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i is the lovechild of The Independent and Metro

Oh, the grammatical absurdity of that post title.

There was a time when I wrote on this blog daily. That time has clearly passed, but if I was still doing it, I’d have written something about i yesterday – The Indy’s new not-quite-free-sheet.

And if I’d have written something, it would not have been unlike what Jonathan Rothwell has written over on Crashed Pips. I agree with most of what he’s said, so it seems pointless to repeat it.

I liked i. But I say that as someone who’s never been keen on Metro‘s acres of dry agency copy. It’s not something I’d go out of my way to buy on a daily basis, but when I have to go somewhere on a train, I often snoop around WHSmith before boarding and find nothing that I want to read. Now, I’d buy i. It’s interesting and diverting enough to part with 20p, and small and disposable enough to stuff in a bag.

Yet I didn’t like everything.

My biggest complaint about it is the printing process used. Like The Independent, it’s printed with that horrible ink that comes off on your hands, your clothes, and gets everywhere. That is something that would put me off buying the paper in certain situations.

They need to change to whatever printing process The Guardian or Metro use, where the ink stays firmly where the printer puts it.

I also dislike the TV Guide, whose organisation strikes me as pointless. I don’t like TV in categories. I wouldn’t identify as a fan of ‘American Drama’, or ‘Comedy’, or ‘Documentaries’ or whatever idiotic bins they throw programmes into.

In American Drama, I’m mad about The West Wing, but couldn’t give a toss about The Wire, Lost, or Law and Order. When it comes to comedy, I won’t miss The Inbetweeners, but would switch off My Family, Harry and Paul, or Only Fools and Horses. And for documentaries, I’d pay good money to see The Secret Life of the Motorway on BBC Four, but would want a licence fee refund for Make Me a Man, The Boy with Three Heads and Eight Sets of Eyebrows (or whatever idiot trash they’re pumping out these days), or Help Me Anthea, I’m Infested.

I don’t watch TV in ‘Genres’, I watch stuff I like. So giving me a page divided into genres is unhelpful.

Also, they need to get TV Reviewers who understand that writing a review of the previous night’s TV is not actually what they are being asked to do. A good TV review is almost a meditation on life, and certainly doesn’t depend on having seen the previous night’s TV. Get Nancy Banks-Smith in to do a masterclass or something.

But the TV Guide is the part of the paper that’s had the most positive reviews as far as I can see, so maybe I’m just unusual.

Oh, and ‘Caught and Social’? Puns only work when they’re funny.

Yet all-in-all and rants aside, I hope that i sticks around. And, given what The Independent has become these days, I wouldn’t be upset if i replaced it.

This 1,424th post was filed under: Media, , , , , .

The BBC’s “Have Your Say” feature adds value

Yesterday, Barnardo’s released the results of a survey of 2,000 adults which revealed that 54% felt that children in the UK behave like animals. That’s strong and, frankly, scary stuff… Clearly not enough people have been reading this site.

The very same day, one of my blogging colleagues over at Crashed Pips used the story to deliver an almighty harangue against BBC News‘s Have Your Say feature. I’m sorry, Jonathan, but in this case I just can’t agree.

You see, I find some comments on Have Your Say as amusing as the next guy. I greatly appreciate the efforts of site like spEak You’re bRanes in putting the funniest and most ridiculous contributions directly in front of my eyes via Google Reader.

Yet, like the BBC Radio 5 Live Phone-in, in amongst the utter banality lies the occasional sparkling diamond – one of those moments where you finally understand why your opinion is so disconnected from that of almost everybody else, and perhaps come to appreciate the frame of reference the rest of the world is using.

Given, then, that I was so utterly dumbfounded to discover that the majority of adults apparently view children as feral, the Have Your Say discussion plays a vital role: It allows the seemingly idiotic majority to explain and justify their views. After having the pleasure of reading a couple of pages of comments, it’s suddenly much clearer that the majority is primarily made up of those who fervently believe the misleading impression of youth generated by the media. This allows my breathing to steady, my pulse to slow, and me to continue with daily life.

My point is that this is the kind of story where Have Your Say is anything but useless: It allows for clearer expansion and explanation of the nation’s feelings on a topic and hence adds to the reportage. A Have Your Say topic about living with Blackberries, with a tenuous link to the Presidential style of Barack Obama, is clearly less enlightening.

Now, there’s just one other thing puzzling me about Jonathan’s post: He says that, in the minds of the masses,

anyone under 25 who speaks with a slight accent and wears a hoody is automatically a troublemaker

I’m under 25, speak with a slight accent, and quite often wear a cardigan. What the hell does that make me?

This 1,378th post was filed under: News and Comment, Responses, , , , , , , .

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