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Paper Monitor

11:30 UK time, Friday, 28 March 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Fancy the idea of Daily Mail cartoonist Mac being stranded all alone on a desert island with no way of contacting the outside world? Indulge, then, in this week's Desert Island Discs in which Kirsty Young sends Stanley McMurty - aka Mac - to a far-off isle with just eight records to keep him company. And one luxury - a tenor saxophone.

"So no drawing?" asks the fragrant Kirsty (Paper Monitor is perhaps projecting a note of hope into her question). "Most islands have got litter being washed ashore and I think there will be some bits of paper," Mac replies. "I shall light a fire and make charcoal.... Hopefully I'll find some bottles, put the drawings in those bottles and address them to the Daily Mail."

He appears to be on Daily Mail Island already, as the paper's cartoon today is supplied by Mahood.

But what does somewhat endear the man to Paper Monitor - whose portfolio includes a dated gag about Blitish Airways and the Japanese buying up UK firms - is this introduction from Ms Young.

"For 38 years he has worked at the Daily Mail, in his own words, 'making the dreary copy of the daily paper brighter by putting in a laugh'."

Reading said paper today certainly is a gloomy affair, with BA in "TERMINAL DISGRACE", and ditto everything from yobs who kill, to a failed university recruitment drive, to the BBC's staffing levels for the Olympics, to the British PM's woeful effort at planting a smacker on Mme Sarkozy's fair cheek.

"Some sort of contact was required. In the panic of the moment, Mr Brown reverted to type and attempted a manly handshake. Then, clunk! The jowls of Kirkcaldy came up against those Grade One listed Continental cheekbones," writes columnist Robert Hardman, decrying how this reaffirms any and every stereotype of British manhood.

Poor Gordon Brown's manliness comes in for a kicking in the Times too, over his obvious discomfort when faced with a football. It offers sage advice to politicians in such situations:
• Do not try to juggle the ball
• Or play head tennis (Tony Blair pulled this one off, perhaps why Mr Brown seemed so reluctant to make ball contact)
• "Stand 5ft apart and slowly pass the ball using the instep"
• "Get rid of it as quickly as possible so that everyone thinks you are a team player"

Wise words indeed.

And one further tip, Mr Brown. Should you wish to avoid such embarrassment in future, perhaps best to duck out of photo calls held in football stadiums.

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