One of the things you forget about when you don't read the dead tree Mail* is the adverts. Online, they're fairly generic big-brand stuff. But in print... well, let's just say they're aiming at a rather specific demographic. And if it's indicative of the Mail's paper readership, you have to wonder how much longer they're going to be around for. Beautiful ads, though, which I'm delighted to share with you.
I mean, who wouldn't want that? Marvellous scenes. "I want a mobile phone please, but wait, my sausagey fingers keep pressing two buttons at once. I want to make it absolutely impossible to do it. Big buttons, you say? Oh, I'm talking about fucking big buttons. Bigger than Scrabble tiles! Bigger than carpet tiles! I want buttons so fucking big, you can't get the fucking phone through a doorway! Can you do that? Well, can you?"
I love the way the ad promises BIG buttons, with capital letters, as if the photo wasn't enough to convince you of their bigness. And I think, in a way, it might give us a clue as to the readers who are flicking through these pages. Sure, they kind of know there are things called mobile phones. But they're so fiddly and modern, aren't they? What's wrong with just massive buttons, a big green thing to answer and a big red thing to cancel? Nothing at all, and for the bargain price of just £79.95 plus postage and packaging - yes, you read that right - you can 'go back to basics'. Perfect. I might order me a dozen.
It's funny the things that make you laugh. For some reason I collapsed into uncontrollable hysterics for about two minutes after seeing the phrase "fumble-proof alarm off switch". Wonderful! It's still making me chuckle away as I type this. This is a product designed for people who are fed up with fumbling! "I want an alarm clock please, with easy-to-read numbers and I don't want to fucking fumble for it any more!" I love so much about this. I love the fact it scarily glows in the dark. I love the way it tells you the temperature. I love the way in which they ask you to consider buying two, one for either side of the bed. So you can have fumble-free button-pushing to your left and right. I love it all. I'm getting one! Again, you could say it might give us some clues as to the readership - people whose biggest worry in life is fumbling for an alarm off switch, who want to be reassured by a large fluorescent thing in the night, who might treat themselves to two - why not? Why not indeed.
If you're a woman and your nan reads the Mail, you'd better hope you get one of these for your next birthday - or even as a Christmas treat. If you don't, what does that say about her? She's too tight to fork out £80 for her own bloody granddaughter? The bitch. There are four easy payments and it looks like a big present, for fuck's sake. What more do you want? Put her in a really shit home if she doesn't get you one.
"Browse. Buy. Enjoy." says the Mail Life slogan. And I can certainly see how you'd enjoy a life free of dampness. (And no, I'm not going there. You've already gone there and thought that already, vis-a-vis dampness and elderly readers, so I'm not going to. You mucky so-and-sos. Honestly. In the gutter.) But look, I'm not selling this to you properly. You buy one, you get one free. Not just one dampness problem solved, but two! Beat that! Go on, beat it! What's that you say? You could beat it, quite easily, by just popping down to B&Q? Well shhhh. No-one likes a smartarse.
So there you have it. I think there's a limited insight that you get to the demographic of dead tree Mail readers, as opposed to their online counterparts. They're people who want mobile phones with massive fucking buttons, who want a fumble-free off switch for their alarm clocks, who have dampness issues around the house, and who would, if they could, buy a lovely present, shaped like a present but made of precious things, for their granddaughters.
And that's just the adverts. What we'll learn from the stories we'll find out shortly.
* Incidentally, I should at this point offer props to Five Chinese Crackers, who did the original 'wonders of the dead tree Mail' post way back in 2007, before I'd even started this blog. In many ways it was reading 5cc's posts back then which got me into blogging in the first place. So you've got him to thank / slap around the face.