Unless my daughter forgets her copy of Vogue when she returns to London after a weekend visit, I rarely read magazines these days. I used to love the pleasure of leafing through one in bed, or by the fire with a glass of wine, but there is so much to do that the idea simply doesn’t occur to me anymore. That’s why the six-weekly visit to the hairdresser’s is such a treat: a feast of trivia for me to gorge on, skim over, discard.
Grazia magazine feeds my fantasy of the essential sandals, in serried ranks, by colour; the definitive serum for every skin type; swimwear that flatters, no matter how fundamental your body ‘issues’ are. And then I turn the page to photographs of the horror at Istanbul airport, and I’m back in reality.
Why am I surprised to be reading this, here? The real question is: why are ‘women’s’ magazines not packed with this stuff, while everything around us descends into chaos? During the EU referendum, when we were crying out for detail, fact, truth, what we got was the hysteria of 24-hour news, and 140 character Twitterspittle.
Brexit rumbles on and we tiptoe around friends and family, anticipating the undertow. A month of Armaggedon has hauled us from our cosy daily realities, squeezed out the laundry dramas, demanding our attention. Each day brings new horror from somewhere in the world, and our domestic politics have been reduced to a calamitous game of Jenga by those we hoped had control.
It’s a relief that Theresa May has emerged from the whirlwind, calm, collected, purposeful. She seems ready, and so must we all be.
I need to do a lot more reading this summer; books and yes, magazines which give me causes, and some answers. I’m taking The Spectator and The Economist on holiday, along with that must-read fiction. I’ll be slipping one on top of my daughter’s Vogue; the Twitter generation need facts, not soundbites, at their fingertips if they’re not to make the same mistakes.
As much as I want escapism at the hairdresser’s, perhaps that is exactly where I should be reading such magazines; when I have 2 hours away from it all, to focus on what really matters.