The Lockdown Diary – Day 36

Geneva, Monday 20 April 2020


I found an old copy of the Sun lying around; it’s dated 25 June 1348.

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Ha! Not really! This is a page from the Millennium Edition of The Sun by John Perry and Neil Roberts. Published in December 1999, it is one of my most treasured books. It reports informatively on what would have been major news from the previous two thousand years but in the inimitable style we all love to hate. It begins with, inevitably, the birth of Christ (A STAR IS BORN Messiah claim as virgin has baby in stable – 26 December 1AD). It covers major events from then – see below – and moves seamlessly past the first real edition of The Sun on 17 November 1969 to genuine front pages (GOTCHA Our lads sink gunboat and hole cruiser – 4 May 1982) and (FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER Comic put live pet in sandwich, says beauty -13 March 1986). Startlingly, it projects forward some decades (WE ARE NOT ALONE World leaders announce man has made first contact with aliens (ET Phones Home: Sun souvenir edition) 2 April 2040)

The Sun reported that, on 25 March of this year, Prince Charles tested positive for the coronavirus. (Charles tests positive for coronavirus at 71 and is self-isolating to keep him….OUT OF MA’AM’S WAY) Brilliant! How do they do it?

Advisory: Readers for whom English is not the first language may not appreciate these headlines. The Sun’s journalistic jingoistic front-page play-on-words is the stuff of legends. We understand that this might leave you scratching your heads in dismay. 

The Millennium Edition has some real gems. What about this from 19 June 1815?

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On the long drives up to Scotland of yesteryear, we used to play a game “Guess The Sun headline.”  One of us would read the text of an article in a recent edition; the others then tried to make up the headline. After a few attempts, the published version was then read out; groans and laughter. None of us ever came anywhere close to The Sun’s wit and creativity.

Go on… give it a go! Here’s an article from 11 October 1034 about Canute, King of England. You’ll find the complete front page well below.

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We are (that is, I am) already actively engaged in the Boris v. Donald sourdough starter competition. Here they are, fermenting-off just after their floury lunch. Can’t you feel the tension?

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Bread-makers among you will notice with surprise that Donald is fizzing like a good ‘un after only 24 hours. Boris, meanwhile, has been gently bubbling for two weeks and has already delivered us two delicious loaves. I have an admission… I named my starter after the Commander in Cheat for a good reason. Because he has to catch up on lost time, I slipped my Donald a teeny-weeny bit of live commercial yeast just to give him a bit of a giddy up. Seems to be working! There’s no chance of my wife finding out; she doesn’t read my blog!  

The putting competition. I won today 3 and 2 with no missed putts! Yay! That’s me up 16 to 9.

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