Why I don’t want to read about Kerry Katona

The other morning I said to my husband, ‘Why are there no magazines for women?’ He laughed and said there were dozens. You only have to go into WH Smiths. OK so there are dozens but they are nearly all the same. They are either ‘fashion and celebrity’ like Now or Hello or the Take A Break type full of competitions and real life stories that could feature on Jeremy Kyle. No I mean ‘proper’ magazines with interesting articles, opinions and news.

Years ago I used to buy two or three a week from Cosmopolitan (too much sex) to She (what was that about?) to Woman’s Weekly – remember that line from Victoria Wood’s ‘Let’s Do It’ ‘…. beat me on the bottom with the Woman’s Weekly’. I once submitted a short story to Woman’s Weekly but was told that it was not appropriate for their readership to murder someone in the first paragraph let alone the first sentence. Actually I never read Woman’s Weekly which is probably why I got it so wrong.

In 2006 when it was believed that women actually may have wanted to read a news-based publication there was a great weekly magazine called First which was ‘first with the news’. It was really interesting and I even had a letter published in it. There was also another called In The Know which never really got off the ground but they both folded in 2008. This was the time when the major publishers started crossing fashion with celebrity and women’s magazines started to really shift in emphasis.

I also used to read Best and Bella and Woman’s Own from time to time but even they have gone down the same road – the celebrity road that is. I look at the shelves and try to find a magazine that doesn’t have a B, C or even Z-list celebrity on the cover. Do I care whether Kerry Katona has had another life-changing experience? Do I heck. Do I want to know whether Kim Kardashian has had bottom implants. I don’t even know what Kim Kardashian does. Or whether Katie Price has a new man. What happened to Peter Andre? He was quite sweet but that was at least three husbands ago.

I’m starting to think I may as well start reading the Saga Magazine but even that is full of celebrities – just older ones. There is Prima of course if I want to crochet a hat for my dog or make finger puppets of the Teletubbies. I jest. It’s actually quite good and I used to buy it in the days when I knitted jumpers for my kids.

Other magazines include speciality subjects like slimming or furniture restoring or running but I’m not really interested. There are Homes & Gardens and Cookery but I tend to get ideas from Pinterest or the BBC website. Local magazines are usually full of adverts – which brings me back to glossies like Vogue which are crammed with adverts for expensive clothes on stick thin models and celebrity (that word again) endorsed watches. Things I couldn’t possible afford so I don’t see the point in drooling over them.

I would like to see a magazine for women that has proper news and views with a smattering of adverts and even a few ‘celebrities’ like Joanna Lumley or Michelle Obama (near the back unless they have serious views which to be fair they do) and no Kerry, Katie or Kim to be seen. I want to see a cover spread that doesn’t have pictures of celebrities without make-up showing their cellulite on the beach having been snapped from half a mile away by some paparazzi stuck up a tree. Or another article about who has had botox or is surgically enhanced while inside the magazine is full of adverts for Harley Medical.

We are so shallow in what we accept on the shelves. All this drivel is thrown at us yet I can’t be the only one who wants a decent magazine.  But then magazines are driven by advertising to survive and I doubt that the big hitters want to spend their dosh on advertising in a serious magazine. Incidentally, this is why the BBC should remain advert free or the advertisers will drive the content and we will end up with more cheap reality shows and rubbish programmes. Rant over.

But come on companies like John Lewis or M & S or Dove. Surely you would put your money where your mouth is and back a proper magazine for real women.


A bucket list for wimps

Last year my daughter-in-law made a bucket list of ‘thirty before thirty’. She attempted to do thirty things she had always wanted to do before her thirtieth birthday.

While my next milestone birthday is eight years away and yes I have plenty of time the list would contain rather more than thirty items so let’s not go there. I think 10 things to do before you…. well you know what I mean… would be a more sensible idea and one that I might achieve providing they are all a) simple b) cheap and c) require no heights, scary rides, turning over a canoe with me in it or spiders. Oh yes or climbing an active volcano which is apparently one of the most popular bucket list ideas. That’s out too. I like the heat but that’s going too far. So here goes.

  1. Ride a Segway round Malta – or Gozo will do. I plan to do this very soon. I keep telling my husband it will be fun and involve minimal physical effort. And I bought a bum bag on eBay and a pair of sneakers from Primark for £3 so I am well kitted out!
  2. Achieve my desired weight and stay there. Dismal failure so far. I sort of did it last year for my son’s wedding but most of it is back and I no longer feel motivated. So please can someone get married very soon. I need something to aim for. Thank you.
  3. Help at a local shelter on Christmas Day. Last year we went away for Christmas and it was great but this year we may be on our own and I know I am going to hate it. It has some painful memories too as I lost my grandmother on Christmas Day many moons ago and it still hurts. I love Christmas Eve and Boxing Day but the day itself is not my favourite. So maybe we will offer to help at a local shelter if they want us.
  4. Go to Budapest and take a thermal bath in the spa waters. I’ve always wanted to do this. OK so I could just go to Bath and do it. If the money runs out I may have to settle for that. So let’s call this one – take the spa waters anywhere I can afford at the time. I’d still rather it was Budapest though.
  5. Go on a river cruise down the Danube which could be combined with number 4 as this bucket list is starting to look rather more expensive than I intended it to be. River cruises are aimed at posh, wealthy, middle aged people. One out of three isn’t bad. You can guess which category I fall into by now.
  6. Visit Iceland and see the Northern Lights otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis. You can also see this magnificent natural phenomenon in Sweden, Finland or Norway so any of those would do too. At this point winning the lottery is probably going to need to come in my list somewhere.
  7. Go on a ghost hunt. This is better. I live in a very haunted part of the country so this one should be easy. Our local pub is haunted and it is said that sometimes the door won’t open as if someone is pushing from the other side. This actually happened to me one evening and no I hadn’t been on the Gin and Tonic.
  8. Start swimming regularly again. I used to swim lengths at my local gym at lunchtimes when I worked from home and it was good for me. Now I have a degree of arthritis in both knees and one wrist it would be a great form of exercise. I was chatting to an acquaintance the other day who swims three times a week at the local open air Lido. She was on her way there. It was raining. ‘So what,’ she said, ‘I’m going to get wet anyway’. She had a point. I thought she was brave. My friend Lynn said that brave wasn’t the word that sprung to mind.
  9. Write a novel and become a best seller. I’ve self-published a book of short stories and have written a 20,000 word novella which is at the proof reading stage where it has been for longer than I care to admit. It still doesn’t have a proper title either. But a ‘real’ novel of 50,000 to 200,000 words. Now that’s a different story if you’ll excuse the pun.
  10. Make a difference in the world. I’d like to know that something I did really changed something. I know I can’t do this by myself but I would like to be part of a movement for real change. Like the suffragettes (though I don’t intend to throw myself under anyone’s horse) and we already have the vote. Ghandi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ Start something, spread the word, educate others and inspire them. Too big? Everything starts from a simple idea. Now that’s the most worthwhile idea on my bucket list.