BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for May 1, 2011 - May 7, 2011

10 things we didn't know last week

17:18 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

A litter of 10 puppies

Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.


1. New York taxis used to be red and green, but in 1907 were all repainted yellow to be visible from a distance.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

2. Philtrum is the name of the groove on your top lip that lies just beneath your nose.
More details

3. The perfect nap lasts 26 minutes.
More details

4. Kate Bush writes songs more easily with a bag of bone meal - yes, the garden fertiliser - on her piano.
More details

5. Marlon Brando, Liz Taylor and Michael Jackson shared a hire car on 9/11.
More details (Daily Mirror)

6. A "Spanish plume" is a weather system that sucks warm - and perhaps thundery - air up from Spain and North Africa.
More details (Daily Mail)

7. European brands that succeed in the US tend to be at the luxury end of the market - as Tesco is finding to its cost.
More details

8. Delilah became the anthem of Stoke City FC fans after police officers asked them not to sing any songs with swear words. Next up on the pub jukebox was the Tom Jones hit...
More details

9. Left-handed people are more fearful than right-handers.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

10. Kate Middleton - the Duchess of Cambridge - has never been to the United States.
More details

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week.

Your Letters

17:03 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

BREAKING NEWS - MAN DOES JOB
Alex, Bishop Auckland

7 days quiz asks why is Mariah Carey's new baby called Moroccan?
I thought that was a start of a joke... "I don't know. Why is her baby called Moroccan?"
Joyce Burley @BBC News Magazine

Re star schools. Can people of different generations who each go into different occupations be classed as a cluster?
MCK, Stevenage

Carey (Thursday letters) - that's very impressive. I can dry two towels, a dressing gown and three pairs of socks on my cross-trainer.
Shiz, Cheshire, UK

Carey, if I remember my physics (and I'm sure if I don't some kindly Monitorite will gently correct me), your cross-trainer work-out should be enough to bring about three-quarters of a teaspoon of room-temperature water to a level suitable for tea-making. Sounds like a challenge if you want a whole cuppa.
Jo, London

Hmmm. Sex causes strokes but marriage reduces stroke risk. So it is true. There is less sex when you are married.
Tattooed_Mummy, Sussex, UK

OK, so now I'm confused - an obsession with both celebrity and boxing? Paper Monitor is either a member of that peculiar group of boxing-enjoying-ladies; or that other peculiar group of celebrity-enjoying-men. I'm 50/50 on this one.
Basil Long, Nottingham
Paper Monitor note: You are confusing admiration for Marina Hyde and Caitlin Moran's writing styles with an interest in celebrity tittle-tattle.

Paper Monitor, have I just emerged from one of those comas where you realise that everyone else seems to be speaking a different language?
There was a vague glimmer of recognition in one small line from today's offering.
Having no idea who or what you were talking about, my happy response to "the demise of Can Associates would cause the immediate collapse of six celebrity magazines, ITV2, and the Ugg futures market" is quite emphatically "Bring it on!".
Must dash - off to apply for the position of High Court Judge.
Fi, Gloucestershire, UK

The eyes have it - Picasso was more literal than he probably knew.
Robin, Herts, UK

Ooh, yes please Graham (Thursday letters) - I'll have a large, extra hot, extra wet, foamy mocha choca latte with extra cream.
Julie, Egham, UK
Monitor note: I do hope that's not a euphemism.

No, tea please Graham.
HB, Birmingham
Monitor note: Anyone got any Friday biccies to pass around? Not for Julie though - sounds like she might be otherwise engaged.

Popular Elsewhere

15:13 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The New York Times' most popular story reports on the dog who appears to have found Osama Bin Laden. It says the identities of all 80 members of the American commando team who killed bin Laden are the subject of intense speculation, but "perhaps none more so than the only member with four legs". Little is known about the dog, but the article says the most common US military dogs are the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois

A well hit Slate article goes on to ask why the military sent a dog to help kill Osama Bin Laden? It points out neither the Pentagon nor the White House is talking about the role the dog played in Sunday's operation, including if a dog was involved at all. But it still goes on to attempt to answer, saying the dog's sense of smell would have been the reason it was involved.

