Miles Kington: Survey gives clues to 50 worst headlines of the year

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Getting through newspapers as quickly as possible is made much easier if you simply follow the Miles Kington method and avoid all articles which feature a certain word in its heading.

What word? Oh, words like "shuffle", "poll", "survey", Oscars", "reality", "gizmo", "Madonna", "Olympics" and "new". ("New"? Yes, you know. All those headings which say "Is black the new orange?" or "Is poetry the new rock'n'roll?" Useless speculation. Avoid. Oh, and remember Andrew Marr's wise saying that whenever a newspaper headline asks a question, the answer almost always turns out to be no.)

I have mentioned this to you before, and it really seems to work, but all the best methods need updating from time to time, so I thought I would bring you some new actual current headlines of the type worth avoiding. You probably won't encounter these word for word (though some are genuine and taken from real papers), but as long as you recognise the pattern, you should be safe enough.

For example, if you see a heading saying: "Critics give clues to the way Oscars will go" well, you already have two words to avoid there, critics and Oscars, but you also have been warned by "clues" that the ensuing piece is pointless speculation about something totally pointless. Yes, I think the Oscars are totally pointless. There, I have said it. And I hope the striking writers torpedo the whole thing, so there.

Right. Sorry about that.

Now, here are my sample horror headlines of the season.

"Will the real Amy Winehouse stand up, please?"

"How it all turned a bit sour for Simon Rattle."

"Fifty up-and-coming young hairdressers to watch out for."

"Has Ricky Gervais blown it?"

"Britain's vanishing hedge birds: could this be the reason why?"

"Getting Brussels sprouts just right don't give up hope yet!"

"Forty tips for cooking a perfect turkey."

"The day that Howard Carter met King Tut."

"Is there anything more to the Tour de France than drugs?"

"Flooding: why it might all go badly wrong again."

"Conrad Black not the monster he's made out to be..."

"Whatever happened to Badly Drawn Boy?"

"The real story behind last week's Big Brother."

"Friend of the McCanns who was with them on the fateful evening of Madeleine's disappearance suddenly remembers that she thinks she actually saw a little girl going off with a slightly suspicious-looking stranger at the time, but come to think of it, it might well have been some other occasion entirely."

"Can Liverpool get its act together in time?"

"The real story behind the Lib Dem leadership race."

"The man who invented Monopoly."

"Roy Meadows speaks out: 'I was right!'"

"Why Ricky Gervais hasn't blown It."

"Mugabe blames aids plague on British colonialism."

"Could this be a lost fragment of Shakespeare?"

"The Chinese terracotta army is coming."

"My best holiday ever."

"Belgium stares into the abyss."

"How far can we trust Wikipedia?"

"My 10 best gadgets ever."

"The dam that nobody wants."

"This is panto as it should be! Oh no, it isn't! Oh, yes, it is!"

"Is this the man for the England job?"

"Could England manage without the Scots?"...

Get the idea?

Mark you, I don't know what heading they are going to give my piece today, so maybe there was some trigger word in there which made you skip my piece, and you never read any of this, and your life was never changed by epiphany.


That's another word to avoid like the plague.

Getting the idea now?