Private Eye cover art

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Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:26 am

A selection of trademark "Word Balloon" covers of the fortnightly UK satirical magazine Private Eye. The Eye's former proprietor was the late English satirist Peter Cook (see "Peter Cook & Company" thread in the Theatre/Performance section):

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:28 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:31 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:34 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:36 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:39 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:45 am

This one is for Tats. The Hamiltons were a vampiric pair of Tory politicians kicked out of office by the electorate by independent candidate Martin Bell in the 1997 UK General Election:


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:47 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:48 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:50 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:53 am

This one is for Pinz:

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:54 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:57 am

This one is for Twoody:

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:59 am

...and this one:

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:05 am

This one's a reference to the appearance of Respect party politician George Galloway on the 'reality TV' Big Brother show in which he pretended to be a pussy cat:

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:07 am


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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:11 am

The Queen meets her former Prime Ministers:

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:33 am

Satire, libel and investigative journalism: 50 years of Private Eye
Yahoo! News

By Adam Parris-Long


Private Eye's take on the closure of the News of the World.

Satirical magazine ‘Private Eye’ celebrated 50 years in print on Tuesday, having published 1,300 issues of biting commentary on the news, investigative journalism and jokes.

First published in 1961, the title rose to become Britain’s best selling news and current affairs magazine through a mix of serious investigation and irreverent humour.

It came from humble beginnings having been an expansion of Shrewsbury School magazine, ‘The Salopian’- a title fronted by Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton, Christopher Booker and Paul Foot in the mid-1950s.

Joined by Peter Usborne and Andrew Osmond (among others) the group launched the very first issue on 25 October 1961, an effort first funded by Osmond. The result was a rudimentary yellow magazine, unrecognizable from ‘Private Eye today’.

Although Willie Rushton expected the title to last about four months before they would all move on, it was a success and became renowned for its investigative journalism fronted by Paul Foot.

“I always remember Paul Foot saying to me years ago that he was fine with the fact that people bought ‘Private Eye’ for the jokes, they left it by the loo and two weeks later they’d be leafing through the stuff they haven’t read,” Adam Macqueen, ‘Private Eye’ journalist and author of ‘Private Eye: the first 50 years’, told Yahoo! News. “That is when they would get to his [Foot’s] stuff and they would [get] cross about it and take it seriously.”

Foot’s involvement in investigations made ‘Private Eye’ a distinguished story-breaker – though that courted a number of legal proceedings during the 1970s and 1980s. ‘Private Eye’ has attracted a number of libel lawsuits, most notably with tycoon and publisher James Goldsmith who attempted to bankrupt the magazine in a criminal libel suit. Claiming that ‘Private Eye’ had said he sheltered Lord Lucan [who vanished after the death of his family nanny, Sandra Rivett], the tycoon eventually came to a settlement with the title.

‘Private Eye’ was also forced to make a £60,000 payout to the wife of “Yorkshire Ripper” Peter Sutcliffe in 1989, after claiming that she had negotiated with press to profit from the attention she had attracted. The High Court initially awarded Sonia Sutcliffe £600,000 in damages, a British libel record until it was reduced tenfold on appeal. “If that’s justice, then I’m a banana,” editor Ian Hislop famously said.


Ian Hislop pictured at the Private Eye offices in 1989.

“It is a surprise that it [Private Eye] made it through early uncertainty and really big court cases in the earlier years,” Macqueen told Yahoo! News. “It is not recklessness, Ian [Hislop] will always print stories as long as he thinks they are true and he has got evidence – he doesn’t require as much evidence as legal teams on newspapers but that is because most are terrified of a writ.” Hislop became the most sued man in English legal history, a feat listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Central to the magazine’s success over the last 50 years has been the popularity and social impact the title has enjoyed.

“’Private Eye’ and other things have completely changed the way we look at politicians, the royal family and all of our elected leaders,” Macqueen said. “It was the end of the deferent post-war period that ‘Private Eye’ arrived in.“Even if you go back 30 years you have got people getting outraged at ‘Spitting Image’ dolls of the Queen Mother, it is amazing how much social attitudes have changed and what people are willing to accept and find funny. It has made people more questioning and less willing to accept the official version of things.”

