Here's this game I play at the checkouts at Morrison's supermarket. Morrison's, unlike the only other supermarket I use with any regularity (Tesco's), has, near its checkouts, racks of Celeb and Gossip magazines. During the inevitable tedious delay as the three people in front of me in the queue, in turn, pack their bags, put their bags in their trolley, and THEN start to look for their wallets with which to pay... (after long and detailed analysis during the years I have spent in supermarket checkout queues I can, without fear of contradiction, state that most women do this. Most men on the other hand have their card in their hand as soon as the goods are on the conveyor belt and can't wait to get out of the hideous places.)
The game I play goes like this: I look at the racks of magazines: Hello, Chat, Now, Heat, and so on and I try to see if I recognise anybody. That's it. All these magazines with 'famous' 'celebrities' on the front cover - quite often accompanied by their names in large yellow letters, "Keri dumps Rowan after Fiona fight!", "Louise Holiday Snap Cellulite Shock!" - and I see if I know any of them. Hundreds of pictures of 'celebs' and I haven't got a scooby who 90% of them are. Even with their names printed next to them and large arrows pointing at their paparazzi-snapped, bikini-clad buttocks. One of these days I will succeed in not recognising anyone. This is my aim. If I don't recognise anyone at all I will give myself a prize. Buy a packet of chewing gum or something else from the impulse-buy, small child pacifying rack of sweeties next to the magazines.
Most of the time I am let down by the fact that I recognise the skinny one from the Spice Girls who married a footballer, and the woman with all the teeth who married some royal bloke last year (or was it this year?). If it wasn't for them I would have won lots of times. I'm starting to get bored with this game, Skinny and Teeth appear far to often to make it fun any more, so I'm thinking of starting a new game based on a chance discovery I made in Lidl's.
Lidl's sell magazines too and quite often on a Thursday the Woman Who Brings the New Magazines will leave the old stock in a pile by the door for people to help themselves. They're usually shit, breathy, carcrash "Pervy Husband Made Me Eat My Own Underpants as my Dog Watched!" type crap. Last week the only one left when I did my shopping was last week's copy of Inside Soap. For some stupid reason Inside Soap really appealed to me. I can't find this particular issue on the web and I couldn't be arsed to scan it but it's a bit like this recent copy: (Actually this IS the copy I have. My mind's going.)
It's a real mess of a cover. They all are. Magazine cover design is just hyperactive crap these days. But I was struck by the number of exclamation marks on the front of this one. There are thirteen of the buggers. 'Carla & Peter Shock Split!', 'Cain Loses it!', 'I'll Kill You!', 'Wedding Day Carnage!' etc. etc.. The only things that don't seem to have a ! behind it are the barcode and the price. The main headline gets two! 'Alfie's Revenge! He dumps cheating Kat for ROXY!'
The new game is to find the magazine in Morrison with most exclamation marks! Every Week! Beats Not Recognising People! Beats Throwing Rocks at the numbskulls in front of me who only wake up the fact they have to pay for their shopping after they have packed it!
I haven't dared open the magazine. God knows what the inside is like.