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I always pick up The London Paper when I am in town. It's free and I will need something to do on my journey home- so great. Would I buy it if it wasn't free?- no- absolutely not. It is what it is- a free paper which is financed by advertising. So let's have a look at the latest issue:- Well there is the main news- certainly not in depth news-the main points and that's your lot. There is a story in the edition I am looking at about 75 dead in bombings and that warranted only 12 very weeny paragraphs. It is a London paper so understandably any regional stories are London based. Then there is the celebrity news- nine stories in the first 5 pages alone and they escalate thru the paper, so that should tell you that this is the paper for you to pick up if you like what I would call typical celebrity gossip. Personally I am not interested- hence I guess another reason why I wouldn't pay for this paper if it wasn't free. There are the usual readers letters and texts together with opinion polls. Also a few feature articles, you know those articles that could go into a paper any day -as they are not news specific - some examples in my copy being..."Does Age Matter?....My night with a supermodel. (Yawn). There is an eating out review- be it a pub or a restaurant and naturally this is in or around London. You have the London TV guide as well as a London Theatre and cinema listings. There is half a page on property related issues- so that could be property itself or gardening or beekeeping at home or any vague connection. The classified section is jobs, training courses and new homes. As always there are the obligatory horoscopes. There are five pages on sport. Then to the reason I always grab the paper when offered- because none of the above would entice me to do so. The puzzles -a good crossword giving you the choice of cryptic or general knowledge clues, a word search, a small London quiz- e.g Where in London is the Crimean War Memorial? and last but by now means least 3 Sudoko puzzles of differing stress levels. London trains are packed and I find it difficult to read, nor enjoyable to read anything worthwhile with someones' elbow stuck in my back, with a heavy briefcase resting on my foot, whilst hearing the words " I am on the train" yelled into a mobile for the 768th time in 15mins. So The London Paper serves a purpose, it aids my time from A-B with reading for which I require no brain cells, and as we head further out of London and breathing once again becomes an option, the journey from B to C can be passed doing the puzzles.
Anyone who regularly traverses the tubes, buses or streets of London is likely to come across one of these sooner or later. Whether it is todays, yesterdays or last months. Recently more and more of these free daily newspapers have popped up around town bringing Londoners the entire goings on around town and beyond and does usually make for a very interesting read, provided it is not a slow news day. The London Paper was first published on September 4, 2006 by NI Free Newspapers Ltd who also owns the companies that publish The Sun and The Times. It is available from Monday through to Friday and has been since it was first published. It is distributes at national rail stations along side the metro and is also usually distributed by vendors outside tube stations. They're everywhere and if you go pretty much any tube station you'll have one shoved in front of you by those poor vendors. I know people find them very shall we say 'forceful' at times and yes I am definitely ones of those Londoners who gets annoyed when they don't seem to get the message 'I'm trying to walk here.... I don't want a paper!' They are usually out there at peak time and early in the morning and clocking off time obviously to maximise the number of potential 'customers'. Though having sat on the back of the bus gazing out of the window at a street vendor who was either getting shunned or direct abuse! I have resolved a smile is really not too much to give. Now for the paper itself, the cover print is always a distinctive mesh of black and purple, including the name of the paper in bold lower case letters. It's the size of any other tabloid newspaper out there which isn't so great for those packed tube journeys because you'll always have that person that insists they must have enough space to read it both pages side by side! Londoners! Highlighted articles are also shown on the front along with 'interesting' pictures relevant to the article. The paper is very image orientated with over a half of the paper being covered in various images easily. The paper is also very celebrity orientated with many of their front cover stories being on the antics of the 'hottest' celeb. You could say it's a glossy mag masquerading as a newspaper by adding a few things that you saw on the news last night and a sports section! But then again are they just catering to what Londoners want? ***** News ***** Not the most comprehensive reviews of all the worldly goings on or the most intellectual stimulating, thought-provoking articles but the paper delivers on entertainment. Typical article topics include ideas on how to improve your sex life and the 'cool' squatters who have taken over a gallery and called it art. On the occasions when they do tackle 'real news' you get an dumbed-down overview of the topic, though it does give you enough info to impress colleagues on the Monday by sounding somewhat knowledgeable. The articles are quite short though unless you have a really long journey that's a good thing especially after a long day at work. ******** Celebrity/Style ******** The Paper covers this area painstakingly, as opposed to their news items in this area no stone is unturned and as much as can be said is said. There are regular fashion and celeb spotting features in the form of 'thelondonstyle' and 'thelondonbuzz'. These regularly feature some celeb falling out of a bar with a cringe worthy caption or shameless plugging of various high street stores in the form of all their latest items (though cheaper than a glossy mag which would effectively do the same). ********* Nights Out ********* From everything from the latest Broadway show to the hottest clubs and theme nights out, nights out are what the paper is very good at. I commend whoever is in charge of this section as the biggest and most well-known events around town as well as the underground events are listed. This is a really good source of info in my opinion and amazing for a free paper! A good section of the paper is dedicated to entertainment and contains comprehensive reviews. ****** Puzzles ****** I'm a big fan of Sudoku, and ever since I learnt how to play properly I love to play when stuck on a train. The London Paper does not disappoint with three Sunoco puzzles of varying difficulty. There are other regular puzzles e.g. the WordPuzzler and a cross word. There are also regular cartoon strips and horoscopes. ***** Sport ***** I know next to nothing about sport, so I can't really comment as to how good it is. It is approximately four pages long and covers the most if not all the big sporting events. I imagine if I read these pages, it would give me just enough to vaguely follow though again these pages are very image heavy. Though my lack of interest in the subject on the whole makes this speculation. The amply named London Paper is generally a good read and worth picking up if you find yourself stuck on a train or bus for a certain amount of time and find the need for some intellectual stimulation (be it limited). The London Paper Online - http://www.thelondonpaper.com/ Thanks for reading!