September 2011
Sunday Times and Eye book: get a room
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 26th September 2011

Gnittie Trumpet L

“There was a time in the late 1980s when Private Eye appeared to be heading for the same rest home that was caring for Punch. A mischievous newcomer, Viz, had taken the publishing world by storm and was selling around 1m copies. And its comic energy was beginning to make the Eye look a bit middle-aged.

Yet, as the magazine prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday next month, it seems to be thriving. The Eye sells around 206,000 copies every fortnight, a higher circulation than The Independent. And Viz? It manages just under 68,000, not much more than the Shropshire Star. So what is the secret behind the institution described in this enjoyable if slightly self-congratulatory tribute as ‘Britain’s first, most successful and indeed only fortnightly satirical magazine’?”
Roland White, Sunday Times, 25th September

I’ve been congratulating myself on this review ever since.

“There’s an excellent new book out about the first 50 years of Private Eye, written by Adam Macqueen and published by Private Eye Productions Ltd. Earlier this year, Lord Gnome looked for a joint deal with some mainstream publishing companies, but they all backed out, fearing potential litigation and the cost of insurance cover. How lily-livered.”
Richard Brooks, Biteback Column, Sunday Times, 25th September

They ran some extracts from the book in their News Review, too. Those are also behind the paywall – but if you go behind this paywall and wait a couple of days for delivery you can read the whole thing…

Critical thinking
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 26th September 2011

Gnitty trumpet R

Private Eye celebrates its 50th anniversary next month with an A-Z history of itself (Private Eye: The First 50 Years) that’s tremendously interesting and might even be an Important Social Document. EJ Thribb, ‘talking about Uganda’, Dave Spart, Glenda Slag: the origins of all are explained, and the Eye’s truly poisonous streak in the late 1970s owned up to. Not everyone on the staff is a hero. There’s never a dull page.”
Ian Jack, Guardian, 24th September.

It’s not online, but the paper’s efforts to beatify the Eye’s editor on the same day are.

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Lama drama
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 23rd September 2011

My book appears to be being accused of being “dangerously respectable” in this profile of Ian Hislop, the “Dalai Lama of satire”, in the Guardian.. Which is quite a claim, for a volume that manages to spread the C-word all over pages 68 and 69…

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Move over, Andrew…
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 19th September 2011


I notice from the “Book of the Week” section in Saturday’s Times that Edwina Currie has been showering the author of Private Eye: The First 50 Years with roses in an extremely affectionate way. I wonder if you have any pictures in your archives which illustrate something similar?
yours sincerely
Ena B. Major


(It’s actually from a photoshoot for an interview I did with her for The Big Issue about ten years ago, which I’m sure she’s long since forgotten. I wasn’t very nice about her in the article. Needless to say I’ve changed my mind completely now…)

Please an ex-Sun editor and lose a Metro
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 19th September 2011

Just when everything was going so well… Kelvin Mackenzie has described the Eye staff as “the ultimate journalists.”

1 comment »
What I have mostly been looking at this weekend
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 19th September 2011

A very good piece about the 50th anniversary by Matthew Engel in Saturday’s FT.

A piece with a very nice picture of the current staff in the Sunday Times (behind a paywall).

And a stonking review of the book by Edwina Currie in the Times.

Oh, and a long-lens shot of the author’s crotch – in church – in the Independent. I’ll be talking to Richard Ingrams again this coming Saturday at the Soho Literary Festival if you fancy coming along to see us – and it – in person.

1 comment »
An Independent view (by, er, me)
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 15th September 2011

I will be issuing a full apology and taking a leave of absence for my article in this morning’s Independent in due course.

For a properly independent take on the Eye, check out Ian Burrell’s accompanying piece.

Dirty sell out
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 13th September 2011

Crikey. It’s not even published for another week!
I blame Roy Hattersley.*

In the meantime, you can still pre-order copies (for a penny cheaper!) from Waterstones.

* For those of you allergic to paywalls: the best bit of his article in this morning’s Times reads “Private Eye: the First 50 Years, an A-Z — so glossy that it dazzles the eye and packed with coloured pictures, unlike the magazine — is different from the publications that are satirised as littering the ‘lounges’ of suburbia. The beautifully written commentary, which holds the book together, contains less than complimentary stories about the men and women who made the magazine it celebrates. And the text dares to offend against even the most sacred of taboos. One entry in its alphabetical list of published features is headed: ‘Diana — Princess, death of and subsequent lunacy’.”

Cut and paste
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 12th September 2011

Someone read the Guardian article this morning and tweeted “I can remember the first issue, which looked as though it had been run up in someone’s back room.”

There’s a very good reason for it looking like that, you know:


(and yes, that is an almost obscenely young Christopher Booker on the left!)

Who guards the Grauniads?
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 12th September 2011

Nice piece about the anniversary in today’s Guardian

And here’s an article about the Eye‘s covers from the Indy two weekends ago to keep you going till the book comes out in seven days time…

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