Who Reads the Papers?

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Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Kismet » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:23 pm

Do all the boys read the papers?

Ginger presumably read the papers before he met Biggles and Co: In Black Peril he tells Biggles that he has read about Biggles and Algy and a few pages later tells Algy that 'I read everything about flying that I can get my hands on'. Newspapers are the likeliest source of stories about Biggles and Algy so it is a reasonable assumption that Ginger read newspapers at least up until the point where he met Biggles and Algy and life became better than the stories.

Algy likes newspapers; he has one 'dangling between his fingers' in Fair Cargo, Flies Again and later on in Three Weeks 'Biggles was rudely awakened by the abrupt entry of Algy into his room, still in pyjamas, a cup of tea in one hand, and a newspaper in the other.' Later on, in Sergeant Bigglesworth CID, it is Algy who remembers seeing an article about Gontermann in the Times.

Biggles remembers reading that British Alluvial shares were quoted at one shilling in an old paper he was reading a day or two ago in Savages and Wings, Flies Again. He is sent a paper containing details of a raid that he was involved in and he turns over the pages before throwing it away and hence discovers Thirty and Forty are run away schoolboys in the Rescue Flight.
Otherwise he pays a clippings service to collect newspaper articles of interest to him, perhaps because he isn't reading them in the papers himself or perhaps because he doesn't want to miss any when he is working abroad and it is easier to pay a service to send him the clippings regularly than to stop and start the service.

Anyone got any other references to the gang reading newspapers?
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:54 pm

Yes, there's one in "Takes a Hand" - it's Ginger who finds a letter from EVS, when he goes downstairs in the morning to collect the papers. (papers, plural!)

“Letter for you.” Ginger handed it to Biggles who, in his dressing-gown, at home in the London flat, was sipping an early morning cup of tea with the first cigarette of the day. Biggles looked at the envelope, back and front. “This didn’t come through the post. There’s no stamp and no address; just my name. Where did you find it?”
“In our box, when I went down for the papers. Somebody must have dropped it in during the night.”
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Frecks » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:11 am

Algy had read something in the papers at the start of Sgt. Bigglesworth. There is also a mention of newspapers in On The Home Front. It sounds as though they had newspapers delivered to the flat on a daily basis. I think there is also a mention of newspapers in & Co.

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Tracer » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:32 am

Newspapers were an absolute religion when I was growing up. Nobody would speak to the 'man of the house' until he'd read the papers. And of course they would have to have a different newspaper each, so they could swap and compare later on.

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Fairblue » Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:32 pm

In Gets His Men: Air-Constables Algy Lacey and Bertie Lissie, in attitudes of bored indifference, idly turned the pages of the daily papers.
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by SopwithCamel » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:38 pm

I imagine newspapers were the equivalent of surfing the internet aimlessly in the day. A form of entertainment.
Otherwise he pays a clippings service to collect newspaper articles of interest to him, perhaps because he isn't reading them in the papers himself or perhaps because he doesn't want to miss any when he is working abroad and it is easier to pay a service to send him the clippings regularly than to stop and start the service.
This would be the equivalent of an RSS feed in the world of today? :D

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Kismet » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:32 pm

You've got me thinking there, Soppy.

In some ways, reading the paper was the equivalent of surfing the internet, but reading a broadsheet was viewed as A Good Thing which Men of Discernment who Wished to have an Informed Opinion on World News and Politics and be Respected did. Surfing the Internet isn't viewed nowadays as a way to educate oneself or make sure you have an informed opinion, even though it can do, depending on what you subscribe to. The internet is definitely viewed more as the trashy papers the servants read.

Is Biggles's clippings service the same as an RSS feed? Aaargh. I don't know. I can see where you are coming from: you pick the things you are interested in to be sent to your feed so you don't have to keep visiting favourite sites to see if they have been updated. That's similar. Things are sent to your feed / clippings are sent to your house. I think Biggles would have to save the files in some way for it to be exactly equivalent to his cuttings system. Perhaps he could have an e-mail based feed reader and a folder for the articles to live in once delivered? That would be an IT equivalent of cuttings stored in a scrapbook, wouldn't it?
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by kylie_koyote » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:52 pm

Perhaps Biggles would have Google Alerts for things he was interested in. I can see him finding that feature very useful.

{Side note: Mr. KK is a fire and explosion investigator, and he has Google news alerts for the words "gas explosion" (among other things) sent directly to his phone. When we had that series of gas explosions a couple months ago, in which something like 70 homes were affected and many completely destroyed, he was sitting in a meeting with his boss and a number of other people who do the same type of work. Everyone's phones started going bzzt, bzzt, bzzt one after another, and they all looked at one another in surprise and his boss, without even checking his phone, said "Something very bad has just happened." }
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Fairblue » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:51 pm

Tracer wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:32 am
Newspapers were an absolute religion when I was growing up. Nobody would speak to the 'man of the house' until he'd read the papers. And of course they would have to have a different newspaper each, so they could swap and compare later on.
Nobody was allowed to look at the paper until my father had read it. He hates a paper that had been thrown down or wasn't folded just so.
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by StoneRoad » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:54 pm

About 20 years ago (I think !) I was employed for a couple of years reading newspapers and magazines against a keyword list of about 750 terms, for a press cuttings agency. Made redundant because of computer / scanners ...
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Kismet » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:10 am

Haha! You are responsible for Biggles' s scrapbook of cuttings!
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by alderaanian » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:41 am

I always imagined that Biggles collected newspaper cuttings not just about his exploits / aviation news, but also about exploration ventures in places he'd previously been to, crimes, etc (especially in the SAP days) so that he refer to them if something jogged his memory about a case down the road.

