Saturday, 1 March 2008

The 'Tragic Life Stories' Industry

One of the biggest growth areas in literature in the past few years has been the 'tragic life story' genre. I went into WH Smiths recently and saw in front of me an entire row of shelves devoted to such books. What struck me most was the similarity in the cover designs, as if the public outpouring of some awful experience now has a distinct brand image. They tend to have a white cover and the picture of a crying child on the front. All kinds of tragic experiences were represented, from cancer through to childhood neglect.
While one can understand how the bearing of ones miserable experiences in print can have a cathartic benefit for the author, and this is hardly something to criticise, the mind boggles as to what kind of voyeristic pleasure the readers of such books get from it. Has our society become so self-indulgent that we can spend all our free time wallowing in someone else's awful experiences?
The WWII generation had more than there fair share of grief but they just got on with it.


Anonymous said...

I heard a tragic story once. A friend of some bloke or something went to a shop in the hope of buying some tinned stewing steak. But when he got there they did not have the brand of stewing steak he wanted and so he had to buy another type of stewing steak. When he cooked it for his tea he did not enjoy it so much as a result.

If you lived in Pigeon Street,
Here are the people you could meet,
Here are the people who would say
Hello, Goodbye, Hello, Goodbye
Every day

If you lived in Pigeon Street,
Here are the people you could meet,
Here are the people who would share
the sights, the sounds, the air
Where pigeons beat their wings, wings beat.
Pigeons beat their wings, wings beat
to meet in Pigeon Street

Youth of Australia said...

SHUT IT! The pigeon street stuff was crap in the old blog and it's crap now!

Anonymous said...

YOA. YOA. Calm down fella. You normally find my stuff very funny..........ok I'll stop the pigeon crap.

Anonymous said...

But it is okay for you to write out the lyrics for Ghost Town by the specials for no apparent reason. Leave Pigeon street bloke alone.