Thursday, 7 April 2011

My Love Of The Glossies

I love the beginning of a new month. The calender flips over and there is nothing but new possibilities on the horizon. There are shows waiting to be seen, gigs waiting to be attended, birthdays, parties, holidays, all to look forward to. However, I also love the start of the month because it is new magazine time.
Yes, I know, it is my guilty secret but I adore magazines, the glossier the better. Just ready to be dipped into, accompanied by a cup of tea and, possibly, cake.
My love affair goes back to deepest childhood. My Grandad would buy me a magazine called Bimbo (wouldn't get away with that these days!), then I graduated to Twinkle, Judy and Bunty. It was the thrill of the letterbox opening and depositing the treasure onto the mat that awoke my monthly excitement.I started my first Saturday job in a sweet shop and would go straight next door to the newsagents with my wages and buy Smash Hits.
Music publications then began to appeal to me, I really liked Smash Hits, I recall the writer Mark Ellen would make me laugh, he is still around today writing for The Word. I used to ponder that if we got married I'd be Ellen Ellen. These were the sort of things I worried about at sixteen. I also used to buy Chart Songwords and spend hours singing along to records on my Amstrad with the PROPER WORDS, I was a pedant even then.
As I grew older, I would buy the NME and the Record Mirror, before slacking off as my interest in contemporary music waned. However, my love of the glossies never waned. My first "grown up" magazine was Cosmopolitan and in buying that, my future habit was set in stone.
I think what appeals to me about magazines, is that I can "dip" into them when I've got a spare ten minutes. Sometimes, I don't want to concentrate on a book, so out comes a magazine. I like the gloss, the glamour, clothes I could never afford, people I will never meet, places I will never visit. I like articles that inform, move or inspire. I know many people dislike the fact that magazines can perpetuate the poor self-image some women have, and I can appreciate those views. However, like an addict, I am hooked. If I decide not to buy them, they call out to me from the stands and I simply cannot resist.
The music publications I now buy, like The Word, Q or Uncut are extremely informative. One of my all time favourite CDs came free with Q and introduced me to the Avett Brothers, Midlake and the Fleet Foxes.
I'm afraid my daughter is well down the path of magazine mania too. She started off on the usual toddler fayre,then loved the Horrible Histories series but now she craves the monthly delivery of the holy grail of teen fashionistas, Teen Vogue. She reads it with a cup of tea, and possibly, cake.
So the years ahead for me will probably bring Good Housekeeping or Women & Home ( or any other publication with Fern Britton on the bloody cover), I will know I'm in my twilight days when I find The People's Friend in my basket. I do know that I cannot give this frippery up, nor do I want to.
So, if you sigh when you pass the magazine stands and think, "who buys this rubbish?", dear reader, it is me.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Race For Life? No Thanks.

Well, this may be a provocative piece and I am sorry if I offend anyone....but here goes.
It's that time of year when we are bombarded with adverts, posters and leaflets asking women to join the "Race For Life"- several running events that raise money for cancer research.
Good luck to all those taking part. I've read accounts of women undergoing cancer treatment who make it a goal to finish the race. Many run in memory of loved ones who have died or who have got the disease.
Now, five years ago, a cancerous polyp was found in my lower bowel. It was taken out and I underwent surgery to remove the affected part, "a simple plumbing job" was how my lovely surgeon put it. I then had to have further surgery to repair a collapsed lung.
At no time during my treatment, did I feel the need to take part in a sponsored run at the end. I felt the need to get home to my family then go and buy nice things. My husband likes to say that during my months of enforced "rest", John Lewis nearly went into administration. What I wanted was to return to my normality. I was profoundly grateful to all who looked after me, and I immediately set up a regular payment to Cancer Research, amongst others.
Not long after my illness my two lovely sisters-in-law ran the Race For Life, my daughter and niece went too. My daughter wanted to write my name on her back. I asked her not too, it just seemed mawkish somehow and felt like I was already dead! Then I had to bloody well sponsor everyone. So now here was I, who had had cancer, paying people to run for cancer research, who I was already contributing to.
If people feel the need to run with others and gain some sort of fulfillment, then who am I to judge? However,I am just not into mass public displays of emotion. For me, just "getting back to normal" was enough. I do not feel the need to go and hug everyone and cry for those who did or didn't make it. I give thanks and remember in my own way.
So, good luck ladies. Just please don't ask me to join in. Bah and humbug!
P.S I do like the Macmillan Coffee Morning Event. I willingly donate money on a non-mawkish day, to eat cake and drink tea and not have to wear pink, a stetson or a feather boa.
P.P.S Seriously, good luck if you are running, hope I didn't offend.