The Celeb Diaries – Mark Frith

The Celeb DiariesGreat excitement in our house at the end of last week as a review copy of Mark Frith’s Celeb Diaries plopped onto the doormat.

For those of you who don’t know who Mark Frith is, he edited Heat magazine pretty much from its launch until earlier this year, when he finally left.

As such, he presided over the magazine success story of the noughties and the rise of celebrity culture.

As we have both worked on celeb magazine in our house, we were interested to read Mark Frith’s revelations and both read the book in the space of 3 days.

So what’s it like? Well, actually a little disappointing. Very near the start of the book, Frith talks about how he was inspired to write the book after reading Piers Morgan’s The Insider. You can tell that he desperately wants The Celeb Diaries to be the magazine equivalent of Morgan’s romp through the decade.

The thing is, it’s like putting a Ferrari next to a Ford Focus. Piers Morgan is, by all accounts, a loud, brash, entertaining sort of cove and his book reflects his personality perfectly. It’s fast, snappy, compelling and a generally riveting read.

In comparison to Morgan’s Ferrari, Frith’s book is plodding and unremarkable. If The Insider reflects Morgan’s personality, then sadly so does The Celeb Diaries. It’s curiously unremarkable, not particularly revealing and basically just nice – probably quite like Mark Frith and an apt description of a Ford Focus.

OK, so perhaps I’m biassed because I know a little more than the average about the way magazines work, but I never really felt as if the book revealed that much.

Mark Frith is extremely fond of telling readers that he doesn’t drink or do anything particularly rock and roll, which is all very admirable but boy does it make for a boring read.

Yes, he gives us a little bit of insider knowledge about the likes of Geri Halliwell and Jade Goody, but it all feels a little low-rent. There’s nothing amazingly revelatory, despite the promise of sensation on the cover.

Morgan, on the other hand, is happy to regale us when he gets steaming drunk and makes himself look like a complete and utter arse and it makes for joyful reading.

Mark Frith is a remarkably successful editor and made Heat a tremendous success, but on the evidence of The Celeb Diaries, I’m not convinced he’ll be able to convert that into being a successful author.


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