The other day I was on a train reading a cheap magazine with Jordan’s Botoxed arsed face on the cover, when I realised the woman next to me was reading another cheap mag with Jordan’s Botoxed arse face on the cover. There we were, two women in our thirties - well dressed, educated, intelligent (sort of) - using our brilliant minds to read stories about that bird off the One Show and Frank Lampard getting into a taxi.
When we finished, we both turned to each other. For a moment there was a flicker between us – a silent mutual recognition of our depravity - and then she said: ‘Do you want to swap?’
God, it was filthy - the literary equivalent of dogging. Of course, she muttered some embarrassed disclaimer like: ‘Oh, I just read them to relax’, and I said something like: ‘Yeah, I don’t know why I read them. I hate myself’. But we both knew we were dirty, inky-fingered mag slags. Naturally, I felt guilty and soiled for a nanosecond, but then I started reading Vanessa Feltz’ gastric band diary and I forgot everything, including where I live and my own name.
I know it’s bad, but I don’t care. I’m on 12 a week. Now, Closer, Reveal, Grazia, New!, OK! Hello! Heat, Look, Bella, Take A Break, Best…If they’re glossy, salacious, and filled with orange-encrusted D-list muppets, I have to read them. If someone from Loose Women is on the cover and there’s a recipe for Gino Di Campo’s peach cobbler in it, I’m there. And if there’s a long lens pic of Kerry Katona smacking Mark Croft in the face with a Halls Mentholyptus McFlurry, EVEN BETTER.
Why do I love them? Here are 5 great reasons to embrace the trashy weekly magazine.
1. Real life stories. Want to meet grotesque pie-eating alkie drug addicts that would make Jeremy Kyle skewer himself in the guts with a rolled up copy of the Daily Express? Look no further! The headlines are worth the cover price alone- gems such as ‘I KILLED MY HUSBAND WITH MY BOOBS’, ‘I FART ON MEN’S FACES FOR MONEY’ and ‘MY DAD HAD SEX WITH MY MUM AND THEN SHE GAVE BIRTH TO ME.’
2. The shit fashion. Trashy magazines scrape the fashion bargain bucket with terrifying enthusiasm. Ugly bugly Primark heels that will send you crashing into a pile of vomit outside Wetherspoons? Tick! Hideous body con dresses that reek of low self-esteem and Rohypnol? Tick! Trash mags have the same attitude to fashion as teenage girls have to make-up – ie: there’s loads of it, it costs £2.99, and it makes you look like a total slut.
3. The celebrity columnists. Despite leaving school with nothing but an ASBO and a sexual disease, today’s celebrities are often called upon to deliver pithy insight about the nature of celebrity via weekly magazine columns. So we get such intellectual luminaries as Danielle Lloyd and Kelly Osbourne talking about their favourite moisturizer and how they went to a party and met Duncan from Blue. The best one of course, is Peter Andre, the Poundland Christopher Hitchens, whose controversial views about the ailing Greek economy appear every week in New! Magazine.
4. The comforting repetition. Every trashy magazine relies upon the same photo agencies to give them the same scintillating pictures of Britney Spears drinking a Caramel Frappucino with her matted hair extensions falling out onto the pavement. The only difference is the demographic they’re catering for. So – for 15-25 year olds there’s Cheryl Cole rocking sexy distressed boyfriend jeans at customs, 25-35: Cheryl Cole wearing fierce career girl distressed boyfriend jeans to show Simon Cowell who’s boss, 40 plus: Ooh, look at Cheryl, those distressed boyfriend jeans are hanging off her, put a jumper on, love - etc.
5. Celebrity fridges. You have probably NEVER wondered what’s in Samantha Janus’ fridge, but that won’t stop crap magazines from showing you! For the uninitiated, many trash mags like to recount every miniscule morsel that passes celebrity lips, and the celebs happily reciprocate by opening their fridges to the public and lying about what they eat. I like to imagine coked up Hollyoaks mingers rushing to Waitrose to stock up on oily fish and 25 bags of salad – only to replace them with Magnums and laxatives when the photographer leaves.
Still not convinced? Well I couldn’t give a fuck. I’m addicted, I smell of glossy paper, I’m a hopeless case. My head is filled with trivia about minor Holby City actors and my coffin probably will be lined with old Jonathan Cainer horoscopes from Reveal. I need more – more fat women from Barnsley, more micro-celebrities holding coffee cups, more misguided sex advice…So if anyone else out there shares my endless love for crap magazines, get in touch. Perhaps we could do a swap?