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Extra Virgin June
Extra Virgin June

Opinions are divided on Heat Magazine. There are those who think of it as a waste of trees and there are others who are wrong. Of course, like many of you, I am the worst kind of hypocrite. I will never buy the magazine but am thrilled when I find it on a friend’s coffee table. How cheap, I think sanctimoniously, before gawking at the ‘dodgy old photo’ of Gareth Cliff.

'We have done our best in South Africa to manufacture something resembling ‘celebrity culture’, but if we’re honest there is really not a lot going on.'

But even if it is occasionally interesting in a sordid way, how good can something be if it is best enjoyed while sitting on the toilet? There aren’t a lot of great things that are best enjoyed while sitting on the toilet. You are trying to think of one now aren’t you? Good luck with that.

Of course, this is not to say that the likes of Heat Magazine fail to address the defining questions of our time. Just last month, with the world in panic at the outbreak of the swine flu epidemic, that very magazine ran a feature on its website titled: “Piggy Flu: The Oinkers are attacking”. Now if that is not genuine, heartfelt concern I don’t know what is.

Their concern would, however, be slightly more obvious if they didn’t have a habit of running the heavy, bleeding heart features alongside the vapid, frivolous ones. It is an unnerving thing to see a “heart-wrenching” story on Oscar Pistorius next to another gasping at ‘Britney’s Tampon Malfunction’.

It’s…well, it’s inconsistent is what it is. And it’s confusing.


You’d have the same feeling if The Dalai Lama suddenly proposed to Fergie out of the Black Eyed Peas. (Which won’t happen of course, because Fergie is said to be “so happy” with Josh, said a friend close to the star)

We have done our best in South Africa to manufacture something resembling ‘celebrity culture’, but if we’re honest there is really not a lot going on. As hard as Heat has tried to tell us that our scandals are as scandalous as those in Hollywood, “Joostgate” just doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?

As for paparazzi, well, we don’t have any. The photos we do see in Heat are more often than not sent in by the famous person themselves. A former Idols presenter whose name I won’t mention but whose surname rhymes with Toss is said to have emailed his holiday snaps to Heat in the hope that they would be published.

We should celebrate our dismal attempt at a celebrity culture. It is one of those things that is good to be bad at, like video games. Our uselessness goes under successes not failures. Do we really want to be like them, they who find it astonishing that “the Jolie-Pitts get their own groceries”? Of course not. Now, if you’re finished with that Heat, can you pass it over?

Matthew Freemantle

Extra Virgin June



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