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Top Five Tabloid Cliches


Bill Lees
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By the way, wasn’t Dennis Rodman (and how’s that for a rude name?) a man “rodding†Madonna in a previous existence?

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I get the impression that Dennis Rodman seems to be a Murrikan version of NSS, in that he would also shag the hair on a barber shop floor at the drop of a thong.

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4.  Age, house value, and hair colour. In tabloid land, people are always bafflingly defined by these – let’s face it, pretty irrelevant – characteristics.  Nobody knows why.  “Shapely blonde Senga McCluskey, 37,  told the Daily Sphincter from her £350,000 house yesterday that she would have used the garden hoe as well if she could only have reached it.†  

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Another one you can add to that is something connecting them with their family. For example, a few months ago there was some story about a woman who owned a burger van. In one line it had Gran Bernadette (or whatever her name was), despite the fact it had nothing to do with the story.

2. A favourite of the PDE when quoting a national paper is to describe them as an "English based down-market tabloid" to mock the fact they are owned down south. Forgetting of course that the PDE is a down-market Paisley tabloid that isn't owned by a Paisley based company!!

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I'd forgotten about that one, been a while since they used it. When Coughlin was in charge, we were in such a mess on and off the park that every time the Sundays had a rumour, you could guarantee by Tuesday the PDE would have a denial with that phrase in it.

A lot of the cliches are terrible (some aren't too bad) and at uni we are discouraged from using them. it may be that the sub editors are inserting them rather than the journalists, or it may be that the journalist doesn't know they are using them. I probably use some in my previews and reports I don't know of.

Perhaps they should start using phrases from The Broons? Instead of a manager being embarrassed with a performance, he could be black afrontit :)

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  • 14 years later...
On 1/17/2006 at 11:42 AM, Bill Lees said:

I’ve had this book for years called “Keep Taking the Tabloids†by Fritz Spiegl. I’m always amused by it, because it’s absolutely true. It’s about how tabloid newspapers have a curious mode of language that is all their own – a mix of archaism and peculiar turns of phrase that just aren’t found anywhere else. Here’s the top six I can remember off the top of my head, but there are more.

1. Heart Attacks. Nobody who ever has a heart attack just has a heart attack. Oh no. In tabloid land, no heart attack is ever any less than massive.

2. Binoculars. Not a single pair of ordinary binoculars is to be had in tabloid land. Any binoculars used are never less than powerful.

3. The geographical possessive. Only in tabloid land is this used. As in “The woman was in the habit of walking along Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Streetâ€. Nobody ever talks like this in real life – “Aye awright Shug, I’ll see you at 8 o’ clock in Glasgow’s George Squareâ€â€.

4. Age, house value, and hair colour. In tabloid land, people are always bafflingly defined by these – let’s face it, pretty irrelevant – characteristics. Nobody knows why. “Shapely blonde Senga McCluskey, 37, told the Daily Sphincter from her £350,000 house yesterday that she would have used the garden hoe as well if she could only have reached it.â€

5. Fatal falls. Nobody ever just falls off a tall building and dies. People always plunge to their deaths. And always from buildings from which the number of storeys is specified – “a 14 storey buildingâ€.

6. People having a good time on the piss are routinely referred to as "revellers". When was the last time anybody said "Aye I'm looking forward to going out on Saturday Night for a right good revel." ?

This thread is worth resurrecting. 

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