One thing I miss most about Britain is its daily newspapers.
Just before you missile me with mails saying I can find every single respectable British newspaper on line these days, let me just say, I know. I spend hours poring over www.telegraph.co.uk. I’m also fully aware of several outlets in Munich where you can pick up most quality British dailies on day of publication – albeit at almost thrice the original price.
The point is that I miss spreading my British newspapers over the breakfast table first thing in the morning to the accompanying whiff of freshly-brewed coffee and eat-out-of-bag croissants. Reading the news headlines online or in hard copy later in the day at rip-off prices just ain’t the same.
But ah, I hear you say, what’s wrong with a Brit abroad sipping his first cappuccino of the day over a German daily? Truth be told I’ve never been a great fan of this country’s press. The “serious“ dailies like the Süddeutsche tend to be far too in-depth, hyper-convoluted and painstakingly long-winded with not even a hint of humour to lighten things up. Reports invariably run for several pages before-the-end-of-the-sentence verb appears, by which time anyone with a life to lead has usually lost interest and gone off to walk the dog. Then there are the ridiculously über-parochial local papers, with headlines like „Traktor bleibt im Graben stecken. Feuerwehr rückt aus“ (Tractor gets stuck in ditch. Firebrigade to the rescue) or, even better, and I swear this is true, I read it in our local Hallertauer Zeitung just the other day: „Gestohlene Brieftasche taucht ohne Inhalte wieder auf“ (Stolen wallet resurfaces minus contents).
What all these newspapers lack is a sense of humour. Something which the British press is so good at. Take, for instance, the mountain of daily human-interest stories, with clever wordplay headlines that make you grin before you’ve even licked the first croissant flake off your lips. Today’s Daily Mail has a gorgeous headline: “Nuts! Woodpecker loses out in pecking order after cheeky squirrel steals his home.”
In summary, British newspapers serve non-news nicely packaged with ooh-la-la headlines and German papers offer a no-verbs, no-laughs diet of strictly regional news with too-logic-for-words headlines.
I’ll take the cheeky British option, please.