Understanding real-time as an orientation toward the present and its documentation as opposed to a concrete (digitally determined) technological affordance, this article locates real-time in the burgeoning photographic tabloid culture of 1930s Britain. It traces how technical innovations in information transmission and circulation during the interwar years impacted the circuits between readers and their "real life" environment. Moreover, by engaging with Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies (1930), a text strung between novel and tabloid supplement, it suggests how real-time's newly habituated, melancholic modes of reading might push individuals to stand by in the face of individual pain and mass violence.