Hot gossip

Pssst … have you heard? Gossip, apparently, is good for you. I was more than a little pleased I can tell you, when I read the other day that social scientists reckon gossip helps us stay “smart and healthy”.

Pssst … have you heard? Gossip, apparently, is good for you.

I was more than a little pleased I can tell you, when I read the other day that social scientists reckon gossip helps us stay “smart and healthy”. And before you say, 'What a load of piffle', I'll have you know they've spent the last 20 years studying the subject!

Well, that's one health regime I won't have a problem following. Indeed I don't mind admitting it's something I've had a healthy interest in for years. I'm just glad that I wasn't alive a couple of centuries ago, I'd have probably ended up on a ducking stool by now.

Actually though, I prefer reading it to spreading it. Give me a celebrity gossip magazine any day in preference to one that's supposedly designed for the more mature woman.

Oh, they suck you in with photos of trendy grannies and tales of 50-pluses who go hang gliding, bungee jumping etc. then once they've got you past the first couple of pages, they hit you with reminders that if you don't already suffer from bladder problems, hair loss, or lack of mobility, then you pretty soon will. Is it any wonder that I prefer to find out what the likes of Jade Goody and Sienna Miller are up to, rather than discover what's likely to happen to me in a couple of years - no comments, please!

Gossip's a touchy subject though. It's something that many people don't seem to like admitting they do, or enjoy reading. Plenty of us do it, if the results of a survey I recently undertook with some other media students on the subject of celebrity culture are anything to go by.

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I was amazed by just how many people could manage to recall a celebrity story in great detail despite claiming not to be interested by them. They weren't just older women either. It seems that lots of people of both sexes and all ages are fascinated by what's happening in the lives of the rich and famous.

Okay, so you might not spot many men nattering together over the garden fence or a cup of tea and a plate of digestives, but look in the pub on a Saturday, after the match, and I'm sure you'll see a good few discussing important world issues such as the latest footballers' antics, both on and off the pitch. And what's office 'networking' if it's not passing on information about other people?

Of course soap characters like Blanche from Coronation Street and Betty from Emmerdale, haven't done us caring gossips any favours. While their caustic comments about all and sundry make us laugh they do unfortunately give the rest of us a bad name.

So I'm glad that academics are giving the subject the respect it deserves. If chewing the fat of the land is “essential to human nature”, as these scientists claim, then I for one am not going to argue with them. Now I wonder if they want any help with their research…

The 60s and 70s rock! That's what lots of my fellow students tell me anyway and I couldn't agree with them more even though it probably means that they look upon me as a piece of living history. But hey, what does age matter when you've got the language of music in common?

At least when they're chatting about The Beatles, or Abba, or Queen, I know who they're talking about. So many of today's bands feature other people I've a job trying to keep up with who's supposed to be singing with who.

Not that I don't enjoy listening to them, I do - well most of them at any rate, although I have to say that hip-hop and rap artists have never been my particular favourites. Which is why I was more than a bit apprehensive when I discovered that part of one of my media modules, involved looking at those particular branches of the music industry.

Well, I decided to face the subject with an open mind - that's OPEN not blank - and I sat glued to the lecture theatre screen as I learned all about the lives of Tupac Shakur and Puff Daddy - a.k.a. P.Diddy.

And when, on my arrival home, my daughters asked me what I'd been doing that afternoon and I promptly told them down to the very last detail.

I don't know who was more impressed, them or me!

Thank goodness Easter is finally here. It seems like months since the first chocolate eggs appeared in the shops - hey, wait a minute, it is! No wonder I'm going crazy.

Shop walls are lined with them. Shop floors are piled high with them. Shop windows shout offers at you - 'Buy five, get ten free' … or did I imagine that?

It's bad enough trying to control myself at the best of times but when you haven't touched a morsel since the first day of the year, I tell you it's something akin to torture.

So I say roll on St George's Day. At least then I'll be able to celebrate by waving my little England flag instead of dribbling, while all around are gorging on the wonderful … smooth … creamy …substance.

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