An issue has been plaguing me for the last few months and it finally came to a head this evening. I am one of the few people I know that catches trains on a regular, if not daily, basis. Having recently been overseas for some period of time, my biggest shock upon returning home was the rise and rise of ‘mX’. I’m talking about the free “newspaper” that is shoved into your arms at the central city stations every weekday from 5pm to 7pm for the commute home. (And what an awkward interchange the “collection” of the paper always is. It’s meant to be quick- walk past, grab paper, keep walking. Without missing a beat. What about when there’s a whole crowd that rushes towards the newspaper shover? What about the people he misses? Oddly, I have seen some people wait for the shover to get another paper from his stack.)
mX is a revolution. I was the only person on my whole carriage (apart from a really really old woman who was asleep… dead?) not reading it. Its not peer pressure, there’s a kinship to it. You can feel everyone look around smiling at everyone else in mutual appreciation and understanding that reading mX is a daily ritual now. As much a part of their days as the morning coffee or boring sex life. And completely educated types too! Men who get on at Redfern and wear chinos (Sydney Uni lecturers) are into it! It’s like they think “Oh it’s ok, its mX, everyone reads it, it’s a PAPER.” But in reality it’s no different to Who Weekly or Perez or even soft-porn, at times. Is it just a meaningless escape for everyone or do they secretly relish it and get a little excited when the paper is shoved into their person?
Today’s highlight article was “Reading sends us to sleep” and it stated that “analysts attribute it to competition from the internet and other media”. I attribute it to mX. Gone are the days when people read and you could tell so much about their personality from their book selections (The Da Vinci Code- “wants to read more”). It’s all homogenized now. All mX readers- “want to be young again”. The paper is targeted at 18-30 year olds. What with the A-Grade articles on Facebook vs. Myspace, to the dumbed- down section headings- “Gloom & Doom” (news section), “What the?” (facts), “Bummer” (when a movie deal falls through), “It’s true!” (facts), “Nice one” (a feel-good Oprah-esque tale), “What in the weird?” (strange facts), “Good/Gawd”. You can almost imagine every young starlet in Hollywood watching the news and saying “Gloom & Doom blah, blah, blah…” But forget the headings, how good are the headlines?! Just today one of the first class journalists came up with these “Nicole finds it a role-rcoaster” and “Hayes tongue Thai-d” (insert applause) Someone give these people a raise!
But by FAR the “best” section of this (toilet) paper is “mX Talk” where readers can write and text in. Mainly about train delays and bad weather but also to find their objects of affection. Who is this purple-scarved girl on the North Shore line that everyone is lusting over? People really get into it! I can’t wait for the first mX hook-up, marriage even. mX baby! They can call it Max! Oh the possibilities. mX Talk also has a question that they ask three “normal” people. Today’s was “What’s one thing you’d change about yourself?” Sam Thomas, 19, student, Kingsford, replied “My eye colour. I’d like one to be red like Marilyn Manson.”
As I got off the train tonight flustered and amazed, the unimaginable happened. A man picked up his mX and took it with him! Didn’t even leave it behind for another to enjoy! What was he going to do??? Finish reading the “What in the Weird?” section it in bed?
Neha, 22, Flustered.