The salt of another earth

9 Feb

IT was the second shock of the evening and it rocked the building. The first was the resignation of Fabio Capello as England manager. That caught everyone on the hop.

But we rallied instantly and ripped apart the Front Page. The previous splash – a story about more deep cuts at Nitherley Borough Council – was relegated to Page 7 to allow Capello’s face to glare gloomily beneath a banner headline that said CAPELLO OUT: REDKNAPP IN?

The page was finished for 10.30pm. We sat drinking coffee and watching the press reviews on Sky News, unaware that an even greater quake was about to shake us from our chairs and dislodge ceiling tiles.

One by one the front pages of the nationals were held up to the camera. Capello was there, his spectacles glinting, his downfall sudden and complete. Then came the surge of magma that cracked the walls – the Daily Express’ splash headline:

8 INCHES OF SNOW IN NEXT 24 HOURS

Editor: “Jesus fucking Christ. What the fuck are they on at the Daily Express?”

Leek Man: “Another fucking planet, that’s what.”

Big Bernard: “It’s fucking winter. It fucking snows in winter. That’s not news.”

Deputy Editor: “Absolutely splendid. Another bizarre Daily Express weather-related front page for my burgeoning collection of bizarre Daily Express weather-related front pages.”

That was last night. The world has recovered and the tectonic plates finally settled. I rise mid-morning, and after breakfast glance at the online version of the Express, just out of curiosity. The intro reads:

BRITAIN is braced for up to eight inches of snow today as temperatures fall to -15C.

I glance out of the window. It’s raining softly here in the North-East and feels quite mild. I might do a spot of gardening. But the second paragraph leaves me scratching my head.

It will be so cold that even the salt spread by gritters may not work.

A strange use of words. Does salt work? Can it be broken or malfunction? Would you return a packet to the supermarket and say: “I’m sorry – but this salt doesn’t work”? Perhaps the Leek Man is right. They’re on another planet at the Daily Express. A very cold one. Where the salt doesn’t work.

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