Some headlines just stick in your mind. Like BUDGIE DIES IN FIRE, from the Bolton Chronicle. The Chronicle was the local freesheet that was pushed through our letterbox once a week back when I was living in Bolton and working in Manchester. It featured several pages of classified ads filled out with a minumum of illiterate editorial matter written by school leavers on minimum wage.
Then there was the time that I’d been speaking at a booksellers’ event in Guernsey. There was a stack of local newspapers on the hotel’s reception desk and I noticed, as I was checking out, that the front page story of the week was headed MORE PIGEONS FOUND KILLED.
Not found dead, but found killed. And not for the first time… clearly a pigeon serial killer was stalking the island.
For a while my favourite headline was one that I found in a microfilmed copy of a New Orleans newspaper from 1903, when I was researching the project that eventually became The Kingdom of Bones. It was a story about a tense political situation in South America and the headline was, ALARMING REPORT COMES FROM COLON.
But I think it’s been replaced by this one.