BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for January 27, 2008 - February 2, 2008

10 things we didn't know this time last week

17:16 UK time, Friday, 1 February 2008

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

1. Fear of needles is known as belonephobia.
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2. Double-income families are not a modern invention - in prehistoric times, they were the norm.
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3. Cumbria is the safest county in England and Wales.
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4. The D-Day landings were practised on the island of Eigg.
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5. Irish singer Joe Dolan sold his hip for charity in an online auction.
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6. Some 2.9 million rooms have been lost in British homes over the past five years as owners opt for open-plan designs.

7. Almost 4% of Scotland's phone boxes didn't host a single call in 2007.
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8. The age at which we are most vulnerable to depression is 44, while a 70-year-old who is physically fit is, on average, as happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year-old.
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9. Chameleons change colour to stand out and attract mates, rather than hide.
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10. Harry S Truman, former US president, has no middle name - his advisers insisted he insert an initial between his first and last names if he was to have any credibility with US voters.
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Sources, where not linked: 6 - Mirror, 29 Jan.

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Kate Shaw for this week's picture of 10 kite surfers - nine in the air and one on the beach.

Your Letters

16:27 UK time, Friday, 1 February 2008

I've just booked a hotel online and received an automated email confirmation. Among the text of the email is "We are excited about your upcoming visit". Can Monitor readers to come up with a more blatant example of insincerity.
Adam, London, UK

Commenting on the use of the name Lolita for one of Woolworth's children's beds ("Woolworths withdraws 'Lolita' bed"), Catherine Hanly, parenting website editor, said: "It has become a name that is synonymous with sexual precocity and the fact that it is tied to a girl's bed - it literally couldn't be in worse taste." Unless, in commenting on it, you include the phrase "tied to a girl's bed", perhaps.
Sue, London

In the story "'Bizarre' new mammal discovered", we are told: '...the creature is more closely related to a group of African mammals, which includes elephants, sea cows, aardvarks and hyraxes, having shared a common ancestor with them about 100 million years ago. This is why they are also known as sengis," explained Dr Rathbun. Have I missed the logical steps between the first and second paragraphs? Or is the 'bizarre' new mammal one who can reach conclusions without demonstrating any logic at all?
John Whapshott, Westbury, Wiltshire

In the description of the new species of Elephant shrew, I became quite concerned that this creature may die of exhaustion as it is described as being "most active either at dawn, dusk, or during the day." Isn't that constantly?
Susan, Brisbane, Australia

If potatoes don't count towards the five a day (Random Stat, Thursday), what about sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc?
Alexander Lewis Jones, Nottingham, UK

Re Kevin Langley (Your Letters, Thursday), you mean Peach Schnapps ISN'T one of my 5 a day?! Tsch, whatever, next you'll try and pretend that fruit gums aren't either.
Lucy, Sheffield

Kevin Langley, your sister is quite right! Also, as calories are counted in whole bars of chocolate, by only eating half to three quarters of the bar, you get no calories.
beth, sussex

Re yesterday's letters, I bet Tom from Bedford is the kind of person who buys his Xmas cards in the January sales. And even remembers where he kept them the following December.
Hereward Hall, Dublin

I have recently started a debate about pronunciation of the letter H. What I have discovered is that the letter has a spelling (aitch) which appears to date back to Dr Johnson's work published in 1812. I have also learned that people who say "haitch" have no justification for saying it, (except through habit) but carry on regardless. In many cases, pronunciation is a matter of personal choice, however in this instance there is a clear right and wrong way of saying it. Is there not a role for the BBC - which was once the champion of our language, to confront these sorts of issues head on in a prominent way? I appreciate that there may be a reluctance for the BBC to appear to be being dictatorial, but surely it's time that someone took it on board.
Jane Badrock, Ware/Hertfordshire

Your story about Greg Mulholland and his use of "unparliamentary language" ("MP defends himself over swearing") led me to look at his website, where it is clear that he's unrepentant. His lead item on that is "MP CALLS FOR URGENT INVESTIGATION INTO BLOODY EQUIPMENT AT LEEDS HOSPITAL". Don't cross this man! (Have a nice day, Greg).
Mark, Reading

Re "Why Starbucks' sales have gone cold" Starbucks could learn how to make a decent cup of tea. That might help.
Elaine, Newcastle

Could there be any sweeter words on the BBC website than "You have scored 7/7" ("7 days, 7 questions"). Oh my I'm so excited I'm going to treat myself to a Tunnocks teacake!
HannaH, UK

Paper Monitor

11:11 UK time, Friday, 1 February 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

For all the high-minded intentions to avoid Britney tales and the gratuitous use of cleavage shots, even though these mine a rich seam of reader interest, those who produce the news are endlessly fascinated by what readers actually read. (As opposed to what those with higher minds than Paper Monitor think they should read.)

