Simply the best. When you brand yourself as that, you'd better be good. You'd better have some substance to carry that... oh Jesus. What the fuck's this?
What the...? My eyes! There's John Terry, and he's almost three feet taller than Wayne Bridge! And a world exclusive about Peter Andre - I bet they were fighting off the Washington Post for that one. Ooh, and a free Creme Egg if you buy a 40p newspaper, that's almost - very almost - tempting. Bonus Cheryl Cole, doing nothing whatsoever of any interest at all; but I think you get fined if you don't put her somewhere on a front page nowadays, regardless of there being any developments in her life apart from continuing to exist.
It's easy to mock. Look, I'm doing it now. It's not wrong to mock. You really should mock when something deserves mockery. The Daily Star - or in this case, the Daily Star Sunday - is one of those things. All very well for people to try and insist that you should take the high ground all the time, but come off it. You don't even need to be on the high ground to look down on the Daily Star; just wearing some inner soles in your shoes will do it. What a fucking atrocity.
It's not for you, people will say. Sure, it's a load of women with their knockers out next to barely intelligible scribblings, but it's wrong of you to try and think that you're above it.* And what's the harm in a bit of fun? Not everyone wants to read long and tedious articles written by no-marks like you. And I'd say, I know, that's why the vast majority of people don't, but that's beside the point; this is a newspaper that has hundreds of thousands of readers and proudly claims to be Simply The Best - it can't be "The World's Greatest Newspaper" because that self-proclaimed title has already been taken by its stablemate, the Daily Express - so why not see if it really is simply the best? What's the harm in that?
A lot of people ignore the Daily Star when they come to write about tabloid newspapers. I think this is probably an oversight on our part, because for one thing it sells an awful lot of copies. We might not want it to, but it does. Its circulation is going up, despite the slump in newspaper sales, largely because of an aggressive pricing strategy. It's even got money to burn on TV adverts telling women that they should give it a go because it's 'not just for boys' and that, apparently, 500,000 women read it. Half a million women.
I've picked on the Daily Star on Sunday today, though, because it has a story at the top that is a classic example of tabloid bollocks. Those of you who see the Sport or Sunday Sport on the news-stands will be familiar with the '[CELEBRITY'S NAME] NAKED PICS FURY' story, in which a celebrity is supposedly furious that someone has Photoshopped her (it's always a woman) head onto some porn star's body - which of course gives a wonderful opportunity to print the offending pics, as well as tricking the potential reader into thinking it's actually going to be that celebrity's naked flesh in the paper as they rush home for what they hope will be a frenzied masturbation session. You know the kind of thing. Today's 'Jackson autopsy video fury' story is the same kind of thing, but without the frenzied masturbation - at least I hope so.
What it's trying to tease you into thinking is that this is the actual video of Michael Jackson's autopsy! Imagine that. Well, you don't have to imagine it, and it's not real anyway; it's just a reconstruction for a TV programme. And some people are a bit annoyed about it. Apparently:
A SHOCKING TV documentary on Michael Jackson’s death has caused fresh trauma for his family and fans.
It shows a King of Pop lookalike on his death bed and being hauled to and from a mortuary slab in a gruesome re-enactment of the time before and after his heart stopped.
Who are these traumatised family and fans? Well, there isn't anyone actually quoted as such, but...
A source close to the Jackson family said: “They support 100% the programme’s well-researched assertions that Dr Murray failed to do his job properly and is responsible for Michael’s death.”
But the source added family members expressed horror that a Jackson double was used in death bed and mortuary scenes, adding: “Imagine how his three children must be feeling.”
Imagine. Still, so long as you don't go putting pictures of what appears to be a dead Michael Jackson on the front page of a national newspaper, that wouldn't... oh. Anyone else care to say anything?
Although a VH1 spokesman refused to comment yesterday, an insider on the music network said: “We feel we uncovered some important truths and sometimes the truth isn’t easy to swallow.”
That'll be a no, then.
A programme appeared on television. No-one's actually furious, or at least we can't find anyone who is, but if we put a still from it on the front page and make it seem like it might be the autopsy of Michael Jackson, that might bring in a few dumb readers who are drawn to the macabre. We'll bulk out the story with an 'insider' and a 'source', given that we can't find anyone to talk to us, or can't be bothered, or whatever the reason is, but there you have it. Simply The Best!
* And besides, they'll tell you, it's actually quite difficult to write interesting tabloid stuff. That's what so many people say; I've heard it everywhere. Somewhere, at some class at school that I must have missed because I was off with the raging squits, they teach you that it's actually much harder to write for the Sun and Star than it is for the Times or Telegraph. People say this to me all the time, as if it's true. And then I look at the newspapers in question, and I think, no it fucking isn't. I've heard what you've said, I've checked the evidence for myself, and I don't agree. It seems easy to write for the Sun or Star because it is. It seems less complicated because it is. It might seem easier to write this blog than Doctor Zhivago, because it is. It's easier to ride a bike than fly a jet aircraft. It just is. I know I'm swimming against the tide on this one, but there you are.