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Monday 12th September 2005

I was actually quite excited about the relaunch of the Guardian newspaper today. I don’t know how my regular paper had managed to whip me up into quite such a tizzy of expectation as essentially all that was really happening was that it was slightly changing the size of its pages, but somehow this was enough to have me abuzz with anticipation all week. The paper was also going to be in full colour and have a reorganisation of its sections, but the new size was the important factor. It was not quite following the prevailing trend and going to tabloid size, but kind of meeting progress half way with what they call a Berliner. It’s a bit bigger than a tabloid, but not as unwieldy as a broadsheet, which has always been the bane of am man like me, who has shorter than average arms (but you know what they say, “Short arms, short……” let’s just forget what they say. They don’t know nothing).
On Saturday they gave us a little taster of the new paper with a 4 page version advertising the launch. I liked that very much and could hardly wait for the real thing. In case you think I am employing sarcasm here, I want to make it very clear that I am not. This is one of the most exciting things that has happened to me this year in my humdrum life.
Weirdly, come this morning, I was a bit preoccupied sorting out more problems with my wireless connection and preparing for my return to Edinburgh (to perform a gig for the fresh-faced freshers) that I almost forgot all about it. I popped to my local shop for some milk and the paper and it actually took me a second to locate my beloved Guardian (oh yes they can give me three stars, but I still forgive them their foolishness and come running back for more). Then I saw it, with its new lower case title strip, now in a fetching shade of blue and my heart leapt.
I have to say I was not disappointed with the new layout. ItÂ’s clearer and punchier, but still feels like a grown up paper with something intelligent to say. No doubt they had pushed the boat out to make this an interesting edition, but it was packed with stuff that kept me reading all day. The only slightly negative thing about it was that when I got to KingÂ’s Cross there was a lady giving them out for free, so I had spent 60p that I could have saved and put towards ringing BT technical support again the next time my wireless connection goes wrong.
All the old favourites still seemed to be there, but it still felt surprisingly new and modern. Perhaps I am getting middle-aged (only last Saturday I was unable to get over the fact that petrol was practically one pound a litre and spent the whole day complaining about it and now here I am, practically sexually excited by the relaunch of a newspaper), but it made me want to re-organise my life so that I would spend an hour every morning pouring over the Guardian, digesting its content and maybe cutting out the best articles and putting them into a scrapbook.
If you are stupid enough to read the Independent or the Times or God forbid the Telegraph or the Daily Mail, then do yourself a favour and change. If you are juvenile enough to waste your time reading a tabloid like the Sun (like I was until relatively recently where I saw the error of my ways and successfully broke my 15 year addiction) then at the very least pick up a copy of this fine paper too. The easy sudoku is of a similar level of difficult to the expert ones in the Independent and that if nothing else should make you reconsider how intelligent you are reading a paper that has so low a regard for you intellectual abilities.
Rather nobly I therefore give the new format Guardian 5 multi-coloured stars. All that would brighten it further is a regular witty column by me, but you canÂ’t have everything.

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