Sleeping with the enemy

Fleet Street sign 2If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ page, you’ll see that I once worked for the Daily Express – the arch rival of the Daily Mail. The two newspapers have been bitter enemies pretty much since the dawn of Fleet Street history.

Jump in a time machine and turn the dial back to 1936 – you’ll find the Daily Express had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the world, at 2.25 million copies per day. That’s pretty impressive, considering the country’s entire population stood at 44million. It allowed it to lay claim to the title ‘The World’s Greatest Newspaper’, a slogan it continues to publish with pride underneath its masthead today. It trounced the Daily Mail to be crowned king of British middle-market fish-and-chip wrappings.

Founded in 1900, the Daily Express was the first British newspaper to feature a crossword. Its rising fortune under the watch of proprietor Lord Beaverbrook saw it move to a specially-commissioned Art Deco home in Fleet Street, at the heart of British journalism (the building still bears the red ‘Express’ moniker but now houses Goldman Sachs).

But the glory days didn’t last forever (even with Bammers in situ from 2004-2013, on and off) and after Beaverbrook’s son took over the reins in the 1960s, sales slid slowly downhill. Things got so bad that part of Rupert Bear was pawned off.

Meanwhile, on the other side of London, behind the Barkers department store on Kensington High Street, things at the Daily Mail were picking up. Under Lord Rothermere, and editor Paul Dacre, it grew and grew and is now the second-most read newspaper in the UK, with a daily circulation of 2million – and has a website that is the most visited in the world. In the world. That ‘sidebar of shame’ (you know you love it) has aided the MailOnline’s meteoric rise to 189.5 million visitors per month. More people dip into read a site famous for documenting the Kardashians’ every last cough and spit than click through to The New York Times’s pages.

And so, via a very long tangent (you’ll get used to them if you read Casting Off), we arrive at the crux of this post – I may be a DX girl originally, but I am excited to be able to tell you that the Daily Mail will be serialising a 3,000-word extract of Casting Off – the third section, when I tell of my time working among billionaires on a superyacht in Italy – in the second half of June. This is mostly amazing because it means my little book is potentially going to be seen by millions – millions! – of people. I hope one or two like what they see and decide to buy it.

So keep your eyes peeled between June 14 and June 28, which is the publication window I’ve been given, and if you manage to katch up on Kanye’n’Kim’s latest outlandish fashion choices while you’re at it – well, then, everyone’s a winner.

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