But the most popular Slate article is a slideshow of cats of war, which claims to report that a top-secret feline special-operations program has been revealed. The pictures show swimming and parachuting cats, but is filed under the index "dubious and far fetched ideas".

Attracting some traffic on Perth Today is a follow up to Oprah Winfrey's high profile visit to Australia. She took her audience members with her. As part of the show they were given luxury gifts, but Perth Now reports the fans are complaining that they still haven't been given the pink diamonds they were promised.

A popular story on the Daily Mail's site reports on a size eight beauty therapist "stunned" when she went into labour. The article says Lauren Peberdy gave birth to an 8lb 7oz baby even though she had no idea she was pregnant. It goes on to say she'd even been to the doctor for a contraceptive pill check-up just a fortnight earlier, and the doctor had said her weight and blood pressure were fine.

The Independent's most read story asks if America will learn to understand Cheryl Cole's accent? It comes after news that she is going to judge on the US version of the X Factor. The article explains that US broadcasting rules require entertainment programmes to deliver "reliable information" and insiders say the network fears lawsuits if viewers can't make sense of her north-east accent. This isn't the first time British regional accents caused a stir in the US. The article points out Susan Boyle's interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show was subtitled, as was Mike Leigh's film Secrets And Lies, set among working-class Londoners, and Trainspotting - the film about Edinburgh heroin addicts.

Caption Competition

14:00 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

Comments

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

The competition is now closed. Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

This week it's preparations for the opening of the world's largest model airport at Miniature Wunderland in Hamburg. It took six years to make and cost 3.5 million euros.

Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. MorningGlories Tower says hold up, there's bad weather at Legoland.

5. eattherich
It's so authentic. Look, even the departure lounge is packed with thousands of tiny figures asleep on the floor or queuing, bereft of hope.

4. Jovian_Moon
Gulliver wondered just how he was going to continue his travels.

3. Cheesy
Meanwhile at the sleep clinic, new technology gives scientists a glimpse into Michael O'Leary's dreams.

2. redalfa147
The model planes are in Hamburg. Unfortunately, the model baggage is in Mumbai.

1. Fern Coolbra
I'm afraid you're over the three-inch-tall limit, Sir, so there's a £1,000 surcharge...

Paper Monitor

11:41 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

She's back - Marina Hyde, Paper Monitor's favourite columnist. And Marina, you had me at "manacles, preferably".

She's returned to the Guardian's Lost in Showbiz column, the fifth horsewoman of the apocalypse, her thundering steed symbolising the death of true celebrity under a hail of Z-listers in Ugg boots and bikinis.

Back in saddle after time off to tend to a mewling infant, her powers are undimmed:

What links Peter Andre, Kerry Katona, weirdo life coaches the Speakmans, Frank Lampard's ex, and the vajazzler off The Only Way is Essex? If you answered "manacles, preferably", then prepare for disappointment. They are all managed by Claire Powell, boss of Can Associates (hereafter: "the organ grinder").
Peter Andre

Hyde on Andre: "Pinocchio with better hair products"

This is the talent agency/production company/paparazzi rustler behind ITV2's Peter Andre: The Next Chapter, ITV2's Kerry Katona: The Next Chapter, OK! magazine WORLD EXCLUSIVE interviews with the same, and so on.


Where once Britain's economy was underpinned by non-renewables such as coal and Shakespeare, Can Associates has tapped into renewables - an infinitely replaceable and interchangeable procession of reality TV stars, Wags and famous-for-what-exactly? types.

What would happen if this house of cards came tumbling down? Over to Hyde:

Make no mistake: the demise of Can Associates would cause the immediate collapse of six celebrity magazines, ITV2, and the Ugg futures market.

A chilling vision indeed.

Hyde's comeback means only one thing. Paper Monitor can once again don its Don King wig and stage another face-off between Lost in Showbiz and Celebritywatch, its rival in the Times.

Hyde v Caitlin Moran - this is one catfight you won't want to miss. Ding ding!

