Editor-At-Large: Dear diary - how to get famous in 15 minutes

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The Independent Online

Of course, I kept a diary as a teenager - two, in fact: one in code for personal consumption, which was hidden under a piece of wood at the back of the airing cupboard, and a more anodyne version for my mother's prying eyes, stashed under my mattress. Bridget Jones is a highly successful format. It's sold millions of books and been turned into two movies. Some would say the cinematic Bridget is hardly a role model for contemporary women, desperate for Mr Right and orgasmic when Mr Wrong mends her blender. And the media hoo-ha about Renée Zellweger's weight gain to portray an "ordinary" singleton - when the "fat" Renée was actually thinner than most British twentysomethings - was just astonishing.

Bridget Jones is a carefully crafted satire, but what are we to make of the newest diarist of all - Lulu? I have been following Lulu's Flora pro-activ three-week challenge diary, in ads and on the internet, in which the singer's battle to lower her chloresterol level via branded milk drinks and yoghurt is carefully detailed. Lulu also casually mentions her new album, her tour and her promotional schedule, which must also include being paid a shedload of money to flog us Flora in the guise of a diary.

Possibly the most entertaining and unlikely of the new breed of diarist is the Queen of Brit Art, Tracey Emin, who has been writing a column about her daily life for Independent readers on Fridays. Ms Emin is an embarrassment-free zone, and so no detail is unrecorded, from waking up drunk on the stone floor of her kitchen to detailing how many minutes, hours and days it is since she last had sex. And, by the way, she doesn't masturbate, just in case you were wondering. Mostly Tracey wakes up wishing she had a boyfriend or a baby - either will do. Her ex-boyfriend Matt features regularly - his new girlfriend must love that - and then there are all Tracey's famous friends. Even I got a mention once, as Janet the pet-hater. Tracey's biggest friend is her dreary cat Docket - she's even sent me phone texts about this creature. The last time I saw Trace she communicated mostly in miaows, and fellow-drinkers in the bar (Ronnie Wood and his wonderful wife, Jo, included) gaped open-mouthed. Clearly we were in the presence of a fully-formed nutter.

But I must stop carping, because writing a diary, as Lulu, Bridget, Tracey and all you bloggers out there have proved, is the instant way to fame and fortune. I've decided to start mine here, and may even continue it on my website, janetstreetporter.com, if the demand is there.

Day One. Woke up, can't remember when I last had sex, it could have been yesterday. Brushed my teeth. No dogs to walk, cats to feed, hoorah! Used the time saved to eat bacon sandwich. Pork pie for lunch. No yoga session with Bridget (who is also Lulu's yoga teacher) because I gave up yoga a year ago. Time saved spent texting friend Neil number of units drunk yesterday.

Day Two. Spent ages trying to make new mouse on my computer work. Haven't got new album out because can't sing, so celebrated by eating ham sandwich. Filmed TV documentary about an ugly building in Bournemouth. Taxi driver tells me he had a real celebrity in his cab once: Paul Newman. Still gave him tip.

Day Three. Don't have studio or assistants like Tracey, so send a few texts to friends pretending to be really busy with TV work. Eat chicken pie and examine my cellulite. As only going on holiday with one friend - who is gay - it doesn't matter. That's saved a whole heap of money on beauty treatments, so celebrate with cheese on a crumpet.

Day Four. Time saved because I don't meditate every morning is spent deleting emails from people I don't know. Reject TV proposal for series that wants to turn me into a man. Drive into Pateley Bridge and buy some bacon. Village cricket match in full swing.

I know that we are in the throes of a bombing campaign by terrorists. There's a huge debate in progress about the merits of multiculturalism, and what constitutes being British. Then there's the starving people of Niger and the tornado that hit Birmingham. But in the tiny, inward-looking world of the contemporary diarist, what really matters is the size of your thighs, a bit of slurpy sex, and throwing up after too much champagne.

Addicted to lists

We've become curiously addicted to lists. I blame the BBC, because they are so seduced by the concept of ranking everything, from inventions to poems to buildings, and then getting viewers to phone and email votes in some spurious competition, that they've devoted hours of programming to it. Last week the Today programme asked us to vote for Britain's best painting - a completely threadbare idea if ever I heard of one. How do you judge a Gainsborough against a Freud, a Bacon against Gary Hume? Not to be outdone on the banality front, Uncut magazine asked "experts", ie musicians, actors and producers, to come up with the top 100 "Cultural Moments" that have changed their lives in the last 50 years. At No 1 was Bob Dylan, singing "Like a Rolling Stone" - not Wagner, Mozart, Bach or Berlioz. In fact, classical composers didn't get a look-in in this list of seminal music, television and film. Taxi Driver is ranked at No 8, but where are the films of Jean-Luc Godard or Ingmar Bergman? No - triviality is the hallmark of a list.

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Finally, the National Trust asks us to choose our favourite stretch of coastline from a shortlist of 25, with the "winner" announced at their annual general meeting in November. Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland vs the White Cliffs of Dover. But why oh why? By constantly reducing life and all our experiences to a series of rankings, are we not making the same mistake as our modern diarists? Where is the pleasure you derive from discovering the unexpected all for yourself? It seems these days as if less and less means more and more.