If the days of the week were people, you could pick them out in a line-up, no problem. Thursday would be slightly maniacal, unpredictable and dangerous, played by Steve Buscemi in ‘Days’ – a gritty HBO box set. Tuesday? Borderline depressive, monosyllabic and shot through with ennui. Tuesday Blues – the Woody Allen of weekdays.

Sunday, though, would be languorous, laid-back, curious and captivating – it would be Julianna Moore in an Alexander McQueen frock, sprawled out on a G-Plan corner sofa, the smell of Nicaraguan roast coffee, and the promise of afternoon delight, in the air.

So it’s a shame that Trinity Mirror’s fumbled open its 2014 page-a-day-diary in a post-New Year fug and has made Sunday go all Wednesday on us: that nondescript watershed of a day. The rabbit-in-the-headlights midweek moment when you’re unsure if the week’s half full, or half empty.

Because, on first outing, The Sunday Echo just isn’t Sunday enough to really carve out a place on your breakfast table, alongside the juicy red tops and the supplement-stuffed broadsheets.

First there’s the identi-kit Ali Machray splash: 400 Cannabis Farms Smashed in a Year.

That’s not news, that’s anti-news. A story about cannabis busts in Liverpool would only pass as news in a parallel universe where everything is upturned, where The Echo is shut down and The Daily Post survives.

Real, headline-worthy news would be ‘No Cannabis Farms Smashed in a Year – Liverpool ditches the weed in favour of calisthenics and the natural endorphin-high earned after a bloody good game of deck quoits.’ That would be news.

Page three offers a history lesson in how we used to refer to women in the 70s. Like a mini Operation Yew Tree crib-sheet, we’re treated to a bevvie of Liverpool loverlies under the header: ‘Three of Our Best, and Amy Makes PHWOAR’. You see what they did there? Yep, that’s right, objectify women and use an archaic term that means ‘The lads and I have given these women careful consideration and, yes, we very much would like to hold their chests awhile’ (and carelessly misuse an apostrophe in ‘Miss Liverpool’s’ – but, hey, who used apostrophes in the 70s, anyway?)

After sex, it’s crime time – and we’re treated to page after page of entry-level crime, old crime dressed up as new crime, and crime that wouldn’t even make Crimewatch Extra crime.

But it’s between pages 17-26 that the real story emerges – in a full 10 pages of newsprint, only two are editorial. That’s 80% adverts – a shocking ratio which reveals just how cynical this venture really is. Let’s remind ourselves of Trinity’s promise: “We must repay [readers’] loyalty by ensuring what we publish at weekends is as strong and as relevant as what we publish during the week.”

Well, it’s certainly strong and relevant if you’re after ads for hair removal and coach tours, with occasional press releases fighting for air between the offers.

Non-writer Carolyn Hughes somehow manages to keep her social diary column – apparently, Mike McCartney had a party, and LFC players board trains at Lime Street station. Coool.

There’s an entire page of random facts about Ian Broudie where, we’re guessing, an original idea was supposed to be (we love Broudie, but if we need to find out the minutiae of ‘Three Lions’ it’s fine, honestly, we’ll look at Wikipedia and save you the bother.)

The ‘Insider’ promises ‘all the celeb gossip they don’t want you to know’ – such Edward Snowden-esque nuggets as Rebecca Fergusson admitting she has ‘quite a few celebs following me on Twitter’, and that Abbey Clancy was ‘forced to make an emergency dash to Liverpool Dental Spa. We hope to God The Insider is bunkered down in some Eastern European safehouse, after dishing out 24 carat dirt of that calibre.

Elsewhere, the food review contains the classic ‘We had talked about having a dessert with our meal but both felt full after our mains, so decided to call it a night.’ Brilliant. That’s the culinary equivalent of reviewing King Lear, and saying ‘We talked about staying to see if the old fella lost the plot, but we’d have missed last orders, so we left in the interval.’

Most illuminating of all is the ‘Wisdom of our Scouse Nans’, a clusterfuck of ancient aphorisms, in which such gems like ‘Close the door…were you born in a barn?’ are forensically unpacked, like some scouse Rosetta stone deciphering project – ‘Barns are drafty. Nans tend not to like drafts,’ we’re informed, helpfully.

Or how about:

‘He’s got a gob like the Mersey Tunnel’ – is said about a loud-mouthed person.’ And here’s us, for all these years, thinking it meant ‘he’s got a mouth that you have to pay £2.60 to enter.’ Thank you, Echo. We’ll never think our nans are fixated about oral sex again.

There’s about 400 pages of football punditry, guest columns and conjecture – a review of Liverpool’s game against Aston Villa (at last, something that a Sunday paper can offer.) We don’t really get football, so we’ll just say it’s full of it. And maybe, just maybe, these pages are worth the entry fee. They’re sufficiently stat-packed and soccerball is still something Trinity does with conviction.

The best Sunday papers offer the weekend’s final hurrah, a chance to keep the workaday world at bay for a while: whether it’s with scurrilous gossip, longform features, savvy investigative pieces, comment and analysis or leisurely lifestyle spreads.