Moran comes out fighting with disappointment that Mariah Carey didn't follow through on her promise to name all her children "Mariah".

Come on, Mariah! You're Mariah! You know you want to call them "Mariah". Even though one is a boy! We know you want to rename everything within your visual range "Mariah".

Hyde counters with a devastating description of Elton John's White Tie and Tiara Ball - "an event easily as exclusive as a Nigerian e-mail scam".

Moran feints, ducks, weaves, then jabs with her nomination for THE Quote of 2011 - REM's Michael Stipe on a dinner party at Gwyneth Paltrow's house: "A duck she was cooking caught fire and she threw it in the pool."

This quote has it all: Paltrow screaming "Where is the oven glove?", Coldplay husband Chris Martin handing her a useless damp tea towel then bursting into tears, Stipe watching it all, muttering "I am Michael Stipe. I am too mysterious to touch burning repast" and, eventually, a duck in a swimming pool.

But Hyde isn't on the ropes for long. Throwing off her gloves, she bare-knuckles it, with a trademark what-the-Karaoke-Sauron-will-do-next blow:

By 2018, the entire nation - and probably the world - will be sitting in slack-jawed thrall before a format in which Simon [Cowell] merely informs a contestant whether or not they may live. (Calls to congratulate him will cost £1.50 from a BT landline, but calls from other networks and mobiles will be considerably more.)

Knock-outs. Both of them. Hyde - arm aloft. Moran - ditto. You're both winners in Paper Monitor's eyes.

Your Letters

17:17 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

Is Paper Monitor a scaredy cat?
Claire, Nottingham
Paper Monitor note: Yes.

Two signs:

The next time someone whines "It's health & safety gone ma-a-d!", just point them to the footage in Construction cliff work 'not for the faint-hearted'. Fee Lock, Hastings, East Sussex

Monitor note: Ah, a chance to revisit our favourite reader photo!

Why is bowls, the quintessentially British sport under threat? Because not enough people are moving in to the sport once they give up their old pursuits.
Chris King @bbc_magazine

Why is Tesco struggling in the US? The name! to me "fresh and easy" sounds like a derogatory way of talking about a girl.
Laura Panda @BBC News Magazine

Less like the name of a grocery store and more like the slogan of an escort service.
Cole, Arlington, VA, US

Because it's a different market and they're applying a business model that works here. The US has had huge supermarkets with low prices open 24/7 for decades, so it will take more than slogans to get noticed.
Gordon Stewardson @BBC News Magazine

It's simple. With the fanfare before the openings, we were looking forward to British items on sale, but they pretty much have the same American stuff as every other local store. Big let down. Having shopped in Tesco stores in Britain, I was hoping to find pork pies, sausage rolls, steak and kidney pies, Linda McCartney's vegetarian sausages, jam doughnuts and a selection of your wonderful biscuits. Give us what we want - a British chain selling British goods.
Kit, Sierra Madre, California

What's all this about cups of tea and megawatts (Wednesday letters)? I can burn at least 300 calories on the cross-trainer - what do you think about that?
Carey, Surrey

In defence of my own comments, I am sorry to have sparked such debate amongst Monitorites. I'd like to extend my thanks to Michael and Phil (Wednesday letters) for sticking with me. If you're ever near Norwich, pop in and have one on me (a cuppa, that is). I should add that, being a student with exams fast approaching, I am currently only capable of quantifying everything in cups of tea and London buses. Today, I've managed five cups' worth of revision - is that good?
Ross, Norwich

I've never seen a Star Wars film either (Wednesday letters). Why do some people find that odd?
Kevin, Douglas, IoM

Don't rush. Some hammy acting and a ropey script mean it really doesn't live up to expectations when you are a grown adult. And, yes, I know this will start a row...
Aine, Stevenage

Coffee anyone?
Graham, Hayle, Cornwall
Monitor note: Oh Graham, if only you'd asked at about 11am...

Paper Monitor

12:54 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

How to scare the living daylights out of visitors and "deter cats and pests" - place a Hooting Owl on your path. Not news, but a reader offer in a newspaper - the Daily Express to be exact.

