," a spokesman offers. The row, presumably, could motor on. (PS: Paper Monitor wonders if one of those teeny-tiny electric cars could fit...)

Paper Monitor

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:26:35 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Today we offer 10 things we noticed in the papers in 10 minutes - go: 1: The Daily Mail reports on a survey indicating that every boy of 14 has seen porn - er, well, yeah. 2: The Times quotes a former editor of Vogue Australia who claims that models are under such pressure to be abnormally thin that they are eating tissue paper. 3: The Express reports on a woman who spent £1,000 on legal fees in a lengthy battle to get her cat back from a family that adopted it as a stray seven years ago. The original owner asked for police assistance, but apparently they can only get involved if the animal in question is a dog. 4: Campaigners in South Norwood (in the London borough of Croydon) are hoping to persuade officials in Cumbria to desist from using the title "Lake District" and hand it over. Why? Because the "Lake District" only has one lake - Norwood, two. The Mail, comparing the two places, points out under a section on famous residents that the Lake District had poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, while South Norwood was home to Pickles the dog who recovered the World Cup trophy. 5: An Indian multi-millionaire has spent £15,000 on an ad in the Times of India looking for a wife to share his riches - on condition, that is, that she doesn't have a "fat bottom", according to The Age. 6: April Fool's day has been and gone - so straight face. The Mail reports that plans for a giant new £2bn theme park just outside London have been halted by a colony of rare jumping spiders. 7: Lock up your daughters - the One Direction movie, 1D in 3D, will feature nudity - along with food fights, according to director Morgan Spurlock, who's quoted in the Daily Mirror. 8: The Sun is offering to re-home Justin Bieber's pet monkey in a "comfy new home in a British zoo". The poor capuchin is in Germany where it was seized by customs. The pop singer has been given four weeks to claim it - but the Sun has offered to step in if he no longer wants it. Now we're humming Never Let You Go. 9: Headline of the day: Lady Gaga's wheelie odd. The Daily Star observes that she headed for the gym yesterday for a spot of yoga and left in a wheelchair. 10: Although the Sun's front-page "Don't cry for me Argie Cleaner", about footballer Carlos Tevez's 250 hours of community service - which will probably include jobs like cleaning, and if it doesn't it's too good a pun to pass up - is pretty inspired.

Paper Monitor

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 12:25:56 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Continuing in a similar vein to yesterday, Paper Monitor can't help but notice a couple of other of sorry stories in the Daily Telegraph today. First up, the paper reports that pubs are making us less productive. It cites a study which found that absenteeism rates rose by 1.7% in England and Wales after the licensing changes in November 2005 abolished the traditional 11pm closing time. According to the report, later pub hours have led to a rise in the number of workers who "play hard and shirk hard" instead of working hard. More Britons are calling in sick, probably because they are hungover, it suggests. To make matters worse, in Spain, where bar opening hours were tightened up over a similar period, the effect was the opposite, it points out. In other news, the paper has some bad news for children (although admittedly good news for parents). Pocket money is bad for them. The paper round, or getting them to do household chores to earn money, is good. It will set them up for a life of prudence, it reports a study as saying. There is at least a lighter story on the front page for punters looking to pick a horse to back on the Grand National this weekend. A mathematician has done lots and lots of maths and come up with the best bet for the next champion. The sums add up to Seabass, it says. The things he analysed for his potential windfall? The name, first letter and number of words in the name and age of all 40 horses lining up this year. Paper Monitor wonders why it didn't also include the colour of the jockey's silks.

Paper Monitor

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 14:52:16 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. The Easter break is over. People are back at work. Well, some people anyway. For those that are, the Daily Mail seems to have taken it upon itself to cheer up commuters. "If you're reading this on the train, prepare yourself for a shock. There's a good chance you're one of the most annoying people in the carriage," it says. The story? Eight in 10 of us drive our fellow passengers up the wall, it reports. The most infuriating habits? Playing loud, thumping music through headphones, pushing past people on to a carriage and putting shoes on seats. Meanwhile, just shy of one in three of us regularly fall asleep and snore, while a fifth of us try to peer over people's shoulders to read their newspapers, it goes on. If the commute hasn't put people's nose out of joints, the paper brings news of another thing that might. Almost two-thirds of us hate cold callers who address customers by their first name and start conversations with "hi", it says. Three in 10 of us are fed up with strangers - from cold-callers to coffee shop workers - treating us like friends, it reports. Far better to use Mr, Mrs, Miss, it advises. Well, what a jolly lot the Daily Mail seems to think we are today. Paper Monitor is glad being, ahem, late didn't feature.

