I've always been willing to admit (with a sizeable dollop of embarrassment) to being a Daily Mail reader. Daily Mail during the week: Guardian on Saturdays - we like to be even-handed. And while the Mail irks me with its over-the-top, right wing paranoia, the Guardian irks me with - well, it just irks me. Everything about it shrieks going-to-hell-in-a-handcart champagne socialism. It's a pity that both papers have readable bits that I quite enjoy. And they're familiar, y'know? I can easily find the bits I like.
But now, maybe the Mail has crossed the line. I coped with them printing a story on 'Down syndrome' rather than Down's because, apparently, 'the writer's Australian and insisted' (writers don't insist on things - they say: 'Gosh, do you mean it? You'll really publish it? Thanks!'); I've coped with very many articles on how women's bodies have changed over the last three decades; with articles on this or that woman who gave up her high-flying job to look after her children and how much happier she is as a result; on sisters who are different from each other in some way(without ever working out why I should care); on Kerry Katona, who the Mail thinks should stay out of the limelight but whom they photograph every time she changes her cardigan; and I've coped over and over with features on people who have rejected their disabled child at birth only to discover an upswell of devotion to said child three, six or twelve months later...I've coped with all that, and even with the pieces recently on a new kind of iron and the Lakeland catalogue, for pity's sake. I've read enough serialisation announcements with the words 'searingly honest', 'coruscating', 'hilarious' and 'brilliant' in them to last me a lifetime. But, in and amongst all this drivel, I quite like some bits, even some that I suspect are near-fiction. And I like Liz Jones, mainly because she's such a weirdo and, I feel, a kindred spirit.
But, y'know, while I can deal with all that other DM rubbish, there really wasn't any need for that nasty piece on Stephen Gateley. I wasn't a Boyzone fan and I don't feel all holier than thou about it, but what sort of paper publishes something that nasty about someone just after they've died? It wasn't necessary. It wasn't kind.
So, I'm looking for a new read. But what is there? The Independent? - looks a bit big. It'd be like navigating the streets of Bristol when I'm used to finding my way round Dewsbury. The Times? - I don't think so. Is there anything out there that just offers a non-biased, non-sallacious, non-judgmental view of what's happening?
No, I didn't think so.