Now, you know by now that this post is going to mention the Express. You know that because the Express has turned into a fucking sub-Beano embarrassment to journalism, an unlanceable boil atop a pus-filled sore, a vast mound of turd atop a rubbish heap. In short, it's bobbins.
Yesterday's effort was just the latest in a long line of fuckwittedly dreadful attempts to create a newspaper. Forget monkeys and typewriters: they'd have come up with something better than what we've seen over the past weeks and months, as the Express has finally collapsed into sheer ineptitude and a shiteness that has long since crossed the border between comical and pitiful.
Have a look here if you like, or here or here or here. You get the general idea. I don't know if we'll ever again see the plate of toast to illustrate rising bread and butter prices - I don't know if even the Express can manage to plumb those depths again - but what I do know is that there's a new kid on the block trying to emulate the dreadfulness. More of that pretender to the throne of faeces in a minute, but first of all, let's get today's Express out of the way:
Save us from a slump! Save us, go on, save us! This from the paper who railed against 'spivs' as if city traders had transubstantiated into 1940s shady conmen before our very eyes. Now the Express is resorting to praying on the front cover. Save us! Save us, please!
You always have to wonder if there's not a bit more revelation than intended there - or maybe just the right amount. Is the Express asking for Britain to be saved, or for the Express to be saved? A credit crunch or 1920s depression would lead to a lot fewer people buying newspapers - or would it? Might not seriously poor people disconnect themselves from the £18-a-month of broadband, and get their news from 30p-40p newspapers as and when there was a good story? Who knows. What I do know is that people will be deserting the Express in huge numbers. It's almost as if the front pages tell anyone with any fucking sense whatsoever not to bother.
The Express's view: Brown must 'stop dithering', cut interest rates and guarantee savings. But he can't cut interest rates - he decided to hand the power over to the Bank of England without consulting either parliament or the public, and very few voices (except those dismissed as the Hard Left) were raised in dissent at the time. Did the Express campaign against an independent central bank? Did the Express care? Not especially. As for guaranteeing savings, it's probably on the way - the Express is asking for something that's bound to happen, in order to make it look as if their prayers have been answered.
But anyway, it might be a truly shambolic front, but it's not the worst of the day. There is more ridiculous fare on the newsstands? Yes, my friends, there is. There's something so appallingly amateurish that it makes the Express look like the Independent. It's the Independent:
Look at it! Look at it! Fucking hell. The Indy always used to have different front pages - sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't, but they generally did have impact. They certainly didn't look like a cluttered mass of shit, as some twit had deliberately decided to get as many competing chunks of text to fight it out for supremacy as possible.
The Indy's even cracked open a can of the Express's special precious red ink for the occasion, emphasising the FEAR of the situation. Eek! It must be serious; the Indy's gone for the red ink! Oh noes!
The thing about the old-style Indy fronts under the previous editor was that they worked because they stood alone. If they went big on a story, they generally didn't try and shovel loads of extra cobblers around it. The front pages didn't used to juxtapose the deadly serious and the kind of whimsical toss that makes anyone with a sliver of self-respect and intelligence want to bash their head repeatedly on the table in sheer desperation. For fuck's sake, Alton! I don't give a fucking shit about how to fight a cold. If I wanted to read that shit, I'd buy Top Sante - do you get it? Do you understand? If I wanted a shedload of poxy lifestyle wankery I'd nick some glossy Homes & Gardens mag from the dentist's waiting room. Please, there's a clue in the word 'newspaper', there really is.
Ah well, it looks like it's going to be a fun time, seeing which of the Indy or the Express can come up with the most awful fucking front page ever.