I picked up my free copy of The Evening Standard on Monday ("It's only free today," shouted the bloke who gave it to me, "it's not shit or anything!") and was pleased to see that although they'd ignored my advice and gone for a relaunch campaign that looked like it had been brainstormed by David Cameron on a train, it still ran a massive story on a disgustingly rich banker's disgusting divorce as its front page, with an article that hit that special tone of prurience and moral censure that Londoners know and love.
Unless you've just come off a really apocalyptic bender and need to buy a paper to work out where you are, I can't see any good reason to have the word 'London' in the masthead. I don't know about you but I find the London branding round here pretty omnipresent. Why not hang a big sign off Nelson's Column that says 'London', just to make it really fucking emphatic. Does Lebedev just want his Russian friends to be in no doubt that he hasn't bought the Manchester Evening Standard? If there was 'Only Fools and Horses but with Oligarchs' would he be Rodneyvich? That's got to be the question on everyone's lips right now.
Apart from a few cosmetic changes the main difference between this new Evening Standard and the old one seems to be the advertising, of which there is an awful lot more, and is now comprised of a uniquely oligarchical mixture of very high-end luggage and arms dealers.
I really love this advert.
As regular readers of Prison Suicide Supplement will know, I think patriotism in advertising is always (I mean always) fraudulent in the extreme. Of course, this isn't an advert as such, they're not trying to sell you anything that you haven't already bought. BAE Systems doesn't have to advertise, as it mainly sells arms to the Saudis under the auspices of the Defence Export Services Organisation (or DESO) a branch of the MoD paid for by you and me dear reader.
A friend of mine spent a year working for DESO, which I found took the heat off me somewhat, profession-justification-wise, at parties.
What this ad fails to mention is that, unless they've radically overhauled their product line, the £2.4 billion BAE contributed to the economy were profits from the sales of things like missiles and warplanes and therefore exactly proportionate to the need for arms in the increasingly unstable world we live in – something we can all be proud of.
In fact the whole military industrial loop is blackly comic and was described to me by this same insider thus:
1. Britain must have an arms industry in order that it can maintain the capability to defend itself in times of war.
2. In order to maintain an arms industry there must be war.
3. Britain must be at war somewhere all the time.
4. -> 1.
Does anyone know who wrote the copy on this ad? It doesn't look in-house. The visual says Euros to me.
Did you write it?