18 November 2014

Newspaper Tales

Newspapers at one time were a small, daily pleasure of life. Over a cup of tea and ham-and-cheese croissant in a cafe on Old Brompton Road, or in bed on a rainy Sunday, making one's way through the paper used to be so comforting. Sitting in front of a computer and browsing the interwebz in search of news isn't quite the same experience.

I used to be a daily reader of newspapers: Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Wall Street Journal. When I took the commuter train into Manhattan for my first Wall Street job after university in the mid 1990s there was a special technique for folding the paper into tiny squares, so as not to block your neighbour in the crowded seats.

And let's not forget, newspapers were once incredibly useful for lining the cages of incontinent budgerigars and for swatting campus Bolsheviks in the face. Today, sadly, budgerigars shit on clean floors and campus Bolsheviks go about unmolested. It's a frightening state of affairs.

The current order, of course, won't continue and is subject to change and decay like all things. Computers, iPhones and other modern gadgets won't last forever. At some point, as technology declines, newspapers will come back. When they do, we're just going to have to make sure that we own the printing presses.


Paxton said...

Great Post!
I still love the ritual of walking to the newsstand each weekend to get the FT and Sunday NY times.

I tend to read more newspapers while traveling now and enjoy flipping through the WSJ with a cocktail nearby at the end of a long day on the road.

Unfortunately so many American hotels (and hotels catering to American business travellers abroad) seem to think that USA Today is an acceptable offering. I wouldn't line a dog kennel with that pop culture drivel!

Oh well, catering to the lowest common denominator I suppose...

Jacobite said...

The proper folding of broadsheets is indeed a dying art. I learned the technique whilst riding to school each day on the Paoli Local in the late 50's and early 60's. I continued the practice in the 1980's commuting to and from downtown San Francisco on BART (The Chronicle in the morning, the Examiner in the afternoon.)

A fresh Wall Street Journal was on my desk when I arrived at work but I eschewed this perk by buying my own copy of Investors Business Daily as it is a far superior newspaper to the now predictably degenerate WSJ.

Anonymous said...

Rudolph Carlyle Evans' "Resurrection of Aristocracy" is a must-read in this regard: http://www.barsoomfishrap.org/aristo.html

Anonymous said...

Your first Wall Street job after university in the mid-nineties . . . According to this assumption, you're my age or younger. I have always thought you were older. Perhaps it's your style of writing, I don't know. I'm a page turner myself. I prefer to read books--actual books--as opposed to the trendy ebooks everyone downloads on their gadgets. I still own a library card and I use it! I'm afraid libraries as we know them will disappear altogether one day and that will be a shame. As far as newspapers coming back, it is an interesting theory---one I haven't heard before. I don't see it happening ever. Progress, if you can call it that.