I don't know if they have local papers in Merrycar or not but there is a varied pot pourri of local newspapers in the UK. The Liverpool area has, as far as I know, Liverpool Echo, Liverpool Daily Post, Merseymart, Southport Visitor and many others (their names escape me at the moment) . All of them pedal a rich blend of national and international news interwoven with local news worthy items.
However, because nothing much happens in local areas, sometimes newspapers are guilty of what has been coined tenuous news. For example:
"Local Man in Iraq Bombing Horror" - might turn out to be a man who lived in the area once that happened to be in the area of a bombing, though not in the same street, but might actually have been a different part of Iraq at the time of the bombing and not heard anything at all. But because the Skipton Express needed something to fill page 3 they ran with something the editor heard at the golf course about some bloke the man in the chippy was told.
Or "Pensioner in Bus Pass Terror" would probably turn out to be a little article about Mavis, 86, who couldn't find her bus pass just as the 43 to Market Square was pulling up. Terrified Mavis Strawberry, 86, could not find her pass in time and was forced to wait an extra 15 minutes for the next one. Bus driver, Barry Smith (38), said "I could have let her on but last time I did I got told off by my bosses for not making sure passengers have a valid travel card". Mavis, 86, was terrified she might have to apply for a new pass. Fellow traveller Peter Jones, 42, said "I blame the council. It never used to be this bad until that lot got in"
Other such items might include, Local Woman wins Lotto - story about some woman from out of town who once stopped in the area to ask for directions that got 4 numbers and won £45, Head in Railings Trouble - not actually a story about a headmaster but a man who accidentally got his head stuck in railings1, Council in New School Snub - Local councillors today rejected plans for a new school to be built on top of a cliff prone to subsidence. Local campaigner Mavis Strawberry, 86, said "It's absolutely shocking. They could have let me get on. I had to wait another 15 minutes for the next bus and I missed the special offer on cabbages". Councillor Evans, 56, said "Buildings of this nature beggar belief". Evans, 56, was arrested last month under suspicion of indecent behaviour in Local Park.
You get the idea? Well..I'm sick of it. While its amusing at first, it's actually only some concocted bollocks used to fill papers, and it starts to wear on the brain. The Liverpool Echo is only guilty of it during the Summer months as are the national papers. But the bastions of local press of sleepy backwater towns and cities such as Wakefield, Bolton, Basingstoke, etc churn out this bollocks all year round. Mainly because nothing much happens. Some people gain endless amusement from such articles and write their own parodies (see Framley Examiner and Rockall Times). Instead of publishing boring old no-news about Ethel and her collection of stainless steel shavings why not just not print anything at all?
The letters pages of these publications are just as bad. Featuring the likes of Concerned of Denby Dale (writing about the removal of bollards at the end of Cecil Street and how it would never of happened under Mrs Thatcher), J. Oglethorpe of Crigglestone (bemoaning the loss of a cinema that closed 30 years ago because it caught fire and burnt to the ground) and P. Jones (blaming the council for the starving children in Africa (they never used to be hungry until that lot got in), the letters pages are a treasure trove of whinging locals and basically give you an idea of what an area is like.
Local radio is like an audio letters page. BBC Radio Merseyside is no exception. At lunchtime they have the Roger Phillips phone in. Listening to half the irate scousers that call one would think that the closure of the docks was the root of all of Liverpool's woes. From the dereliction of the Dingle to the tragedy of Merseysiders in some horrible natural or man made disaster in some remote part of the world, if the docks were still open then none of this would have happened.
Roger- Next up we have Billy of Bootle.
Billy - 'ello yeah Roger. I fink its terrible that Myra Hindley woman. It was all 'er fault the docks closed. An' all that parkland that got sold off in the 80's wasnt cos of Derek Hatton it was cos of Myra Hindley she closed the docks Rodger. It's terrible. They don't understand do dey Roger? Do dey? No Roger them southerners comin up ere and takin our jobs there kidda.
Roger - Yes Hindley did horrific things but I think you mean Margaret Thatcher
Billy - No Roger you dont understand do ya'. It was all tha' Myra Hindley womans fault. An now dey wanna knock our houses down. We been 'ere for 80 years my family Roger. 80 years we been livin' ere. An' they wanna move us Roger. They don' understand.
Roger- They want to move you?
Billy - Yeah Roger, they say d'ouse is unsafe Roger. Its been here in my family for years. Me an me 6 brothers and sisters all lived here wi' me gran and me mam and dad. It might have been a two up two down with an outside jig2 but we're 'appy Roger. I wus a docker Roger until that Myra Hindley closed them down. It's all 'er fault they wanna move us you know. They say they wanna knock our house down and rehouse us in a new gaff wi' mod cons, running water, electricity and gas but me an' me wife and me two brothers and me mam and our Billy an the kids are 'appy 'ere Roger we don' wanna move.
Roger - But you're going to a new house in a nice area with trees and grass built on an old park that Derek Hatton sold off.
Billy - Aww that Derek Hatton. He was a proper politician 'im. You knew were ya were wi' ald Degz.
Roger - Even if he sold off all the local parkland, supported Militancy and caused more unemployment by scaring off developers with his Trotskyist tactics and spent most of the councils budget on flash cars, posh meals and new houses for him and his mates?
Billy - No you don't understand Roger. It's them that closed the docks mate. That Myra Hindley. This would never 'av 'appened if de still 'ad de docks.
I've not had the pleasure of BBC Radio Leeds as yet but I imagine that it will run in a similar vein with complaints about the closures of the mines. The letters page of the Wakefield Express (imaginatively entitled Voice of Wakefield) includes:-
- a member of the local cycling club complaining about the fact the council have been erecting replacement street signs Why dig a hole and put a new sign in and take a perfectly same good sign out? he asks. Why bother writing to the paper?
- A triad of seemingly unrelated males complaining that their local hospital has been going through a cost cutting exercise by weeding out unnecessary staff.
- A staunch anti-smoker whinging about people smoking in smoking areas and how she wrote to the owners of these smoking areas only to be told, quite rightly, to fuck off.
Again. I did have a point but it seems to have slipped my mind. Hmm...nope...can't remember...
Ah well. A poll then:-
Do you have a local newspaper
What is your local newspaper called?
Give me a classic example of one of your local papers headlines
I forgot the point of this post
At the weekend I thought I'd start collecting postcards depicting local scenery like streets or important buildings or stuff (as opposed to people with hankies on their heads and sunsets and all that bollocks)
1 From Friday's (10th March) Wakefield Express:- Head in Railings Trouble - A Man who got his head wedged between metal roadside railings had to be freed by firefighters on Monday. Like it took 4 days to print this?
The Wakefield crew were called out after the man fell and jammed his head between bars running alongside Stanley Royd Hospital, Aberford Road.
An Ambulance was also called an ambulance?! to the scene at 2:30pm.
The man had run across the road, but dropped a magazine he was carrying.
As he tried to stop it blowing away from him, he reached forward to grab it, yeah yeah he was probably fucking about trying to look cool falling into the roadside safety fencing and causing injuries to his nose He probably just scratched it