I’m getting so bored with the national newspapers these days. Everywhere you turn it’s Brexit this, Trump that. It’s got so bad that I have taken to ‘reading’ the local newspaper, in my case The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, much more than usual. So much more that it hurts.
Reading The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald is an acquired skill.
Even before you begin any search for news that might rock your world (highly unlikely) you have to get to grips with its physical presence.
It’s huge and impossible to read in the open air. The slightest gust of wind, a breeze in fact and you could quite easily lose your footing, or take to the skies.
Its size reminds me of what newspapers used to be like when they reported on ‘The Fall of Mafeking’. I know this because in every film about that era, for example, ‘The Charge of the light Brigade’, ‘Zulu’ or anything with Charlton Heston in, there was always a scene in a Gentlemen’s club.
Well-upholstered men with whiskers, clutching glasses of port or brandy would sit on well-upholstered armchairs reading aloud to anyone who would listen, the latest news from whatever part of the Empire was under siege. The newspapers they read from were of the same ilk as The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald. Large. Massive even.
Not only were these periodicals huge they were also thick. Thick with news.
Unlike my local paper, these journals contained well-written articles describing battles at sea, blood-thirsty stories of crowds mown down by British troops in some distant outpost in India and of course, daring deeds by the heroes of the day. The usual stuff and obviously not the sort of thing that goes on in a gentle backwater like Stratford-upon-Avon.
Sadly, The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald struggles to find news. Of course, that is not the paper’s fault. Apart from, ‘man’s hat blows off in high street’, sort of thing, nothing ever happens in my home town. And this is why the paper is thin.
To be honest, it’s so thin I’m not really sure it’s even constructed of paper anymore. I suspect there’s a secret factory somewhere producing a gossamer-like material or maybe even harvesting butterfly wings.
Anyway, the truth is, because of its size and it almost transparent thinness it is a beast to handle. Impossible in an enclosed space. I would go so far to say it is dangerous. Probably one of the main reasons Stratford-upon-Avon erupts into violence at weekends.
The struggle to fold such an unwieldy newspaper more often than not, can lead to an accidental punch in the face or the unintentional fondling of a girlfriend’s bottom. What follows after such accidents, can only be described as the disastrous consequences of having a newspaper too large for its own good.
I have been told that the owners of the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald refuse point-blank to go tabloid. Apparently, all efforts from the Editor to persuade them otherwise are wasted. Living in a deserted mansion just outside of Town, the owners are well cut off from the realities of life. They, so the stories go, decided to withdraw from modern life when the telegram service, ceased.
However, somehow the paper, soldiers on. I guess relying on readers like me who no-matter what, would hate to see it go under.
I think the only time I would consider leaving the rapidly declining readership would be if it discontinued its local ‘Deaths’ column.