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Paper Monitor

11:18 UK time, Thursday, 21 May 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Today we generously submit four gifts to readers, and as is the custom these days, they are all fully accounted for, registered and leaked to a respectable broadsheet newspaper.

1. An MP writes in the Daily Mail: "A second house? I had nine second houses, one of them a yacht moored off Macau, and all paid for by you - my grateful, if uninformed, people." No, it's not another head on the block at the Commons, it's the lecherous but fictional Conservative MP Alan B'Stard. After days of moral indignation, the paper changes tone momentarily to one of satire.

2. Turning to one of B'Stards Tory colleagues, Matthew Parris writing in the Times sums up the woes of Douglas Hogg, demoted in the wake of his extravagant expenses claim: "It was a word that did it: from 'moat' there is no coming back."

3. The same paper is less delicate in trying to impose a musical metaphor on the story about the first British astronaut to join the European Space Agency crew. His name, Major Tim Peake, is a gift for David Bowie fans. "Meet the real-life Major Tom", says the front page panel. "This is ground control to Major Tim, you've really made the grade..." says the headline inside. And, just in case you missed it, the editorial labours the Space Oddity theme even further. As well as the single vowel separating the two men, the real astronaut has, the paper says, a "more-than-passing resemblance to David Bowie on the front of the Major Tom album". And it's a name the 37 year old "will inevitably" be known as, says the paper. Yes, if the Times campaign - backed by stablemate the Sun - to re-christen him is successful, yes.

4. Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited new film Inglourious Basterds has been unveiled at Cannes, and for newspapers' film critics, it's the event of the festival, although one that leaves the Guardian as a lone voice of criticism.

"Everything is just so boring" - Guardian
"A return, at last, by Tarantino to his combustible and operatic best" - Times
"As with any Tarantino film it sounds completely bonkers. And it is. But it's also brilliant" - Sun
"Vintage Tarantino to be sure, but a little more action would have been glorious" - Mail
"His most entertaining and exhilarating effort since Pulp Fiction" - Independent

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