Not only does this "beautifully designed" and "amazingly detailed, right down to the delicate feathers" polyresin owl hoot when anyone, or anything, passes its PIR sensor, but its eyes light up.

Its eyes light up.

Paper Monitor, who still remembers accidently watching a TV movie called I Heard the Owl Call My Name at an impressionable age, shudders at the mere thought.
...
...
[Sound of pages rustling, in search of something more cheery]
...
...
A-ha! Other than that scary owl, the Express should today be renamed the Daily Expuss, for its pages are laden with cat-related items. (After yesterday's wordplay on rabbits, punnery has gone to Paper Monitor's head. Feel free, again, to offer your own via the Send us a Letter form on the right of this page.)

There's a black cat illustrating its story about how superstitious we still are.

And on page 29 is the headline "Cat with a camera gets her snaps into a top exhibition", with a photo of tabby cat Nancy Bean wearing her collarcam, and a reproduction of one of her images. Spot quiz: what's the subject matter?

  1. bowl of cream
  2. rival cat and street scene
  3. the Queen


It's of a rival cat and street scene. Like the work of a Turner Prize nominated artist, at first glance the image seems somewhat amateurish. Some areas are overexposed. Nancy's thumb - or perhaps her furry chin - intrudes into the frame. But she has captured a greater truth in this meditation on the menace that lurks in sunny suburbia. Or something.

So how does a cat - and one with only three legs after an accident - take photos of a standard to be included in the International Festival of Photo­graphy in Arles, France?

The Expuss explains:

"[She] captured 400 shots with a lightweight camera slung around her neck. The camera was timed to take an image every minute as Nancy prowled her favourite haunts around her home in Plymouth...
Nancy's leap to inter­national fame came after [owner] Christian [Allen] used the images in his course studying archi­tecture at the University of Plymouth. He was contacted by world renowned photographer Martin Parr, asking if he would be willing to put 18 of them on display."

Strangely, the Daily Mail has had its own snapper cat story this week - Cooper, a Seattle-based tabby, who also has his own photography exhibition.

Cooper's owners put a collarcam on the ginger tabby to find out what their cat did all day. The answer does not surprise Paper Monitor (also a cat owner - a Kitler, as regular readers of Web Monitor may remember).

"'We learned through his photos that Cooper spent a huge amount of time each day just waiting to be let inside,' Mr Cross explained."

His photos may sell for $200 each, but Cooper wasn't talented spotted by Martin Parr.

So
In
Your
Face

American photographer cat.

Your Letters

16:00 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011

"4/7 in the BBC quiz on fake or real quotations is the best score one could ever achieve" - The Queen, 2011
Ellie, Oxford, UK

Paper Monitor clearly hasn't scrutinised Metro. Headline of the day has got to be "Camel swallows woman in pedicure mishap".
Timothy, Leeds
Monitor note: Nice, but hideout v bunnies is hard to beat.

Re Paper Monitor, surely marrying a serving member of the RAF is not living the life of "a perfect ARMY wife", as reported in the Daily Telegraph. But maybe the fact he was married in an army uniform confused her.
Tim, London

Paper Monitor asks for rabbit puns. A 21 bun salute perhaps?
Candace Sleeman @BBC News Magazine

Osama Bin Lapin.
Even though I'm quite ashamed of that, it's a far better effort than the Daily Mail's, even if I do say so myself.
Brian Martin @BBC News Magazine

If you have a rabbit pun does that make it a "punny bunny"?
Dougie Lawson, Basingstoke, UK

I'd like to join the chorus of readers (and if mine is the only letter, then shame on everybody else) replying in the traditional manner to Ralph's "May the Fourth" Star-Wars Day greeting (Tuesday Letters).
Ralph: Revenge of the Fifth.
James, Stockport
Monitor note: Ralph and James, you may be interested to know that a member of Team Magazine has never seen Star Wars.

