Or, in the case of the free newspaper, not delivered any more. At one point our little outpost of Southwark, sticking into Lewisham, had two papers a week, from publishers in each borough. We even had a distributor knocking on the door to make sure that his publication was being delivered and not chucked into the recycling centre en route.
Then it stopped. After a while the other one packed it in too. This means that I am out of touch. I have no warning of new traffic humps. Off-licences in my postal district can be burgled without my attention being drawn to the batch number of stolen bottles to watch out for.
I miss the wonderful small ads, mainly for vans the IRA wouldn't use in a roadblock and for colonic irri-gation practitioners shortly to be exposed by a special supplement of the British Medical Journal. I loved looking down my nose at the showbiz notes - Fifties pop star singing Sixties numbers in Seventies shirt - even though that's exactly my kind of music.
Okay, I could buy a local paper. But London locals are not really local. They offer acres of newsprint about new speed-humps and plundered off-licences in the suburbs of far-flung parts of the South Circular.
Can anything take its place? Something already has, in my letterbox but not in my affections.
It is a terrible publication which I shall call the Property Freebie. Every week the headline is the same: 'House Prices Soaring Through the Roof Again. The lead 'story underneath always says hurry, hurry, buy a house now.
Well, I have news for them. I'd write it down and stick it under their office door, every week, if I knew where they hung out. The news is this: I already have a house. It is attached to the door, which is attached to the letterbox through which they shove their unwanted publication. I do not wish to buy another one, not even if they come up with some scheme for buying two and getting one free.
A few slabs of text huddle amid the postage-stamp size pictures of houses for sale. Only a million people trapped by negative equity, an 'article enthused the other week. That's good news.
Also, it went on, a 'housing expert' swears that prices could shoot up by 20 per cent a year. Unless? Well, he concedes it won't happen if the Government has problems with economic growth and unemployment. In other words, it won't happen.
Other artwork consists of photographs of estate agents. Of course,
I won't have any truck with elderly gags about this maligned band of
professionals. Yes I will. What do people shout when they see an estate agent up to his neck in a barrel of S-H-one-T? 'More S-H-one-T]
But I have to reveal what is for me the most depressing aspect of the Property Freebie.
I can foresee my reaction when the housing market really crumbles and the publishers stop pushing the paper through my letterbox. I shall feel deprived, again.Reuse content