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Paper Monitor

10:21 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's Friday! Paper Monitor has rhapsodised before about the wonderfulness of a day that gives us both Caitlin Moran's Celebrity Watch and Marina Hyde's Lost in Showbiz columns.

But there is another reason to celebrate.

Friday is when the papers tend to deploy their big-gun reviewers to cast judgement over the music, films and plays that their readers have a weekend ahead of them to enjoy.

It's a day Paper Monitor always looks forward to keenly, not least because we can enjoy the scribblings of Alexis Petridis, the Guardian's marvellous chief rock and pop critic.

Petridis's critical persona is of a man both in love with his musical idiom yet frequently baffled by its absurdities. Customarily, his Friday lead reviews begin with a shaggy dog story, such as today's preamble to his take on a new album by Kate Bush.

Here, he considers why Ms Bush - widely hailed as one of the best songwriters of her generation - is so reluctant to speak to journalists, and revisits a selection of interviews from early in her career on YouTube:

In one, Sat in Your Lap blares madly from studio speakers, as strange and adventurous a single as anyone released in 1982. But interviewer Richard Stilgoe has more pressing matters on his mind: "You don't have any spots or pimples! What's your secret?" In another, she is prevailed upon to promote Breathing - a single, it's worth remembering, about an unborn baby slowly dying of radiation poisoning - by explaining her vegetarian diet to Delia Smith. They stare at a profoundly unappetising pot of carrot and tomatoes. "You can even cook them in Marmite," offers Bush, brightly. "I really do think there's a lot in vegetables."

But on Fridays it is not only music fans who get to enjoy good writing.

In the Times, film critic Kate Muir expresses her approval for Attack the Block, a sci-fi comedy about hoodies on a south London council estate battling an alien invasion.

But she offers a linguistic guide to those unfamiliar with the movie's vernacular:

For those without teenagers in the home, the street slang may require translating. "To merk" is to destroy or beat; "Feds" are the local constabulary; "bare" is very; "sick" is marvellous; "blud", "bruv" and "cuz" are friends; and "wagwan me homies?" means what's going on, chaps? You should also appreciate the difference between grime, hip-hop and rap to enjoy the musical accompaniment, although KRS-One's "Woop, woop, that's the sound of da police!" will be clear to all.


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