I stayed at work a bit later tonight, and rather than rush off decided to wander down to Hammersmith for a post work coffee (which actually turned into a post work caramel hot chocolate, but that's sorta irrelevent).
Anyway, I was wandering down Hammersmith high street when I noticed something. A sea of people dressed in purple. What was this, I thought, some bizarre cult of... purpalists? No, it was not, I soon realised.
For those who don't live in or around London, let me fill you in on recent events: London is a warzone, and the combatants are free newspapers.
We used to just have the Metro, a free (and rather excellent) newspaper available in the mornings at tube stations. Now there's two new evening freebies - TheLondonPaper and London Lite. And the streets are pratically jam-packed with greasy little people trying to ram them into you hands as you go about your evening business. I reckon I had about five offers in two minutes (for free newspapers, I mean).
And where TheLondonPaper people are standing, London Lite people move in - and vice versa. I actually thought two newspaper numpties might start beating each other with wads of free papers. Well, hoped more like - I could've recorded it on my phone and popped it up on YouTube. There's nothing more exciting than a bit of newspaper-based happy-slapping.
Anyway, I took a copy of TheLondonPaper to read in Starbucks; it was OK, but, and please excuse my editor's eye here, poorly designed and a bit lacking in content. It clearly thinks it's the next best thing in bringing news to the masses. Well I've got news for you, buddy: the internet does it better, quicker, and on better quality paper if you print it out on photographic stock.
As soon as I binned my copy, two purple-clad news warriors zeroed in on me to try and give me a replacement. I gave them the patented Sparky withering glance.
I did not checkout a copy of London Lite, but if the front cover is anything to go by I think the Cockney-rhyming slang online dictionary could have a new definition for shite.
Junk mail is also a growing problem at Sparky Towers; when I bought my house last year, Sparky Ma gave me a 'NO JUNK MAIL' sticker for the front door. And it worked for a time. Then it began to curl at one corner so it kind of read 'O JUNK MAIL' as if I was declaring some sort of breathless exhilaration at the prospect of junk mail.
However, it's continued to curl a bit more, so it now simply reads 'JUNK MAIL,' which suggests that I've designated my letter box as a repository for any and all forms of unsolicited post.
Either way, I've pledged that if I'm ever here and someone tries to push a load through my door, I'll take it straight back out to them, shake my fist in their face, and call them an imbecile. Mark my words - I've learned my lesson from the only previous occasion on which that's happened: by the time I'd unlocked the porch door, picked up the supermarket-based junk mail, unlocked the front door, and noticed in a quick glance at the offending mail that Budgens had six packs of Pepsi Max on a two-for-one special the sneaky bastard had gotten away.