Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ode to the 29th November edition of the Independent

I was meaning to post a short homage to my favourite newspaper a week or two ago but ended up with no time, so it's a bit odd to be lauding a particular day's print a bit late, but what the hell.

I love the Independent newspaper. It really is the only newspaper I read at all these days, and in a time where news is readily accessible over the internet or in the free newspapers that are fighting for arm-room on my mainline station forecourts both morning and evening, it manages to carve out a special place of its own.

The newspaper is relatively new, being born twenty years ago out of a journalistic rebellion against the stranglehold of the likes of Rupert Murdoch at the Times and Lord Halliwell at the Daily Telegraph. It had some rough times in the mid-1990s, but seems to have stabilised now with a circulation of around a quarter of a million. More recently, it was also the first broadsheet to go 'compact', and did so without losing any of its depth or style.

It has one main story on each cover,which is usually a big issue which is worth writing about - the Iraq war, the Environment, a major political debate or social issue etc. It has some wonderful columnists, the hilarious (Deborah Ross, Miles Kington, trigger happy Dom Joly), the entertaining (the artist Tracey Emin, Blur's Alex James) and the politically astute (Deborah Orr, John Rentoul, Yasmin-Alibhai-Brown, Johann Hari). The arts and review section on a Friday is just right, and an essential weekly catch up on new releases and new books. And it has three Sudoku puzzles each day (three - count 'em and weep).

Take the edition of 29th November 2006, which for me was a bit of a classic.

For my 70 pence ($1.40) I got...

Joe Queenan's all American road trip
the film critic who wrote a book about making a movieon his credit card overdraft takes every boy's dream trip of a lifetime and rediscovers middle America

Claudia Winkleman boys and girls chat
a really funny recognition of, yes - we are different (and boys/girls talk funny)

Deborah Orr
Astute commentary, as ever, on a particularly touching and horrific element of life in Britain

Simon Carr on political life
Another sketch from our observer in the absurd playhouse that is the Mother of all Parliaments

Mile Kington - cross design
The funniest columnist in the world, and has bene for decades. How he keeps it up is a miracle

Cameron Diaz
Not by her, but an interview with everyone's favourite Californian no-longer-blonde actress

Strawberry Fields Forever
An article on the making of the classic Beatles track. Unnecessary for fans, but of course a delight to find in your daily mash of news

Convinced yet?

Anyway, in honour of the Indy,


"I read the news today, oh boy..."

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