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.