Lately I have been wondering how best to keep up with world affairs. For what feels like over a dozen years I have subscribed to the Guardian Weekly. Many attempts at reformatting the paper have taken place over those years, and I remember receiving the different formats, if you are a familiar reader, you will know that stories from other dedicated readers who describe the thin onion-skin-like quality of the paper for delivery via Air Mail. The shape and size of the paper has changed and now is a brightly coloured magazine. The price has also changed. While I like the various points of view my subscription has lapsed and I feel reluctant to renew. Maybe I will, but for now I am shopping around for other options.
Many people don’t realize this, but I am a Doctor. Well, that is at least what comes every so often in the post. Letters addressed not as Mr. or even Rev. but Dr., due to, as far as I can discern, a typo in my school address list which may have either been sold, or picked up by other junk mail providers. It was the easiest PhD, and it did come with some benefits. At one time I took out a subscription to The Economist which I also enjoyed, more so because of the ‘professional rate’ given to me which made each issue about 25 cents a copy. This was all due to being a ‘Doctor’ as I received a special advertisement to help stock my waiting room with important magazines for all my patients. The Economist, was a mighty challenge to read from cover to cover each week. I feel badly if I don’t read the whole issue. Yes, this may be strange, but it is true.
Now living in Germany the added challenge is to find something to read in English. Occasionally we buy a issue of Der Spiegel (and I thought that the Economist was difficult to finish in a weeks time!). Inevitably, it is only the newsstands at the main translations that have the largest selection of daily and weekly publications. This means either a subscription, with home delivery as I still don’t really like reading off of a screen, or a dedicated effort to get to the Newsstands before the other 5 people who buy the same English newspaper get there. Sorry if you have a standing order and find that your copy is mysteriously gone from the stands.
There are some news magazines which I might have an interest in reading, but frankly I can’t put my head around spending 13 Euros for a copy of the New Yorker. Then of course, there are plenty of newspapers and magazines which, even if they were given away I probably wouldn’t have any interest reading. Now passing the newsstands I spin the carousel of newspapers and glance at Le Monde Diplomatique which only shows up in French or German given where we live. My French is rust, but I can still read a fair amount, but it can be a strain.
Flights which take me through the UK usually mean that I have creative pockets and ways of sneaking onboard a pile of magazines and books despite the weight restrictions of Ryan Air or Easy Jet. Necessity is the mother of all invention I say, as I stuff my jacket full of reading material. However, even some of the UK publications can seem to be an entirely different beast. Take the Spectator for example, even when recognizing one contributing writer as a Canadian who has adopted London as a new home, the Spectator has a rather narrow focus. If I wanted to read more about thoughts on Brexit then certainly it would be a magazine to look through. For a time I had a generous gift of the Church Times, which kept me abreast of what was going on in the C of E, and a tad with the rest of the Anglican Communion.
For my birthday I wished for an internet radio, which I was pleased to receive, and now I can tune into radio stations from all over the world. What this basically means, in the short time that I have had the radio, is that it is like getting your news from Facebook posts. The ten spots to remember stations have been filled with what I want to hear. Either that or they are stations which we enjoyed while living in Victoria and we feel like night owls listening to shows playing in what would be the dead of night on the west coast of Canada. So, the search continues for something to read, in English. While I still keep my Guardian Weekly addiction through the kindness of those who pass along copies, I do want to find something else. I’m still looking to devour a newspaper, or news magazine that is something other than the likes of chicken soup – tasty, but never really satisfying.