Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hello Dolly

I’ve made no secret (despite being deeply ashamed) of my love of brightly-coloured “real life” magazines.

You know the ones. The ones with stories from grim-faced Barnsley women, documenting how they thought the convicted killer they were dating was a changed man, until he beat them senseless and set fire to the house. They have hilarious problem pages, top tips that are as baffling as they are unhelpful, and a penchant for graphic descriptions of the horror of other people’s lives. And I love them. I couldn’t really explain why – it’s sort of there-but-for-the-grace-of, car crash reading I suppose. So there you go.

A feature of a lot of these magazines (which might go some way towards illustrating their target demographic) is the adverts on the back for eerie “new-born” dolls. There’s a lot of waffle in the small print about “collectors” and “Doll Professionals” (what on earth qualifies someone to describe themselves as one of those is, thankfully, beyond me), but I can’t help but think that there’s more to it. I can only assume that these are also designed to appeal to childless spinsters living in beige eternity with elderly parents. Or people who aren’t quite brave enough to go baby shopping on their local maternity ward. Whatever. These things are seriously fucking creepy. And the accompanying copy doesn’t go any way towards dispelling the equally disturbing images of either over made-up, coiffed, middle-class sixty-somethings gathering in Argos-furnished lounges to ooh over the latest collector’s edition, or of emotionally damaged women cooing over plastic babies in gloomy, depressing bedsits the length and breadth of the country. Hang on, those are pretty much the same thing, aren’t they? Anyway:

“Grace is the very first “Early Arrivals” vinyl doll. She is amazingly true to life, from her soon-to-be-patented RealTouch™ vinyl skin to her hand–applied hair*. Once you see her, touch her, hold her and love her, you’ll be convinced she is So Truly Real”.

Brr. Not much there to suggest that this is anything apart from some pretty cynical marketing designed to appeal to women who, for whatever reason, need a doll in their life that is (apart from being cold and not um, breathing) extremely lifelike. I just don’t get it. Something like this would have me terrified that I would wake up in the night to find it perched on my chest, pulling a wire tight around my throat and hissing. Small Person has an enormous plastic doll (which she christened Big Heavy Baby, and who has subsequently come to be known as the Notorious BHB) which she once left face down in the middle of the living room floor. Before my mind could rationalise what it was seeing, it simply screeched “there’s a dead baby on the floor! A dead baby!!” and it took me twenty minutes and a chocolate digestive to recover. So anyway, I am not good with dolls. Or clowns. Or puppets. It’s just wrong.

In other news, I am packing like a woman possessed and enjoying my last Sunday listening to the neighbours bellowing death threats at each other via the medium of their kitchen window.

I’m going to sort of miss living here.

* Hand-applied hair?? That's gruesome.


Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

Remember those baby dolls with lifelike heads on floppy necks? Children used to carry them around flopping over the edges of pushchairs and shopping trolleys. They caught me out every time! horrible.
You could tape the neighbours in case you start missing them too much?

20 March, 2006 01:44  
Anonymous soph chimed in with...

i'm petrified of clowns, dolls and the like. children's parties were always a nightmare. there's just something weird about people dressing up in all those hideous colours and painting an evil grimace on their face. creepy. *shudders*

20 March, 2006 07:51  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

"Big Heavy Baby"?

Comedy genius.

20 March, 2006 08:54  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

I'm worried about where such women would display such a 'baby' anyway. On the mantelpiece? (might give the vicar a fright when he comes round to organise the next whist drive), on the dressing table next to the talc and the lavendar water?, or perhaps in a ceramic moses basket by the side of the bed?
Are these things full baby size??

20 March, 2006 09:32  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

the notorious BHB - genius

20 March, 2006 10:27  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I love the top tips. They are always so pointless... "feeling peaky? Try using your spleen".

Plus you can apparently get paid a fortune for reminding people of the obvious. Or being a total freaky lunatic.

"Dirty headlights? Wipe them with half a lemon."
Half a lemon? What's wrong with a wet cloth?

20 March, 2006 13:23  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

as far as i can make out they're full baby size. makes you wonder how many pushchairs you see on the high street have creepy little dolls in them....

oh, and ft? what's wrong with the carwash, for crying out loud?

20 March, 2006 14:40  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

*cracking up* dolly decorating is BIG here. i've been in houses where the entire front room is done in chintz, potpourri and Realdolls. hundreds of them with their evil little shoebutton eyes gleaming in the light of the television. mortuary analogies are almost irresistable.

20 March, 2006 15:21  
Blogger crisiswhatcrisis chimed in with...

I have a wooden Indonesian doll hanging by his strings from a beam in the living room. I'm completely used to him now, but what with the unnaturally floppy angle of his head friends complain that HE IS STARING AT THEM LIKE A DEAD HANGED MAN.

20 March, 2006 16:07  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

that sounds lovely. i wonder where i can get such a thing?

indonesia, probably. except it would give me the horrors so i wouldn't bother.

can you tell i've got blog access from work again? i could read all your comments but not join in. and now i'm back. woo!

20 March, 2006 16:17  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

I thank you...see, having a geek as your other half does have a few advantages.

20 March, 2006 17:14  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

Those dolls creep me out beyond measure, and I generally can SMELL the cat-infested home to which they shall inevitably be shipped.

20 March, 2006 18:35  
Blogger Inexplicable DeVice chimed in with...

I know I shouldn't but I almost laughed my ruddy head off at the “there’s a dead baby on the floor! A dead baby!!” bit.

That and it only took one chocolate digestive to calm you down.

21 March, 2006 10:49  
Blogger Jemima chimed in with...

What would be really classy is the lifelike baby image on, say, a superior quality wall mountable china-ique plate. Available in twenty three low monthly payments of £730, plus the deposit of your soul.

With cats.

21 March, 2006 18:27  

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