And welcome to the only column in any daily newspaper which has the grace to say, "Good morning" to its readers.
Oh yes, there are many columns which will start out by saying: "How long can the Spice Girls last?" or "Come off it, Tony Blair!", but there is only one column which will say a simple "Good morning".
And that is this column.
So, this morn (morn!) we say "Good morning".
Because we realise that the old niceties are not to be discarded and that there are people out there who like the old-fashioned exchanges of courtesy.
To them we say: "Good morning, ma'am, or it may be, sir."
We are proud of that.
We are proud of the older readers whose hands are encrusted with marmalade and whose nostrils react favourably to the aroma of bacon fat.
On the other hand we do realise the extreme importance of attracting younger readers.
We know that there are many readers under the age of 40 who, as soon as they hear the phrase: "Good morning, ma'am, or it may be, sir", will throw up.
What they want to hear is a modern, fresh-air greeting such as "Hi there, dude," or "Yo, friend!"
And to them we say: "Hi there, dude," and "Yo, friend!"
So, there it is.
To the older readers we say, "Good morrow."
To the younger readers we say: "Hey there, dude!"
I think that takes care of the grown-up market, those who are old enough to be allowed to go out and buy a newspaper by themselves.
But what of the under-age market, those who are children of our readers, those who are aged 18 or less? Maybe 15 or less, or even 10 or less?
What of them?
Well, the received wisdom is that people of 12 or under don't buy papers.
That may be right.
On the other hand, that may be wrong.
You see, people of 12 or under are already of the mental age to read many of our tabloids. They may be too old at 12 to read The Sun. But other papers they are the right age for.
That is the market that we have to aim at.
The market that one day is going to grow up and say to itself, Hey, what was the name of that paper that was so nice to me when I was a kid? Indefatigable, Inexorable, Indefensible, something like that?
So, to that market we say this bright (or dull) morning, "Hi, kids! Hey, I like your haircut! Mark you, I don't like the way you dress or the sound of your music, but you'd hate it if I did, right? Because you can come to me for down-to-earth honesty! This is the column that tells it like it is! This is the newspaper column you can hate as much as your parents - maybe even hate instead of your parents!"
Phew. Didn't enjoy that much, but had to do it.
That's the kind of column we are.
Of course, saying Good Morning isn't enough. We've got style but we need substance as well. Form we've got, but where's the content?
Look, we're overflowing with content! Don't forget that this column has blazed its way through the newspaper jungle with a series of firsts which was greeted by the What the Papers Say awards with complete bafflement.
Don't forget that this is the column that bought Prince Edward out of the Marines.
Don't forget that we were the first ever people who brought you:-
a newspaper column licensed for the performance of marriage actually in the newspaper itself!
details of the conditions on which Screaming Lord Sutch would form a coalition with Tony Blair if there were a hung parliament at the last election!
Lord Spencer's real name!
proof that the jojoba and aloe vera plants do not exist but were invented by the pernicious cosmetics industry!
compelling evidence that Sir Hugh Trevor-Roper's memoirs were fake!
a report on a woman's magazine that is so free of sex that a man could read it without blushing!
the shocking tale of a man who had the operation to become a woman, and then changed sex back to man because women's magazines were so in- your-face!
I think you get the idea.
And now this is the point at which we traditionally shyly mention the name of the Christmas book which contains the best extracts from this column, in at attempt to make it a best-seller.
But there is no such book.
Yes, this is a commercial plug without a product.
Remember that, kids.
When you grow up, spend your money on the column that didn't try to take your money from you when you were young.Reuse content