Yes, I know it’s February, but everyone knows that the year only starts in February, just like the week begins on Tuesday and ends on Thursday.
Looking back on 2011 gives me whiplash, because so much happened. They say the past is another country, well last year seems like Libya, lots of running around, celebratory shooting at clouds and wandering around a big house wondering what to do with it.
Anyway, I’ll tell you all about that later. Let’s start with something easy. One of the defining things for me in 2011 was helping to celebrate Private Eye’s 50th birthday as a staff gag writer.
This is us signing copies of the annual in ‘Selfridges’. That’s me (far left) with Adam McQueen, author of the excellent ’50 Years book’, editor Ian Hislop, and my writing partner Tom Jamieson. Don’t be scared. We were asked to look moody, and this is what we managed.
A triple celebration, because not only has the Eye an illustrious history, it also has a fantastic present and a rosy future. Sales are through the roof; despite the Editor wisely refraining from chucking content on the web. The fact I’m telling you this while chucking some of my content on the web illustrates what a rich and paradoxical life mine is.
In these days of blogs, facebookings, and tweets, it’s wonderful to see an ink-stained satirical rag flying off the shelves of W.H.Smith, and not in a ‘you-can’t-make-jokes-about-Princess-Diana’ kind of way. Now that print journalism is staggering around clutching its chest, and internet journalism is whistling in the dark, hoping that the last person who updated that Wikipedia entry is less ignorant than they are, the Eye is increasingly the go-to place for news. It’s an odd position for the Eye, with an obvious ‘fuck-the-lot-of-them’ agenda, but like ‘The Daily Show’ in America, people flock to the nihilistic and the satirical, because they are the ones that are not self-censoring themselves.
Everyone from Fox News up has an agenda, and now thanks to c-span, youtube and just people talking around their big media heads, everyone knows it. Even the good old BBC, that bastion of things having bastions, tiptoes around ballooning corporate pay and pensions black holes, hoping that chortle-themed pieces like ‘do you remember BBC TV Centre? What a strange place that was, full of tapdancing toddlers and Elephant shit’ is a substitute for genuine reporting about itself.
If something breaks like Hacking, or the latest Paparazzi atrocity, all the news outlets rush to tell you their side of the story, like a kid rushing in to explain why his sister is bawling her eyes out clutching a decapitated Barbie. Readers and viewers who happily consume the news, bias and all, about asylum seekers, fat cats, scrounging cripples and gypsies, KNOW they’re being half-lied to every single day, and for the most part they’re happy about that. But the minute something important happens which is ABOUT THE MEDIA, they pick up a copy of Eye, just to see the naughty things their own newspaper has done in their name. Good news for this wonderful magazine that I work for, less good news for news, I suppose.
Anyway, here’s me chuntering on.