Friday, 8 July 2011


He had one thought: "I need filth". Rupert had been slapped awake with the unpleasant start of a man who'd been forcefully resuscitated against his will. No one, nothing, was there but the brutal light of day, penetrating every crack that wasn't held at bay by the curtains, impaling his head to the pillow with violent determination. He felt rough. Head spinning. Face baked in heat and light. Body sticky and aching beneath the covers. An ocean of vacant need. "I must service my need".

Propelled by base desire, he dragged himself from bed, and soon found himself outside, staggering in the tenacious heat of a boiling Sunday morning. The breathless air, swaying hopelessly to ward off the piercing orb, squinting eyes barely open, baseball cap pulled tight over scrunched hair, the last lines of defence.

An interminable walk - "dear god, walking" - the 100 yards to the newsagents - the headline news sandwich board planted outside the shop - a lousy speck invisible in this beating glare.

Ding, ding, the bell goes, as he steps heavily through the door and makes his way to the paper rack. Eyes grazing the shelves. But what's this? His favourite rag not in stock. Everything else but not this weekly number. How could this be? I'm not late. Where is it? He looks to the shop-keep. "Sorry mate, it’s not out, they've stopped it, not going to do it anymore."

Rupert felt faint; the bile was quick to surface: "What the bloody 'ell mate? What the bloody 'ell are you talking about? I want my bloody news!"

The shop-keep was unmoved: "Sorry mate, like I say, no news." There was an awkward pause. "No news is good news," He smiled jovially.

Rupert exploded: "Don't tell me no news is bloody good news, get on the phone, get your bloody delivery boy here with my copy of the NEWS OF THE WORLD NOW!"

The shop-keep didn't blink, "I'm sorry mate, I'm not joking, there's no NEWS OF THE WORLD. It's over. Didn't you hear? They put it out to pasture. Sent it packing..... all those allegations."

Another tense silence as Rupert eyed the man and went to begin ranting and raving again, before the shop-keep directed his gaze towards a paper whose title he hadn't seen before. Sunday Sunday. Rupert looked down. "What the fuck is that mate?!"

"It's the replacement. Take a look." Rupert went to start balling again, but the shop-keep interrupted gently. "Please...... have a look."

Incredulous, Rupert grabbed the red-top - he wasn't convinced by the front page: football. bums. pregnant. peado. murder - and thrust it open. P2 and 3. Breasts. Smiles. War. His temper calmed. He flicked to the editorial. Outrage. Hate. War. Pride. Paedos. But no breasts. Tasteful. He sighed gently.

Rupert's breathing slowed, easing to a gentle tempo. He held the paper and allowed himself to enjoy its weight, its feel; it sent a pleasant tingle through his hands, all the way to his spine, up and down and all over. As he fished out the shiny £1 coin to pay for his booty, he looked to the shop-keep, whose tiny, square, face mooned back at his and said softly, wistfully: "it tastes .... like the Sun."


  1. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of "Mad" Murdoch ... it could just be the sheer size of his vast media monopoly empire or his cross-party grip on the ear of every leading politician?

    There was, in it's heyday, something more honest in the highbrow wank mags like Playboy - the promise of titties (without the obsessional attention to gynecological details), as well as the lure of some first class writers.

  2. PS. I should also give credit to Johnson for his not insignificant help in drafting Chapter One.