Month: August 2009

The ghost of mayflies past

Every form of writing has its alloted lifespan. And the briefest of them all afflicts the topical joke. It suffers from three genetic weaknesses:1. Timing deficiency – a joke is only as topical as the event it refers to. 2. Funny disposition – it’s no joke if nobody’s laughing.3. Exposure – it may be current …

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How to make a magazine – Part 2

So there we were in our own little world, with two heads full of ideas and the freedom to express them in our own publication.David and I had already realised that there were more things in heaven and earth to make fun of, so a name change was in order. Coincidentally, we also discovered that …

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How to make a magazine – Part 1

Sometimes a ‘no’ can end up with a ‘yes’ you might never have imagined. Somewhere better.Years ago, I wrote an article combining modern astrology and the Tree of Life. In it, I sought to use established correspondences on the Tree as a way of re-interpreting and psychologically resolving some of the apparent conflicts. And yes, …

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Life Writing – “A miss,” bawled Wanda.

Originally offered to one of those freebie magazines, given away outside London Underground stations.Once upon a time, I received some junk mail informing me that I’d had been selected at random (subject to status) to attend an exclusive Fab Holidayhomeshare Presentation. in the Centre of London. Enticed by the embossed possibility of a £1,000 prize …

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The Business of Writing: Crossing the Line

In March last year, I crossed a line; I had a commissioned feature printed by The Guardian – Last of the Line – an intimate piece about my relationship with my late brother, David, and reflections on life without him.I’d pitched the original idea six months previously, but a combination of moving editors and the …

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Why Failure is the Writer’s Friend

I’ve had a lot of writing failures. The stories that don’t sell, the articles on perpetual circulation. The novels that amble around like docile sauropods. The topical gags and sketches that live and die without an audience. Sometimes I get despondent, more often just peeved. But part of me takes a secret delight in it. …

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