In between Christmas and the New Year a copy of Hi!! Magazine arrived on my desk addressed to me. This caused confusion and bewilderment, rather like the ending of a new song we're doing in Mimosa.
It was addressed to me personally at my work address and I hadn't been expecting it. But I had a faint shimmer of a thought lurking in the deepest recesses of my mind. One of those thoughts that goes like this:
"Ah, I think I may have bought myself a subscription to this a while ago, it does sound familiar actually, ah yeah shit I did do it."
So I read it. Then I gave it to my Mum and Dad so they could pick out their friends and relatives in it.
Sometime in March the next issue arrived. After several read throughs I felt disappointment and dismay. There was not a single mention, not even a double page spread, of my week in Sri Lanka. There were however, plenty of the usual friends and relatives featured in their prominence there. Photos of people at parties, openings and lunches, festivals and weddings. People who were mostly pretending they didn't want to be featured in there, but still made sure their best side was showing.
Now this HI!! magazine phenomenon amazes, intrigues and puzzles me in a way that it shouldn't. The amount of time I spend thinking on it is not warranted, it's just a magazine after all. It's the apparent contrast between what people say about it (in Sri Lanka) and what they actually think of it that makes me ponder.
I believe it was Oscar Goldman who once said something about it being a bore to be invited but even worse not to be (massive prizes available here for anyone who knows who Oscar Goldman was, without the aid of a search engine). That's it with HI!! too.
I've seen so many who moan about it, rant about it and mock the people who are in it, then pore through its pages looking for a picture of themselves. I find it fun, to look through its glossy, badly taken on someone's compact camera because there was no one around with a decent camera pictures.
Peering at pictures of some distant cousin's wedding to see if there's a picture of my Mum and Dad there, scrutinising the photos taken at the launch of a car that only Sri Lankan cricketers and sons of MPs will be able to buy. Of course half the population of Sri Lanka is the son of an MP so it's a lucrative market anyway.
There's usually some double page spread of a fancy dress party at one of the usual haunts. If I were a god I'd like to be the god of fancy dress. I'd make a law, or whatever it is that gods make, and it would dictate that people can only appear in fancy dress that matches their skin colour. Us brown skinned darkies really shouldn't go to a fancy dress party dressed as Marilyn Monroe or the blonde haired bloke from The Dukes Of Hazzard. It doesn't work, we just look scary.
The best thing about HI!! mag?? It's ever so slightly similar to another well known magazine with a similar name. I can't quite remember the name but it'll come to me.
I'm off now to do some gigs this weekend. The sun is out, the sky is blue, I'm sure I'll forget a chorus or two!
If you are the editor of HI!! I am still available for that "At home with Rhythmic Diaspora" double page spread that you're thinking about too.