Just as the worker bees at BBC News (of which Paper Monitor is but one) watch the "most read" and "most e-mailed" stats with interest, it should come as no surprise that the drones at the Times are similarly minded.

Columnist Martin Samuel bases his offering on the twice-daily e-mail the paper provides its writers on the most searched-for buzzwords on Times Online. And so, instead of the 926 words of chin-stroking typically found on page 23, he uses each of the top 75 phrases in an effort to maximise page views.

"If this is the way modern media are heading, you might as well take your reality from a Tom Cruise Scientology video (58) and emigrate to Australia (66).
Or China (19).
Although perhaps not Kenya (7).
And certainly not on board BA038 (70)."

Well done, that man. Should any readers of this humble column wish to help in his quest to be most-read, click here.

(As an aside, the earlier talk of cleavage - breasts, by the way, being the 68th on the Times's list - reminds Paper Monitor of some sage advice once given in a cocktail bar: "Cleavage is like the sun; you can't look directly at it.")

Meanwhile, several papers cover the lifetime achievement award presented to Baroness Thatcher by heir apparant "just call me Dave" Cameron. Guess the paper from its headline:
"A Great Briton and one who hopes to be" - yes, it's the Daily Telegraph
"And the award for best prime minister goes to..." - the Daily Mail
"UUUURGH! Be afraid... be very afraid" - the Daily Mirror takes a slightly different tack
No mention - the Independent. Well they wouldn't, would they?

Random Stat

09:34 UK time, Friday, 1 February 2008


In a survey which asked parents to sing the second line to Baa Baa Black Sheep, 20% could not recite it correctly. There were similar results for Humpty Dumpty in the poll of 1,000 families by market research company Survey Shop. Can you do any better?

Your Letters

16:22 UK time, Thursday, 31 January 2008

So the tax self assessment website is down, preventing people filing their tax return? I received my notice to complete a return last spring, did it during the summer and the balance was paid in September. The legal requirement is to do it by the 31st Jan, not on 31st Jan and the majority of people will have had plenty of notice. I know tax isn't the most exciting of topics, but putting anything off until the last minute is always asking for trouble.
Tom, Bedford, UK

I wonder how many of the 10% afflicted by belonephobia were able to finish reading the story? Presumably I wasn't alone in pressing the back button prematurely after the combination of photos and descriptions became too much to bear.
Tim Evans, Oxford, UK

Re: Shell profits. In my garage mineral water is dearer per litre than petrol, without having 66% tax. What are Evian's profits like?
MJ, Ingatestone Essex

If using a mobile phone before bedtime delays getting to sleep. Does that mean we should restrict use until AFTER bedtime?
Frank, Leeds, UK

Re: Today's Random Stat. My sister says that peach schnapps is one of her five-a-day. She also says that food from other people's plates has no calories in it. People love to deceive themselves... it's just fun.
Kevin Langley, Derby, UK

I didn't believe the hype before about the "Name Thing". Then I saw the name of one of the BBC's weather presenters.
Ben Merritt, Sheffield, England

As a law student, I was particularly tickled to learn that there were two Court of Appeal judges (who take the title Lord Justice) with the names Lord Justice Judge. Nominative determinism strikes again!
Nicky Stu, Highgate, London

Random Stat

10:50 UK time, Thursday, 31 January 2008

Two-thirds of Britons mistakenly think that their chips, roasties and mash contribute to their five-a-day, a survey of 3,300 people for the Health Food Manufacturers' Association has found. Carrots and bananas topped the list of the nation's favourite fruit and veg.

Paper Monitor

10:32 UK time, Thursday, 31 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

He was dubbed the "most hated man in Britain", so how do the papers report the death of Jeremy Beadle?

- with a laugh, in the Sun, which goes for the front page headline "Beadle's not about". But here's an interesting tactic – instead of using giant bold capitals, the headline is written in a computerised approximation of handwriting and the effect is to soften what otherwise would seem a pretty crass pun.

