Posted by Adam Macqueen, 14th October 2011

Have spent most of this week at the V&A with my colleagues Megan Trudell, Nick Newman and Tony Rushton putting together the display for their exhibition “Private Eye: The First 50 Years”, which opens next week.

Or as Megan and I decided we preferred to refer to it, “messy play”.

We’ve been so busy it was only late this afternoon that I turned round and noticed that originals of most of the best cartoons from the last half-century had been quietly put up on the wall behind me. It’s going to look amazing.

Here’s a few sneak preview pictures.

A wall of covers: specifically, Ian Hislop’s 50 favourites (they look better with the door closed)


Me arranging the Libel showcase: that’s the final writ Robert Maxwell served on the Eye, a fortnight before his death, in the bottom of the cabinet. There’s also a cheeky selection of superinjunctions so you can play “Guess Who”…


The best of the Strips, mid-hang.


Megan tells the V&A exactly where they can shove a big banana.


Nick discovers the secret treat that awaits anyone who picks up the editor’s phone.


Ian Hislop’s desk (replica). We junked the Ian Hislop replica on the grounds she didn’t really look like him.

UPDATE: Here’s Ian giving BBC Arts editor Will “Bill Nighy in a swimming hat” Gompertz a tour of some of the exhibition, part of a veritable Private Eye-fest on the BBC website today…

Posted by Adam Macqueen, 14th October 2011

Have just watched this gushing BBC tribute to the Eye from David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Ken Clarke.

Am too depressed to get out of bed today.

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Private Eye: The Grimsby connection
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 13th October 2011

A well-deserved appreciation of the first Lord Gnome, Andrew Osmond, from the Grimsby Telegraph here.

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Abominable Radio Gnome*
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 8th October 2011

You can listen to Michael Crick’s Radio 4 documentary about the Eye’s anniversary here.

*the title of the Eye’s fifth flexidisc, given away with the mag in December 1967, fact fans

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Foot on Foot
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 7th October 2011

Here’s a review that means an awful lot to me. Paul Foot’s son Tom on the Eye’s 50th, and memories of his dad.

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Today, and tomorrow
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 7th October 2011

The Today programme played a small extract from Michael Crick’s documentary about Private Eye this morning.

You can listen to it here.

The whole programme goes out at 10.30 on Saturday morning, on BBC Radio 4.

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Private Eye editor decides to try free magazine model
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 6th October 2011

…. but for one week only, and a different mag. Ian Hislop is the guest editor of this week’s Shortlist, as thrust into your hands outside all good stations, and there’s a taster of its contents here.

Wireless, but with plugs
Posted by Adam Macqueen, 3rd October 2011

I’ll be on Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6 Music this Wednesday to talk about the book and the Eye’s 50th anniversary: listen here if you like.

On Saturday, TV’s gorgeous pouting Michael Crick will be presenting a whole documentary about Private Eye on Radio 4 at 10.30am: Lord Gnome Aged 49 and Three Quarters.

And you can still hear me giving Anne McElvoy a tour of the Eye office on Radio 3’s Night Waves if you can work out how to “download” a “podcast” from here.

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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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