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Thursday, November 30, 2006

(Don't) read all about it

I don’t really understand where newspapers are going. I mean, I understand that circulations are falling and that young persons don’t read them any more, but their solutions to this problem seem so 20th century. Apparently newspapers gave away more DVDs this year than were sold in shops. I can well believe it, since I have several. I’ve not watched any of them yet, but there you go. Is this really helping the circulation war? Why not try making the newspapers smaller and more focused rather than bigger.

If I buy a newspaper at all, it’s the Telegraph on a Saturday. Here’s the approxmate process:

1. Buy Saturday Telegraph

2. Throw gardening, travel, property and motoring supplements in the bin.

I don’t do gardening, if we do take the kids on holiday it won’t be mountain trekking in Peru, I’m not thinking of buying a country house or a new car.

3. Throw “weekend” supplement in the bin but keep the crossword.

I couldn’t care less about the problems some woman is having with her nanny or how to knit jumpers for labradors.

4. Have a cursory glance at money supplement then throw it in the bin.

I haven’t got any money to invest but I do like reading the readers problems page.

5. Read the football part of the sports supplement then throw it in the bin.

I like the football bit, which always has interesting feature, but don’t really care enough about golf or rugby or cricket to actually read about them.

6. Unwrap plastic package with: keep the TV guide and throw the rest in the bin.

The glossy magazine is ludicrous, even when it does have a pull out supplement about how competitive Greece has become for business (as it did last week). I don’t care about fashion, celebrities, gossip, horoscope or luvvie interviews.

7. Put review supplement in the downstairs loo for later perusal.

My Amazon wish list is often guided by the Telegraph reviews or the Spectator reviews when someone has left a copy on the train. I never buy it any more.

8. Read newspaper.

So almost everything I’ve paid for goes into the bin unread. I think it might buy it more often if it had less in it. UPDATE: I just bought it again this weekend and threw even more than usual in the bin because there were more catalogues inside it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I just saw Douglas Hurd walk past me on lower Regent Street. No limos anymore I guess! [Posted with hblogger 2.0]

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cam and get it

I've decided that I'm never going to buy anything from JVC again, which is a shame because I've had some JVC stuff in the past and it's been fine. But my JVC camcorder, which I hardly ever use, has now gone wrong for the second time and it's a waste of money to get it fixed. Anyway, since I potter through Heathrow duty free from time to time, I picked up the Dixons Tax Free catalogue and decided to have a browse at home and choose a new one. But guess what? I've discovered that Dixons Tax Free shopping may not be the bargain you'd think. Take for example the Sony HC3 -- one of the new High Definition camcorders and by all accounts a great piece of kit -- which Dixons have for (all figures in Sterling) 850.97 (page 19 of catalogue) and claim a high street price of 999.989 ("Save over 145"). Amazon UK have it for 749.94 (free delivery). Or what about the the Sony DCR SR30 hard disk camcorder? Dixons tax free price is 408.42, Amazon UK have it for 346.00 (free delivery). Or perhaps the JVC MG26, which I was thinking of buying before my other JVC went up the Swanee? Dixons tax free price is 340.33, Amazon UK have it for 287.90. Just for an experiment while waiting for a backup to complete, I opened a random page in the Dixons catalogue and closed my eyes and put my finger on it. When I opened my eyes I was pointing at the Altec Lansing In Motion M602 speakers (to plug your iPod into). Dixons tax free price is 161.69, Amazon UK have them for 139.99. The moral of this story is that "tax free" does not mean "worth buying tax free". But I guess you all knew that anyway.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pomp and circumstances

I was ambling along to my first meeting today near Parliament Square in London. When I got to the square it was blocked off to traffic and there were police everywhere and some soldiers. I asked a policeman what was going on, and it turned out to be the state opening of parliament, an odd piece of pomp where the Black Rod knocks on the door of the House of Commons while the Queen goes to the House of Lords and reads out drivel written for her by government spin doctors.


I was going to wander on to my first meeting but then I heard a band coming so I stayed to watch...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Strike two

Off to Paris today. The trains were on strike, as they generally are, so I had to wait ages to get a taxi from the airport. But I was already wanting to go home even before I got out of Charles de Gaulle because my BA flight from Heathrow was over an hour late, and when I got off I discovered that the French authorities had decided to have only one person on passport control: predictable result, long lines and angry passengers. CDG November 2006 Why do they do it?