Archive for the ‘CelebrityCulture’ Category

You know, recently I gave up my weekly dose of the many celebrity magazines kicking around. I dare say that it was almost like an addiction. Ok, I admit, it was an addiction. I fully confess that at times failure to obtain said magazines made me stabby. I unfortunately had a problem. However, those times are well gone, hence my ability at present to leave them on the newsagent’s shelf where they belong.

So, how did it all start? After all, my reading of these publications is supposedly at odds with the rest of my interests – history degree, reads the classics, no interest in popular culture. I was the class geek and hopelessly uncool at school. Well, I was at university in my first year. Being at a Scottish university I did a few non-history units at the beginning, in particular the introductory film and media unit. We did a tutorial on advertising in magazines (you can see where this is leading…) and had to bring an example of an advert to the seminar. I was at a loss. I didn’t read any magazines, nor did my friends. So, it was off to the campus newsagents to purchase whatever relevant magazine was on offer (ripping out an advert would have been frowned upon…). I grabbed a copy of Star magazine (cheap with a range of adverts inside. I ended up using an L’Oréal Elvive shampoo advert, if anyone happens to be interested). Not wanting to waste money I also read the thing. Cover to cover. And enjoyed it. Rather like junk food – no nutritional value, bad for you, you feel guilty afterwards yet still strangely satisfying. At the time I was on a diet of tomes on 16th century Scottish history. Star magazine was like a cupcake to a solely salad muncher.

The problem is I appear to have a rather addictive personality and I’m addicted to reading. I could have left it at that one issue but, no, I was lured in again for the next issue. And the next, and the next, until it became routine. I love routine, you see, and hate disruptions to said routine. Once Tuesday became fixed as ‘magazine day’ in my mind I was doomed. I was also unable to stop at one. Star didn’t satisfy my cravings for trash in magazine form, Heat soon joined it then New, Closer, Now and Reveal (I’m sure I’m due a little credit for stopping at six. Seven would have just been too much…). My little hoard of gossip to be devoured at leisure. Justified by declaring it a necessity after a day spent in the library.

To provide context this started early 2005. Kerry Katona was a media ‘darling’ after returning triumphant from the jungle and Jordan and Peter were turning stomachs nationwide with their little lovefest. Along with others such as Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and an endless supply of ex-Big Brother housemates they filled many, many, many pages with their antics. Almost a golden age for the next few years. Why, for me, were they so appealing? It induced a feeling of superiority, or something like that. I was hopelessly addicted, whatever the case may be. To my shame my buying of such publications lasted way beyond graduation but I ended up working for an arsehole so they were a very effective stress-reliever.

Why give up now? Short answer – money and the realisation that I was wasting precious book-reading time. These magazines are not the fiction I desire.

Long answer? Have you read one recently? They’re crap. Fair enough, they’re meant to be crap but now they are seriously crap. I don’t know whether I have changed or the editorial teams but for the past year or so there has been deterioration. The celebs lack the tackiness of past years. No, that’s a lie, there is still abounding tackiness (vajazzle, anyone?). Desperation! That’s it! The ‘Z’ list has become even more desperate than in years gone by. Let’s take a look at the past and present ‘usual suspects’:

There are the old faithful s, such as Katie Price aka Jordan and/or Peter Andre, Kerry Katona, Victoria Beckham, and, in the past few years, Cheryl Cole. ‘Celebs’ such as these are ever-present in the magazines. I made my peace with their ubiquitous nature years ago. Incredible annoying individuals at times but they provide familiarity. Same thing, day in, day out means easy reading. Rather like soaps in paper form.

However, now the magazines are just absolute rubbish. I haven’t yet worked out what’s the difference between the fame-whoring of Jordan, Kerry Katona et al on one hand and that of the various ‘stars’ The Only Way Is Essex and its ilk but there is something. I just cannot stomach them. They are beyond pointless. I rather think we have reached the depths of ‘Z’ list celebrity. I hope we have. I shudder to think how it could sink any lower.

So, three weeks ago I just stopped buying them. In the end it was an easy decision to make. I would read them and not have a clue what was in the issue. I had a general idea because it was very much the same as the week before, and the week before that and not to mention two, three, six months ago. I now thoroughly denounce them as utterly pointless and a complete waste of money. I doubt I have missed much.

Today, I finished Tolstoy’s War and Peace. My edition was in two volumes, roughly equal in length. It took me six months to finish the first volume. It has taken me three weeks to finish the second. That is absolute proof of my overriding reason for ceasing my consumption of celebrity magazines. It was undoubtedly stealing my book-reading time. Now I can be myself again.


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