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Paper Monitor

11:46 UK time, Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A [snuffle] service highlighting the [cough] riches of the daily press.

Don't step too close. Paper Monitor has been off ill. Maybe it's a summer cold, perhaps something rather more, er, topical - although no temperature, so one assumes it's unlikely to be the latter. Unless... and this is hazy... it might be wine flu.

But just in case, Paper Monitor is writing this from within a plastic bubble, while wearing a protective suit and yearning to gallop off into the sunset.

This is taking things a little far, as plastic bubbles and protective suits do not figure in the Guardian's cut-out-and-keep guide on how to spot and treat swine flu. And this is not just any cut-out-and-keep guide, but "the definitive cut-out-and-keep advice in partnership with the British Medical Journal".

Instead it is altogether more sensible and less alarmist, but does feature a massive photograph of a woman in a surgical mask - the agreed visual shorthand for swine flu, even though there is - take it away, BMJ - "no good evidence that wearing masks will protect you".

Meanwhile, the papers also mourn the passing of legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. Paper Monitor mentions this mainly because, despite being sufficiently interested in modern dance to have seen the Merce Cunningham troupe perform, one had always assumed Merce Cunningham was a woman. Only it turns out he's not.

Disconcerting when one's preconceptions about another's gender are blown out of the water, no?

The Daily Mail, too, is much concerned with preconception-busting, musing on what it is about a man with "grey frizzy hair, spectacles and squinty smile" that attracts the ladies.

For Lembit Opik has a new soulmate - a 21-year-old underwear model. He says he likes her because she's "beautiful, smart and attractive". She says she's always "liked an older man and it's refreshing that he sees me as intelligent".

Ain't love grand?

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