Newspapers Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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The main use of newspapers, as opposed to tabloids, is to disseminate information and comment to those who know what 'disseminate' means. The main difference between tabloids and real newspapers is that the latter have news on more than just page two, and relegate the popular parts - like the horoscopes and cartoon pages - to separate sections.

Newspapers have many uses apart from their traditional one. And they can be recycled, much like their contents.

  • Rolled-up newspapers are invaluable for everything from swatting flies to battering your way through rush-hour crowds. They are also a useful form of self-defence, though for full effect we recommend you use the Sunday papers.

  • Newsprint makes an excellent firelighter, though it's probably a good idea if you finish reading it first.

  • Newspapers are responsible for a strange kind of tai chi which can be seen performed on city train stations every morning. For this you need a broadsheet newspaper, a light breeze, and a desire to turn from page three to page four.

  • To get that authentic tie-dyed look on your pristine white shirt, just carry a newspaper around with you for a day. Before you know it your shirt will be adorned with the most delightful black and grey swirls that won't come out for weeks.

  • Newspapers make an excellent base for papier maché, setting harder than concrete in the right conditions. It's probably not a good idea to build important structures out of them, though, as newspapers have a habit of folding under pressure.

Newspaper names are also a law unto themselves, not unlike English pub names. Hours of fun can be had discussing why tabloid names tend to the astronomical (The Sun, The Daily Star) while broadsheets tend to sound like chess pieces or moody science-fiction characters (The Guardian, The Observer, The Herald). Often this is more fun than actually reading them.

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