It is a pathetic Tory comic designed for the un-thinking, aspiring middle classes who pretend not to enjoy gossip about Z-list celebrities, such as most of those retards found on Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity, Get Me on the Ice With a Strictly Come Off It Salary; it bear-bates the current government (which most of the British population now do, anyway, so that's possibly an unfair criticism); it provides no balance; scare-mongers and purports to be fighting the good fight for us Stiff-Upper-Lip Brits.
But. It has a fantastic General Knowledge crossword on Sundays in the supplement and I do succumb most weeks in the hope that one day I will complete it without having to refer to Google for the answers. I mean to say, who knows the answer to this one: *In Greek myths, one of the three Erinyes or Furies, along with Megaera and Tisiphone (6). Responses in the comments box, please. * For the impatient amongst you, the answer is right at the bottom. I am teasing you all...
When picking the fluff from my navel, and watching paint dry has ceased to amuse me, I will flick through the rest of this magazine. And without fail, every Sunday, my blood starts to boil at the article written by one of their 'new' columnists, Mindy Hammond.
She is famous for being the wife of Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame. And how did he become really famous? He did it by almost killing himself in a high-speed crash whilst filming for Top Gear. There was almost a public mourning, he received so much publicity about it. But the fact was, he was doing something which gives him an erection (driving high-powered vehicles) AND pays him bloody good money. OK, he's a nice enough chap, but he hasn't got the irony and wit of Jeremy Clarkson nor the charm and good temper of James May, who co-present the show. He's a stooge, basically. He's the good-looking short-arse who wears the trendy clothes, looks a bit bewildered at times when Clarkson is tearing a strip off him, and provides a bit of eye candy for the women who have to watch the show with their blokes.
So, about three months ago, there was an article written about her - how brave she had been through Richard's crash; how her beauty was 'luminous'; photos of her walking in her bare feet across an emerald green pasture, leading her white charger; how stoic she had been during the photo shoot in the bitter cold weather, never losing her smile (it was the thought of that fat pay-cheque which kept her going) and then, the stupid rag announced that it was proud to present their new columnist, Mindy Bloody Hammond.
She has the page 5 spot, straight after the contents and masthead. Pole position, as Richard would probably say. And she writes complete and utter Mills and Boone, schmaltzy, cheesey, gut-wrenchingly awful drivel. And it drives me berserk.
This week, she recounted us poor blithering idiots with a tale of getting on Richard's brand new Harley for a romantic get-away for two, sans kids. But they were constantly beseiged by set-backs, such as no petrol in the tank (*gasp, horror!*), getting lost in the dark (but Mindy did her Girl Guide thang and navigated them not only by reading her map in the dark, but fumbling for her mobile phone and speaking to the Hotel Staff.) *swoon* My Heroine. I'd never have thought of doing that. To add insult to injury, the heavens had opened and she now had rainwater in her biking boots. That must have been bloody awful for her.
Richard became 'gloomy'. He thought he would have to have room service rather than patronise the restaurant (never lose a photo opportunity, though, Rich?). But Mindy came to the rescue! She stripped off her leathers, and there underneath the biker gear was her LBD. She fluffed up her hair, wiped her smeared mascara and "Wow," said Richard (I always thought 'Wow' would have an exclamation mark after it, but obviously not in Mindy's world). "How did you do that? You look like a girl and everything." (Eloquent, eh?)
"You'd be amazed what you can get into a handbag," I smiled. [Insert: *smugly*]
I get 40 fags, my mobile, my cash card, shut-up grub for the kids, 5 lighters, 4 lipsticks, keys and my purse into my handbag, when I can be fagged carrying it, which is almost never - back-pockets do me fine. I don't tend to cart Gucci dresses around with me...
Another thing which drives me bananas is her name. She was Christened Amanda. She is in her mid-40s. What middle-aged woman walks round calling herself, Mindy? MINDY! I ask you. Mandy I can cope with. Mandy is a normal derivative of Amanda. But Mindy?? Oh, come on.
My real name, which most of you have been waiting for with bated breath is...NOT AGNES...Nope. And I have had a few cutesy-piekin nicknames in the past from soppy blokes, all of whom have been given short-thrift the minute they bastardise my name. Ok...*deep sigh*...it's really Alison. So I was called Allsy-poo, Ali-babes, Allsy-Wallsy.
No. Just stop! Right there...
It is simple: A-L-I-S-O-N. My middle name is Ann. I can cope with Annie, too, from people very close to me.
Just because she is short, petite and has 'Titian hair and an aura of goodness' does not mean she can toy with our affections and worm her way into our hearts with her silly, coy name. She can't even write well. Her tales are bland, boring, 2-dimensional and so 'ordinary' (apart from the fact that she lives in a dirty big castle) that I get angry. I get angry for us struggling bloggers who'd love to be published on our merits - not because we happen to have shagged somebody famous and got their rings on our fingers.
How many of us have to face traumas through our lives? Fatalities, deaths, soul-destroying illnesses, terrible set-backs which can leave us depleted? Do we get paid for writing about it? Do we all WANT to write about it? (and you can call me a hypocrite for writing Annie's Rexia, but it's not being done for commercial value!).
And I wouldn't mind if she was a decent writer and had something of intelligence to say. Then I wouldn't be on my self-righteous rant...Although not taken last night (my face-pack was brown then), Mr P tells me this is very reminiscent of my scowl as I expostulated about Mindy Bloody Hammond. My own 'luminous beauty' came after the pack was washed off...
PS. The answer to the crossword question is Alecto, the Goddess of Constant Anger. That pretty much sums me up, eh?!