The Royal hunt of The Spectator
There was only one copy of The Spectator magazine left on the shelf. And it was in a crumpled state. It was obvious that it had been leafed through many times. The browsers that had violently flipped through the magazine had no consideration for the eventual buyer, if there were to be one, of said magazine. The pages were deformed and the cover had a huge fold mark on it.
Two choices were left to me. Buy this unsold second-hand copy or walk to the other side of town to purchase The Spectator in the only other shop that stocked it. There was a queue at the counter. I don’t like queues. I walked.
It was an uneventful walk. I tried to take a short cut through the sewers but was chased out of there by an angry crocodile. On the way I popped into smaller newsstands on the off chance the outlet had taken a gamble and ordered a Spectator. In some of these establishments you couldn’t swing a tiger. Scanning the limited shelves, just as I expected no Spectator, especially on the picturesque top shelf. To paraphrase one of Obi-Wan’s “These aren’t the glossies I’m looking for”.
Reaching the other store that was a regular stockist I was dismayed to find that they too had only one issue left. And it was in a more bedraggled state than the other one. This one had been round the block a few times. Propped up by neighbouring magazines it teetered like a drunken, gnarled branch that had been to the party of all parties. I half-expected it to vomit on the floor. I felt sorry for the poor thing. It wasn’t The Spectator’s fault it was in rags, it was the viewers that done it. They should outlaw browsing. Having to pick the best of a bad bunch I had to return to the first shop I was in.
Another uneventful walk with the addition of rainfall to keep me company. I considered entering a coffee house then remembered I don’t like the stuff. Oh, forgot to tell you about the pterodactyl attack. A deranged horde of them swooped down on me but I managed to beat them off. And Tippi Hedren thought she had it bad.
On re-entering the newsagent I saw that there was a large queue lined up at the checkout. This is bad. I looked for The Spectator that was here earlier. Fraser Nelson! It was gone. It had found a buyer. I eyed the queue to see if any one had The Spectator in their hands. I didn’t see it and even if someone had it, there was nothing I could do, except maybe hit the fire alarm. I went back to the shelves and considered turning up the corners of the many copies of The New Statesman that were not taken.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two Spectators were up for grabs, and I,
I shilly-shallied and let them pass by,
A Spectator-less week is a lonely existence