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Hold the presses: permanently.

That morning I drove to the station and caught the train to the city, getting off at shadowy Melbourne Central and riding the escalator up into Swanson Street and the light of an early spring day. By eleven - the ideal time for a quiet coffee, after the breakfast stragglers and before the lunch crowd - a glass cup holding a rich brew of chocolate brown topped with a tawny golden spindrift sat on the bar in front of me at Pellegrini's at the top of Bourke Street, where nothing changes except the clientele.

Later I walked through Myer and several laneways and eventually disappeared underground into one of the city's last remaining second-hand bookshops, Melbourne Basement Books, in Flinders Street. You could spend a week there and get through only half the books.

By two o'clock I was on the train again, having walked under the clocks where once piles of just-pressed newspapers would fly out like those momentous edit points in old movies. But there was a very odd thing. It had been the morning after the death of the longest-serving monarch in British history. Since Gutenberg, such historic events would be marked by newspapers rushing out special editions, newsboys on street corners bawling out headlines like modern town criers. 

Nothing. No special edition, no banners, no newsboys. It wasn't just the Queen who died.


  1. I miss newspapers. My mother would describe evenings after dinner, she and her sister doing the dishes while her mother put her feet up and read the town's evening paper. When she and her sister bickered too loudly, there would come a SNAP! of the paper from the living room - and the bickering would stop.


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