Thursday, 3 January 2008

Paper Trail

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?

6 comments:

mark from alexandria said...

I was thinking more "Excitable Boy" by Warren Zevon, but it is an interesting story and it points to the differences in mental health care between the US and the UK.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

I used to see an Oxford couple regularly walking home from their newsagent's with their dog, which always carried the daily paper in its mouth, ever so proudly.

DOG LOVER said...

How about, "A very thirsty man is on the loose"!

Charlie is adorable. Nothing like a picture of a lovable dog to win someone's heart, correct?

MEB said...

John, I'm curious, why just the Guardian for a national newspaper? I would have thought a professional journalist would want to compare the Grauniad (British in-joke there) with the Times, the Telegraph, the Independent.

John Kelly said...

I do spread my newspaper purchasing around. The Guardian's good Mondays for its media section. I like the Independent's motoring section on Tuesdays. And I buy the Sunday Times. I spread the wealth occasionally, buying the Telegraph sometimes and the Mail when I want to see what Britain really things. But the Guardian is good because you can take it apart and spread it around the table. That's important when you have four people who want to read the paper.

mark, not from alexandria said...

In DC, you would be risking the animal control folks (or a vigilante in cahoots with them) seizing your dog for tying him up and abandoning him, even momentarily. I have seen notes they leave behind.