The Echo on Sunday offers none of this – the columnists just aren’t up to scratch (save for Keith Carter’s promising tales of a jobbing comic), the news is scrappy and (all too often) heavy with the deathly hand of PR, or plain dull. The layout is frenetic and messy – with headers forced to dogleg around adverts, little islets of national news, stranded like a Somerset village amid the detritus.

The centre spread Dockers’ Umbrella pull-out piece is the only real attempt at something new – a enjoyable jaunt through local history by Jade Wright and Laura Davis on Liverpool’s lost rail route in the sky. More like this, please.

Look, no-one wants Liverpool’s media to be full of gouty old websites like SevenStreets. Christ, how hideous would that be? We get it – The Echo is aimed at a different demographic. But, FFS, this is Liverpool. Where’s the charm? The creativity? The clue? There is not one single ‘wow’ moment in this paper’s 72 spirit-sapping papers.

The Echo – now seven days a week – is stretching a joke waaaay too thinly. Like our wise old Nans say: Don’t come running to us if you break your leg (Sunday Echo translation: ‘A harsh but fair warning’)

19 Responses to “The Sunday Echo – The Review”

  1. Really dissapointed with it, and your right – the adverts are a bit OTT. Didn’t think the footie was all that great either. Felt like a crap weekday version. Won’t buy it again either.

  2. Slating the paper for saying:
    Elsewhere, the food review contains the classic ‘We had talked about having a dessert with our meal but both felt full after our mains, so decided to call it a night.’ Brilliant. That’s the culinary equivalent of reviewing King Lear, and saying ‘We talked about staying to see if the old fella lost the plot, but we’d have missed last orders, so we left in the interval.’

    Then saying:
    We don’t really get football, so we’ll just say it’s full of it.

    …is quite amusing.

  3. HoboBoho

    7street dudes… what’s yr beef with the Echo? I mean – it is shit, always has been and always will be. So, no surprise their Sunday edition also scores low on any journalistic merit. Hardly worthy writing a paragraph about it, never mind a full blown article! Come on guys – you guys are better than this! Now go and write an interesting article or something…

  4. Bit rich Seven Streets commenting on media output in Liverpool. A meaningless irrelevant website offering nothing in the arena of news and sport other than bitchy anonymous reviews and comments? Who is David Lloyd anyway? A bitter failed journalist who likes to play keyboard warrior? Keep on with your ironic bilge to gloss over your lack of any talent, Lloyd. Print that. If you’ve got balls. Or are you going to censor it in your little one man bedroom operation, where you contribute nothing new of value and merely snipe away at others having a go.

  5. It’s very sad. I remember the Echo as a paper you could read for hours. This is just an advertising rag. Even more depressing is that the Daily Post is no more. That, and Seven streets show how it’s done. Don’t let the Trinity trolls get you down.

  6. It’s very sad. I remember when it would take your hours to read the echo. Now it’s an advertising rag, but no surprises as the staff have been decimated. What’s worse is the Daily Post is the one that trinity let go. That and seven streets are the best this city has. Don’t let the Trinity trolls abuse get you down.

  7. Phil Sutherland

    Isn’t this a bit of a hypocritical comment considering you obviously work for the Echo which is an irrelevant media outlet that contributes nothing new of value, it’s an anonymous comment, and you’re merely sniping away at somebody having a go?

    I can understand why you think SevenStreets offers nothing of value though, with it being a culture website and the Echo’s idea of culture being Dolly Parton at the Shitehawk Arena.

  8. Mike Stoddart

    What did you expect from the Sunday Echo, and what did you think your readers might have expected from it? You might have shown a little more dignity by leaving the paper to speak for itself, instead of lashing out and leaving yourself looking like you have some personal axe to grind with Trinity Mirror. This kind of bile merely distracts from the quality of the pieces elsewhere on Seven Streets.

  9. Ha. I love that this is quite clearly someone who works for the Echo, because nobody else in this city would be quite as bothered. Let’s face it: the Sunday Echo was a complete waste of an idea.

    And if you seriously believe SevenStreets haven’t contributed anything of value to the city – compared to the Echo’s endless shock tactic splashes about drugs and murder – you’re completely, utterly deluded.

  10. Littoral

    Because after the Post was axed some of its excellent staff such as Alistair Houghton were reported to have moved to the Echo and we had the similar announcement of a Sunday Echo, some of us might have put 2 + 2 together and wrongly expected that the Sunday edition might include some decent contents of the sort we lost when we lost the Post. Maybe a weekly business round up, some of the arts coverage that the also excellent Laura Davis used to provide.
    Foolish I know, the Sunday is if anything even worse dreck than the weekday editions. So for once I’m 100 pc behind SS, they’ve got something right and by posting their review yesterday might have saved other overly hopeful characters like me wasting 50 pence buying the wretched thing.

  11. insolito

    I’m most reminded by the draughty barns bit of the On The Hour sketch in which a woman says ‘I’ll always remember – and it was a very Welsh thing this – how every Christmas, we’d bring in a tree from outdoors an hag colourful decorations on it…’ Surely everyone’s nan said ‘were you born in a barn’?

    I liked your line on the ‘gob like the Mersey tunnel’…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.