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Paper Monitor

11:07 UK time, Monday, 16 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

For a journalist, there are thankless first-person colour writing assignments and thankless tabloid first person colour writing assignments.

For the latter, you usually have to dress up.

Getting a hapless reporter to put themselves at the heart of the story is a time-honoured newspaper technique. Tim Dowling of the Guardian has carved out a career and - Paper Monitor assumes - a reasonable income doing little else.

Not all practitioners have the status of star "gonzo" journalists like Hunter S Thompson, hanging out with Hell's Angels or filing drug-fuelled, stream-of-consciousness copy from the 1972 Democratic Party convention.

Take Lee Price of the Sun, who today writes up the day he spent as a silver-coloured living statue in London's Covent Garden.

The article makes for an entertaining read. But it's painfully clear that Price didn't enjoy putting it together.

"It's not a job for the upwardly mobile - in fact mobility in ANY direction is best avoided," he begins.

"Being a living statue means staying stock-still for agonisingly long periods."

Physical discomfort is not the only obstacle he faces. As a source of competition, Price is not welcomed into the trade with open arms by his fellow statues.

Indeed, the reporter will have been aware that a statue known as the Invisible King was recently jailed for assaulting another whom he believed had stolen his pitch.

Price nicely captures the paranoia at the heart of the profession as he tells of being "eyed territorially by other street statues":

An all-silver witch is particularly hostile as I pass, perhaps understandably, as I've stolen her colour. Rather than find out just how protective she is of her spot, I hop it - eager not to make a monumental mistake.

Just be thankful he went there so you didn't have to.


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