Finally my name appears in Private Eye… although sadly not in Pseuds’ Corner (or, alas, Me and My Spoon). I’ve been sending hysterical stuff to the magazine for years without ever seeing it appear (they must simply run out of space really quickly!) but the current issue’s Luvvies column has this great quote I saw on (grr, Murdoch-owned) MSN.com from American Idol personage Paula Abdul: “I have never missed a live show,” Abdul notes. “Even when I had surgery on my hand (for an infection caused by a botched manicure in 2004), I left my hospital bed to go to the show.” What a trooper! And I’m £10 richer to boot – cheers Paula!
This reminds me of an incident a few years ago (before I started blogging, in fact). I was on the tube one time and saw a rude, but very funny, poem about Richard Branson that someone had graffiti’d on a Virgin advert. Thinking that this would appeal to the Branson-baiting Eye, I scribbled it down and sent it in, intending it for their letters page. To my surprise and delight it turned up in the next issue – but on the news pages, and without my name anywhere on it. Feeling this a tad unfair, I wrote in to request that they either (a) print a note to the effect that the story came from me personally, (b) pay me the going rate as a freelance journalist, or (c) give me a job. I even included my CV. A little while later I received a cheque in the post for about £40 – evidently union rates for such a contribution. I was of course disappointed that they hadn’t gone for the “gissajob” option, although the Eye being something of an old boys’ club, in seriousness there was no chance of this. My name still didn’t appear anywhere in the mag but I was quite happy with my money, thankyouverymuch. (Since then, when something I’ve sent in doesn’t appear, it often makes me wonder whether it’s because they remember this incident and are trying to claw back their £40 through not printing my hilarious stuff… I can’t decide whether this is vanity or simple paranoia.)
The other funny thing about getting the Luvvies item in print is that the £10 cheque came with a compliments’ slip saying “Please bank this cheque within 1 month” – curmudgeonly or what?! Actually I know they are a grumpy bunch, because on one occasion years ago when I submitted something hysterical by post I received it back a week later with an almost identical comps slip, this one saying simply: “Sorry, no thanks.” Fantastic 🙂