I thought, actually, I bet we don't live in the kind of area that will be LUCKY!!!!! enough to receive a FREE!!!! copy of this newspaper (I am not going to name the paper again because I am not giving them any more free publicity unless they sponsor Andy on his year-long weight campaign - and 'Thank you!' to Moira for your recent contribution...xx) but sadly, it turns out that we do, because there it was on the doormat when I got home from work. (Note to Self : New Ambition - to live somewhere that never receives free newspapers.)
On the front page is a picture of lots of famous Brits. So far so good, I think. Not full of footballers then. Page 2 has a poll listing 'The Greatest Living English Persons' - Her Maj The Queen, of course, winning hands down; and reading down the list I agree with other nominations except for perhaps David Bowie. And Paul McCartney because, quite frankly, when he gets rolled out at the end of important national events to sing 'Hey Jude' I want to throttle him. 'Sing 'Penny Lane',' I shriek. 'Now there's a good song. Oh no, forgot, you can't can you, because it involves a complex tune and complex lyrics and there's only Ringo left and everyone knows he was only the drum player.' (Did I ever tell you my Gran had a poodle called Ringo? I don't know if he was named after the Beatle Ringo. Might have been. He was a Dog of the Sixties.)
There is also a poll of the Greatest Historic Figures (Winston Churchill - I disagree - should be Shakespeare but he came in at Number 3, pop-pickers) and Greatest British Inventions - vaccinations. I think 'The Stiff Upper Lip' should have won. I've had mine for 48 years and it is still going strong and never needed repairing once.
On Page 3 there is a young lady who appears to have forgotten to pop on her pants. Still, with all the excitement of this football thingummyjig(YAAAAAAAWN....), it's an easy mistake to make. I hasten to add that I have NEVER forgotten MY pants. But then I've never been excited by football.
Page 4 contains a voucher for a free Coke Zero. Nice to see the Healthy Living Campaign has joined in a robust partnership with a sporting event - and on Page 5 James Corden is wearing a suit and has his face painted as an England flag much as an over-excited 8 year old might do. Page 6 - advert for Mars Bars (ditto Page 4) and Page 7 a 'Bluffer's Guide To Football, which is useless to me because I have never pretended to know anything about football and do not intend to start now. I might pass it on to Heather. Her chap is very into football, and when she spends time with him she sends Tweets about football, and I want to shout, 'What have you done with my daughter? Give her back immediately! She likes musical theatre, for heaven's sake!'
Page 8 - advert for BT. DO NOT get me started on BT. Just don't.
Page 9, something about England being full of genius, creativity and grit (I misread the last word first time around.) Page 10 - advert for burgers, beer, pizza and chips (ditto Page 4). Celebrity (YAAAAAAWN) stuff on Page 11, incitement to gamble on Page 12, a innovative approach to raising the moral standards of this great land of ours. All about England fans on page 13 (I am a fan of England, but I don't think I am a fan in the same way), a bizarre History of England via the media of newspaper front pages and extremely badly punned headlines on pages 14 and 15, I-pad app on Page 16 and how to create authentic Brazilian carnivorous food on Page 17. Lots of dead cow, sans vegetarian option.
I lost interest in Page 18 so don't ask me what it was about, and Page 19 had 'Fifty Fab Things to do in England. I have done (tenuously) 17 of them, and to be honest, I am not going to waste any of my life doing most of the others, especially the ones involving eating dead animal, getting drunk and participating in dangerous activities because ultimately I am a boring old fartess and like the quiet life. Advert for pizza on Page 20 (ditto Page 4) and then actual football stuff on pages 21, 22 and 23. And on the back page, David Beckham gazes either a) pensively b) lustfully or c) confusedly (I can't make up my mind) at a screen advertising Sky. Not THE sky. Just Sky.
And that is it. I am glad it was a free newspaper because I wouldn't have parted with cash for it.
It'll make good kindling for Winter...