When I first discovered Sunday broadsheets I absolutely loved them, I could spend all day reading and learning from their pages (particularly enjoyable when I was a room service waiter at Claridge’s and was getting paid for it). I remember traveling from Euston to Stoke in 1982 reading an in depth piece (Insight, I think it was called) about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for practically the whole of the journey. It was like a history book to me, that, and the sports pages seemed to be written in a sort of poetry too. That’s all evaporated now; the Observer is put together by three journalists, all of whom are Kathryn Flett, and the Sunday Times has a feature called EAT LIKE A CAVEWOMAN and get the body you were born to have illustrated by a picture of a nude model so that stockbrokers can … well, you know what.
But of course the main reason I can’t be doing with them now is that I can trace the bitching and, more often, the back scratching that goes on in the books pages. In one notorious incident one Observer staffer’s latest tome was reviewed twice in the same edition, once in the books pages and once in the sports. Quite surprisingly it was the greatest book of it’s kind ever written as well, and not just once, but twice. This sort of thing can only make one hurl.