Published first in Trespass and also in Debaser Online as ‘S is for Stupid Newspaper Sections’

I’m sitting in a café sans internet connection and therefore sans any connection to my usual buffet of entertainment reporting that fuels my usual celebrity based rants. What I do have, however, is a copy of last week’s ‘S’ lift out from the Sunday paper and, to be honest, I’m fearful. ‘S’ brings out the absolute worst in me and I have deliberately avoided writing about it because I just know it will dissolve into a frenzy of vitriol and pettiness. Even more so than usual.

See, to my mind, ‘S’ represents the worst part of Sydney. The desperate-to-be-liked part, consumed by status and reputation. If Sydney were a Mean Girl, she’d be of Gretchen Weiner’s ilk – pretty and fundamentally sweet but caught up in the quest to not only be liked by the Regina Kings of the cafeteria, but to maintain the position at all costs. The desperation is palpable. You can smell it. And it makes me so sad (and, alternately, angry) because if we just stopped trying so hard to be something we’re not, we truly would be the unique city-of-the-world we keep saying we are.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s see, ‘S’. TV presenters, Australian Idol alumni, Cold Chisel and Charlotte Dawson. The usual veritable feast of home grown talent. Speaking of home-grown talent, Kate Waterhouse turns her insightful pen to an interview with two (botoxed?) club owners, both sons of the late illegal casino operator, George Freeman. On the topic of Kate Waterhouse’s insightful pen, for those who aren’t familiar with Sydney’s deep love of all things Kate, she has a natty little section in ‘S’ called Date With Kate in which she interviews personalities and/or provides publicity for whatever restaurant/wine bar ‘S’ would like its readers to think is unbelievably cool (usually in the same square kilometre of land comprising Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Sydney is a very well rounded, global city and don’t you forget it.) The interviews, just quietly, are cracking – plucking an example out of the air, ‘is it hard to get into your club?’ Mmmm. Tell me more. ‘Do shows like Underbelly glorify criminals?’ Never say Waterhouse shies away from the hard questions.

Ooh there’s Pip Edwards. Not a week goes by without Pip Edwards, Sydney’s very own style icon, appearing in the social pages. The social pages being vast spreads of people looking curiously like slightly altered versions of the person next to them. Skip through some vacuous food reporting which, once again, stretches from Kings Cross all the way to Bondi (simply no need to cover the urban sprawl of Sydney which is home to some genuine culinary delights courtesy of genuine ethnic diversity) to my favourite section of this papery treat, Urban Style.

Urban Style is where the knob in Sydney gets to shine. And shine it does. Fernando Frisoni takes to Sydney’s favourite hunting ground (all together now, from Kings Cross to Bondi) and selects his favourite fashionistas which may or may not be actual acquaintances of his masquerading as people out for a stroll on the sunny paths of the Eastern Suburbs. He then catalogues what they’re wearing and asks them things such as ‘what music are you listening to’ or, this week, ‘what’s your summer dream?’ Because I have time to kill, and because I quite enjoy this as a past-time, I’ve whipped up a couple of examples for you;

Elena Tullullah Boskovsky-Lui wears a wicker chair she found on the road in Bondi fashioned into a skirt, odd boots she pulled out of a dumpster in Kyoto and her Grandmother’s pillow case as a bandeaux. What music are you listening to? A little New York band called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (because, you know, no one has ever heard of them).

Sago Phulla-Lix wears underpants belted with twine from a café floor in Paris, a coffee cup hat from her own label Little Apple Sleep Walks and her boyfriend’s favourite tee shirt. Who is your style icon? My Grandmother, I wear all her clothes.

One more? Can I do one more?

Vera McKendricks-Lycenz wears a jumpsuit from An Egg ate my Breakfast, clown shoes from the local costume shop and a vest that belonged to her lover in Mykonos. Where do you buy your coffee? A little organic café in Surry Hills.

Some fitness chatter, a beauty story (usually on bronzer or fake tan and usually employing a pun-esque title like ‘Bronze Age’) then we get to the celebrity article (usually sycophantic, usually boring and tenuously linked to that one time the celebrity was in Sydney) and with some entertainment reviews, we’re out.

Another week, another ten minutes of my life I will never get back.