Blair In Bread Burning Bedlam


As dull headlines and stories go, this morning’s real one from the BBC takes some beating:

Busy day in the office, lads? That’s the trouble when nothing happens in the world, you’ve still got acres of space to fill. Newspapers (and therefore, I’m guessing websites) rarely expand or contract because of the amount of decent news content available, but the amount of adverts sold. Rule of thumb is the decent items you have to fill, the more ads the buggers have sold. This results on pages and pages of newsprint laying there empty waiting for something to fill it. You would have thought, wouldn’t you, that this is the time some nice big photos would be used to entertain the reader? Sadly not. More often than not, stories like the above make it onto the page.

Things at The Sharp Single are no different. If I have nothing vaguely interesting to say, yet haven’t posted a blog for sometime, I tend to find a random Youtube clip to post, or write something as dull as this paragraph you’ve just read.

24 Hour news channels have a terrible time of it. Yesterday morning, around 4am, BBC news’ lead story was an item that the vast majority of pensioners asked didn’t want the Government to stop paying their benefits by cheque, to be replaced by internet payments. Really? You telling me that old people want to retain the status quo (OBE) ? That they don’t like change? That they get confused by the web?? What a revelation ! What a way to lead a news bulletin ! Sadly, by late evening this piece had been demoted only to number 3 on the schedule, now behind The ABC’s attack on Irish paeodophile priests and a very long and tedious story about teachers and schools, and just before The University Boat Race result.

Talking of which, being the sort of bloke I am, I tuned in on Saturday to watch The Boat Race at the advertised time, 3.10pm to be (eventually) informed by our old friend Claire Balding that the race was due off at 4.30. That’s an hour and twenty minutes to fill before kick-off (or whatever they call it). Now I like a pointless sporting event as much as the next man but even the coverage of the Grand Prix allows for only an hour’s build-up. Sky had the decency to only give us 45 minutes of ‘informed chat’ before Man Utd vrs Chelski on Saturday.

However brilliant Claire Balding is (?) and no matter how long pundits salivate about the (unlikely) prospect of another sinking this year, The Boat Race is a tough sell and a painful stretch of a pundit’s powers to fill 80 minutes, even if that pundit is Steve Redgrave. As it turned out, there was no sinking this year (shock), just a rather exciting race (even more shockinger!!)

Time and space to fill. I’m only writing this because it’s five o’clock on Bank Holiday Monday morning and I’ve already watched the news three times, in lieu of anything in ESPN Classic. There’s is a comedy football quiz showing at the moment, but I refuse to watch it as it’s called The Umpire Strikes Back which, apart from being a more hackneyed play on words you’ll find anywhere on these pages (!), has zilch to do with soccer. UMPIRE ?!?!. So as no-one at ESPN could think of a remotely witty-yet-soccer-related title for their quiz, they have lost one insomniac viewer. That’ll learn ’em! For a ha’peth of tar, eh?

Meanwhile, back on the news channels there’s yet another row about Labour’s policy on National Insurance again (apparently there’s an election looming), Liverpool FC have fucked up their season (again) and cricket legend Alec Bedser has died (surely again??). There’s an earthquake in Mexico which has killed one man and a mine collapse in China (interesting, but too far way away to merit a lead item, apparently), it’s tough for young people to get on the housing ladder (really? are we in recession, then?), and it’s gonna be sunny with showers in the South East today. Or not. They’re not sure.

So there you have it. 761 words which fill a chunk of space when there’s nothing vaguely interesting to talk about. It’s about now when I should say “And if you have photos of snow/spring daffodils/sweet babies/Jesus’s face on a piece of toast, please do send them in and I promise to run them when I’m bored shitless and have acres to fill.” Quality journalism, eh? Pah!. Now, let’s have a quick look at the front pages of the papers…

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