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Paper Monitor

13:28 UK time, Monday, 19 November 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

So. The Mousetrap. It's been running for 60 years in London's Glittering West Endâ„¢, making it the world's longest-running play.

If Agatha Christie's tale somehow turned into a newspaper, it would no doubt be the Daily Telegraph.

Aptly, the venerable paper has put the venerable play on page three to mark its 25,000th performance, and showcases The Mousetrap in numbers:

  • 3 - times the play has had to be cancelled in its time on the London stage (can you guess? Tell us using the send a letter form on the right of this page)
  • 50 - languages into which the play has been translated
  • 60 - years the play has been continuously running in London
  • 411 - actors have appeared in the play
  • 4,575 - times David Raven played the character of Major Metcalfe, earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records
  • 12,000 - disadvantaged young people taken to the theatre in London each year by Mousetrap Theatre projects, a charity which receives funding from the play

And finally, eight - the number of months its author thought it would last on stage.

Meanwhile, in the Times, Libby Purves lays into tweeters such as "idly self-righteous 'citizen journalists'" and Sally Bercow:

(I once "followed" her for a few days, but had to "unfollow" her because of the undignified temptation to tweet back and tell her what a div she is)

But she also worries about what 140-character microblogging is doing to the nation's fragile psyche.

Twitter protocol [says] nothing too trifling to share with the world. Except that the dark things, frustrations and insecurities, dullness and graft, are rarely shared unless they're made quirkily amusing and loveable. It is the opposite of the great truth that George Orwell once enunciated, that every life viewed from within is a succession of small defeats. On Twitter, a life displayed must be a succession of amusing little triumphs.

She likens keeping up a stream of "daily titbits of loveability or glamour" to wearing a mask that eats into the face.

Gross. Paper Monitor does not like the sound of a gnawed-on face, and is therefore tempted to set up a Twitter feed exclusively devoted to small defeats. What might one's first tweet be?

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