The day could hardly have begun any worse. A little before 8am yesterday, I was prone in a dentist’s chair.
My dentist, a clever man who knows how to deal with the terrified, had just started his drill and leaned over me. “Are you a football fan?” he asked against a backdrop of whining and whirring (the drill, not me). “Yes,” I replied. He then said: “I support Manchester United,” and added, as the drill hovered above me: “what about you?”
Although I was by now petrified almost beyond speech, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing at this point to pipe up: “Manchester City, actually!” (Or, indeed to ask him how many Man United fans does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Two. One to change the lightbulb and the other to drive from Cornwall!) So, I just closed my eyes, mumbled that I don’t have a favourite team, and lay there and thought of England (captained by Gareth Barry, of course).
Things didn’t get much better when I arrived in the office. The managing director popped in to see me (only joking, Andrew). He was in ruminative mood, and was thinking about the Big Society, people power and whether individuals can really make a difference. Specifically, how this relates to a newspaper like i. “Our readers will determine whether we’re a lasting success or not,” he said. “We know how engaged they are with the paper. They’ve helped us shape it, and are quick to let us know when we’ve done something wrong. We’re here to serve them, and we hope they will support us.”
What he’s basically saying is this: keep buying the paper, tell your friends about it, and if you can’t find it at your newsagent, or it’s been poorly displayed, let us know immediately. As someone even more important than our managing director said: we’re all in this together. And as my dentist would say: it won’t hurt at all!