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Sometimes we need something to do to amuse ourselves... no not that, get your mind out of the gutter. We write, we paint, we play a sport and we read. The list could probably go on forever. For any one thing you could think to do someone else has probably had the same thought. Yes and that does include lewd thoughts about your wife,husband, boyfriend or girlfriend.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I am doing this opinion on the weekly magazine HELLO. In particular I am going to pick on Number 697 that was published on January 22 2002.
On the front cover is a happy Patsy Palmer with her three kids. For those of you who know the name but cannot place the face all I need say is Eastenders and RICKY. Sharing the front cover but with smaller pictures are GMTV's Penny Smith, Elizabeth Hurley (Yes again) and the wedding reception of Bryan McFadden and Kerry Katona. To be honest had I seen the front cover I would have kept on walking as to my eyes it is boring. Lucky or unlucky for me Jackie bought this one.
. The first real pages we come across introduce us to Penny Smith the GMTV newsreader. For some reason they give over seven pages to her. They allow her to lie about her age, as for some reason her age is an issue to her and give her the opportunity to describe herself as horribly selfish and self indulgent. I would tend to agree with that assessment.
The majority of the seven pages are filled with large pictures of her posing in various costumes and talking about yoga and diets so I expected yet another video to be on the market and to my great surprise (not) I discovered you can now buy Penny Smith's Essential Guide to Yoga with Harry Napper. Talk about free advertising. She must have been paid for the photo shoot and interview and they plug her bloody VHS or DVD as well.
· We are then graced with 11 pages showing the reception of Bryan McFatten, oops I mean McFadden and Kerry Katona which took place in an Irish castle. Around now I was starting to think that this magazine is made up of the other half rubbing our proverbial noses in it.
I mean we are not talking people who need the money. Westlife are still doing well in the charts and Kerry must have earned good money with Atomic Kitten, but still they had sold the rights to both their wedding and reception to Hello magazine. The only thing I can hope is that these two 21 year olds did it for their fans (yeah right). I guess it just goes to show you can never have too much money. It is nice to know that when we buy any singer or groups songs, we are donating it to allowing them to lead such a nice life. Did I hear someone say I am jealous? Bloody right!
· Two pages of "Diary of the Week" are followed by 4 pages of Coronation Street's Clare McGlinn telling us about her sudden departure from the show. She obviously doesn't feel too bad as she talks sunning herself in South Africa and talking about her rich boyfriend. I can see she must be so upset!
· Thank god for 10 pages of "Inside Story", which really is mainly pictures with extended captions. At least this is easy on the eye and I learned that Drew Barrymore has moved out on her husband and Winona Ryder is on $20,000 bail on shoplifting charges. Personally I reckon she will get off that! She can always blame accidentally walking out with the goods on the effects of the prohibited drugs that were also found on her possession!
Now we come to something I do find weird. Having been reading some pretty dire stories and looking at photos of celebrities strutting their stuff I came to the "Contents Page". Now all I can think is that there are celebrities and minor celebrities. The majors are in the first half and then on to the minnows. If I am wrong on this please tell me any other reason for this farcical positioning of this page. So without further ado, lets take a look in the second half of Hello magazine.
· We restart with 4 pages of "This Week" which is just a round up of news reports.
· Then god somebody hand me the sick bag, five pages of Gloria Hunniford and her husband having a break in Dublin. Oh, how the other half live, yet again. You see them in their expensive clothes lounging in their expensive home and wonder what it was she had to offer that made all the difference? Personally I can't see why she ever got on TV but I am sure loads of people love her.
· Things can only get better I say under my breath and turn yet more pages until I come across a smiling Julia Carling, ex-wife of Will Carling. Now what did she have to offer? No it can't be? Yes it is - Julia working out over 7 pages in glorious colour. WHY??
· We then had a whole group of pages such as -Property, showing houses I would only ever enter if I broke into them, were followed by interiors I couldn't afford. Music was crammed into one page, shopping to two. Finally a page I could read as I found Soaps and Gossip. I scanned the page closely only to see I knew all of the information. I could have found out any of it by looking in the newspaper.
Amongst all of this we find a very comprehensive television guide. Jackie likes this part perhaps most in the magazine and has stated that the magazine is worth buying for the television coverage alone.
· There are other pages that I scan with disdain until finally I find a section on "Celebrity Mothers Join Forces in a Campaign to Boost Bedtime Reading for Children." A good idea and it had me nodding until I noticed that in the eight pictures showing mothers with their kids not once was a book in view. So what we actually had was just another photo shoot.
· We come to " The Beautiful People". Where? Pictures of Elton John, Boy George, David James and others did not have me gasping at their beauty.
· Elizabeth Hurley continued to go on about Steve Bing being the father and surprisingly insisting that Matthew Perry isn't. Well I never thought he was, but I may have missed something somewhere. It is a little quirk of life that in the series 'Friends', Matthew Perry's name is Chandler BING.
Around this story I got fed up. I could tell what the magazine was about and it did nothing for me. The magazine seems to be written as if the writers didn't think the reader had an attention span lasting more that 5 minutes. If you look you will see that the pages are full of photos. I guess they feel that it really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Trouble is most of the pictures were of people I didn't know or had no interest in knowing!
Perhaps it is just targeted at women. It has exercise, make-up, travel and food articles. Women like looking at the latest fashions and expensive clothes and property. The more I think about it the more this appears to be the case. I just could do without it.
I kept getting the feeling that the magazine and the people pictured in it were all part of an elaborate joke. I could imagine them saying, "Let's see how many people are stupid enough to give us money for this c**p." I did hear once that the majority of Hello magazines sold were bought by celebrities. My understanding is that they then check to see if they are before or after the Contents page.
So would I ever buy a Hello magazine? No way, I have better things to do with £1.85. What I don't know, but I must have something better to do with it. If you do get this magazine perhaps you can tell me if they are all this mundane? Do not get the idea I am a snob or stuck up because I am far from it. I have even been caught reading Bella on occasions but this magazine is the pits! It could also be that I was unlucky and this weeks magazine was poorer than any other they have ever published. If it is let me know.