Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Total Crap

Those are the words I thought I saw in red type spanning the front of a magazine in a post office in Dorset. That's what your brain does - tries to make sense of words and images all the time, even when rushing to see if you have acquired a parking ticket after installing your car in a twenty minute space and then daydreaming in a WHSmiths for an hour.
Total Crap?
I stepped back and saw the image of a grinning man holding a fish the size of a small, bloated pig. Forgetting, again, the car, I perused the shelves and was amazed to find, not just Total Carp, but Advanced carp, Carp world, Carp Fishing, etc.
Before I got obsessed with what the female version of all these wasted trees might be, I left the shop, drove home and Googled more about Carp.
In France, I don't think the magazine world is quite so in depth about subjects - hunting perhaps, wine, certain sun-blessed regions of the country, but not fourteen or so, different weekly or monthly editions about one subject, in this case a species of fish . . .
Other titles included: Carpoholics Anonymous, Crafty Carper, Carp Talk and Carp Sex - obviously not, but the way that some of the successful trappers were holding their trophies did look dangerously like lust to me.

         Indeed . . . 

Most of the covers show pretty much the same image: man in woolly hat, large grin, huge slimy fish surrounded by copy such as: He Who Dares, Maggot-Caught Cracker, Mastering Maggots, Bait Secrets Revealed, Big Wacker (!?)
I will have to buy a copy of Total Carp to see what actually happens to the mega-fish when it has been ensnared - I presume, eaten? Stuffed?

       I tried . . . tried to save you . . . we could have been so happy together.


                                . . . it's just you and me, darling - so long have I waited for this moment


So, what of the pink magazines: something for the ladies? Yes, I know, the sexes should merge in reading material, but sadly the shelves are still, and probably will be, while paper pulp continues to be fashioned into A4 leisure-time fodder, severely divided on the whole.
What might be the equivalent of Total Carp?
There are about a thousand titles covering fashion, beauty, house-decoration, food, and so on, but what about something as specific as hunting one type of fish?
Cross stitch, entered my mind - do people (women, I assume) still do this? I had a look.
Yes, they do: Cross Stitch Collection, Cross stitch Gold, Cross Stitch Formula, Cross Stitch Favourites, Cross Stitcher, Cross Stitch Mania - or crazy, I forget, Just Cross Stitch, Cross Stitch Sex.
Actually, none of the covers appeared to feature a woman clutching a cross stitched portrait of George Clooney to her breast, or a needle-worked phallus, or even just a woman displaying a finished piece of work with the same manic pride as any of the fishermen.
I will return, this time to a really big paper shop and look in more depth through the pages of other magazines. I haven't bought one since I had a brief flirtation with Interiors Magazine years ago and realised that after a quick peruse they became floppy, shiny wads of paper to be stored somewhere along with everything else. Perhaps it's different if you are gripped by a single obsession, fourteen titles or so, a joy to surreptitiously glance through in Smiths, or buy if you can afford them all . . .


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