Friday, November 21, 2008

In Search of Cheryl

On Wednesday, we visited a friend and on the way home popped into the supermarket. At the checkout, all the magazines spoke of a woman in great trouble. Her name is Cheryl. On every magazine cover, she was at some stage of emotional collapse;

Cheryl Breaks Down
Cheryl Is Humiliated
More Heartache for Cheryl
Cheryl says, “It's all over!”

I have no idea who Cheryl is. I don't have my finger on the cultural pulse, but I do know roughly what's happening in films, music and stuff. Yet the only famous Cheryl I can think of is Cheryl Baker who used to co-present Record Breakers in the 1980s and I don't think it could be her. I'm not even sure what the lady looks like, because the magazines seemed to have different women's faces on their covers. But Cheryl has my sympathy. She's obviously going through a rough patch. And she is clearly either very famous or there is nothing else to print just now.

But it also raised a question which often occurs to me. How could the life of any celebrity be so fascinating for you that you'd buy a magazine on the grounds of such headlines? I am wired much the same as the next person and whilst I don't buy any magazines or newspapers, my curiosity can be aroused. If I had some admiration for or interest in the enigmatic Cheryl, I could understand wanting to look inside having read headlines such as

Cheryl Reveals Her Dark Secret (I would want to know the secret)
Cheryl Wears An Incredible Hat (I would want to see the hat)
Cheryl Takes Off All Her Clothes (I'm human) or
Cheryl Spills the Beans on Nuclear Fission (I never fully understood the difference between fusion and fission)

But if Cheryl is merely breaking down, I already know what happened. I don't know why she broke down, but I imagine that if it were more exciting than her actual breaking down, they'd probably have referred to it in the headline. Something like Cheryl Breaks Down Over Odd Sock Shocker. The lack of detail suggests Cheryl might have broken down over nothing at all. Unless she is so very famous that her recent tragedy is such common knowledge and it doesn't need mention - just as we now see headlines referring to Strictly Come and know it has something to do with a television programme as opposed to a new kind of eco-friendly hair-styling product.

The last time I asked my question about appeal of dubious celebrity gossip, I was told that I couldn't understand because I was "middle class". As if it is the proletariat buying Heat with their benefit money, whilst I'm sat reading Lawn Magazine or Kumquat Monthly in the breakfast room.

If anyone does know who Cheryl is, or doesn't know and would like to make something up - or indeed would like to explain the difference between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission - you know where to click.


S. said...

I always wonder why celebrity gossip sells when because it's such a catch-22. Whether it's "celebrities are so different" or "celebrities are just like us," what should make it titillating is that sense of peeking behind closed doors at someone's private life--but these are lives that are 100% managed and staged for public consumption. There's no privacy, so how is there any interest left? It's much more interesting to get good dirt about your neighbors down the block.

Anonymous said...

I assume it's Cheryl Cole out of Girls Aloud, but only on the grounds she's the only Cheryl I can think of... As such magazine headlines go, I don't think that's a bad one. Whenever I walk past copies of Heat Magazine, they seem to be more along the lines of "Cheryl has a spot" or "Cheryl hasn't shaved under her armpits this week" :( I think maybe people buy them because they wish they could have the life of a celebrity, know they can't, and so get some sort of schadenfreude out of seeing things go wrong. I don't know, it all seems terribly shallow...

Anonymous said...

Fission is where an atom is split apart and fusion is where they are joined together. Fusion is what is used in nuclear power stations and fission is what powers the sun.

And it's Cheryl Cole, of Girls Aloud "fame". Apparently! :D

Cusp said...

Since I have aspirations to be common [;0)]and buy 'Heat' and 'Glow' and 'Ember', 'Best' 'NotQuiteSoBad' and 'Worst' ...or what ever all those goss mags are called...and because I have a 10 year old daughter who is glued to X Factor I would also assume that the woman in question is Cheryl Cole: who's a judge on X Factor, in some girl group BeatCombo and also apperently married to a footballer who in recent past was referred to as 'cheating scum'.

On the other hand it could be Ms Baker or 'Cheryl' could be a reference to the former PM's wife by a dyslexic or forgetful journalist.

I wish the last suggestion was true but guess the first is correct

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Really perfect.

Poor Cheryl Whoever. I really do hope it's about the socks.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl? Who the f**k is Cheryl!?

IrrationalPoint said...

"Fusion is what is used in nuclear power stations and fission is what powers the sun."

Actually, it's the other way around: fission powers nuclear power stations (but there is research into whether nuclear fusion would be viable for this, but it is not currently used in industry); and fusion takes place in the sun.


The Goldfish said...

Thanks everyone,

Thanks to your help, I am now far better informed about Cheryl. She apparently won a television talent competition in order to get a place in a girl band (or beatcombo - thank you Cusp for the use of that delightful word) called Girls Aloud. They sang this song, presumably intended to promote public transport in London. She was then convicted of assault against a nightclub toilet attendant. Then she married Ashley Cole, a footballer who I had actually heard of. And now they've split up acrimoniously, which I guess is the reason for her upset.

So that's Cheryl.

Still some controversy over the nuclear issue, but thanks both to Dyed in the Wool and Irrational Point for your attempts to enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous - surely that's Alice, not Cheryl...

Unknown said...

My life is all the richer for knowing who Cheryl is. (can't think of an appropriate face to put in here *grin*)

I have to rely on dr's appmts to read the trash magazines in their offices- I barely know who Brittany Spears is. But she seems to have a lot of breakdowns too.

seahorse said...

Cheryl, Cheryl Cherly. My God, will the ins and outs of this unremarkable young woman's life never cease to make the papers? I bought a couple of papers at the weekend and was incredulous at the amount of tat in them. Do people never get bored with it? Did you hear about Danni's breakdown too? I, like Cusp, live in a house with a young'un so I know that on this week's X Factor we have the unholy spectacle of Danni mid-breakdown, Cheryl mid-breakdown and Britney (hopefully post-breakdown). Then the winner will have a breakdown.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be 'ins and outs of this unremarkable young woman'

a nonny mouse

Anonymous said...

You know, when I first read this I almost left the comment 'oh you's that woman from the Iceland adverts.'

Kerry...Cheryl...they all blend into one figure of supernaturally awful femininity.

Katie said...

I do not believe Cheryl and Ashley have split up. I believe he had an affair with a woman far less beautiful than her and she forgave him. I believe her current heartache may be related to the fact that she has a brother who is imprisoned for drugs offences but does not wish for her assistance.

Not that I follow these matters.