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And so to bed

The cast and crew of print media's last brave venture, The North West Enquirer, moved on at a weekend wake

Published on January 16th 2007.

And so to bed

This time last year, the former Guardian journalist Bob Waterhouse was a busy man. He had swapped home on the French Riviera for a stark, rented Manchester flat, and was sifting through the CVs of over 400 journalists from both ends of the M62. They all claimed they were the best in the North West and they all wanted to be part of his exciting new newspaper project, The Enquirer.

Twelve months on and last Saturday night, most of the 18 who “secured” jobs on the ultimately doomed “quality” weekly paper had cheered up enough to get their crackers and tinsel out for the Christmas office bash that should never have been.

The Enquirer closed in September after five rollercoaster months. But those left on the heap have lived to tell the tale. They were joined by Editor Bob and the paper's MD, Nick Jaspan, to “chew the fat” at the lean and healthy Cedar Tree restaurant in Manchester.

And although the food was top and the sorrows were drowned away in a torrent of BYO booze, there was still sadness in the air – particularly on the face of one business editor who had badly misheard when told to expect fun and frolics in a Lebanese restaurant.

So where are they now? Some are working for the local papers that the “AB1” Enquirer was so desperate not to be like. Other very fine writers have fallen into PR and, after earning a crust as a baggage handler at Manchester Airport for a time when the paper went under, the chief reporter now has work at the MEN. Meanwhile, Bob revealed that he had spent the last two months in Addis Ababa, but refused to say whether he had played Benny or Bjorn.

They may have only worked together for 19 issues of a paper that was growing in readership and ad revenue (the latter had reached a record high when the plug was pulled by twitchy backers) but it was a night for not-so-old friends to lay print media's last brave venture to rest.

Never had the term, putting the paper to bed, seemed so apt.

Angie Sammons
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