Why is the Telegraph obsessed with sex?

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The Independent Online
I'M TRYING to stop reading the Daily Telegraph. I've read it for several years because I prefer to read a pro-Government newspaper that slags the Government off, which the Telegraph frequently does, than an anti-government one or a trying-oh-so-hard-to-be-neutral one. Also, when I don't agree with the Telegraph I get cross, and I like getting cross. But these days it just makes me depressed because there are so many sordid sex stories.

The Telegraph loves rape trials, and ran pages on the Bank of England deputy's affair. On the day that story broke they even led with a sex story on the foreign pages. Perhaps Max Hastings has become a pervert and a woman-hater, or perhaps it is all part of the national drive to attract a younger audience. The Telegraph's recent advertising campaign is all to do with fashion and Tony Parsons and all things young. Why is everyone so obsessed with attracting the young? The Telegraph, Radio 4 - everyone wants a younger audience when everyone knows the population is getting older and older, and that older people have more dosh than young people. Telegraph readers want golf courses and holidays, not sex.

THE magistrate who originally sentenced Eric Cantona to prison said that millions of young people saw him as a role model and tried to copy his behaviour. I wonder if this is true. Since his now legendary press conference last week about seagulls and trawlers and sardines, has anyone noticed millions of young people spouting strange seafaring similes? Have you asked your son the time, to hear him reply "The dolphins talk to each other, but the whales are far away"? Can you walk the streets of Manchester without bumping to shoals of football fans chanting "Octopuses have eight legs but they ain't so fast as ocean liners - OK!"?

THERE is a little caf down the road from me which had become known as the "Grumpy Polish", because it was staffed by beautiful young Polish women who competed with each other to see who could be the grumpiest. There was Blonde, Mousy Pony Tail and Henna Head.

Blonde specialised in being short with you. She would come to your table and bark "Yes?" and when you said "A cup of coffee and a bagel, please", she'd stare with a look of total hatred and curl her lip.

Mousy Pony Tail specialised in ignoring you. Once you'd taken a seat she'd look at you and you'd gesture that you'd like to order, and she'd look away in total indifference and butter a piece of bread for no one. You would wait, embarrassed for a minute or so, until you plucked up the courage to say "S'cuse me ...". "ONE MINUTE!" she'd yell, and continue with her laborious bread buttering. A good while later she'd come to your table and redistribute the last customer's spilt jam with a dry cloth. If you were lucky, your order would appear.

Henna Head was my favourite. She was staggeringly beautiful. When you entered the caf and met her eyes, they would light up in recognition and she would smile sweetly. Cheered up, you would sit down and when she came to take your order grin happily and give her a chirpy "Morning!". She would then stare at you as if you were from another planet, furrow her brow and say: "Vot do you vont?" Chastened, you spluttered out your order, and she would retreat from your presence as if you were dog's muck she had just stepped in.

Last week, Dog Day Afternoon came to the caf. The street was cordoned off and scores of police cars with wailing sirens zoomed up to the caf, their occupants charging in and dragging the grumpy girls out in chains, along with a cook who snarled in the basement making delicious cakes. They then took them to Heathrow and stuck them on a plane to Warsaw. This week the Grumpy Poles seem to have been replaced by Happy Kurds.

They smile, say "thank you" and bring orders promptly, to the amazement of the regular customers and to the chagrin of the legally residing Grumpy Pole owner of the caf. No doubt he will stamp out this ludicrous Kurdish behaviour and if he fails, will ring the Home Office and have them sent back to Turkey, or Iraq, or Iran where the authorities will definitely wipe the smiles off their faces.