Tag Archives: The Times

News of the Screws sells out in Oxford

THEY SHOULD SHUT it every week was the verdict in Oxford, cultural world centre and home to the Screaming Squires, today.

We conducted a straw poll of newsagents in Oxford and came up with very surprising results. One newsagent told Volesoft that its copies of the News of the World had sold out by 10:30AM, Sunday. We asked him if that had been followed by rapid sales of The People – the competition to the News of the World. “No,” he said.

In a more literary part of Oxford we asked the same question. The newsagent said: “You can’t get it for love or money”. All rather surprising, because News International doubled the print run last night in anticipation of the News of the Screws final edition becoming a collector’s item.

“We’re looking forward to other revelations from other newspapers using similar methods,” another newsagent said. “Before we know where we are, we’ll find ourselves selling milk to students and no magazines whatever.”

And there’s another thing. The imaginary Inspector Morse, created by Colin Dexter, also read his copies of the NOTW surreptitiously, in case his local newsagent thought the worse of him for not reading the “quality newspapers”. ♥

Mike meets Parris in Great Portland Street

I BUY THE TIMES of London every day, and for only one reason, because I used to work for David Aaronovitch at the National Union of Students (NUS) and I don’t like his column that much, defector from the Grauniad that he is. I buy The Times for Matthew Parris’ columns.

Matthew Parris used to be the lobby correspondent on The Times, was once a member of the mother of all parliaments, and I buy the paper so I can read his column, twice a week. I can always skip Aaronovitch.

Today,  I was lucky enough and Parris was unlucky enough that we briefly crossed paths with each other at  Great Portland Street tube.

I was headed up the stairs and briefly chatted with him – once I recognised him,  I said how much I admired his writing. I envy his writing style. He was gracious and modest about his skills, acknowledging me as a fan boy and a fellow journo. At the top of the stairs, I asked him if the yellow shirt he was wearing was a new one. He looked at me with a sharp glance and then laughed, because obviously I had read this column.

It is certainly worth paying an extra 20 pence or so to get his wit and wisdom, even if he sometimes has to scrabble around in fountains and get “Kim” to bale him out by giving him a quid. I’m not sure about his grey suit, but his yellow shirt certainly looks like it was a bargain.