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Paper Monitor

12:39 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Sound the claxon. This is the headline of the day week month... nay, even year, courtesy of the Daily Mail:

"What kind of hideout has children visiting and pet rabbits?"

A bit tricky to gauge the correct tone, though. It could be mistaken for a Daily Mail OutrageĀ© headline. But then again, Fleet St types love a juxtaposition, and you can't get much more delightfully clashy-clashy than hideout v pet rabbit. Just thinking about it gives Paper Monitor a little thrill of excitement.

(The online version has more words in its headline, but none of them are "pet" or "rabbit". Which is, quite frankly, a wasted opportunity. But its picture caption of said rabbits make up for this oversight with a pun: "Osama bunny-laden".)

What follows is pure Mail, right down to the property valuation:

"Details of the comfortable family life Osama Bin Laden enjoyed under the noses of the Pakistani security services emerged last night. Neighbours' children were invited into the terror mastermind's hideout to play with pet rabbits, while his children attended a nearby school... Even the name of the million-dollar house was a huge clue - it was called 'Waziristan Mansion', after the tribal area of mountainous Pakistan where Bin Laden fled in the wake of the 9/11 outrage."

Meanwhile, in more Standout Accessory of the Year news (see Tuesday's Paper Monitor), the Mail again returns to the subject of Princess Beatrice's hat.

Columnist Sandra Parsons invokes The Emperor's New Clothes:

"The man who designed it, Philip Treacy, thinks it was 'absolutely amazing' and can't understand why anyone would want to poke fun at his creation. The rest of us can't understand how she could have been allowed out of the house with a giant pretzel on her head."

She also points out that of the 40 Treacy hats at the wedding, most were designed to be worn at the front of the head, a "totally unflattering look".

Anyone else still squeaking the pips of the royal wedding? Why yes. The Daily Telegraph devotes almost a whole page to the Duchess of Cambridge's new life as a "perfect Army wife" in the same five-room cottage where she and William quietly lived together pre-wedding.

"The Duke has made it clear that he wants to be treated as any other officer in the Armed Forces, which means, by extension, that the Duchess will want to be treated as any other services wife. If so, she will be in just the right place. RAF Valley, in Anglesey, is a remote base, where the down-to-earth locals will have little truck with prying paparazzi or intrusive Twittering about the couple's trip to the Spar supermarket or pub. Like any other couple, they like to keep life as low-key as possible, with sofa suppers, walks on the beach and kitchen dinners with their landlords, Sir George and Lady Tapps Gervis Meyrick."

As well as insights into their lives, there is a very Telegraph-esque bit of social observation on the wedding gift de nos jours:

"The couple asked for charitable donations in lieu of gifts, sparing themselves a deluge of bread-makers, which are the new toasters... Although there are bound to be some traditional upper-crust wedding guests who insisted on giving proper presents; Georgian fish knives; an ironic job lot of Kate and Harry coffee mugs; a sizeable chunk of Scotland."

And, one hopes, a few items of "tasteless bling from sundry heads of state" - writing a thank-you note for a solid gold, diamond encrusted scale model of an Arab boat worth a cool million is surely an advanced module in Diplomacy 101.


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