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2:59pm on Saturday, 18th September, 2010:



After featuring last week's issue of the Essex County Standard in QBlog because it had an article about me in it (I did mention I'd won an award, didn't I?), I thought I'd put this achievement into perspective by showing you what normally goes into this weekly newspaper about Colchester and its environs. I decided, therefore, to show you some of the headlines from this week's edition.

So, the first thing to note is that sometimes the articles make no sense whatsoever. This is a headline on page 2:

Hmm, indeed we do.

Another messed-up headline appears later:

You can see what was going on in the sub-editor's mind here. The story concerns the closure of a police station, so officers have nowhere to interview suspects without a long drive. A local council has offered to give them premises to host these interviews. The headline was therefore going to be something like "Council office to host police interviews?". But wait! Why say that when you can make a feeble pun? They're not going to host interviews, they're going to help police with inquiries! Or is it enquiries? They had a quick discussion and went with "inquiries" — the distraction having meant no-one noticed they hadn't changed "host" to "help".

This practice of trying to make puns out of everything is something I've mentioned before. Here are just a few of the ones in this week's edition:

This is about an art project at a railways station.

This is about winning an Anglia in Bloom competition.

This is about a newly-formed wheelbarrow display team.

Yes, I did say "wheelbarrow display team".

This is about ... oh, you can probably guess...

This, ditto.

Finally, here's one from the obituary page about a local aviator who has died:

Uh? So this guy died? And it's amusing to make a pun about his life as a pilot? He's just died! Is this really the place to make slight wordplay? National newspapers don't make this kind of crass error (well, except when they do).

As the wheelbarrow display team article showed, Colchester isn't at all sleepy, no sir! There's a lot going on here. I'll end with five headlines that show you just what kind of a town this is:

So now you know how much an appearance in the Essex County Standard really means.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).