Written by Trip Nasti
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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

image for "Freddie Mercury ate my flatmate"
Newspaper grows legs

For many years now, possibly since time itself began, humankind has devoted an eternity to the never ending search for the perfect newspaper story headline.

Could that never ending search be finally coming to an end?

From the moment our ancestors dropped down from their swaying trees we, as humans, have been fascinated with knowing what is going on in the world around us coupled with the innate desire to keep track of what those famous folk are up to.

The odd picture of a 'wazzo pair of jugs' also proved quite pleasing.

Early newspapers were incredibly crude and not made of paper at all.

An archaeological dig next to a Pizza Hut in Devon unearthed what is thought to be one of the earliest ever newspapers written which runs the headline, "Fire hot, wife ugly!"

The importance of a good headline was first demonstrated by The Sin newspaper, when in 1986 they ran the story, "Freddie Mercury ate my flatmate".

The promise of yodelling front man of early 80's rock band Queen, the moustachioed Freddie Mercury, cannibalising some poor chaps flatmate would definitely make for interesting reading.

The truth was though, the story was simply a heart warming tale of Clive, an insane pensioner from Dorchester, who shared his one bedroom flat with a sweet and sour Pot Noodle called Nigel.

A peckish Freddie Mercury popped around to Clive's flat for a cup of tea one day and the rest is rock folklore.

Despite the tale itself being mediocre and dull it proved that a misleading headline could make money, with The Sin
selling more than three trillion copies of its newspaper in one day off the back of the Freddie story.

Scientists later reasoned that there must be a, 'perfect headline'. A headline so powerful, irrespective of actual story content, and even if it is not that particularly funny, every man, woman and child would simply have to stop and read the story the headline advertised.

This week, in a cramped laboratory located on a quiet industrial estate just outside the Wiltshire town of Devizes, a group of world renowned headline scientists finally discovered the journalistic holy grail, the recipe for the 'perfect headline'.

Peter Fudge who headed up the group of scientists explained that a new scale with which to measure the effectiveness of a headline was designed.

The scale, know as the Fudge scale is numbered from 1 - 5, with 5 being dreadful and 1 being perfect.

I asked Mr Peter Fudge what their discovery meant to humankind:

"The discovery of the 'perfect headline' is a very important one. He who controls the headlines controls the perception of the masses, and could stand to make a bucket load of cash!"

I asked Mr Fudge for an example of a 'perfect headline' but he declined to comment, simply saying:

"I'm off to fleet street, suckers!!"

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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