Not sure if I'm trying to out-pedant the pedants (seems unwise) or bring some rationality to them (seems unlikely to succeed). Ray Ashley and John claim that Mw can't be converted in to cups of tea because it's a measure of power not energy (Tuesday Letters).
I think it's fair to assume that if the power surge were due to kettles being turned on then the time factor would probably be about the amount of time it takes to boil a kettle. It would be strange to half-boil it then turn it off!
As such we can probably just use the power rating of a kettle (seems to be about 3kw) and the average number of cups of tea made when one kettle is boiled (a bit arbitrary but let's say three). That makes 2.4 million cups of tea.
The power/energy problem means that we will miss people who turned their kettle on after others had turned theirs off but as Ross only claimed he could "begin to speculate" I can live with that.
Michael, Edinburgh, UK

In defence of Ross, 2400MW is the equivalent of almost 1 million kettles being turned on, and tea was almost certainly brewed shortly afterwards.
Phil, Guisborough

The better unit to represent the power surge would be the number of simultaneously boiling kettles rather than number of cups of tea, as what matters to the grid is the instantaneous demand, not the length of time the kettles boil for. Therefore 2,400MW is about 800,000 3kW kettles all going at once. As everyone knows, you should only fill the kettle with the minimum amount of water needed to satisfy your tea-making requirements, to save the planet and all that.
Daniel Norton, Bedford, UK

Paper Monitor

12:39 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Sound the claxon. This is the headline of the day week month... nay, even year, courtesy of the Daily Mail:

"What kind of hideout has children visiting and pet rabbits?"

A bit tricky to gauge the correct tone, though. It could be mistaken for a Daily Mail Outrage© headline. But then again, Fleet St types love a juxtaposition, and you can't get much more delightfully clashy-clashy than hideout v pet rabbit. Just thinking about it gives Paper Monitor a little thrill of excitement.

(The online version has more words in its headline, but none of them are "pet" or "rabbit". Which is, quite frankly, a wasted opportunity. But its picture caption of said rabbits make up for this oversight with a pun: "Osama bunny-laden".)

What follows is pure Mail, right down to the property valuation:

"Details of the comfortable family life Osama Bin Laden enjoyed under the noses of the Pakistani security services emerged last night. Neighbours' children were invited into the terror mastermind's hideout to play with pet rabbits, while his children attended a nearby school... Even the name of the million-dollar house was a huge clue - it was called 'Waziristan Mansion', after the tribal area of mountainous Pakistan where Bin Laden fled in the wake of the 9/11 outrage."

Meanwhile, in more Standout Accessory of the Year news (see Tuesday's Paper Monitor), the Mail again returns to the subject of Princess Beatrice's hat.

Columnist Sandra Parsons invokes The Emperor's New Clothes:

"The man who designed it, Philip Treacy, thinks it was 'absolutely amazing' and can't understand why anyone would want to poke fun at his creation. The rest of us can't understand how she could have been allowed out of the house with a giant pretzel on her head."

She also points out that of the 40 Treacy hats at the wedding, most were designed to be worn at the front of the head, a "totally unflattering look".

Anyone else still squeaking the pips of the royal wedding? Why yes. The Daily Telegraph devotes almost a whole page to the Duchess of Cambridge's new life as a "perfect Army wife" in the same five-room cottage where she and William quietly lived together pre-wedding.

"The Duke has made it clear that he wants to be treated as any other officer in the Armed Forces, which means, by extension, that the Duchess will want to be treated as any other services wife. If so, she will be in just the right place. RAF Valley, in Anglesey, is a remote base, where the down-to-earth locals will have little truck with prying paparazzi or intrusive Twittering about the couple's trip to the Spar supermarket or pub. Like any other couple, they like to keep life as low-key as possible, with sofa suppers, walks on the beach and kitchen dinners with their landlords, Sir George and Lady Tapps Gervis Meyrick."

As well as insights into their lives, there is a very Telegraph-esque bit of social observation on the wedding gift de nos jours:

"The couple asked for charitable donations in lieu of gifts, sparing themselves a deluge of bread-makers, which are the new toasters... Although there are bound to be some traditional upper-crust wedding guests who insisted on giving proper presents; Georgian fish knives; an ironic job lot of Kate and Harry coffee mugs; a sizeable chunk of Scotland."

