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Melvyn Bragg on Love Island, Gemma Collins' book and the bath puff fascinator

So reader - the question to chew over as you peruse this reporter's latest scrawl is, in 2018, is Britain still a country of cumbersome, yet endearing, oddballs, or have we simply declined into thoughtless stupidity? Let's see...

Melvyn Bragg appears to think the latter. The broadcaster and Labour peer, in an interview for the Radio Times, said Britain is becoming a stupid country (you see) except for 'certain highlights'. He blamed much of this decline on the country's university system, which he said, despite being the best in the world, was being slowly and carelessly destroyed.

Mr Bragg also referenced Britain's television output, saying he saw some hope in the work of actors Hugh Grant and Benedict Cumberbatch in 'A Very English Scandal' and 'Patrick Melrose' respectively, but he feared 'Love Island' was a dismal sign of the times - but curiously, did not rule out watching it.

He said: "The popularity of series like Love Island show that we're becoming increasingly eccentric and increasingly incompetent - in equal measure. I haven't watched yet, but I will. I always like to watch things that are very popular. Maybe I'll get addicted."

This leads us nicely to the talk of the internet today - the 'interview' with TOWIE star Gemma Collins in the latest edition of Now Magazine. Ms Collins had been scheduled into the Now interviewing diary to talk about her book "The GC: How To Be a Diva" but things swiftly took a nosedive when it emerged the interviewer had not read it.

Usually at this point you would either expect the interview to be binned off as a missed opportunity or for the journalist to scratch around and try and save the situation with a hefty amount of editing later on. Not Now magazine who decided to print the exchange between interviewer and Ms Collins verbatim, as Ms Collins became increasingly incensed about the fact the magazine was not even in possession of her book, never mind having read it.

The book, as Ms Collins did manage to inform us at some point midway through the excruciatingly embarrassing yet mirthful exchange, was inspired by Kim Kardashian's book of quotes "Kim's Pocket Wisdom".

But there's more. Ms Collins has since appeared on Loose Women where she let slip that Gemma Collins may not have read Gemma Collin's book (or indeed written it). She said, with no evident sense of shame, that she had not actually sat there and written her book but instead "someone followed her round with a dictaphone and she talked into one". By which this reporter is very sure she believes she literally talked her book into creation, in manner of God creating the world in Genesis.

Finally, we move from Now magazine to Take A Break and the story, which has equally been doing the rounds on Twitter, of Lillian Smith who attended a wedding with a bath puff in her hair instead of a fascinator.

Featuring in the magazine's regular "Top Tips" section, Ms Smith from Preston, recounts how she experienced a fruitless search for the perfect fascinator in the desired shade of blue to match her outfit and, bowled over by a flash of inspiration, she got back up again and attached a bath puff to her head with a hair clip and declared it was perfect.

Fascinators are teeny tiny hats usually attached to the head by some kind of alice band and were mighty popular in the 1990s, with even top milliners Philip Treacy and Isabella Blow churning them out for high flying occasions. But according to Ms Smith we can say ta ta to that, as she suggests we all opt for a bath puff in an appropriate colour instead. You can buy one here.

Well, what conclusions can we draw from all that then? Are we still basking in a period of harmless eccentricity or have we let our brains be filled up with so much tripe, that in actual fact we've all lost the plot? This reporter will let you decide? She has absolutely...

nothing...

to...

say...

on the matter...

except...

TRIPE, TRIPE, TRIPE (apart the bath puff - that may be genius).





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