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I took the plunge. It is all COVID’s fault. Usually at the hairdresser I delight in reading their latest celebrity magazines which I do not want to be seen buying in public. The word “reading” is misleading: I look at the photos of celebrities who are unknown to me but it allows my brain to go down a notch. It is the same as watching something pointless on the telly after a long day’s slog at the home-office. That would be something between Botched and the weather report.

A COVID-busting rule at hairdressers is no client magazines. Either you can stare at your masked face in the mirror for the duration of the visit, remember to take a book with you to read or pretend to be very busy on your mobile. My first hairdresser appointment in 5 months was bizarre: wearing a mask and trying not to get hair dye on it, trying to have my hair rinsed without losing the face mask and having my hair trimmed without getting the face mask straps trimmed. I still have no idea what the hairdresser was saying to me through his visor and mask. For all I know, he could have been saying there is no hope left for my two-tone blonde-brown hair, best we chop the lot off. Thankfully that did not happen but there was plenty fuss over the two-tones (I think).


It was not the water in a plastic cup that I was given in place of a cup of tea (and I am still wondering how one drinks through a mask) but it was the lack of senseless minimal wording magazines that I missed the most. The solution for me was to start buying these magazines undercover and with that, I ventured into the world of the Hello! weekly magazine where unlike other celebrity magazines, not a cross word is said about anyone. It is all photos, dressed-up fancy people posing on gilded sofas and watching horses in their preened estate meadows. You will not find an advert in the Hello! for dishwashing soap, constipation cures or Primark. This is a world of “positive reporting”, glossy bliss, perfection and champagne.


When the weekend comes around, and if I do not have a gripping book that defies the rules of no reading during brain downtime, I look forward to my magazine being delivered with the weekly groceries all the way up to our floor in the small block of flats where we now live. Saturday morning coffee, with the Hello! is now my hibernation (which could be self-isolation by another name) together with 12 million other readers but I do skip over the endless baby blah blah or toddlers with flower headbands.

COVID has had some strange results. Hello! is mine (let’s not mention discovering Naked Attraction on the telly which cannot be watched while eating supper).