RICHARD ORD: Soiler alert! The unlikely saviour of the newspaper industry
The saviour of the beleaguered newspaper industry may come from the most unlikeliest of sources … the rear-end of a dog.
While thumbing through the latest copy of your favourite daily read, my better half began bullying me to hurry up and pass it over.
Having absorbed the abundance of intrigue and drama oozing from every pore of this magnificent printed publication (look we need the sales, and the editor might be reading), I chucked it in the direction of The German.
Ten minutes later, she asked: “Have you got any more?”
“Any more what?” I asked.
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“Newspapers, of course, I need more.”
Turns out she wasn’t reading the paper, but fashioning every page into what looked like sailor hats for babies. There were dozens of them.
“They’re dog poo bags,” she declared proudly.
Forget the quality journalism, unrivalled sports coverage and the ceaseless championing of causes closest to our magnificent readers’ hearts [Okay Ord, don’t over-egg it - Ed], dog muck pouches may well provide a lucrative lifeline for the newspaper industry.
To be fair, the newspaper has, for years, been inextricably linked to the animal kingdom, and, more specifically, its dung!
In the early years, the rolled up newspaper was used to discipline dogs who had relieved themselves indoors. Indeed, the weaponising of the newspaper was almost instantaneous. According to historical gossip, no sooner had the Oxford Gazette, the world’s first newspaper, rolled off the printing press in 1665, than it too was rolled up and applied at great speed to the head of a newspaper delivery boy.
For the following four centuries it has been the weapon of choice in chasing wasps and swatting flies. When budgies became Britain’s favourite pet, the absorbent quality of the newspaper made it ideal to collect the creature’s droppings at the bottom of their cages.
‘If it’s good enough for budgies, it’s good enough for us’ exclaimed then-Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and so the boom time in newspapers as toilet paper was born during the 1930s. The invention of toilet roll and the demonisation of budgies in the early Eighties saw a fall in newspaper sales which has been difficult to arrest.
Can the recycling craze of folding newspaper pages into environmentally-friendly dog poo bags reinvigorate our industry? Here’s hoping.
And to those who for years have said I’m talking pap … well, for once, you’re right!