Monday, November 30, 2009

Pet Hate

Even Van Morrison likes the Sunday papers. There’s something so very – civilised – about them. Even the rags, the oaten husks among the nourishing porridge.

There is something soothing about the presence of the Sunday papers, the great, fat lumps of them, the majority of which were printed on Tuesday at the very latest. If any news happens on Saturday evening, your Sunday paper is the last place to find out about it. There’s no room left for news by the time they’ve stuffed in all that other stuff.

The newspaper industry is on its last legs. It’s soon to go the way of the telegraph and the valve television. The way we consume media evolves all the time, and what you’re reading now is the vanguard of that. The internet struck the first blow, but the real revolution are the 3G portable devices. iPhones, Apple’s new tablet if it happens, all these amazing devices that have shrunken the world to pocket-size leave the humble newspapers looking like rusty old steamships in the jet age.

But there’s a romance about those old steamships too, the great ocean-going liners. The papers are going, but they are not gone yet. And there remains a sense of adventure about going into a shop, and seeing what they all have to say on a particular morning, in their own particular ways.

Unless, of course, you go into a shop like the Spar visited by your constant quillsman, An Spailpín Fánach, yesterday. For some reason, a flock of clocking hens seem to have got loose in the shop – many miles from the own mileu, I can assure you – and attempted to nest among the flagships of the O’Reilly Empire.

Or else the shop was plagued with the sort of stupid, selfish swine that pokes his or her way around all the papers and then leaves them in a heap afterwards, with no consideration of the other people to come. These are the sort of people who do not flush toilets, spit on the street and fail to pray for Mother’s rest whenever they pass a churchyard. They are the scum and sweepings of the Earth, and An Spailpín Fánach wishes to God the world were rid of them.

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