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Paper Monitor

11:49 UK time, Friday, 13 February 2009

A service celebrating the riches of the daily press.

Love is in the air. It might be Friday the 13th. We might be in the midst of a global depression recession. But there are reasons to be cheerful (and Paper Monitor is not referring to the welcome but mysterious absence in today's papers of anyone claiming to have devised a formula to prove that this is the most depressing Friday the 13th on record).

No, the reason for general springs in steps is leurve. What a treat to have a Valentine's Day on a Saturday. A long lie-in, perhaps? A special lunch? Perhaps a long walk in the countryside, arm-in-arm with one's loved one (on one side) and a weekend supplement of one's choice (on the other).

In fact the only downside of the day falling on a Saturday is that it denies us the chance to share our annual Snookums Challenge (see 2005, 2007, and 2008) in which the unromantic among us have the chance to show just how little we care.

But that diversion aside, let's look to HM Press for reasons to get in the mood - that is if the steamy reports of the first encounter between President Sarkozy and Carla Bruni aren't still fresh in the mind.

Best not start with the Sun, which has a story about a 13-year-old boy who has become a father. Paper Monitor suspects that this alone does not justify its position on the front page, as it's probably more common than one might think. But it's the fact that the boy looks about five years younger than his actual years which gives the paper such impact.

And while we're not reading the Sun, make sure you don't turn to page 11 which has photos of mum-of-14 children Nadya Suleman pregnant with her octuplets. It's quite some bump, so much so that it will clearly put any ideas of anything going on over the weekend firmly out of mind.

And don't go near page 25 which has a story about "Romantic Lesley Heague" who spent £1,000 recreating the American Beauty rose petal pose that Mena Suvari made famous, all in the interests of pleasing her boyfriend, only to find out that he'd never actually seen the film. It was American Gangster he liked, not American Beauty. Good job it wasn't American Psycho.

Also on a banned list is any story which advertises just how cheaply one can buy red roses. The Daily Mail says this year they can be bought for as little as 16p a stem. But that information isn't going to help either party: the rose-giver will not want to look tight, the rose-receiver will be sure to read it as a slap in the face from a tightwad.

Go nowhere near the Times, either, which reports a falling rate of weddings. Good job Libby Purves is on hand to give us Darwin's take on marriage: "My God it is intolerable to think of spending one's whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all. -- No, no, won't do. -- Imagine living all one's day solitarily in smoky dirty London House. -- Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire & books and music perhaps...".

Add "weekend supplement" to that picture, and that's something Paper Monitor can do business with. Enjoy, everyone.

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