Guardian reviewer berates 'appalling' free newspapers

Nicholas Lezard, writing on the Guardian books blog, bemoans the rise of the London free newspapers and says he would rather commit suicide than have his byline appear in one.

In his tongue-in-cheek post, the Guardian book reviewer says readers should eschew the freesheets, which he terms “crapsheets”, and return to reading books on the tube.

After bemoaning the “hideous” design, “hysterical” headlines and editorial values of the London frees, Lezard turns to the writing: “[T]he question is not so much ‘who reads this shit?’ as ‘who writes this shit?’ Were I one of their writers, having to pull out 300 words every day on Amy Winehouse’s gastro-intestinal tract, I think I’d kill myself. I would not be surprised if there is an anomalously huge suicide rate among the people who fill up the crapsheet pages with their garbage.”

Turning on the hyperbole later in the piece, Lezard argues calls on readers to thrash a freesheet distributor to “within an inch of his life” and “drive their wailing journalists into the Thames”.

The notoriously abrasive Guardian blog commenters also don’t hold back. One wag notes simply: “London Lite. Rhyming slang.”

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