Keep taking the supplements

Confession time: I’m not very good at reading newspapers. I’m sure I should. But I’m always more interested in the supplement sections, especially on a Saturday.

Buying the Saturday Times has been a bit of a ritual for some time, and I won’t write at length about it here. But I guess one of the reasons we keep buying it is to see what the various columnists have been up to that week.

So, in the spirit of sharing our favourites, here are some of the columnists who write (and have written) well:

Kate Muir: the original. Kate has kept our attention for nearly 10 years now, writing from Paris, then Washington DC (lots on politics there), and now back to London. Kate is a Scot from Glasgow, so there are occasional comments from a Scottish perspective on some feature of England.

Kate’s topics: wide-ranging. There is quite a lot on bringing up a family in London, and dealing with yummy mummies there; the attempts to get an allotment; occasional pieces on feminism.

And from time to time, she goes on holiday to Argyll, and we can read about descriptions of places that are near our holiday haunt, the Isle of Jura. Her main achievement in this respect was tipping us off to the burger bar at the top of the hill the Rest and Be Thankful. It’s a glorious drive, and can be made even more so by a high-quality bacon roll.

Robert Crampton: otherwise known as Beta Male. While Kate is situated near the front of the Saturday Times magazine, Robert is on the back page, making a career out of not quite getting it right.

Robert’s subjects tend to be reasonably domestic, sometimes sport-driven, often with the option for him to record statistics along the way. We learn about the satisfaction of ‘getting a [washing] load on’, of local cycle paths, of the savage tendencies of his children’s hamsters.

Robert also shares some of the games he comes up with along with fellow columnist Alan Franks: try for yourself, although you may need to improve your knowledge of football and sub-Saharan African leaders.

Peter Paphides: now no longer writing his own column, Peter used to have the front page of the Knowledge, the entertainment section of the paper. Peter also tended to write about family but also music, his main area of knowledge.

Some of the best pieces involved him trying to encourage his daughter Dora to say what she thought of bands like the Clash. Dora was generally more interested in Dora the Explorer – if you have a television show apparently named after you, there’s no real substitute.

That’s enough for now. Just remember that most of these are available online now. No excuses!

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