Recently I confessed to a newfound desire to be paid money for writing more than just website copy. I understand I’m not alone in this. Therefore I’m guessing I’m also not alone in occasionally dipping into certain broadsheet weekend supplements, reading the columns therein and groaning, closing my eyes, shaking my head and uttering the words, ‘Why? Why? What kind of world do we live in where a respected publication actually pays good money to blithering imbeciles for this kind of inane, soulless garbage?’
I won’t mention any names, but frankly, pick one at random. They’re all crap. So I decided to write something and send it in to the Observer. After all, I have nothing to lose but my dignity. I decided to write something about the hot weather, as - at least until this morning - it seemed appropriate. Here it is – it’s a small piece just to show them what I’m capable of:
This hot weather is ruining my life. I'm a greasy factor-50 carping mess. Attila the Sunny. Indeed, however much people start prancing around in hideous citrus clothing, Britain is not happy in the sun. No country is - extreme sustained heat just seems to make people soporific and slow or foul-tempered and bonkers.
On the bright side, if readers want a surefire way of getting out of all the boring barbecues they're bound to be invited to, they can borrow my thoughts on sorting out the Middle East: 'They should stop looking for WMDs and start putting in air conditioning.' Imbecilic? Yes. Racist? No - it's weatherist. But the invitations will dry up before you can say 'hosepipe ban'.
What do you think? Oh. Oh dear. Really? You thought it was poorly written to the point of embarrassing? It actually made your skin crawl? You don’t really know why I wrote it and what I was trying to say? You thought it was uninsightful, reactionary, inaccurate, hackneyed and bordering on offensively pointless? You think I’ve got more chance of waking up in an Abu Ghraib-style pile of Jessica Albas than I have of getting that bilge published in the Observer?
Well, OK then, I’ll come clean. In truth, I absolutely agree with you, except of course for your last point. The words in question were actually written by Barbara Ellen and published in last Sunday’s Observer magazine.
I think they’re rotten words, and they really do make me despair. Often I read stuff like this and I find myself thinking, ‘I could do better than that’. This time I actually found myself thinking. ‘Amanda Platell could do better than that’. So you see the level to which we’ve descended. The tragedy is that if I really had written those words, I would probably have neither the sense nor the decency to give my brain the bullet it so richly deserves. Do I exaggerate? Do I really? Three words: Attila the Sunny.
Just as youth is wasted on the young, and wealth and success are wasted on the rich and successful, so it seems that broadsheet glossy columns are wasted on the arse-clenchingly inane.
For shame, the Observer. For shame.