The Friday Thing is a satirical email newsletter with a difference: it wants you to pay for it. What a joke. Nobody pays for content on the internet, do they? Why shell out a tenner when you've got the Onion and the Brains Trust for free? The shocking truth is that it turns out to be worth every penny. Think a net-savvy, embittered younger sibling of Private Eye, and you won't go far wrong. The comparison is deliberate, because the great thing about Ian Hislop's magazine is the mix of 'serious' critical and investigative material with the pure funnies. The Friday Thing attempts an equally ambitious range, but comes across as much younger, and is more likely to turn its attention to showbiz and yoof music than opera and agriculture. It also functions as superior blog, sending you to solid gold websites and news articles with deadpan one-line links. They stretch to some nice features, such as an excellent search-engine challenge, for Google-fanciers to really flex their muscles to. Death is also a speciality, with a nice line in obituaries that are neither fawning nor needlessly cruel -- a kind of mega-extended E J Thribb, if you like. So is it funny? Probably matter of taste, but I personally find it hilarious. The writers can do the whole gamut of comedic modes, from caustic to withering by way of contemptuous. They're not averse to taking the piss of their own subscribers either. If you need some proof before shelling out, thefridaything.co.uk should have a sample issue up somewhere on the site if you look hard enough. After all, what's the worst that could happen?