Newspapers were also quite sacred to the man of the house (my father) when I was growing up and one had to put all the sections back tidily after having read them especially if he hadn't read them yet. Perhaps because of this mental image of him always reading the papers, even now that I have my own home it doesn't feel "right" if we don't have a newspaper subscription (makes a house feel like home??) and so we still have a hard copy subscription even in this day of electronic papers.

I recently finished a book project tracing the history of the hospital department in which I work and was greatly aided by the newspaper cuttings of various people in my department collected over the years. The same info would not have been searchable on the Internet and I would have had to go down to the library to look at microfilm otherwise. Even for contemporary news articles in the Internet age, many are not searchable after some time or behind paywalls. It's taught me that I should still be practising the habit of newspaper cutting for interesting articles as it does save a world of trouble later on when trying to trace the same information - for projects, for teaching, etc!

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by SopwithCamel » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:12 pm

In Rescue Flight Biggles says he was sent a newspaper about a raid he was in, which was how he found out about Thirty and Rip running away, making me wonder if he has a little "me book" somewhere under his bed that he gets out every once in a while to feel smug over....

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by kylie_koyote » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:43 pm

I wonder who sent him the clipping?

Dickpa? Dr. Duvency? A friend?
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by StoneRoad » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:21 pm

I presume that the boys would have read "The Times" as their main newspaper, but would they have regularly read any others ? if so, which ones ...

Magazines are another matter ...
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Fairblue » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:10 pm

Biggles could well have had the Financial Times. I think that whatever paper they had it would have been leaning towards the Tory political spectrum. The Telegraph, for instance. No Daily Mirror or the Sun Page three for them, not that that would have existed at the time. :shock:
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Frecks » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:25 pm

I think most of the magazines they read would have been related to aviation. I am sure they read an evening paper in a few of the books. I am sure newspapers were mentioned more than once in & Co. with relation to the price of gold changing.

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by kylie_koyote » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:32 pm

Biggles is reading "Flight" in one of the SAP stories. In another he announces his intentions of going round to the club and reading the foreign aviation magazines. (A wild Friday night for our boy!)
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Kismet » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:06 pm

At a guess they would look at a broadsheet in the mornings and, I think, pick up the London evening paper from a newseller on their way home from work. It was very common for men to have a stand in the street and to sell the evening edition of the paper to those passing by. It was Dick's job in Flies West to sell newspapers in the street, and a fake seller set up opposite the Mount St flat in Hunts Big Game. The morning newspaper would be delivered and there would be some sort of pigeonhole or locking box for the newspapers and post for each flat in the entrance hall.

I wonder if the papers they read in Flies Again were the English papers, and so a few days old (as mentioned in Savages and Wings) or American papers or local papers published in Spanish? Or were there English language papers published in the bigger South American cities? Certainly, if Biggles can arrange for an item to be in the next morning's paper, Algy is reading something that hasn't been sent out from Britain in Three Weeks.
I recently finished a book project tracing the history of the hospital department in which I work and was greatly aided by the newspaper cuttings of various people in my department collected over the years. The same info would not have been searchable on the Internet and I would have had to go down to the library to look at microfilm otherwise. Even for contemporary news articles in the Internet age, many are not searchable after some time or behind paywalls. It's taught me that I should still be practising the habit of newspaper cutting for interesting articles as it does save a world of trouble later on when trying to trace the same information - for projects, for teaching, etc!
You are quite right about the value of clippings, Alderaanian. My mother has a box of photos people have given her and clippings from the local papers: she taught elocution and would clip the results out to show to parents who might not have bought the paper the results appeared in. People would chat about local affairs in the school playground or after church or in the pub, and if someone said they hadn't seen an article then it would be clipped out and sent to them. It was how information was shared in the days before not only the internet but microfiche! It's hard to remember just how hard it was to find information back then. I am putting together a family history album and the few clippings I have are great, as it is information that isn't easily available elsewhere and that information is what makes the ancestors into real people.
In Rescue Flight Biggles says he was sent a newspaper about a raid he was in, which was how he found out about Thirty and Rip running away, making me wonder if he has a little "me book" somewhere under his bed that he gets out every once in a while to feel smug over....
He throws that paper away, Soppy! He has to make sure the evidence of Thirty and Forty having run away from school is disposed of. I do agree that he probably has a box of cuttings somewhere. Things people have sent him that they think will be of interest to him and no doubt he sends clippings back. All the boys often have envelopes / letters in their pockets so they must be corresponding with someone and if they are writing to friends, they are no doubt saying 'look what I read the other day about' and enclosing the occasional clipping.
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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Anticlockwise Prop » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:43 pm

There is at least 1 very unusual bit of editing in relation to newspapers and Biggles stories. In the book Biggles Charter Pilot the story ‘The Adventure of the Golden Shirts’ Johns wrote “Ginger tossed the mutilated newspaper into the waste-paper basket”. However, when that story was published in Boys Own Paper (1942) the line reads “Ginger carefully folded the newspaper for the salvage basket”. I expect that this change was made by the B.O.P.s editor as during the war the B.O.P. regularly carried requests for its readers to take paper for recycling.

(I would love to take credit for noticing this subtle change but it was reported previously in the Biggles’ Friend Magazine #5)

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Re: Who Reads the Papers?

Post by Frecks » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:09 am

That is a very interesting point and for once a good change to the text.

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