Hilary Fannin: misery, dross and diet tips on the magazine rack in the local store

‘If a gossip rag’s circulation figures are wobbling like a couple of has-beens’ bat-wings, try throwing in a blearily cruel snap of Judy Finnigan to boost sales’

It appears that  Judy Finnigan  graces nearly as many covers as Kate Middleton’s blow-dry. Photograph: Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images

It appears that Judy Finnigan graces nearly as many covers as Kate Middleton’s blow-dry. Photograph: Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images

 

I’m sick of sex. I’m sick of sex and flesh and other people’s surgically repositioned navels staring at me from the magazine rack in the local store when I’ve only gone over to the damn place for a sliced pan and a couple of back rashers.

There’s not a huge call for taste when it comes to shifting summer issues of the gossip magazines, is there? Just plaster a couple of weepy-looking wannabes on the cover, preferably in a swimsuit that might have comfortably fitted them when they were 12, then throw a caption underneath that reads something like “Sonya’s Blubber Hell” Or “Bikini Blowout for Blobby Bernadette”, and hey-fatso, you’ve got a sale.

Apparently we don’t have a boredom threshold when it comes to viewing grainy shots of some soap actress’s wilting backside, or the prodigal return of her midriff. It looks like there truly is no limit to our appetite for gazing at images of daytime TV stars and runner-uppers in talent shows, before and after their trysts with a liposuction tube.

And if circulation figures are wobbling like a couple of has-beens’ bat-wings, try throwing in a blearily cruel snap of Judy Finnigan to boost sales.

Judy and her dewlaps, having a quiet glass of vino down in her local tapas bar, provide hours of fun-filled photo opportunities. She graces nearly as many covers as Kate Middleton’s blow-dry.

“Judy, often pictured with a glass of plonk” (or words to that effect), read the caption underneath yet another snap of a blowsy Judy reaching for the Sauvignon. Yep, we’ve all been there. Man, I’m glad no one is following me and my trail of empties around the neighbourhood with a telephoto lens.

Grim display

Standing in line, waiting to pay for my purchases, the grim display of summer reads offered such a litany of misery, dross and dieting tips that I felt like scrubbing out my retina with Toilet Duck.

Inching towards the till, I read about some young one, mildly famous for crawling through the guttering of the Big Brother house, who is the width of an acrylic fingernail away from complete emotional collapse because her bottom wobbles. Shucks, if she’s that upset maybe she should stay at home and iron her gastric band rather than hang around the beach in an overpriced thong that would struggle to contain a couple of satsumas.

I put the magazine back on the shelf. I’d rather hang on to my euro than get up close and personal with the magnified inner thigh of another “reality TV star”. I’m not interested in her kickboxing resolutions, or in why she continually falls off the fast-fix-diet wagon.

If the assembled cover-girl cast of the not-so-terribly-glossy glossies on display in my local supermarket really feel so bloated and depressed, so steeped in self-loathing about their stomachs and backsides, why don’t they go for a brisk walk or buy a shagging kaftan, instead of hanging around in front of a camera?

Mensa rubbish

Back home, I settle down with my rasher sandwich to watch Child Genius, entertaining Channel 4 trash about Mensa-endangered children and their anxious hothousing parents, competing to be the cleverest of them all.

With my usual aplomb, I arrive at the telly just as the ad break starts.

In the ad, an anodyne young couple are sitting on a studio couch discussing sex toys and the enlivening effect they have had on their relationship. Then another couple, again with all the charisma of an oven glove, are sitting on the same couch, also discussing their rich and varied carnal adventures courtesy of an online sex-toy supplier.

The advertisement, while not going into any great detail about the rubber stuff, reassures viewers that the supplier can deliver the jolly nice accoutrements to their doors, swiftly and discreetly.

Possibly the timing of the ad, during prime family viewing, is to position the products at the heart of workaday domestic life. You know, half a dozen eggs, two pork chops, a strap-on penis, a box of cornflakes and a bunny-shaped vibrator please. Fine. Consenting adults and all that. Each to his own and as long as you’re not upsetting the cat, but . . . really? In the middle of Child Genius?

It is depressing, more depressing than shelves full of surgically-enhanced bosoms and cruel photographs of despairing B-listers.

Depressing, and a little bit confusing as well if you’ve only tuned in in the hope of teaching yourself how to spell logorrhoea or laodicean. Or maybe that’s just really very antidiluvian, I mean antediluvian, of me.

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