Right. You'll remember that yesterday I was a bit gung-ho about bringing my D**ly M**l exile to a swift and dramatic conclusion, by promising that I would go out and actually buy a copy. A real freshly-printed copy of the M**l. The real dead-tree inky thing that is enjoyed throughout the land. The real thing.
I feel a bit queasy now. Of course it seemed like a good idea at the time - it's always easy to promise these things when they're in the distance. Now it's less than 24 hours before I buy the bastard thing. Actually buy it. With real money. Money that I've earned, working, doing a job. All that, to spend 50p,or however much it is nowadays, for the literary equivalent of being violated with a ruddy great cactus.
I think it's time, though. Time to end the exile. I've done my bit of wandering around a Mail-free land and I've found it difficult to try and escape it. Everywhere you go, you can feel its laser eyes burning into you as it peers at you from around the corner. There's no way of escaping it, not really - oh, you can try, but you inevitably end up stumbling across it sooner or later. Better, then, to know your enemy, and to try and tackle it head-on. Yes.
It won't be the first time I've read the Mail of course. But I imagine it'll be a very different animal from when I last saw it all those years ago - then it was a faintly ranting middle-class slush of spitting hatred and awful photo bylines of crap writers like Lynda Lee Potter and Nigel Dempster - sadly no longer with us, though they've gone to a better place, I'm sure, even if I don't believe in Hell - with tedious vaguely masturbatory fashion items and truly pointless guff. Oh Jesus, and those fucking cartoons by "Gary" as well. Even the TV reviews, as I recall them now, had the whiff of a squawking Tory wife in Surrey about them. It's that cloying chintziness that I recall so well, above and beyond the content; I think it's something that doesn't come across too well in the online version, so I'm hoping the paper one will be just as I remember it.
So, here's the plan. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to buy it. Go into a shop - my nearest paper shop - and get it. Just the Mail. Nothing else. Just one transaction. "Just the Mail for me please, good Mr Shopkeeper sir," I'll say breezily, as if it's a perfectly normal thing for someone to do - though in my local corner shop they'll look at me quizzically to wonder why I'm not asking for a great big 3-litre bottle of Natch* and a packet of Kingsize Rizlas along with my daily dose of misogyny and thinly veiled racial prejudice. No matter. Just the Mail.
That's all I want. I can't help it. The devil made me do it! I can't save myself from myself. I am trapped by the tentacles of my own octopus, doomed to swim this lonely brown sea from now until the day I slip on a rollerskate at the top of the stairs and go flying down, impaling myself on an umbrella at the bottom, only to be found six weeks later after neighbours complained about the smell of death, with my eyes pecked out by mice. (That's the way I want to go, anyway). I might as well face it. I need to go back. Back to the Mail. It is, like the crown of the Statue of Liberty sticking out the sand, my destiny.
Tomorrow, then. Tomorrow I'm going to buy the bloody thing. And read it like I've never, ever read it before.
* For those of you outside the Bristol area, Natch is a delightful cider-flavoured drink. Don't try it. Ever. And don't say I didn't warn you.
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