‘Private Eye’ the prequel – the 1986 Special Jubilee Issue…

14 11 2011

Following my most recent post, ‘Private Eye’ – the First 50 years…  , rummaging through the study, I  unearthed, quite by chance, a long forgotten ‘collector’s item’, slipped on a shelf, wedged between a couple of books.          

Back in October 1986 I had shelled out 45 pence, but subsequently thought to save, issue 648 of ‘Private Eye’ – the Special Jubilee Issue, celebrating 25 Glorious Years. Back copies are currently available from the official ‘P.E.’ website priced £15.00 – so not a bad investment!

It was this landmark issue, with its Royal Family balcony scene, which marked the hand-over of the editorship from ‘Big Dick’ Ingrams to current incumbent Ian Hislop – then a little known 26-year-old Oxford graduate, now every bit as much a national institution as the satirical magazine itself.     

It’s always interesting to thumb through back numbers of magazines. In the case of ‘Private Eye’ it is remarkable how little it has changed over the last 25 years, nor should it. As the top-selling UK current affairs publication ,‘Eye’ readers  clearly know what they like and like what they get.

Within its pages the 25th anniversary edition of ‘Private Eye’  mocks  the following  news stories of the day, which if you are of a certain age you may, or then again may not, recall:

  • The ‘Historic Agreement’ between US film-star cowboy President ‘Ray-gun’ (Reagan) and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last President of the former USSR , depicted here with the super power leaders sharing a common, ‘It’s all your fault’ speech bubble;
  • Princess Michael (controversial Austro-Hungarian member of the British Royal Family) – dubbed ‘star writer’, and  graduate of the ‘Kent College of Advanced Plagiarism’,  following the publication of her ‘Crowned in a Far Country’, with its over-reliance on the work of other authors;
  • A first ever visit by a ruling British monarch to ‘the new China’ – an opportunity for the Queen to see how boring it is at first hand, ‘millions of boring looking Chinese people cycling to work’, ‘the Great Boring Wall of China’ and ‘the celebrated Terra Cotta Army of Bores’ etc.   
  • The launch of a new confectionary brand – ‘Kinnock’s ‘Red Roses’ ….for that special election, a  new range of super-tasty soft-centre delights…. Guaranteed free from harmful militants’;     
  • Britain’s first new ‘quality newspaper’ for 731 years – ‘The Indescribablydull’   
  • Boring ‘Dr Death’ (David Owen) and the doomed SDP (remember them?) at their heady Harrogate conference.  
  • A ‘Mills & Boon’ parody, ‘The Forbidden Reunion’  – after three years in the wilderness can ‘good looking, debonair, Cecil Parkinson’ regain the lost affections of ‘the powerful but sensitive Margaret Thatcher’ at the Bournemouth Conservative Party Conference?    
  • A cartoon referencing Edwina Currie’s attack on the dietary habits of northerners, depicts an M1 motorway sign bearing the government health warning ‘Last chance to eat Muesli before The North’;
  • In ‘The Battle for Britain’, strip cartoon, ‘Monty Stubble’ depicts ‘evil party henchman Von Tebbit‘ putting on a caring face for the ‘Nurenbürbnouth’ mass rally while elsewhere ‘Taffy’s Marauders’ prepare for the (pre  1987 General Election) Big Push;         

And finally,

  • ‘The Letter They Couldn’t Ban’ – a ‘shock letter from our man in Saudi Arabia, Sir James Craig-Gussett,…that rocked relationships between Britain and the Arab world to their foundations’.

Despite a High Court injunction, ‘Private Eye’ dared to print it, but with the following reminder to readers:

‘…it is illegal to read the above letter and indeed this warning. Anyone caught doing so will have their hand cut off.

By order, Sir Michael   Haven’thadmuchluckstoppingthislettersofar’  

And really finally, another useless collectible I turned up , nothing to do with ‘Private Eye’ but with a Gorbachev connection:

The USSR is no more, while ‘Gorby’ the soviet power broker, who brought ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ to the dictionary of world politics, is a marginalised and largely forgotten figure.

Last orders were called on the Mansfield Brewery  in 2002, after a 1999 takeover by ‘Marston’s’, who still brew ‘Mansfield Bitter’ (at the Wolverhampton & Dudley Brewery) –  but  it don’t taste ‘owt like it did when I were a lad!





One response

16 11 2011

I was really saddened to be reminded about the demise of yet another brewery!

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