- with commemorations, in the Daily Mirror, from a clutch other celebrities such as Noel Edmonds, Henry Kelly, Sarah Kennedy and Carol Vorderman, each of whose names is rendered in bold in the text just to keep readers interested.

- with reverence for his charity work in the Daily Mail, which highlights the £100m the practical joker raised for good causes.

- with a nod to his little-known intellectual side in the Times, with mention of his love of books, his impressive legacy in the media (from Edmonds to Chris Morris) and his suspicion of the press.

- with a self-referential mention in his Daily Telegraph obituary of how Beadle himself made a small difference to paper's obit pages. How so? The piece reads thus: "His advice even touched the Daily Telegraph's obituaries column, whose practice it was, before Beadle began lobbying the paper's former proprietor Lord Black, to omit the date of death of the people whose lives it memorialised."

When it comes to the very recently departed, the Independent, however, has its own loss to deal with.

Paper Monitor is always on the lookout for reasons to read the Independent, as has been discussed over the past couple of weeks. And there's a good reason today - a free US election wallchart to put up in the kitchen at home. (Weird but true.) It's full colour wallchart and smells great - the sort of thing that has to be printed well in advance and, unfortunately for the Indie, before the withdrawal of two of the key candidates yesterday. Messrs Giuliani and Edwards still sit proudly as contenders.

None of this will matter at Independent Towers, though, which is mourning the sad death of star columnist Miles Kington who has given the paper's pages a note of erudition and wit since its launch in 1986.

The report of his death didn't make it to the first edition, but in later editions it displaces that of Beadle. The paper will doubtless mark the man's contribution in the following days, including, one hopes, the invention of Franglais. It adds: "He listed his hobbies as 'mending punctures' and 'falsifying personal records to mystify potential biographers'", which raises an interesting philosophical conundrum about whether either point can be trusted.

Independent stalwarts will miss Kington, who was without fail a reason to read. That's not a bad epitaph.

Your Letters

16:45 UK time, Wednesday, 30 January 2008

'Bull's bottom bugs Bombay brokers' - I DARE you to say that with a mouthful of marshmallows.
Lucy, Notts

RE "Man shocked to see own gravestone", and Tim Hewson's letter (Tuesday's letters). The funeral directors in Romsey, Hampshire who did my father's funeral have equally appropriate names; Messrs. Sadd and Peace.
Kat Marsh, Swansea

Re: all-noun headlines. A letter in today's Times recalls the headline over a story about former Labour leader Michael Foot chairing a meeting of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament: 'Foot Heads Arms Body'. Any would-be coat-getters rest assured, I realise it's not strictly an all-nouner, but still a great example of the sub-editor's art.
Tim Barrow, London, UK

Could I put these forward for the 'worlds most uninteresting photographs'
Stoo, Lancashire, UK

So, if catgut isn't made from cats' guts (Tuesday's letters), then is catnip also not made from cats' nipples? I'm utterly dissapointed.
Ben E, Sao Paulo, Brasil

Going against the trend in this "Name Thing" we find that in Nick Robinson's Blog on 24 Jan 2008, John Constable wrote: I am not a great fan of the police.
Keith, Lismore, Ireland

Paper Monitor

12:47 UK time, Wednesday, 30 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's a very happy day in media land. A good parliamentry scandal is what the papers do best and this time it's Conservative MP Derek Conway who has woken up to find his face splashed across front pages. It follows his suspension for paying his sons an estimated £80,000 as "researchers" despite there being no evidence of any work ever being carried out.

It's interesting to note the contrast in coverage between the two traditional Tory papers. The Daily Mail offers us a masterclass in scandal reporting. It devotes its entire front page to the story, with a headline screaming "NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT". Below is a picture of the Conway family with a strapline that reads: "How the good family Conway cost you... £1,535,716." The figure is in red, naturally. It all sets the reader up for a two-page spread inside, listing the "earnings" in minute detail.

It's definitely attention grabbing - £1.5m? Can it be true? There's no mistake, the Conway family has cost the taxpayer that much. But the paper has thrown in everything over a six-year period to get the highest figure it can, only explaining later that £1.16m of that total is made up of Mr Conway's legitimate salary as an MP.

