Not Interested

28 April 2014

By James

I am troubled by Tatler, and other magazines of its like. I am perplexed by the idea that one-third of these aesthetically-pleasing, glossed and foil-blocked magazines should be dedicated to advertisements; another third to wild speculation about the royal family and details of Notting Hill’s hottest new restaurant, and the final third to hundreds of pictures of the guests at minor society events.

The actual volume of space that is dedicated to these adverts is obscene. Huge, double-page spreads seem to go on and on, before you even reach the contents page. The eyes are assaulted by millions of pounds’ worth of glistening jewellery and vivacious models, advertising things that the audience wants but can’t afford. Because we all know that the main reader demographic of these society magazines consists of the occupants of the commuter belt: wannabe Sloane Rangers who don’t have the cold hard cash to buy themselves fame or the necessary sang-froid to earn it.

And then there are the ‘features’: pages of big words and even bigger pictures containing little of any purpose or interest. The vast majority of this consists of reviews of ‘coffee-table books’ (i.e. books bought purely for ornamentation and showing-off), idle speculation about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the heaping of vitriolic abuse upon all and sundry for reasons only known to the author of the article. And these articles are written in an extremely odd manner, with an authorial voice that can only be called ‘cutesy and/or extremely sarcastic’.

Apart from the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who crop up regularly, I have no idea who any of the people in the small photograph album at the end of each issue actually are. I’m not interested in the turn-out for this year’s Stowe Fashion Show, or which book was launched last month in Mayfair. I really don’t care who Harry Dixon-Smith, Adwoa Aboah or Rebecca Hoffnung may be, no matter who they’ve been partying with, or how ‘nice’ their irritating, yappy little dogs are supposed to be. Who are these people? They are minor scions of the aristocracy and the élite of ‘new media’, and they are, for some reason, considered to be interesting. I mean, even the trashiest tabloids cover people whose names are known, or who have made a valuable contribution to society (but, admittedly, very rarely both). Who is interested in the outcome of the karaoke at a fashion designer’s birthday party? Who cares?

Not me, for one.


This story was featured in our first print edition which is available now in schools and by contacting Yasmine@bringingwords.org


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