As previously described, I start every morning here in Oxford by walking to the news agents. This accomplishes two things: The dog gets a walk and I buy the papers, always the Oxford Mail and usually the Guardian.
There must be a word to describe the posters that British news agents put outside every day, the ones that highlight the big story from that day's paper. (Street sheet? Paper poster? Perhaps an English newspaper vet could enlighten us.) These usually advertise a tabloid paper, the main story boiled down to a precipitate of eye-catching--and hopefully change purse-emptying--prose. Like a good tabloid headline, the ideal poster catchline pushes all the right buttons, whether they be fear, greed, joy, sex, or some combination thereof.
I spotted a good example this morning:
"Grieving," "tragedy"--the perfect combination of pain and pathos. Even better, though, was the poster on the other side of the sign:
I dare you to resist buying the Oxford Mail after seeing that line, just to find out what exactly a "volatile man" is. (Isn't that a Neil Diamond song? "I'll be what I am/ Volatile Man....")
The story is here. I suppose in a less enlightened era the poster would have read: "Crazy Man on the Loose."
In case you're wondering what I do with my dog, Charlie, while I'm inside buying the newspaper, this is what I do:
I lash Charlie to the bike rack as if he was a 10-speed Raleigh. He drops the tennis ball he's been carrying, since he knows as soon as I come out I'm going to give him a little doggie treat. Then we walk home, he reads the paper and I curl up for a nap. Or is it the other way around?