With temperatures in my dungeon hitting unacceptable levels of chilly in recent weeks, you’d think it would be with great joy that I awoke to see the sun this fine morning. But this wasn’t the sort to warm your cockles after the deep freeze of a long winter. Oh no. This was the sort to have you plunging straight back down into the darkness, embracing the paralysing cold and locking yourself away for the duration of your lonely, empty days…
I refer of course to Rupert Murdoch’s latest assault on public decency, The Sun on Sunday, the first edition of which landed on Britain’s doormats, like a hearty turd slapping into the porcelain, this monumental morning.
Or was this to be Murdoch’s phoenix, rising gloriously from the stinking flames of the News of the Screws to bring us the stories that matter in an increasingly volatile and terrifying world? If today’s front page was anything to go by, the answer is probably no. The faecal analogy works much better.
‘Amanda Holden Exclusive’ farts the red bold type, followed by the gasp-inducing headline; ‘My Heart Stopped For 40 Seconds’. Amanda is, of course, a big name to hang your first ever Sunday front page on. She appeared as a contestant on Blind Date in 1991, so this was important stuff. But really, isn’t she only famous for having cheated on Les Dennis with the irritating one from Men Behaving Badly?
It’s not as though the cultural landscape of the country would be scarred and disfigured too badly had brave Amanda, 41, not survived her terrifying ordeal. That’s not to say I mean her any harm, it’s just that I don’t care. And neither should anyone else apart from her family and friends, because this isn’t news.
Simply ignoring this nonsense, as seemed wise, was proving rather tricky. The brouhaha wrung out from the rag brought the hideous Kelvin MacKenzie sidling onto our screens with an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show, where he claimed that “Rupert Murdoch is a force for good.”
Yeah, just like ‘Hissing’ Sidney Cooke is the ideal candidate for child-minding duties. Let’s not forget that MacKenzie presided over one of the most shameful episodes in British journalistic history whilst he was editor of The Sun. The paper’s coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy on his watch was so vicious that the memory remains as an open wound on Merseyside. The Sun’s disdain for the victims and their families caused an antipathy to the paper in Liverpool that is evident over two decades later.
All of which had left me feeling decidedly sour, and, as I do when the subject of The Stereophonics, the TV show Friends, mint sauce or any number of disgusting things loved by millions is raised, I decided it’s easier just to keep quiet and accept that people want tabloids.
They don’t mind that its people like Murdoch and Mackenzie whose wealth and power swells as they fill with ever more poison and bile behind the scenes. Better to turn the TV off and do something productive, like check out the day’s football tips on Twitter.
It was upon noticing ‘Kelvin MacKenzie’ trending that things took a dramatic turn for the better, with @TaniceJudge asking ‘Why can’t Twitter kill off Kelvin McKenzie!?’. His death was obviously appealing to a lot more people than I could have hoped – @mysticmarigold summed up the general mood with ‘I see Kelvin McKenzie’s trending, which means he’s either dead or being a dickhead again *please be dead, please be dead, please be dead.’
Other tweets included insults such as ‘reptile, worm, scum’ and my own favourite for old Kelv of course; c**t. This was fantastic. There was loads of it, everyone giving it to the whole lot of ‘em with both barrels.
Throw in plenty of anti-Sun sentiment from Liverpool fans – it was hard not to enjoy the poetic justice in their cup final victory– and this really started to feel like one in the eye for Newscorp from the greatest form of media we have today.
The people had spoken, and we all hated Murdoch, MacKenzie, The Sun, and everything to do with the filthy tabloid press as we revelled in our virtual freedom of speech. The sun really had come out, and it felt great. I just wonder by what ratio we were outnumbered by the current bun’s new Sunday flock …