Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Things You Don’t See From A Car: #2 Placard for The Brighton Argus, 9 March 2010

To be honest, I’m probably stretching things a bit here. You might well see this from a car. But if you did, you’d likely end up swerving off the road. Or hitting the car in front. Because of all the things you think you are ever going to see on a newspaper placard, this has to be the least likely, “Window Cleaner Killed by Giant Pencil.” P1010846xx What sounds like an over-extended version of a Dave Gorman Googlewhack isn’t a made up story: it’s the report of an inquest into a genuine, tragic and inexplicable death. How it happened, nobody seems sure. But happen it did, with the terrible consequences captured in the placard. Proving that life (and death) is often much stranger than fiction. I have to wonder, if printed newspapers get destroyed by a virtual e-storm of Kindles and iPads, whether these placards will also disappear from the streets. Which might be good news for pedestrians trying to negotiate the pavements. But, overall, I think it will be a loss: no longer would it be possible to read that John Philby, son of the notorious spy Kim Philby, only learned that his father had defected to Moscow “on seeing a newspaper placard as he stepped off a ferry from the Isle of Wight.”

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