So, only a month after thelondonpaper said tatty-byes, we now have the joyous news that the other free evening rag London Lite is also buggering off. Good riddance! What was “Lite” about it anyway? American spelling aside, what were they trying to convey with a name like that? I don’t think they were trying to declare that their organ was going to be a bastion of insightful editorial and the unwavering vanguard of the Fourth Estate.
No, this was the title that boldly claimed to be printed with ink that didn’t come off on one’s hands; it was also printed with articles that didn’t come off on one’s mind. Their shamelessly content-free nonsense will not be missed by me; they simply acted as carriers for advertisements that people gladly picked up because they were disguised as newspapers. That and they enjoyed doing the Sudoku while trapped on the Northern Line.
I hope now that my daily walk to the tube station on the streets of London will return to the serene journeys they once were, without the need to constantly avoid those ubiquitous free-vendors (frendors?) thrusting their advertorials at me, declaring “Free paper!”.
Having no more need to fight my way past these obstructions, equally the Underground trains will no longer be littered with these sadly discarded publications. Easy come, easy go. Surely nobody believed the lie that they were somehow doing other people a favour by kindly leaving it for them on the tube after having read it and sneezed into it. No, this was littering, plain and simple. They even started to print advertisements pointing out this fact, but these people would have just sneezed onto the advert and carried on regardless.
And once again our beloved but crowded tube trains will return to being the cattle carriages that they once were, the aisles being for the benefit of people standing and not as an extension of the reading rooms of commuters wielding their “thelondonLitepapers” awkwardly, trying to pretend that this isn’t the only newspaper they’ve ever read apart from their Mum’s Daily Mail or Dad’s Telegraph when they go to their parents’ house.
What surprises me is how quickly this has happened: thelondonpaper has only been gone since September and the Evening Standard has only been free for two weeks, after a brief trial of the free-vend model. Having said that, it is owned and run by a Russian ex-spy and we know the Russians despatch their rivals quickly and efficiently.
I expect the Evening Standard to put their cover price back up again, maybe to 60p to really strike fear in the hearts of any other would-be competitors, and we can forget about the whole silly free paper nonsense and move on. If you want to read a newspaper, you pay for it, and if you don’t you don’t. Besides, and I am certainly not on any green bandwagon or anything, but it can’t be good for the enviro- oh you get the idea.
So that was the free newspaper revolution in London. Hello, goodbye. Easy come, easy go.