the grauniad

My starring role in Revenge Of The Super-Cold this week kept me from my usual Saturday routine: coffee, more coffee, a cigarette and the best newspaper in the world. I only buy it once a week because, with nine supplements and a free DVD of a movie they helped fund (such as The Madness Of King George), it takes me that long to get through it.

The Guardian is no stranger to criticism. It's definitely leftist though rarely partisan. It thinks like me. Or, possibly, it has indoctrinated me into thinking a certain way! It's won awards for its online content and yet still has a reputation for schoolboy errors. Satirical magazine Private Eye coined the nickname "The Grauniad" due to the alarming number of typographical mistakes and also, I suspect, a desire to avoid lawsuits by referring to every thing and everyone by fake names. (I once sent a hilarious article from Private Eye to a colleague in Belgium and he responded dryly, "That was very British." Link followers, don't say I didn't warn you.) Legend has it that the paper once mis-spelled its own name, though in the top corner of a page and not on the masthead. In truth, the typos mostly ceased in 1988 when the publishers switched to an electronic typesetting system but jokes that good don't go away overnight.

They tried to fool me by launching a major redesign on the very day I returned to these shores but me and my Saturday Guardian are not so easily parted. What do you do when you can't find the font you want and don't want others imitating your success? Make your own, that's what! Helvetica is out and the new font is called Guardian Egyptian. It's now the only British national printing in full colour and the first to use the Berliner format - which is a new mid-size, halfway between the traditional broadsheet and the modern tabloid, and not in the shape of a doughnut at all. It's certainly a lot easier to control on a windy day yet not so small that you look like a pleb when reading it in public. (Snobbery 1, Everyman Complex 0.)

I'd pay the cover price just for the T.V. guide. Where else can you get programme descriptions as sarcastic as this?

BBC1 11.40pm FILM: Net Force (Robert Lieberman, 1999). Scott Bakula heads an F.B.I. team dedicated to solving crimes that take place on an outlandish computer system called "the internet" in the futuristic year of 2005.

Sky Movies 8.00pm FILM: The Chronicles Of Riddick (David Twohy, 2004). Chronically ridiculous.

Not helping its reputation is one of the more entertaining parts of the paper, Corrections. All newspapers make mistakes but mine has no problem admitting to them where others might require a court order before printing an apology. (Appearances can be important, I hear.) I'll end this thinly-disguised sales pitch with a quote that's so old it's probably apochryphal: "The omission of a Corrections section in yesterday's Guardian was due to a printer error and not a sudden onset of accuracy."


Anonymous sarah said...

Better than any newspaper we have here.

Blogger The Paranoid Mod said...

The obituary of the actor Brian Glover many years ago in the Guardian started "Brian Glover, who died yesterday of a brian tumour..."

And the queen's xmas speech a couple of years back was described in the tv guide as "Fireside chat from a rich woman in a big house".


Blogger Major Rakal said...

Legend has it that a game publisher once mis-spelled its own name -- prominently -- on the cover of a convention program. But that's just a legend, of course.

P.S. Marcus, could you perhaps turn on your RSS feed? 'Twould make it so much easier for me to keep track of when you update. :-)


Blogger thisismarcus said...

Major: some legends are true!

I've thought about RSS but I often tweak what I write (correcting typos, wrong information, bad links, etc.) so I came to the conclusion multiple RSS alerts per post would drive you all mad. Seven posts a week is a good rule of thumb, though it's rarely as even as one per day.

Mod: please don't throw East Is East away til after I watch it. Ta!

Sarah: "The Monkey Writes" is a good anagram of The New York Times. (I knew Dan Brown was a hack when one of his English characters referred to The London Times... hack!)

Anyone new here: the Guardian's website is linked from my sidebar.

Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

The Times is read by the people who run the country.
The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country.
The Guardian is read by the people who think they ought to run the country.
The Morning Star is read by the people who think the country ought to be run by another country.
The Independent is read by people who don’t know who runs the country but are sure they’re doing it wrong.
The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country.
The Financial Times is read by the people who own the country.
The Daily Express is read by the people who think the country ought to be run as it used to be run.
The Daily Telegraph is read by the people who still think it is their country.
And the Sun’s readers don’t care who runs the country providing she has big tits.

Blogger Aussie-Askew said...

Their note about missing a corrections page is bloody brilliant. Hilarious.

And the best part about "DeciperCon" was that around 5 managers and most of the marketing department reviewed some part of that brochure before it went to print.

The hardest errors to find are the biggest ones.

Blogger thisismarcus said...

Fantastic, Grunt! Whatever your day job is, you're wasted in it.



Post a Comment

<< Home