Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the best magazine ever published in the world, ever

On the best magazine ever published in the world, ever

I have just discovered the best magazine ever published in the world, ever. A laugh-and-a-half from cover-to-cover, a title passed from family member to family member, who, with tears of mirth rolling down their cheeks, passed it on to the next willing reader until the front cover fell off.

I refer, of course, to Take A Break's Fate and Fortune magazine, a spin-off from the regular soap star-fronted red-top nonsense, aimed solely at ...well... the kind of person who buys Take A Break.

It is Take A Break without all the celebrity guff, puzzle pages, recipes you'll never cook and Cute-things-kid-say letters. It is, then, Take A Break with nothing but horoscopes, ghost stories, psychics, divining, messages from beyond the grave, and a mind-reading horse. Seriously.

And a witch with her own recipe page, containing recipes you will never cook because you'll end up pregnant with frog spawn.

And somebody who tells you to move house by examining photos of all your expensive jewellery (and not, I repeat NOT, so they can rob you blind while you're out house-hunting).

And a past life regression page where everybody is convinced they were Queen Cleopatra "because I like cats".

And loads of £1.50/min 'destiny advice lines' that feature a recording of somebody saying "Don't have the green salad".

Or: "Your dead granny spent all the money LOLOL"

Or: "The Tarot deals you DEATH. LOLOLOL"

This month's edition - which one hopes if representative of the publication's high-brow nature - featured the following 100 per cent true stories, sent in by readers scared out of their wits:

1. HAUNTED BY A GHOST TRAMP (with artist's impression of same)

2. MY CURTAINS ARE POSSESSED BY EVIL SPIRITS (with artist's impression of same)

3. EVIL SPIRITS IN MY WARDROBE STEAL MY CLOTHES (with artist's impression of same)

4. MY PIANO PLAYS BY ITSELF (with artist's impression of same)

I can see a recurring theme running through these stories

1. Tramps

2. Tramps

3. Tramps in expensive, stolen lingerie

4. A down-on-his luck former concert pianist, who is now a tramp

Not to mention a resident artist with a 'Pan's People' approach to the literal interpretation of these tales of woe.

While TAB F&F play on the easily-influenced minds of their target audience, there are, of course, rational explanations for just about every tale of haunting, spooky coincidence and possession: your common hobo.

If your haunted wardrobe asks you "for the price of a cup o' tea", then it's probably a tramp.

If your possessed curtains stink of cider and vomit whilst your room is filled with dread cries for "Jimmy", then it's also a tramp, drunk and confused on his way back from the Dole Office.

If you are assailed by a ghost tramp whilst walking your dog, it's fairly safe to assume it's actually a real tramp, blurred through the fug of body odour and booze, reminiscing about his years with the London Symphony Orchestra before that nasty business with the oboe player.

Derek Acorah, you will not be surprised to learn, knows LOADS of tramps.

And then, towards the back of The Finest Magazine Ever Published, Ever: paydirt.

"Why not send us your ghost story for publication in Take A Break Fate and Fortune? It must be true, and we may have to interview you. We will pay up to £200 for your story."


"Dear TAB F&F,

Our house is haunted by a GHOST DOG.

We often see something lurking under the kitchen table, and hear the frantic scrabbling of claws as it darts up and down the hall. We've checked and it is definitely NOT tramps, neither is the grave in our garden marked 'Bobby' which we dug up to check.

Please send £200.

Yours, Scary

PS Don't get me started on my curs-ed boots. You'll shit your pants"
The money's in the bag.

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