Column inches

Those in the provinces may or may not be familiar with London’s free newspaper culture. As well as the Metro, a library of other free rags can be found around the city, distributed by expressionless droids and left to clog up escalators and Tube platforms like piles of sad, abandoned Christmas puppies.

One such paper is the London Evening Standard. This is a paper I’ve oft regarded with caution, not least since a more seasoned Londoner friend batted it out of my hands, exclaiming ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ after I first picked it up.

But, on the way home last night, tired of looking at the sallow complexion of the gum-chewing, throat-clearing gent in front of me, I idly picked it up and had a flick through. And then I got to page 29.

Wow.

Taking up no less than 9 and a half column inches was this. Go on. Have a read. I’ll wait here.

Dita Von Teese wannabe Millicent Binks is the Standard’s new sex columnist, drafted in no doubt to help give the Daily Mail-affiliated paper a contemporary facelift. Indeed, look how bohemian she is. She lives near a market where they play West Indian music. Cultural! She’s also no stranger to multiple bed-buddles (or ‘sex pets’) – of the same sex! Liberated!

The oh-so casual mention of her Art-Deco dressing table leads me to believe it’s not Tooting Market she lives above, that’s for sure.

But back to the column. Sex columnists frequently get a bad rap for writing fluff, but even Carrie blinking Bradshaw, who is not even a real person, wrote columns which gave pause for thought, which hoards of women around New York could relate to. How many women (or men) in London can relate to this tripe? Maybe a pocket up in Notting Hill, perhaps, but surely they’re too busy spending a fortune on looking poor and eating organic carrots and lambasting any rightwing ideas and affiliated publications to read the Standard anyway?

It doesn’t help that it in many places it reads like the disjointed ramblings of an ADHD-riddled child: “My hair was curly last night and now it’s wavy I’ve got FOUR lipsticks I like the noise they make when you take off the lid and now I’m putting my lipstick on lots of times so I don’t go outside the lines and then I gave my boyfriend a blowjob.”

She gave her boyfriend a blowjob. This is the crux of the piece.

This isn’t a sex column written to inspire or comfort or empathise – or even amuse (well…). It’s a dull, vacuous boast-fest designed to give middle-aged commuters a boner on the Tube.

Ick.

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5 thoughts on “Column inches

  1. MFR says:

    Jesus WEPT. I often read the Standard’s columnists and wonder whether they’re joking but this is something else. Brilliant blog, though!
    BTW, did I ever tell you about my short stint at a certain nefarious publication a couple of years back? Remind me next time our paths cross somewhere where there’s alcohol (the stuff they print in there makes Millicent Binks’ witterings look like Countdown…).

  2. I want to comment, but I am lost for words. If she IS boasting, I hope she knows that sucking my boyfriend off and dreaming about a menage a trois with a friend appeals about as much as having my toenails slowly extracted with rusty pliers.

  3. holly says:

    i have started to follow her columns and love them actually!

    youve gotta be dumb not to realise shes writing in Tounge in Cheek style you lot are just unpublished and jealous.

    secondly who is to say an art deco dressing table isnt a cheap 30 quid one? shes not making out shes rich at all…

    if you want deep insight about sex why are you reading the evening standard?

    1. Hi Holly,

      In the first instance I would say that you’re right, no-one in their right mind would look for a deep insight about sex in The Evening Standard, but what they might look for is journalistic quality. Indeed, as a published journalist myself, I believe that newspapers have an obligation to provide decent editorial content to a standard that certainly does not patronise its readership. Especially one with a readership as large as The Standard enjoys.

      Secondly, a ‘Tounge in Cheek’ style of writing would imply an element of wit. There is no wit in this column. It’s simply a rambling stream of consciousness. Although, I can see how it might appeal to individuals who still find sex-references funny, so I guess that’s the market they’re going for.

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