Macqueen believes that the magazine’s reputation for investigative journalism is safe even after the death of Paul Foot in 2004. Richard Brooks, a former tax inspector hired by Foot, has broken a number of stories that Macqueen says are “not sexy but are big news…mostly about taxpayers money being wasted on things”. Brooks is one of a “really solid group of investigative people working behind the scenes, continuing to break stories”, Macqueen explained.

‘Private Eye’ hit its best sales figures since 1992 in the second half of last year, with an average 210,218 copies sold per issue. Amid a new age of political scandal and sleaze, the first 50 years are just the beginning.

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Re: Private Eye cover art

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:22 am

Private Eye: The First 50 Years by Adam Macqueen - review

It may not be perfect, but Lord Gnome's organ is still worth celebrating

Will Self
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 9 November 2011 09.00 GMT


Eye-types: three of the magazine's founders, Christopher Booker, Richard Ingrams and Willie Rushton, in 1962. Photograph: Jane Bown

Having read Adam Macqueen's commendably exhaustive encyclopaedia of Private Eye, the British satirical fortnightly, I now feel I know rather more about Lord Gnome's organ than I wish to. Still, this could be because I knew a fair bit about it to begin with, and Macqueen's book has only filled in the blanks. I've been with the Eye for nearly four of its five decades – I remember cutting out and pasting a cartoon clipped from its pages on to a school exercise book in 1972, when I was 12. As I recall it depicted Lord Longford – known for, among other things, his zealous campaign against pornography – walking past a couple of sniggering schoolboys, one of whom is whispering to the other, apropos of the bare-domed peer: "They say it makes you go bald." Needless to say, my teacher took a dim view of this decal, the creator of which I'm ashamed to say I can't remember, although it may have been the incomparable McLachlan, just one of the many great cartoonists to have found a home at the Eye over the years.


Private Eye: The First 50 Years – an A-Z
by Adam Macqueen

My pedagogues at secondary school also took a dim view of the Eye-inspired satire rag I photocopied and distributed, and which was named – in an homage to Dave Spart, their parody Trotskyite columnist – "The Alternative Voice". I don't think I got that close to being expelled for my shameless guying of teachers, revelations of their eccentricities and outright malfeasance, but it was made fairly clear that things would go badly for me if I didn't desist. What I'm trying to say is that the Eye and I have form, and when I grew big enough not simply to be a reader and emulator but also a target of its pasquinades, I confess I felt nothing but – as the late, lamented Peter Cook, the organ's one-time proprietor, would've put it, in character as Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling – "stupefying pride". I have never, ever considered cancelling my subscription – to do so would be beyond infra dig.

To respond to a guying from the Eye is, as anyone in British public life should know, a very stupid thing to do, calling forth the well-attested-to "Curse of Gnome". Recipients of this inky-black spot include stellar egotists such as Piers Moron and Andrew "Brillo Pad" Neill (a deliberate misspelling of both their last names is rigorously enforced Eye house style); rampaging financiers such as the late Sir "Jams" Goldsmith and "Tiny" Rowland; press barons such as the Dirty Digger and the late "Cap'n Bob" Maxwell. Indeed, of the latter – who tried to snow the peskily truth-seeking Eye under with a blizzard of litigation during the early 90s, as his publishing empire sank into the murky waters of its own gross turpitude – it might almost be said that Lord Gnome stood behind him on the deck of his yacht and gave him a hefty shove. (That's enough Curse of Gnome, Ed.)

I make no apology for lacing this review with some of the in-jokes that Private Eye has established as its stock-in-trade during the past half-century. Frankly, if you're interested in the evolution of British politics and society and haven't at least a nodding acquaintance with the City commentary of "Slicker", the poetical works of EJ Thribb (aged 17-and-a-half), the agricultural updates of "Muckspreader", the architectural ones of "Piloti", the investigative journalism of the late Paul Foot – and the very much current Francis Wheen – and the parodies by Craig Brown, then you've no real business being here at all. Private Eye is, quite simply, as integral to British public life as the Times used to be – and this parallel is deeply instructive.