And, one hopes, a few items of "tasteless bling from sundry heads of state" - writing a thank-you note for a solid gold, diamond encrusted scale model of an Arab boat worth a cool million is surely an advanced module in Diplomacy 101.

Your Letters

16:18 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Regardless of Buster's actual age, I am sure that his claim to have run the 2008 marathon is easily verified.
Ralph, Cumbria

Re "Star Trek gun or posh cat flap? Large fascinator or small hat? Paper Monitor ponders Princess Beatrice's odd headwear": It's Viviene Westwood. It's allowed to be bonkers.
Andrew Oakley @BBC News Magazine
Monitor note: It's Phillip Treacy, darling.

Ross (Monday's Letters), thank you for your clear conversions of Royal wedding statistics. However, you cannot convert a 2400Mw power surge with cups of tea. A cup of tea is a measure of energy which, as high school physics will tell you, is power multiplied by time. A better comparison for the surge in power demand when the service finished might be 40 million lavatory lights (60watt) being switched on.
Ray Lashley (Guardian of Monitor Weights and Measures since 2005), Colchester, UK

Sorry to be a pedant (gentle lie) Ross of Norwich, (Monday Letters), but no amount of megawatts will brew tea. Cups of tea are only brewed with seconds, or minutes if you like them strong, after the megawatts have been used. Megawatts, used for a few seconds, will boil water in kettles. A tiny pulse of bright laser can be a megawatt, but it only lasts a small fraction of a second so the total amount of energy in the pulse is microscopic - enough to boil maybe a pollen-grain-sized drop of water for a cup of tea. Megawatts are a *rate*, like cups of tea per second, or barrels of tea over the dam per day. Megawatt-seconds, or megawatt-hours are fully boiled water - complete cups of tea. Of course, everyone knows that even with megawatt-hours you still need leaves and a pot. And nice, fresh milk.
John, England

Dear Monitor, despite using every net curtain in the house, we fell some way short of recreating the elegance of Catherine's frock (a plan foretold in Your Letters). Instead Eddie donned a Moose Head "8 pointer" Antler fascinator, but a large Sheffield man sitting behind suggested, quite forcefully, that it be removed. Couture fashion is not always appreciated outside London.
Richard Martin, Doncaster, UK
Monitor note: Well, we did suggest an embellished coat and dress instead.

May I wish all your readers a very happy "Star Wars day" for tomorrow. May the fourth be with you!
Ralph, Cumbria

Paper Monitor

11:40 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Princess Beatrice in her wedding hat

That was some hat.


Fashion types may gush about Kate's dress (the House of McQueen *scream*), but the Daily Mail reports that the biggest hit is another outfit entirely.

Star Trek weapon, cat flap and, least kindly of all, toilet bowl - Princess Beatrice's fascinator has certainly been fascinating the internet pranksters since Friday's ceremony.

All very amusing, especially the mock-ups of said headwear in the guise of sci-fi stun gun/spaghetti in Lady and the Tramp/Gates of Hell, but one important question is left unanswered. Large fascinator, or small hat?

Meanwhile, there is no Page Three Girl in the Sun. But - quick! - someone contain Harriet Harman's excitement, for this is no time to rejoice at the passing of an enemy. The topless lassie of the day has simply been bounced from her usual perch by the news of Osama Bin Laden's death, and is now a Page 19 Girl.

And busty Rosie, 20, from Surrey, has harsh words for the "Cambridge University toffs urinating in public" in News in Briefs.

She said: "If they spent more time reading the classics instead, they might remember the words of Roman philosopher Seneca, who said, 'Drunkenness is nothing more than wilful insanity'."

Back to the one story dominating the papers, the Independent answers a question that's been on the tip of Paper Monitor's brain ever since the news broke - with Bin Laden dead, who tops the FBI's most wanted list now?

The paper highlights two fugitives, although the FBI doesn't actually rank its top 10 most wanted.