The Daily Telegraph, however, is slightly more reserved. It too has a red strapline detailing just how much of "your cash" the Conway family has been paid, but it puts the figure at a more humble £260,000. It's chosen to leave out his MP's salary from its calculations, although it does include his wife's wages for being his secretary.

Even more remarkably, the Sun comes in with the lowest figure - £50,000. And it can only be bothered to give the story a few pars on page two. The figure relates to payments to one son. Instead its front page reports that Conservative leader David Cameron has vowed to toughen up stop and searches to regain "control of the streets". Fancy that, a positive, headline-grabbing exclusive on what seemed like such a bad news day for the Tories. Cycnical, moi?

Finally, there is a pleasing development in Paper Monitor's debate on what the Indie is for. The People column in the Times is currently getting stuck into Ruth Kelly, highlighting her "morbidly dull" time as entertainment officer at Queen’s College, Oxford.

It's got hold of minutes from meetings during her time in the role and what does it use as evidence of her crimes against fun? Yesterday the column railed against her attempts to get the Student Union's copy of The Times replaced with The Independent. "See? No fun at all," People notes. Today it allows that she set aside £25 for strawberries in the Nun's Garden and "was once slightly late for a meeting. Tomorrow, back to her fears about 'sweaty' discos." OK, the debate has moved on from the Indie, but it's all building up a picture. Case closed in Paper Monitor's eyes. Dull as ditchwater.

'I'm on a bus!'

12:25 UK time, Wednesday, 30 January 2008


queue_203.jpgMobile phone shouting, queue-jumping, smelly take-aways and feets on seats.

For commuters, the list of gripes against fellow passengers is a long and growing one. But the prevailing inclination is to make no fuss - the embarrassment of speaking up outweighs the potential gain, should the offender even bother to take notice.

Now someone is speaking up. A campaign is under way in London to emphasise courtesy while travelling on buses, trains and the Tube, launched with a short film directed by Mike Figgis. In it, bus passengers take action against rudeness, and each scenario is happily resolved.

It's not always that easy, so here is your chance to air your gripe. Whether your public transport is a train in Fife, a bus in Llangollen or a tram in Croydon, if you had one message to your fellow passengers, what would it be?

Send in your entries using the COMMENT form below. Your suggestion must be no longer than 30 words and focus on only one particular complaint.

Random Stat

10:18 UK time, Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Of the price the consumer pays for a cauliflower, the grower will receive about 20% from the retailer. This amounts to about 18p, says the National Farmers' Union. Four years ago the grower received nearly 40% of the price.

Your Letters

18:07 UK time, Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Whist reading this article I have to say my thoughts of the thought of a wolf staring "cold-eyed through a snowy forest" less "compellingly romantic" but more ever so slightly terrifying. Unless I'm watching it through binoculars that is... from my bedroom window.
Sam, Waddesdon, Nr Aylesbury, UK

I object strongly to the term "Random Stat". The statistic mentioned today is clearly stated in a current BBC news article and therefore was almost certain to be picked. Please ensure that all future Random Stats have a higher statistical spread.
Johnny, York, UK

In keeping with the fine tradition of pedantry on these pages, can I note that "stereoscopic" ("Why 3D is about to break through") simply means "with a solid view", and implies nothing about two images, even if that is a typical way of generating such an illusion.
Paul Smith, Galway, Ireland

Interesting to see The Sun describe the recent Big Brother as "E4's very own Marie Celeste"; I think they meant to refer to the Mary Celeste. I can't help wondering if The Sun knew the name was wrong and decided it would be more trouble than it was worth to call the mystery ship by the correct name.
Paul Davidson, Edinburgh

Yesterday's headline "Five jailed for £53 million robbery" made me think that the premium-rate TV quiz scandal had reached entirely new heights.
Dan, Oxford, UK

Re an "unemployed charity worker"? How can he be both unemployed, and a charity worker?
Rob, Birmingham, UK

Re "Sea lions massacred in Galapagos", Mr Carrion? There's something in this name thing, you know.
Sophie, Belfast, Ireland

Re "Man shocked to see own gravestone", what a fantastic name for a funeral director!
Tim Hewson, Bath, England

Re Your Letters, Monday, I had always assumed that "10 Things We Didn't Know Last Week" meant we as a collective - both Monitor and reader united in ignorance. I am somewhat distraught over the fact that it appears to be solely what those at Monitor Towers did not know, destroying our prior unification. Oh dear.
Adam Molloy, Cardiff

