The mag hag rises

I may not work in the magazines (or even journalism) anymore, but it doesn’t stop my brain whirring about the cult of celebrity.

For many  years I’ve believed the way forward for gossip mags, in the age of paparazzi photos and celebrity news being incredibly hard to keep exclusive, was the have a bit more fun with the genre.

You know, find a new, interesting spin on celebrity stories.


But there are many others out there, including my sister, who totally get my drift. I know because they’ve enjoyed a story I shared on Facebook last week about Taylor Swift. It was published by The Daily Beast and called “Why Taylor Swift’s Parties Look Like Utter Hell.”


Among the glorious lines:

The picture featuring Swift and all her friends in the sea off Rhode Island, arms linked and looking wildly happy, would only be a modicum more frightening with a shark fin entering the shot.

But then, even that poor shark would have probably had to sign a confidentiality agreement and photo release forms. Exhausted, it would have headed back to deeper waters. Jaws never had it this tough, ffs.

It was just the right side of bitchy and very funny. It’s the sort of thing the celeb mags should put on their pinboards are an example of how to create an issue full of must-reads, along with the take down of the bloke that wrote that terrible Margot Robbie article in Vanity Fair, and … in another Taylor Swift can’t-look-away moment … the Christian mom story about the women comparing her virgin daughters’ neat little ham rolls with Taylor’s flappy gets-around-too-much one.

I’ve decided I grudgingly admire Taylor Swift for forcing me to care about her vacuous life. I’ve spent most of her extended moment in the spotlight completely unmoved by her escapades. I would be hard-pressed to hum any of her songs. She’s too all-American cute looking. I was a little disturbed when she was dating Jake Gyllenhaal, but fortunately that didn’t last long. I had no idea who Calvin Harris was or any desire to find out.

I’ve never been particularly interested in Tom Hiddleston either, he was just the guy who played slimy Loki in Thor and might be the new James Bond.


Tay-Tay and Tom met … appropriately … at the Met Ball in May.

Then it occurred to me the other night that Taylor is the “You’re So Vain” Warren Beatty of her generation, with one eye in the mirror as she watches herself cavort.

And that’s what makes celebrities so compelling to watch: the way they turn their off-screen lives into theatre too.

There’s something about the formation of Hiddleswift that’s captivated me almost as much as Pariah (James Packer and Mariah Carey … who, coincidentally, were photographed last week with the man who actually inspired “You’re So Vain” – David Geffen … the music producer who walked into the party like he was walking on to a yacht … on the Arctic P … Warren just inspired the second verse but thought the whole song was about him, about him, because he’s so vain … this is the sort of useless trivia that makes me giddy).

I was sure I smelled a rat from the moment Hiddleswift were conveniently photographed snogging at her estate.

Why ON EARTH would a Cambridge-educated Shakespeare buff want to be Tay-Tay’s flavour of the month with the paparazzi as she gavottes?

The Guardian – in another glorious piece of writing – agreed, writing:

Since the relationship was revealed three weeks ago, in a flurry of “intimate” photographs so awkward you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at pictures of a man picking a sac of tarantula eggs out of his granny’s tearduct, an army of amateur private detectives have leapt upon every Swift and Hiddleston movement with a suspicion that borders on outright mania.

It’s all too neat to be authentic, they say. It’s all too indiscreet. And, in the case of Hiddleston’s recently spotted “I Heart TS” T-shirt, it’s the most embarrassing thing that anyone has seen since your dad turned up at the school disco in a dreadlocks wig and shouted “Jungle is massive!” at your form tutor …

Imagine the backlash – the internet-destroying, planet-shaking backlash – that Hiddleston and Swift will encounter if they end up telling their millions of raving fanatics that this outpouring of public ickiness was all just a self-indulgent hoax at their expense. Everyone – Swift and Hiddleston and all of their fans – will come out of it for ever diminished. It would cause a rift in reality that would never fully heal.

And this isn’t even the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that this is all happening for real. Yuck, imagine.

So, while I don’t care much for either Tay-Tay or Tommy, I can’t stop clicking on stories about them playing whatever it is they’re playing at.

I’m obsessed, along with millions of others.

That’s why I reckon gossip magazines still have a place in the digital age. If you can fill ’em with the right, insightful or funny or cleverly written stuff they’ll become clouds in readers’ coffee again.

You couldn’t make this stuff up and Hiddleswift and Pariah prove you don’t have to.

Song of the day: Carly Simon “You’re so vain”



11 thoughts on “The mag hag rises

  1. Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager, pretty gorgeous. I am completely clueless on Tay Tay though. Couldn’t tell you the first thing about her. Oh did she sing that Shake it Off song…

    • I think she may have sung the Shake it off song, which rings a vague bell. Also perhaps “We’re never ever ever getting back together” but I’m not entirely sure and I only know fragments of both choruses.

  2. I love “you’re so vain”. But then I also really like Taylor’s “Shake it off”. Taylor herself I don’t really care about. My ex-husband started going on about Taylor and Calvin Harris and all I could think is “I don’t care, who’s Calvin Harris, I don’t care.” But I learnt so much by watching Top 20 Celebrity Hookups on TV last night. I love your trivia about the inspiration behind “You’re so vain”. Carly Simon also sung “Comin’ round again” which featured in the movie Heartburn based on the book by Nora Ephron. I agree with your take on celebrity gossip mags though – if the stories are cleverly presented they will still have a place.

  3. I love Tom Hiddleston as an actor. He has done extraordinary things (Corialanus springs to mind). Doing a bit of a WTF after your post. It has to be some misplaced self-promotion thing, if only for the t-shirt.

  4. Alana this is such a fab read – i absolutely Teeman’s post from The Daily Beast. Sen-bloody-sational. The best thing i’ve read all week.

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