Bombay Newspaper Reviews coming up, but first....
Snakeman's got a fan base? Shit, I'm being nasty again. Maybe it is because I'm broke in a strange city, which means that I have no beer money. Which is quite traumatic given that Toto's is only two minutes away. I went to Toto's on Friday, met fifteen other journo's I knew, in fact it looked like the sububarn iteration of the Press Club.
What happened this weekend? Well I caught up with some college friends, one of whom I met after five or so years and who promptly gave me a huge talk on salaries in the media (he works for a HR consultancy which does work for some media companies - if I play this right I can find who gets paid what and most importantly who is fibbing about their salaries). Secondly, I discovered that a friend (rather acquaintance from SSC) married to hottie TV anchor got divorced from her and promptly married her again. His rooomie from first year, who was the biggest pothead araound is now prepping to be a father and a third classmate of thiers (thankfully in Bollywood) is banging a 18-year old starlet. Another person I know who was having an affair with her boss (she works in a prominent Delhi newspaper) has had her rich husband (also a journo) dump her. Then of course, I had to drink shitloads to recover from information overload - Toto's was followed up with more daaru at the Lobby Bar. And that was just Friday.
Saturday began with a hangover and a visit to my landlord's, who I have discovered is a bit psycho. Anyway, since he told me in no uncertain terms that he doesn't trust people (maybe its the beard) he will have to wait for the cheque to clear before I can shift in. Bloody hell. I then went back to the 'Boys' house at Pali Village where I proceeded to get very stonered. Its good to lose perspective sometimes. Anyway, then a friend made me come into town (on a weekend, no less) but treated me to a movie. It was Dark Water in case you wanted to know. Nice movie, liked the mind fucking twisting ender to the movie. I still have to see Madagascar.
Sunday, I stayed home, ate food and played video games. Saw Australia lose. Felt very good. Also, whats with Bajaj, they play the Avenger advert at the drop of a hat. Admittedly, its a killer advert, I really like the cinematography in Ladakh and the fact that the biker 'forgives' everyone, and the little subtle touch of the peasant bowing to him, just before he says, 'I fell like... God', but too much airplay. But the bike is supposedly very good, I haven't driven one as yet, but I want to. Unlike the new Tata Safari Dicor, which sounds like a Rhino in heat and moves like um... hesitatingly. Now, the advert seems very good, 'Reclaim Your Life' and has haunting music which adds a lot to the advert. Sadly, because the music is the score from Requiem For a Dream, I only remember very sad images while watching the ad. But unless you remember that, or haven't seen the movie its a nice ad. Pity about the car though. Must get the Avenger for a TeeDee.
I hate banks.
Now on the Bombay Paper rush. The fact that Mumbai Mirror is given free with the Times has meant that it has become Mumbai's largest circulating newspaper - its 40,000 net news-stand sales added to ToI's 550,000 circulation, giving MM a whopping circulation. Not bad, given that MM is really surprisingly readable. No hang-ups, but some more analytical pieces (and not about the plight of bar girls) would be nice. That said, ToI with 100 pages of info is a steal for Rs 4, and with its far superior city and national coverage it is still the best paper in the city from a readers point of view. However, writing quality and editing quality is far shoddier than ToI Delhi or even ToI Kolkata.
What about the challenger? DNA claims a circulation of over 2 lakh copies. From advertisers I hear the number 110,000, which isn't bad initial circulation. Sure, DNA is only Rs 2 and separate sections make it pretty easy. Its got very good entertainment and party coverage (important in this city) and their Business section (again, important in this city) despite some unfortunate placements of adverts is still pretty good (leading to ToI bolstering their business section - but almost totally from BusinessWorld). Sports is even stevens - ToI's and HT's stronger and older bureaus are better, but DNA's superior page layouts do make sports easier to read. But then again, we are a one-sport, one-team country, so you might as well split up the sports section into the 'BCCI Politics' page; 'The Ganguly Page'; 'Lifestyle' page; 'Why we lost/How did we win' page; 'Global Cricket' maybe two pages; 'Other Sports' compring of the following - half page picture of Sania Mirza/Eastern European Tennis starlet, preferably in deep neck outfit and a interview with Narain Karthikeyan on 'Why he will not win at Monza/Suzuka/Silverstone or ever plus an occasional column on hockey whenever we lose to Pakistan.
Then there is Mid-Day. Whose quality is not the same since they lost 90-odd percent of their top-writers, but still circulates at around 150,000 copies. Very often the newspaper looks silly, but its good time-pass in the afternoon, if you have a free copy that is. Four bucks is too much money given that ToI gives away so much more for the same price. Ya, ya I know the fact that it costs more to print a paper than its selling price (I assume a 100-page ToI would cost around Rs 20, fair news-stand price, if not more) and if you can cover your costs with the news-stand price, its all the better. But really, Mid-Day does have the content to keep me happy. As I said, time-pass, not gripping.
Then there is HT. I met a person from the HT Delhi Desk ('paratrooped' in his own words to Bombay to cover for the fact that HT Bombay has too few people) who told me that there is no-where near to enough content. HT claims a circulation figure of 100,000, again actuals might be closer to 60,000-80,000, and god knows how many of this is 'net paid circulation.' HT has huge City reporting problems (one rotting carcass story, doesn't cut it) and if their enthusiam to doing business stories means skipping the Reliance AGM (because Saturday is a holiday) I can't say much about the business pages (which suck, which is strange because HT Delhi has some decent people in the business bureau, better than the people they have in Mumbai actually, but HT Mumbai and HT Delhi business have ego issues, and in a place run by Mr Ego himself, you can imagine what happens). Plus, I have no idea why HT is doing entertainment and party reporting so half-heartedly, its strange, because this is entertainment central. DNA After Hours is a great package, which is very entertaining. But HT seems to be too snobbish to cover it.
I feel sorry if you bought into the scrip for the long-term.
Time-Out Mumbai is the best read in the city though.
And thats it, a full fledged review of the Mumbai media and my life over the weekend. Now I have to work.
EDIT : This is a hilarious blog intro'ed to me by Cyborg (Swati), and just shows that I have been spending too much of my internet time at Slashdot, BoingBoing and Sensible Erection with very occasional diverts to Screenhead and Best Ads on TV. But I love this post about the Bonglomeration is freaking hilarious (even though the third Indo-Pak war happened in 1971). Its almost as funny as the now defunct Audi Olympics blog. By the way, I have no clue why so many many bongs in Mumbai try to hide their bong-ness, maybe they're scared that Bal Thackeray's goons will beat them up.
EDIT EDIT : Unlike the Snakeman I don't usually post super-short posts every two hours, so, I'll edit this one again with interesting bits of news here and there.
Here for example is great piece of architecture we will never see in India, where we will see either socialist-inspired concrete monoliths or glass-fraonted (I've never understood why glass fronted buildings are so popular in a country which gets this much radiant sunlight). Mine not to reason why.
From Demonbaby, we get a 'Lost in Transalation' Porno Shop edition.
Women getting their own back. Not bad in a country where men go about raping 18-month old babies. Must'nt condone crime, must'nt.
OK, this is a left-wing site, but is George W.Bush really losing it?
Free games, no really. Free games with nice graphics also. As in no money, and all from CNET.