Sunday, October 28, 2007


Amid the books and coffee cups at Shaun’s place, there’s a scattering, a smattering of magazines – special interest magazines. Always well thumbed and losing a bit of their glossy sheen (do you know that magazine gloss comes from corn? Read ‘The Omnivores Dilemma’, Michael Pollan), they lie tantalizingly behind Mother Jones and Adbusters: the People magazines. The women who lounge at Echo Books are nomads, pioneers, escapists, all of us from different places who now find ourselves between the jungle and the ocean. Our skin is soft from the humidity but thick from outdoor exposure, our sinews stand up in the heat, our hair is stiff with dust, we wonder daily at the new bites, scratches and bumps we collect in the night: “yeah, just put noni juice on it”. And we all love People magazine, from cover to cover. Of course it can’t be called reading, it’s basically a picture book, and watching myself and others we do tend to lose interest about half way through as page after page shows similar looking people in similar looking clothing doing similar looking things. People we don’t know, depending on how long we’ve been ‘out’. It’s a bit like fast food: the cover is what grabs you, the first sensory experience - in this case sight, in food’s case smell. We reach for it, all other thoughts subside, but once that initial sensory zing has gone it’s all a bit unsatisfying. Until the next time .

The one lying on the coffee table this month (no, we don’t buy them, tourists leave them), has Anna Nicol on the cover. It seems she’s been having trouble with her plastic surgeon,

“I’ll never be perfect again”

the coverline reads.

“Oh poor thing, she’ll never be perfect again”

Leah sighs in a sympathetic, motherly tone. We look at each other and smile, confusion flutters across faces, “poor thing”.