A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
A confluence of a cold lurgy coming to the boil, and prawns that went bump in the night, mean that your humble columnist is in need of good cheer. (Cough. Sniff. [whispers] "Is it too early in the day for a warming toddy?")
It's been snowing across swathes of the UK - in November! (Early? Or not early? Who cares, it's SNOW.) In times of extreme climatic events, there's one organ of the news that Paper Monitor turns to first. The Daily Express Weather.
But. What's. This? The paper, normally so reliably aerated about the white stuff, has gone big on Europe with a headline that all but takes over the front page:
"99% of you say: Get us out of Europe"
The weather is relegated to page three. Who'd've thunk it?
Speaking of page three, Paper Monitor nearly spat out its Marmite toast while listening to the newspaper review on Radio 4's Today. The oh-so-serious presenter rounded off Friday's instalment with News in Briefs, the thought-bubble of wisdom from the Sun's Page Three girls. Of course he must only have looked at Page Three for the articles.
Those keen on weather news are better served by the Daily Telegraph, which tries to have its coverage both ways by going big on a fetching photograph of a pretty filly in sensible coat and pink hat, and a headline that performs a U-turn halfway through: "A winter wonderland... so prepare for chaos."
The Guardian, for whom the syncopal Gillian McKeith has always been something of a bete noir, devotes a chunk of Lost in Showbiz to the poo-gazing TV nutritionist, currently of I'm a Celebrity... fame.
Lost, for one, is totally prepared to believe McKeith's claim that she's pregnant (apparently the latest in a string of bizarre health-related claims she's been making over the week - rabies is another).
"After all, there are probably a lot of unsold Fast Formula Horny Goat Weed Complex tablets knocking around her gaff since that MHRA [Medicine And Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency] ruling."
But what Lost particularly likes is that she has united a nation "scarred by recession and facing austerity". The Sun and the Independent alike have run learned essays about her jungle histrionics.
"Heat magazine has taken to quoting 'crusading soldier of science' Ben Goldacre, a state of affairs that prior to McKeith's arrival in the jungle was no more probable than George Monbiot rocking up on Celebrity Juice and cracking wise with Fearne Cotton and Dappy from N-Dubz."
The very thought of which warms Paper Monitor's rather delicate cockles.
Extra cosy toastiness is induced by the Daily Star gently teasing its political columnist Lembit Opik: "Jungle Lembit is bitten by snake (snake to make full recovery)".
And - and! - there's a pun in the Financial Times: "Wheel adversaries" about rivalries in high-speed rail. Who knew the salmon-pink paper had it in it?