  • James J Bulger: Wanted for 19 murders as leader of a feared Boston crime family, he went on the run in 1995. The FBI says he "loves animals".
  • Eduardo Ravelo: The Barrio Azteca drug cartel figure is responsible for murders in Juarez, Mexico. A $100,000 reward is on offer.

All this actual news over a mainly sunny long weekend has rather scuppered your humble columnist's long-running strand, Brighton Beach Mammaries (Paper Monitors passim). Traditionally, a weekend of blistering weather prompts an army of photographers to make the traditional journey to the East Sussex resort town, all the better to get the traditional flesh shots with which to illustrate the traditional day-after-the-bank-holiday weather stories.

Today, nada. Not even in the Daily Express Weather .

Your Letters

14:07 UK time, Monday, 2 May 2011


Having just returned from a holiday in Cornwall, I'm looking for two new words. One to describe the desolation felt when having fought your way past all of the lorries and caravans to get clear road in front of you only for your three-year-old to say: "Daddy, I need a wee." The second word is for the smug satisfaction that the day after you leave the place you just left has rain and the place you are returning to has sunshine.
MCK, Stevenage

I see the new Royal Couple are delaying their honeymoon a little because the gentleman's work has got in the way.
So, me and my good lady wife are not alone in doing this. I do hope, though, that the nice Mr and Mrs Kate don't wait so long as us. So far, we've delayed our honeymoon for over 30 years.
I *plan* to take my lovely bride away for a couple of weeks to a special, exotic place - I just have never managed to actually *do* it.
Beloved, if you're reading this, thank you for your patience.
John, England

Re: image 18 here, is this a new style of "plain clothes" ?
Paul Greggor, London

Just to clarify, and help people understand this article, 120 miles of bunting is approximately 19,354 London buses. As for the length of Catherine's train, well, it's about one third of a London bus.
I'm afraid I can only begin to speculate how many cups of tea were brewed with a 2400MW power surge!
Ross, Norwich

So, as well as doing his Comedy Roadshow, sell-out tour and Britain's Got Talent; Michael McIntyre is also chairman of the European Herbal and Traditionall Medicines Practitioners Association? He does get around a bit!
Basil Long, Nottingham

First to comment on a article AND the hope of getting a letter published in the Magazine! What better way to start your week?
Dorian, near Salerno

Paper Monitor

10:21 UK time, Monday, 2 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor hopes all UK-based Monitorites are enjoying a pleasant bank holiday, this service forsaking, as ever, the pleasures of the outdoors in pursuit of its riches-finding mission.

But don't worry about PM, who may not be able to enjoy a sunny day off first-hand, but can at least read about it in the papers.

"Barbecue Britain is hotter than the Med," runs the headline the in the Daily Mail, trumpeting what is apparently a "glorious May Day bank holiday" with "sunshine and blue skies across most of the country".

By contrast, the paper notes with satisfaction, on Sunday "Spain and the Algarve suffered heavy thunderstorms".

The Mail assures us that the prolonged fine weather will continue until at least Thursday and quotes an "independent weather forecaster" who foresees not just a dry May, but the these conditions possibly continuing into June and July.

The Daily Telegraph, likewise, says a hosepipe ban could be in the offing, citing a Met Office pundit who believes there is "no significant prospect of wet weather for the foreseeable future".

But not all of Fleet Street is so optimistic (or pessimistic, if you're a farmer).

The Times records that April was the warmest in central England for 350 years, but warns that the UK may have already seen "the hottest weather of the entire year".

It recalls ominously that "something very similar happened in 2007 when April was also very hot, but was followed by a summer of rain that led to serious floods".

The Sun is even more gloomy (or cheerful, if your livelihood depends on arable crops).

It has drafted in none other than weatherman John Kettley - yes, he of the eponymous 1980s indie-pop song - who believes "summer has come early but it won't last".

Mr Kettley believes that July and August are "likely to be grey, wet and miserable".

Paper Monitor is reminded of the Met's infamous 2009 prediction of a "barbecue summer". The prospect is cloudy for whomever on Fleet Street is proved wrong.

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