Paper Monitor

Mon, 01 Apr 2013 12:18:17 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. "What REALLY goes on inside Liz Jones's brain" The lack of question mark on that Daily Mail headline might indicate that this is a rhetorical question and there is no need to try and answer. But that's never stopped confessional columnist extraordinaire Liz Jones before, and why would she break the habit of a lifetime? For today's typically soul-baring piece, she tries neurofeedback, a therapy pioneered by Nasa in the 1960s that claims to manipulate brainwaves to alter mindsets. She gets the nub of her problems by the second paragraph: My main 'issue' is that even when I should be happy - such as when I first lived in my London Georgian townhouse, had a husband and things were going swimmingly - I seem incapable of feeling that emotion. I never feel good about myself and am paralysed by fear. So she's hooked up to a brainwave-reading machine via a swimming cap-like hat bristling with electrodes. (Jones is not pictured in said hat - although there are several photos in the Mail Online version - and instead is snapped in Middleton-esque amounts of eyeliner, accessorised with a trio of electrodes attached to her forehead.) Her brain scan, the therapist says, indicates depression and not just fear but post-traumatic stress disorder. "Hmm," she says. "I can also tell you cling on to bad memories. You don't let go." Most tellingly, Catherine can see the area of the brain that is linked to self- esteem has a score of minus two, meaning I have a low opinion of myself. She also has a tendency towards obsessive compulsive disorder, which may not come as a surprise to many of her readers, who have been regaled with tales of sheet thread count and of her ex-husband's slovenliness. While Jones is more than happy to be given brain exercises to tone up her emotional "bingo wings", as she calls them, this is one part of her brain she likes just the way it is. "Please don't make me untidy," I plead.

Paper Monitor

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 09:04:32 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. It is a "culinary event - ranking somewhere between the publication of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management and Delia Smith's first appearance on television", says The Times. "A brisk and, at times, moving exhortation to the kind of stick-in-the-mud whose idea of a perfect Friday night is six pints and a curry", ventures The Guardian. Unable to find the words to describe this event itself, The Daily Telegraph turns to Twitter user Brian Williams who asks: "Jesus wept! She gets paid for writing this tripe?" Step forward Pippa Middleton, sister of the more famous Princess Kate, who has a new column in Waitrose Kitchen magazine and is at the centre of all this excitement. Her long journey to food writer started at the University of Edinburgh, we learn. Like most students, she enjoyed nothing more than spending her time making sushi in front of the rugby on TV. It's a delight that she's keen to share with the rest of us. Just remember - keep the rice layer thin and be generous with the filling. Anyway, lest there be any confusion as to when to put these new skills to the test, the papers direct us to the title of her column - "Friday Night Feasts". Ah. "Fridays, of course, hold the promise of the weekend," points out Pippa, helpfully adding that they are a safe distance from Sunday's "pre-Monday melancholy". Yet "Ms Middleton's idea of a relaxed evening may, however, differ from those of her readers," suggests The Times. After making your sushi rolls, Vietnamese spring rolls, hoisin duck rolls and ginger mojitos, it's time to think about the table. Pippa suggests decorating with cherry blossoms, roses, orchids, anemones, or bundles of exotic fruit, The Times says. And don't forget the paper lanterns and floating candles. To Paper Monitor this all sounds like an exhortation to shake off the end of the week slough and make the most of life. But where can we find out more from the author of Celebrate? The Telegraph comes to the rescue: "The book was mocked for its banal descriptions of how to play conkers and provide ice at parties and even spawned its own Twitter feed of equally vacuous advice." Time to find out more.

Paper Monitor

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 10:51:05 +0000

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press. Is it because we're approaching Easter? The weather? Or something else? But there seems to be a glut of animal stories, making the papers resemble a Noah's Ark of news. It's not all nice and cuddly. "Think YOU feel chilly? Britain's animals are freezing to death" announces the Mail. And we'll gloss over the dying pigeons. The Times has reindeer and cats. The reindeer look splendid as they block most of a snowy road in the Cairngorms. Pride of place on page 5 goes to Yollo the cat. "£50 CatNav reveals all about tabby's night on the tiles." This is the story of David Evans from Marlborough in Wiltshire, whose cat was disappearing every night and putting on enough weight to suggest he was a regular at Chicken Cottage. To solve the mystery Evans created "an ultra-light GPS" that he fixed to Yollo's collar. It means he can now track his moggy's every move. So the answer of the weight riddle is..? "Now I know he travels a couple of miles each day, exactly where he goes every night and who's feeding him," Evans says. Rather infuriatingly he doesn't point the finger at Mrs Miggins at number 39 leaving out a bowl of milk or "the nice man in the Post Office" for putting out sausages. The Daily Express goes with dogs. A man's best friend costs its owner £13,000 in treats and demands walks of 550 miles a year we learn. But to rework Mark Twain, there are lies, damned lies and survey stories - yes it's a poll for an anti-flea product. Paper Monitor's favourite nebulous stat is the one saying that owners receive "almost 50,000 soppy licks" during a dog's lifetime. The Daily Telegraph has a picture story recording an unlikely animal fight. "Camel that got the hump. Rhino flees," runs the headline. "Three-ton rhinoceros or not, this interloper was sent packing by a male Bactrian camel when it came too close to its young at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire." Finally, worst animal pun of the day goes to the Daily Mirror. "Lamb pussanda?" runs the headline over a piece about a "lamb" curry that contained not a single trace of lamb. DNA tests were run ruling out beef, chicken, pork, goat, horse...and even human flesh. "Eventually they were left with the grim possibility that the unidentified ingredient could be dog or cat meat." Erm, Paper Monitor may be missing something. But isn't human flesh a little more grim than even cat? Paws for thought. Sorry.