Founded in 1961 by a cabal of ex-public school boys – Christopher Booker, Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton and Peter Usborne, who did their own mini-satire rags at Shrewsbury then Oxford before linking up with the nascent "satire boom" centred on Peter Cook's Soho Establishment Club – Private Eye has always had a deeply equivocal attitude towards the higher-ups it attempts to drag down. Macqueen quotes Ingrams quoting his own hero, William Cobbett, to explain the Eye's terms of engagement: "When [a man] once comes forward as a candidate for public admiration, esteem or compassion for his opinions, his principles, his motives, every act of his life, public or private, becomes the fair subject of public discussion." It's a purist satirical modus operandi, more pithily encapsulated by Ingrams as "get the shits".

But what it isn't, of course, is necessarily anti-establishment. On the contrary, with his brown corduroys and his general air of tweed-on-the-brain, Ingrams, who presided over the Eye for roughly half of its half-century, would seem the very epitome of a certain kind of English gentleman. His friend – and one-time "young fogey" – AN Wilson describes Ingrams as "deeply solipsistic", and having met him on a few occasions I can testify to his almost pathological reticence; but while he's inclined to style himself as an anarchist, what I suspect has always animated Ingrams is a desire not to destroy the state but purify it. And what infuriates him is not the exercise of power per se – let alone the existence of hierarchies and their ideologies of tradition – but the abuse of that power. He, like his successor Ian Hislop (also ex-public school and Oxford), is a regular Anglican communicant.

The Eye has thus always been a fairly broad church in terms of its political spectrum, stretching all the way from Foot's revolutionary socialism to Christopher Booker's flat-earth conservatism. But what all Eye-types evince – and Macqueen, who works there, is no exception – is a love of their own clique. Ingrams conceived of the Eye as "journalism done by a gang of friends", and since those friends shared the prejudices of their class-of-origin they were writ large over the years. Perhaps the most egregious example of this was the late Auberon Waugh. Defenders of his rather vicious attacks always pointed to their fantastical contextualisation as if this rendered them inert, but while personally Bron – as he was known – would never have been as crass as he was in print (and he did have redeeming features, including tireless campaigning for the victims of the Biafran war), he nonetheless exhibited all the de-haut-en-bas of his fictive alter-ego. I always suspected – and I knew him slightly – that his ill-repressed rage was actually a function of his status as the epigone's epigone. After all, it can never have been easy stepping into his father's shoes, Evelyn having been an incomparably greater misogynist, antisemite and homophobe.

To be fair to Hislop, in recent years the Eye has mostly been purged of its bigotry, while its record of speaking truth to power remains intact. To look back over the catalogue of its stories, from the Profumo scandal, to Deepcut, from T Dan Smith to Trafigura, is to turn back the pages of a book of wholly honourable revelation. That Private Eye shares many of the characteristics of the establishment it lampoons – male and Oxbridge-dominated – is perhaps inevitable, such is the way of a body politic that renews itself organically rather than through the violent purgation of regime change. However, there are signs that the Eye is in danger of becoming a less bilious organ and lapsing into the condition of an inert growth.

Hislop himself is a distinctly cosy figure, what with his heart-warming TV doccos and long-term residency at Have I Got News for You. He is also, I suspect, a fairly wealthy man, and while this in and of itself shouldn't put him in danger of full co-option as National Treasure, it puts him on the at-risk list. Then there are those in-jokes, which may have entered the lingua-franca of pol' speak in the Westminster village – and the wider world – but precisely because of that now seem like so much arcana. The joke-writing team at the Eye still defers to the arch-Oldies, while even Hislop and his writing partner Nick Newman have been at it for over a quarter-century. I seldom bother with the humorous pages of the Eye any more – nothing is that funny even twice, let alone 1,250 times.

But when all is said and done, while Private Eye may not be perfect, it's the only Private Eye we have, and for its unrivalled contribution to keeping the nation's candidates for public admiration on their toes, we should remain very grateful indeed.

• Will Self's Walking to Hollywood is published by Bloomsbury.

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