On opening the magazine Grazia for the first time in many a moon, the first phrase I see is 'BAG CRUSH', and my tender heart sinks. Having just been on holiday in France, I have been spoiled by the twin delights of the magazines Bridget and Causette, both of which, refreshingly, have irreverent cover girls (one is shaving her face and the other is cross-eyed, buried up to her neck in sand and reaching for a big pink ice cream) and witty commentary. For balance, I also bought French Grazia, which is, literally, another country, featuring shit tons of current affairs alongside the kind of fashion which, in the words of Malcolm Tucker, fucks UK Grazia in 'every orifice from here to breakfast'. It also has a special feature on cunnilingus, with plenty of illustrations. It rocks.
While French magazines are busy acknowledging the presence of women's brains, however, UK Grazia is its usual shambolic self, informing me that, apparently, Tom Cruise's kids came to London and used Boris Bikes (oh, history! You cruel bastard! They were KEN'S bikes) and this is something I should give a shit about. This is followed up by simpering Royal Baby coverage rich in mundane minutiae such as FYI, did you know that Kate and William had a takeaway pizza to celebrate the birth of their child? (possible subtext: even when she's just had a baby and is eating pizza, she's still thinner than you, you fat common BITCH). The birth is announced by Grazia with the kind of ceremony you'd expect from a world exclusive, when in fact the article is merely regurgitating the stuff the world's media had been spouting days earlier, thus providing us with a prime example of how celebrity magazines are sliding into irrelevance and tedium.
To Grazia's credit, however, they have stopped short of mentioning the phrase 'baby weight', but they do profile five celebrity babies as possible princess wives/chattel for George Louis, thus restoring the mag to its rightful place atop the throne of 'tacky, sexist, and inane as hell. With shoes.' They also have a nonsensical headline that reads 'The Baby Boom. Quite Literally.' Being the kind of person who is curious about just what a literal boom might entail, I looked it up in the dictionary, and it is defined thus:
'To make a deep, prolonged, resonant sound'.
Props to Grazia. This is a pretty accurate description of my personal reaction to all the Royal Baby coverage, as well as the fact that I had to leave the country due to all my hair falling out with despair, obviously.
There are pages and pages more of Royal Baby bollocks, but I took one look at how Grazia thinks that, by driving his wife and child home from the hospital, William 'rewrote the rules for modern day fatherhood', and just thought, 'fuck it'.
On the plus side, they have got Sophie Heawood writing for them, who is brilliant, but unfortunately either isn't given enough space to display her writing talent (read this, just read it, now) or has an editor who doesn't care enough. As per usual, the 'this week's conversation' topics are bland and relatively uncontentious, something that is rendered doubly sad when juxtaposed with French Grazia's extended feature on sexism in dance music. Oh, Grazia, do we not deserve the same as our French cousins? Namely, a massive piece on the history of cunnilingus, with loads of pictures? It's just all so unfair.
Still, hawaiian shirts are in, ladies. So do buck up. Even if they do make you look like a Tory Ace Ventura on holiday in Cornwall.
Speaking of, there's an interview with David Cameron as well. Is Grazia to replace Glamour as the conservative-rimming magazine of choice? Only time will tell, but at least we have a Prime Minister who is keen to tell us all about 'the unprecedented pressures heaped on modern young women' (that's you and me, ladybro, so listen up).
Here's Cameron on pornography: 'children aren't old enough to process it properly. This has a very corrosive effect: forming loving relationships is one of the most important things that can happen'
Provided those relationships are state approved, of course.
And here's Cameron on rape jokes: 'There's a national conversation that needs to happen about these things'
Yeah, Dave, we know, quite a few of us have been having it for months now.
Apparently, the fact that Cameron is thinking about these things (and, as I'm sure you can gauge from the above quotes, he is thinking about them VERY profoundly) represents how 'politics has woken up to a new feminist agenda'
This is from the man who refuses to condemn Page Three as sexist, who has implemented cuts which disproportionately affect women, and who thinks 'calm down, dear' is an acceptable way to address a female MP. Of all the things I imagined David Cameron waking up to, a new feminist agenda is not one of them. A boner for tormenting poor people? An anxiety dream about what his youthful all-expenses-paid trip to apartheid South Africa might mean for his karmic future? His very posh wife, also known as the Tories' 'secret weapon'? Sure. Gender equality? Not so much.
Of course, I'm glad that Grazia are covering politics, albeit in the blandest, most uncritical way (plus, it's not even a cover feature. Not enough distress, and DEFINITELY not enough dress, it seems). I'm glad that they have an article on the long undiscovered genius of the photographer Vivian Maier, too, even if they have pathetically branded her as 'the world's finest street style snapper' as opposed to what she actually was, which is 'a fucking good documentary photographer'. I'm glad that Polly Vernon is tackling (in her simplistic, irritating way, granted, but still tackling nonetheless) how much of a drag being leched over in summer is, even if she does use phrases such 'I know, right?' and 'Super-haute fash'. And I'm glad that they are covering issues like anxiety disorder. Like I said, I'm gladdy glad glad.
But it doesn't make Grazia good for me. It still dedicates a whole page to K-Stew and R-Patz's 'dog custody battle' without making a single joke about pre pup-tual agreements, instead opting for the non-pun 'woof-tody battle', which doesn't even make sense (it took me ten seconds just now to come up with the superior 'cur-stody battle'). It still has headlines like 'Lights, Camera, Knickers!' and a WHOLE ARTICLE which helps all those poor ickle stupid ladies out there make conversation at weddings by giving us crib notes as to the important issues of the day, namely bitchy resting face, The Returned, the Shakespearean romance of Harry and Cressida ('exit pursued by an heir'), and...oh, Edward Snowden? Am I reading the correct magazine? Turns out I am, because apparently, what you should be saying about Edward Snowden at weddings is this: (*adopts thoughtful pose*)
'Is Snowden a hero or villain? Glory-hunter or truth-seeker? Super-geek or supergrass?"
As everyone knows, posing rhetorical questions about current affairs in front of strangers makes you look clever and philosophical, and not at all like a twat in a bridesmaid dress who gets their current affairs info from Grazia. Extra points if you do it in a booming Orson Welles type voice. (LITERAL BOOM KLAXON)
So no, I'm not all that glad, for realz. I'd say on the gladometer, I'm about as glad about Grazia existing as I am about 'stealth wealth' being a thing, or seeing four thin white woman yet again gracing the pages of Style Hunter (FYI, French Grazia covers street style from Shanghai). I am glad, however, that Grazia have seen fit to feature baby George's horoscope, (according to the stars, he is born to rule. It's amazing, truly). The sheer idiocy of this has restored the universe's equilibrium, when actually, Grazia's deviation into politics had me a little confused there for a second, but now everything has entropically reverted to its former facile state.
And thus, when the next issue comes out, we will beat on, like boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly to Kim Kardashian's arse.