Can I contribute to the strand "10 Things Darren from Hornchurch didn't know last week"? Archimedes has a moon crater named after him, turtles are classified by whether they can pull their neck in or not, and The Cribs' next album will be produced by Bernard Butler.
K Walker, Runcorn, UK

Wow, what with the daily tirade of pedantry and sarcasm I guess every one must have assumed MM has a fairly thick skin, never seen an response like Monday's from you. Looks like someone (The mysterious Darren possibly?) must of hit a nerve :( I think the people responsible should feel shamed and we should all band together and send you a compliment. I Like MM because (s)he smells nice.
Simon, Milton Keynes

I am sure MANY people will point this out to Aleksi of Aberdeen (Your Letters, Monday), but "tortoiseshell" is NOT made from the shell of tortoises at all but from the shell of Hawksbill turtles. And just to enlighten him further, catgut is NOT made from cat guts.
Andi, England

Not being a wearer of moleskin clothes, I didn't even know they were not made from moles. Surely, under the trades descriptions laws, they should be.
Clothilde Simon, Harrogate

Monitor wishes to thank all those who responded, whatever sentiments were expressed, to its moment of fragility late on Monday evening (the time stamp might hint at why nerves were frayed), and as a sign of its benevolence will overlook Simon from Milton Keynes' flagrant emoticon deployment.

Paper Monitor

12:36 UK time, Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Will Alex James give it rest?

Paper Monitor has noted previously how the sometime-Blur bass guitarist seems to be cropping up with increasing regularity in the papers as he carves himself a parallel career in the media. What started with a weekly column in the Independent largely about his obsession with cheese seems to be flourishing into the role of a fully-fledged star reporter.

Last night he made the leap to TV, leading an investigation for BBC's Panorama on the cocaine trade in Colombia. And here he is today, in the Daily Mirror, writing about the self same investigation. And just to put the whole thing in context there's an extract from James' autobiography in which he recalls a drug-fuelled birthday that saw our intrepid reporter-to-be "soused in champagne" and "devoured by lusting women".

Now Paper Monitor doesn't mean to be mealy mouthed about all this but at just about the time Mr James was riding the crest of his coke-fuelled rock star wave, it was toiling away at journalism school, learning all those frivolous things like the inverted pyramid of news story construction, the laws of defamation, contempt of court, local government reorganisation etc, etc

Yet who gets to do the serious Pulitzer-style investigative story?

And as for that picture of Mr James in today's Mirror, holding aloft what at first glance is taken to be a rock of cocaine… are we sure it's not just a lump of Wensleydale.

A few weeks back, while analysing the style of reporting in the Economist newspaper, Paper Monitor carried a salutary warning to any wannabe journalists out there about how to get into journalism.

Allow it to rescind those thoughts and moot the following advice to any aspiring hacks: that intro to the old BBC Two Grand Prix live programme - get a bass guitar, learn it, team up with a wannabe cockney "street poet" and get wrecked. Although in the interests of hedging your bets, don't forget your 9am shorthand lessons.

Random Stat

09:28 UK time, Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Of the average UK household’s budget, 3% is spent on buying alcoholic drinks, according to the Office of National Statistics. The figures, for 2007, remain completely unchanged from 1957. Elsewhere, spending on tobacco has dropped, while the cost of motoring has doubled.

Your Letters

17:52 UK time, Monday, 28 January 2008

Re Ian A's letter (Your Letters, Friday). At the risk of sounding like a pedant, "over" may or may not be a noun, but it's definitely not a verb. I think the word you're looking for is "preposition".
Adam, London, UK

As McDonald's are now giving out qualifications, does that mean that you could earn a McS instead of an MSc?
Andrew Lawrence, Sheffield, UK

As a teacher of English as a foreign language in a country as proud of its food as France is, it is a joy to spend a lesson on the delights of British cookery such as the Christmas pudding and the haggis and hear their shocked comments. But it was my turn to be shocked to read that the Americans have managed to come up with an offal-free haggis. So just exactly what is there in it? The journalist carefully didn't say. Any ideas, anyone?
Elaine Bonneau, Anglet, France

Yet again the BBC has distorted the truth (10 things we didn't know...). Ships produce twice as much CO2 as aircraft. True. Except that this is an absolute value not based upon quantity of goods moved. As ships' transport more than 90% of the world's trade the fact that they produce as a whole only twice as much CO2 as aeroplanes is excellent. If we used aircraft to do the same amount of transportation then the quantity of CO2 produced would be hundreds of time greater. Please BBC would you try and stop spinning everything and present the story correctly and in context.
Mark Chisholm, Dereham, UK

