December 27, 2010

What is it for?

This is the question prompted by what has come an annual event in our village. The newsagent shuts down for a week, which would mean a walk of almost a mile to buy The Telegraph from the village's minimarket - except that last year they didn't seem to stock it. So it needed a short drive to the neighbouring town.

This year, though, ours is seemingly the only local road still iced and treacherous. Christmas visitors had carefree drives to us except for the last few yards, which they travelled with caution and some trepidation. It goes without saying that we will not be gritted or salted, the County's supplies being very low.

(During the summer, Hertfordshire ordered 12,000 tonnes of salt for use across the county. On Monday, there was enough salt for 13 heavy gritting runs with the next delivery expected around 5 January – almost two weeks. We must await the thaw.)

So whereas last year it wasn't much of a decision whether to drive into town for a paper, this year it's one you think about. Somehow the lure of The Sunday Telegraph wasn't sufficient to run the risk of the car proving disobedient on the slippery road.

The absinence didn't turn out to be painful at all. Today we scarcely considered going out for a paper. And it still didn't hurt.

For what does The Telegraph give me? Booker, Ambrose, and Liam Halligan. Occasionally Boris smuggles some meat into his serving, but usually it's slightly flavoured and instantly forgettable.

But most of the content is annoying - news coverage that is shallow, bulked out with girlie chitchat which is beyond shallow, making Boris seem a paragon of Roman gravitas.

So why am I paying so much to be so irritated by so little worth? It's not as if The Telegraph is a serious newspaper any more. It's surprisingly pleasant to stop banging my head against the kitchen table in frustration.

Could it be that newspapers are bad for you? And that the web communities offer better scrutiny of politicians than do the press?

Whoever would have thought it? And we get to set our own agenda.


Alan Douglas said...

I was so irritated by Heffer and that air-head Melissa that I sent my cheap coupons back before the election. I am still a happy man.

Alan Douglas

Edward Spalton said...

I continued to buy the Daily Telegraph out of habit, having been a regular reader since the the mid Fifties. There was less and less reason to do so with the demise of the Way of the World column (which could be uncannily prophetic) and of the much missed Auberon Waugh.

Eventually the dumbing down became too much and I contented myself with the Sunday Telegraph alone, which at least continues with Christopher Booker as an antidote to the frightful climate luvvies like Louise Gray. This Sunday, I couldn't get it. The village newsagent remained closed and the Co-op mini market in the next village but one either did not stock it or had sold out. I survived with hardly any cold turkey symptoms.

John Page said...


When I was pondering what I might miss in The Telegraph, Heffer never crossed my mind.

I suppose his ex cathedra pomposity irritates me without offering any illumination. Like most smug self-parodists he's become predictable.

He's no substitute for the web iconoclasts, who teach me something new every day. When did I last learn anything from Heffer?

John Page said...


In the Sunday, don't forget Liam Halligan in the business section. (I also enjoy Honest John & Geoff the builder.)

You mentioned Louise Gray in my comments section! :) Don't get me started on the Telegraph stuff I really don't like....

For cold turkey see

Anonymous said...

I divided the content of the DT into:
1. Not interesting therefor not interested.
2. A load of bollux and not worth my time reading.
3. That may be your opinion but for what it's worth...
4. Finally, when it came to the point that the only interesting bit was my letter to the editor, I gave up and have not read nor missed the self opinionated shower
of _______________ (fill in the blanks) since.
Apart from that, to get more readers, they had made the crossword far too easy.

John Page said...

I didn't know they'd taken up publishing anonymous letters.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

So it's not just me.

After years of being Telegraph subscribers, we decided yesterday to junk it.

Relentless trivia, celebrity gossip, it's become a sort of upmarket Sun or Record.

No thanks.

And I am not interesting in paying for the vapourings of Lean and Gray.

A whole page of maudlin ghoulishness about Ian Brady finally finished it for us: I mean, who cares?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Yeah, John and Jeff are good. So is Jessica in the finance bit.

And Booker.

But they don't make up for the relentless trivia, celebrity rubbish, and this week - what finally finished it for us - a whole page of ghoulish maundering about Ian Brady.

Who cares? Not me.

Who pays? Not me any more.

Subscription cancelled.