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Paper Monitor

10:13 UK time, Thursday, 1 May 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Maybe it's the ponytail; maybe the pensive picture by-line, but chief sportswriter at the Times, Simon Barnes, always has the air of a man whose mind is on higher matters than the merits of how one man kicks a ball to another. Those who never make it to the back pages may recognise him from his occasional forays into writing about bird watching, but in today's paper we're given a glimpse of his more literary ambitions.

To accompany the story about the sale of legendary doggerel peddler William McGonagall's archive, Barnes has a pop writing some bad poetry of his own.

Paper Monitor is reminded of an interview it once saw on Saturday morning television with a former incarnation of Dr Who, who explained how difficult it was for an accomplished TV costumier to create such a bad-taste outfit.

So how accomplished is Barnes' adverse verse? It's pretty dire... but maybe not bad enough. A rare example perhaps of something being so good it's bad.

No such highbrow pretensions at the Sun, which follows up the Ronaldo "ladyboy" prostitutes story with aplomb: "CAN YOU TELL SUN MEN FROM WOMEN? Look at these four lovelies... now take our Ronald'oh test." In case you haven't guessed - readers are presented with pictures of four "women" and challenged to pick out which are really men.

Clue: Ali is the real McCoy. Or as the Sun puts it: "She's got a genuine pair of strikers up front."

Finally, to the Independent which had the neat idea of marking the death of the inventor of LSD, Albert Hofmann, with a feature. Unfortunately, it has spelt his name incorrectly throughout. [Sorry, what did you say about pride and fall?]

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