Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper The Toronto Star has come out with a brand new design for its Sunday edition. And according to the editors, a brand new philosophy as well.
The idea, apparently, is to provide a paper that doubles as a magazine: you get all your world news and weather and obituaries and stuff, but in addition, you get more colour and larger photographs and wacky fonts and a number of ‘think’ pieces woven throughout.
(The editors suggest you leave it on the coffee table for the next week – leafing through it at your leisure Monday through Saturday, cherry picking the stories and reviews you were too busy to originally read, making the Sunday Star a permanent resident of your living room if not your recycling bin.)
Not that I’m complaining. Today, leafing through the second edition since launch, I see more of what they’re trying to get at, though I’m not sure if the change isn’t purely cosmetic.
The weekend papers are always more gossipy and literary and leisure-licious than the workaday editions, so if I’m seeing more, or reading more, I’m not quite conscious of it yet. And since I have plenty of time on Sundays (unlike the busy, productive types who presumably have to mete out their leisure pleasure over a full week) I go through the whole thing in one shot in bed, two cups of coffee, then bundle it up for recycling and it’s out the door, heigh ho, bound for I know not where, demonstrably not strewn across my coffee table, or any other surface either. I get through it all at approximately the same rate as before and with approximately the same insight load I reckon.
So I’m not complaining, but I’m a little disappointed. When the editors first started making noises about the BIG CHANGE COMING, I got all excited, imagining an actual Sunday magazine in the tradition of the greats: The New York Times maybe, or one of at least three of the best British newspaper Sunday mags ( you know – the sort the National Post tried several years back, only with interesting stories and fashion pictures where you could actually see the fashions in question instead of the supremely irritating arty photography) all shiny paper and stapled together and with the word ‘magazine’ prominently displayed somewhere. The sort of publication you actually can leave on your coffee table or rolled up in a basket in the bathroom, unlike a newspaper, particularly a broadsheet, which even the most talented and experienced folder-backer will at least occasionally lose control over.
It’s messy is what I’m saying, and not particularly convenient, and at a distinct disadvantage when your average householder is scanning the horizon looking for that which can be ejected at the earliest possible opportunity.
But the question remains: is it different? Is it exciting? Will it change my life by even the trifliest? So far, I think not.
Not that I’m complaining; if my life needs change I’ll begin with obedience classes for the dog, or a revamp of my kitchen (easily the stupidest kitchen ever) or a new haircut I can obsess over until it grows back to the same length it began at before I decided I was in need of a change.
And now that I think about it, if I properly organized my desk I bet it would really make a difference. (Seriously. If I only threw out the dried up pens and highlighters I’d have acres more space – and maybe even something to write with first go.)
And if ever there were closets in need of a clearout – and okay, my dresser drawers too – they’re right here: closed and locked and straining against the weight of the millions of ping pong balls, or whatever it is I keep in there that makes me afraid to even consider cracking the door open for a peek. (Apres that, the deluge.)
I should steam clean the couch and the carpet, refinish the oak floors and repaint the baseboards. The silver needs polishing, the kitchen cupboards need re-hanging and I need to put down new tile in the stupidest kitchen ever. I need to empty out the cleaning supplies under the sink – how many three-quarters empty squeeze bottles of Fantastic does anybody need anyway? – and arrange my epicurious.com recipes in a file and my cookbooks in a row. Where I can find them. Which is not under the bed.
And don’t get me started about under the bed! My step aerobic steps (which I actually use and are handily stored there) are concealing a cache of overdue library books, cookbooks, board games with pieces missing, dust bunnies as big as your head and the odd sock or long-lost earring. There’s also a box of photos I hate, but will probably appreciate and think are cute when I’m ninety. So I can’t throw them away, but should find all this crap a new home before like the Princess and the Pea I’m bumping my head on the ceiling and waking up with such a backache – oy vey!
If I really do want change, I really must untangle the computer and telephone and speaker and tape recorder and printer and monitor and lamp and cable wires before I actually need to one day, and have to partake of the Gordion solution. I should re-hang the pictures, wind the clocks and dust the top shelf of the bookcase. Make that bookcases.
I should shave my legs and do my nails (top and bottom) and give my hair a deep conditioning. I should write that speech I’m nearly paralytic with gibbering fear of giving a week Tuesday, get my files and papers and ideas in place for the big meeting with the big boss next week and clean out the contents of my purse in order to find the ripped out, tiny scrap of paper with the address of just exactly where it is I’m meeting him.
It would make a significant change to my wardrobe if I took the HUGE bag of dry cleaning to the actual dry cleaners, and press the blouse I bought and loved but never wear because it always needs pressing. I need to re-sole one pair of boots and re-heel two pairs of shoes. I should sew the button on the black sweater I find so versatile until lately when button-less, it’s not really all that versatile at all.
I absolutely have to learn how to program this cell phone, or at least learn how to answer it without hanging up. I should sort all the fashion and horse magazines and dispose of any that pre-date shoulder pads or the Italian seat (horsey reference – don’t ask).
And my bathroom needs re-tiling around the faucet. Okay; so it’s been forever since the taps were replaced; but the prospect of seeking out pale green subway tile circa 1939 to replace the broken and missing tile makes me want to pick up a copy of the Sunday Star and read the book reviews until the need to change my life fades…
Hey! Sunday Star! Thanks a million - change is good!