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Coastalblog - almost always a couple of yards off the pace

We all have our personal tipping points. Some crack one day when stood in an otherwise blameless baskets-only queue; the person in front takes too long trying to remember their PIN and bingo, a previously sunny worldview becomes irrevocably bitter. Others may have lived a hitherto positive existence, always looking for the best in people, only to be rendered permanently homicidal by gormless service in a plastic coffee outlet. For vast numbers of my fellow countrymen, the urge to act was engendered by the tedious e-petition about road pricing (probably deserving a post of its own: goverment complicit in human rights abuses? Not my problem squire. Government taking country into illegal war? probably had it coming, didn't they? Goverment creating artificial climate of fear? Well, can't trust anyone these days. Goverment tinkering with something to do with your fucking car? Take to the streets! And pave some new ones whilst we're at it! More cars! Mmmm Cars! etc)

For myself the point of meltdown has been brought a little closer this weekend by two things. The Guardian's weekend magazine having Coleen McLoughlin on the front cover for no readily apparent reason was one, apparently she likes clothes. Good for her. I am confident that there was NOTHING which could have made a more deserving cover story than what the wife of a footballer likes to wear (but no! she's really down to earth! who'd have thought? and paradigmatic of our age! I must state that I personally have no problem with Ms McLoughlin, I am in fact inclined to quite like her, she does seem to be a sensible girl in an utterly batshit insane environment. What I take issue with is a serious newspaper fronting its magazine with a small story culled from its fashion pages because the woman in question happens to be the putative Mrs Rooney. I could go furter and take issue with the deadly seriousness with which the entire fucking ridiculous industry of fashion is treated, but I fear amay run my bile reserves dry should I do so).

Secondly, the blanket media coverage of Mrs B Federline shaving her head off. Maybe it's an homage to Alien 3, maybe she was drunk and thought it would be cool. Quite possibly the poor woman is in the very public grip of a mental breakdown. All these things are possible. The only thing that is certain is that it's NOT NEWS. Get this clear. Famine is news. The ongoing atrocities in the Sudan with are threatening to drag Chad into a central african war are news. Putin getting bullish cos he's knocking on a bit (he really is a prime example of a man having a mid-life crisis, so I get a sports car? A tattoo? No, wait a second, I'm in charge of a major world power! I can compensate for the decreasing quality of my erections by throwing a hissy fit over gas pipelines!) is news. Poor old Britney going nuts is not news. It is desperately sad. I don't really object to tabloids splashing in stories like these, that's what they do. I deplore it, but it's probably best to follow the wise example of a Canute. It's more insidious, and more plain WRONG when broadsheets try to gussy it up with "think-pieces" (die) about the nature of celebrity, life lived in the public glare etc, as an excuse to run the story. You could smell the frustration about not being able to show the unexpurgated crotch shots from here. In an entirely unrelated complaint, the BBC's culture show has been advised to become "more mainstream".

Please, the Guardian. Please, the BBC. Please all those editors out there who are wrestling with their consciences over these issues. Knock it off. All I want is to get through my newspaper without being forced to confront the insatiable beast of celebrity, without feeling that by consuming the media I am helping to fund the whole tawdry circus. Just once. Please.


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