I was reading Private Eye the other day (note to all non-Englanders and other lesser human beings - a satirical magazine that exposes hypocrisy and scandal in the media and government) and it occurred to me, while reading a few articles on how certain newspapers were behaving very badly, how the names of said newspapers often sound more like bad made-for-TV movies. Yes, I truly do think things like that. After discussing the matter with my dog I decided to write this article wot you are reading now.

I will present to you the name of each newspaper I choose to rubbish, a little bit of background, then my suggestion for the plot of the respective movie. I'm too good to you.

THE GUARDIAN

Ah, good start. The Guardian, high-brow broadsheet notorious for making spelling mistakes. Think of what springs to mind when given the word 'Guardian'. A man in armour? A vicious dog? A badger with a gun? Would a newspaper make the top 10? I think what the writers are trying to tell us is that their paper protects the general public from ... stuff, although as far as I can see all it protects us from is not knowing about what the Prime Minister said yesterday, how far some stocks fell and whether Posh Spice went to the dentist today or not. Or maybe we're supposed to fold the paper into an origami man to put on the doorstep and deter burglars.

IF IT WAS A FILM - Probably some cheesy B-movie horror-like thingy. 'Little Jimmy (Haley Joel Osment) thought life couldn't get any worse when his parents were killed in a car crash ... that was until he was adopted by a supermarket cashier with a sinister past (Michael Douglas). As his friends die one by one in suitably crowd-pleasingly gory ways Jimmy knows the only way to stop his evil guardian is to FACE HIS OWN PAST. Starring Wil Wheaton as Bonko the Low-Flying Piranha.'

THE INDEPENDENT

Another broadsheet high-brow affair, another name I wouldn't really attach to a newspaper. What, so the paper's independent? I beg to differ, papers can be very dependent on readers and journalists and editors and stuff. It's not like the newspaper printing place for the Independent is run by a bunch of artificial intelligences. Ooh wait, maybe it is! A load of robots in an office masquerading as people to slowly bring down the human race and put them in labour camps! I can see it all now, when one robot slips and the headline for some editorial reads 'SHOUD THE PRIME MINISTER EXTERMINATE ALL PUNY HUMANS GRR GRR BUZZ !&$)$(!$*'. There's the movie right there!

IF IT WAS A FILM - I dunno, I picture this as one of those art housey chick flicky bollocky film about some lone woman journeying to a place she thought she'd never see again in order to find ... HERSELF. Starring that chick from the Emmanuelle movies. But no sex. Oh what the hell, let's have some sex, it's art house! Lots of fast oozing hard-core sex! Intercut with meaningful images of roses and kittens! We can get away with it 'cos it's art!

THE SUN/THE STAR

Both low-brow tabloids with similar names, so I grouped 'em together. Well, these two always get grouped together. They both sensationalise trivial celebrity gossip, have pictures of nudey girls on page 3, have great big red title pages ... you know the sort of thing I'm talking about. Stupid names, too. "What's in the news today, dad?" "I don't know, this paper seems to be melting my face off." "It's collapsing in on itself! Run for your lives! Literature Black Hole!" Etc. Incidentally The Sun is one of the most popular papers in England (I hate you, general public!) owned by Rupert Murdoch, famous Australian rich bastard. That is, The Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch, not England. Or maybe he does, it's hard to tell, he owns so bloody much.

IF THEY WERE A FILM - Gotta be sci-fi, hasn't it. Sam Neill and ... that chick from Species in THE STAR, in which a bunch of people decide to find out if it's possible to walk on the surface of a star and find some alien race of fire monster thingies. Work it into a horror. Films starting with 'The' are always either horror or porn. Or am I thinking of books?

THE EXPRESS

Woo woo! Chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga woo woo! Tabloid middlemarket affair, accused of going downmarket since it was taken over by the bloke who also owns The Star. Not a train. Actually, to be fair, this paper's proper name is the Daily Express, but Daily Express isn't as good a name as The Express for a film. So, what've trains got to do with news? Well, trains have been in the news a lot here in England recently, since every other one seems to be crashing. But the Express was founded ages ago before trains started going where they shouldn't. Maybe whoever founded it has the gift of second sight. If so, why didn't you warn us you bastard!

IF IT WAS A FILM - Horror. Or porn. See previous entry. Either horror about some train ('a one-track ride to HELL!') full of dead people or whatever, or some soft-core porn about two strangers who meet on a train. Trains are a rather bafflingly popular sub-genre of soft-core porn, incidentally, not that I read much soft-core porn aside from the national average of fifteen bits a week.

I'm getting bored of this idea. One more, I think.

THE MIRROR

Another downmarket paper that's trying very hard to become middlemarket. And fair play to them for trying, but they probably should ditch the big red title and the punny headlines and the occasional story about what celebrities have been venturing outdoors recently if they truly want to rise above all the other snot rags. Moving onto the name. I'm not sure if we can liken the paper to a mirror, as a mirror reflects the face of whoever looks at it and the last time I checked I didn't look much like Posh Spice. Maybe it's some deep thing about a mirror reflecting stuff. I dunno, if I ever make a newspaper I'm going to call it 'News!' and fill half the pages with real news about stuff people need to hear about and the other half with dirty pictures. It'll probably become the most popular paper in the world. Sigh.

IF IT WAS A FILM - How about one of those crap made-for-video fantasy affairs about kids from the twentieth century who find this magic mirror (woo) which can transport them into the past or to some other world or Southampton. Why not Southampton, eh? Why do all magic portals in films and stuff have to lead to the past or the future or some other world? Equal rights for all magic portals, that's what I say!

I hate myself.

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