With regard to number four of last week's (10 things we didn't know...) - "Moleskin clothes used to be made of moles' skins" - may I predict what might be coming next week - could it, by any chance, be "Tortoiseshell items used to be made of tortoises' shells"?
Aleksi Venaða, Aberdeen

The Monitor is grateful for the clutch of e-mails from correspondents who, in varying tones of sarcasm, noted how shocked they were to learn of the provenance of moleskin trousers. The Monitor concedes that only the most elementary detective skills would be required in drawing a link between the variety of brushed cotton we know today and said pelt. Nevertheless, one only has to watch Phill Jupitus relating a little-known fact to a curious Stephen Fry on QI to appreciate that even the most learned polymath (and the Monitor doesn't for a moment assume to plant itself in the shoes of Mr Fry) has holes in his/her knowledge. Besides, the title of the strand in question is not "10 things Darren from Hornchurch didn't know..." nor "10 things we didn't SUSPECT...".

In "10 things we didn't know last week" , you say, in connection with the missing billions at Societe Generale, that "plain vanilla" is a term for 'basic financial instruments such as shares'. Actually, you miss a key point here. In this context, and in that of the Leeson affair to which you link it, it refers to exchange-traded index futures, as opposed to more exotic, over-the-counter derivatives. That distinction is key to how much money was lost. Since Leeson's day, financial institutions have come to think of index futures as straight-forward, everyday hedging and trading opportunities, that don't pose as much of a threat as the weird and wonderful packages of debt that no-one but the experts understand. That's dangerous, because they can rack up significant financial exposure for a minimum of initial outlay, and without strong controls this can get badly out of hand, on a scale that can break banks and move markets.
Ian Williams, Faversham

Re taking Britannia off the 50p (Paper Monitor, Monday). Perhaps the 50p coin could copy the US quarter in one respect. The US quarter is, over the next few years, going to have each US state depicted on it. We could have a representation of each county on the new coin, instead of Brittannia. Perhaps Essex could be depicted with a pair of furry dice?
Lewis Graham, Hitchin

All this hullabaloo over the new coin design for the 50 pence piece is a bit late - it was announced in 2005 that all coins were going to be redesigned.
Basil Long, Newark Notts

I know Havant & Waterlooville are a small team, but do they have tiny fans too? BBC News: "But some 6,000 met before dawn to fill 26 coaches on the route north."

Steve, Liverpool

Paper Monitor

11:18 UK time, Monday, 28 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There's a special treat for those urban-dwelling readers who have access to Metro. Paper Monitor has always thought part of the paper's success was its lack of glitz or polish - it's a paper which could almost have been designed by a roadsign manufacturer. Metro mastheads

Today the paper has the results of a competition which invited readers to redesign the masthead. The result is like a sixth-form art project - but none the worse for it.

And the upshot of seeing 40 different varieties? Well, the original seems better than ever.

Change "happenz" according to the competition sponsor, Zurich, though Paper Monitor wonders when the winning mast head gets to take its place as lord of Metro’s front page.

The £10,000 of Bang and Olufsen equipment prize that Metro is showing off about is pipped by £30,000 in hard cash for the designer of the new look 50p piece.

Britannia gets the boot from the tails of the coin, says the Guardian, and the Daily Express warns Mr Brown he’ll rue the day he authorised binning Britain’s great warrior symbol.

The Express is troubled by disappearing Britain, but nothing inspires collective British spirit like an extremely flash car getting a parking ticket in Manchester city centre.

The tabloids’ favourite public enemy – the traffic warden – coyly receives a round of applause from enthusiastic shoppers for stinging the owner of a £1m Bugatti Veyron.

Simon Cowell drives a Veyron, but this illegally-parked model was hotly rumoured to belong to David Beckham.

If only Becks had blazed through the throng and back to the car, instead of the non-celeb "bloke in tracksuit top" who innocently spoiled the possible perfect photo story of the day.

Random Stat

08:25 UK time, Monday, 28 January 2008

More than two-thirds (68%) of all senior-level employees in the transport industry were found to have a body mass index above 25, according to Bupa. It means an increased risk of high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, diabetes and some cancers.

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