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Paper Monitor

11:53 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Daily Mirror's Brian Reade describes a scenario which is no doubt familiar to countless other middle-aged men:

I got into bed to find my wife ­reading Fifty Shades Of Grey and asked why she'd sneaked upstairs to read S&M bondage ­material while I was watching a Newsnight special on the bankers (or Fifty Shades Of Grab). "For God's sake, don't ­over-react. It's what's known as mummy-porn," she replied, laughing.

As it happens, Brian Reade's wife is Carol Midgley of the Times, whose column is also happens to be published on Thursdays.

Paper Monitor turns to the Posh People's Paper to see whether the story is recounted from the other side of the marital chamber.

And sure enough, it is. "This week I became possibly the last person in Britain to finish Fifty Shades of Grey," Midgley admits.

Like every other media commentator who has digested the book, of course, she is obliged to declare how tedious she found it: "Hell, it was boring. A flogging might have been marginally less painful. I ended up skimming over the interminable sex passages to get to the fractionally more interesting bits where they get dressed afterwards."

Midgley goes on to explore the phenomenon of 50 Shades branded merchandise - "official clothing, key rings, boxer shorts, ties, lingerie, jewellery and stationery" bearing the novel's brand.

This process, she says, is "turning S&M into an aspirational lifestyle choice with beautifully co-ordinated curtains and valances".

Paper Monitor must pop round to the columnist couple's residence to borrow a cup of sugar and sneak a look at what impact the EL James' masterwork has had on the Midgley/Reade soft furnishings.

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