Sunday, June 10, 2007

If Magazine Subscribers Were Like Football Fanatics

Or, The Other, Other Contact Sport


Well, here we are again, Jerry, at the MCG, for another exciting match. This is shaping up to be an interesting season so far, don't you agree? And who have we got today?

JERRY: Yes Bob. It is. And today at the MCG, we've got two feisty visiting magazines squaring off against one another. Tory publication The Spectator, and their fierce contenders in the international magazine market, The New Statesman.

BOB: Old Tory versus new Socialist! As you can see, they've both got a huge fan base, and the crowd is going wild as we speak! But if you ask me, Jerry, I don't quite know if The Spectator have quite got it in them to bring the match to a successful conclusion tonight.

JERRY: Well, you would say that. We both know what your side is!


JERRY: But no. Look. The line up is impressive. The Statesman have Darcus Howe, strong opinion columnist. They have a strong front line of journalists and internationally syndicated columnists.

BOB: Bit impersonal.

JERRY: But effective. They get the job done. Quirky humour columns, too, by Julian Clary - although his stand in this week is Marcus Brigstock...

BOB: Exactly. Strong all round. And The Spectator... well, I'm just not convinced by this shaggy line up of old school boys and girls. I mean, what have we got? Boris Johnson. Definite star. Good leader writer. Works well with his home crowd, not so much here. Rod Liddle, obviously. We have one or two moonlighting politicians - they make good column filler, but not much by way of depth. A strong book review section in defence...

JERRY: Oh, no-one's denying that. That's always been one of their strong points.

BOB: And what else?

JERRY: The food column.

BOB: The food column. By Deborah Ross.

JERRY: Yes. Who is this Ross person, anyway?

BOB: Does restaurant reviews. Moonlight's as a film reviewer occasionally. Bit of the funny stuff, with personal observations, if you like that sort of thing.

JERRY: Yes. But they're starting! And the New Statesman has taken the initiative brilliantly with a Leading article about immigration: and it's a goal!

BOB: Brilliant! Immigration's always a strong point with them, Bob...



JERRY: Well, Bob, the fourth quarter of the game has only just started, and what an amazing match it's been!

BOB: Yes. I've got to tell you, the calibre of the games pages for both of the magazines has been outstanding. A good line up of humourous mock-essays and parody poems. Both magazines have scored well with them.

JERRY: And Boris Johnson delivered spectacularly, as he always does, with a brilliantly-written headlined article about education. The opposition could counter some of his arguments, but they just couldn't find anything to tackle his sheer rhetorical force!

BOB: Yes. He scored big with that one. But they've still got to catch up after that amazing, just amazing series of goals made in Marcus Brigstocke's whimsical look at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

JERRY: The Statesman are tossing the arguments back and forth now. O'Neill. Millard. Bray. Millard again. The back-page reviews of the Statesman are trying to get a review through, but they're just not...

BOB: Oh, look at this! Ross! Deborah Ross has got the initiative, and she's just made a wonderful series of bon mots!

JERRY: Spectacular! I've never seen a better-executed restaurant review! And it's a goooooal!!!

BOB: Wonderful, wonderful! She's certainly been a surprise, Jerry.

JERRY: A star performer of the match, that's for sure. She's been a real winner for The Spectator.

BOB: Brigstocke. Rachael Cooke. The Statesman have just got to get another article through, and then, it's going to be hard for The Spectator to come back.

JERRY: They're not getting through at the moment. That book and theatre review section is rock-solid!

BOB: Oh, look at this!

JERRY: It's Jeremy Clarke - a definite star for The Spectator with his long-running 'Low Life' column! He's just made a great play, with several sly observations, his characteristic wit...

BOB: Oh My God!

JERRY: Marvellous! After a sneaky play with a few mordant asides, he's rounded off his article with a well-timed anecdote. And it's a SPLENDID goal!

BOB: Oh My God!

JERRY: They could win this, Bob!

BOB: Well, I've known a lot of columnists, but few quite so sharp as Clark, that's true.

JERRY: Look at this. It's Howe! Darcus Howe! Leading off with an incisive column about immigration and housing. They're in it to win it, this New Statesman crowd!

BOB: Bit dull, this guy, don't you think? He could be writing this for any two-bit newspaper like...

JERRY: But he gets the job done. HE SCORES!

BOB: Coming down to the final minutes, and it's neck and neck. The Spectator need just one more to catch up. But...

JERRY: Oh! Oh! It's Charles Moore, that dishevelled old ex-Telegraph editor, with his Spectator's Notes diary!

BOB: A sharp observation! Two witty personal reminiscences! And he's through!

JERRY: The Spectator has drawn level!

BOB: Can they bring it home, Jerry?

JERRY: The Statesman! They're angry, and on the attack! Now, they don't have that backlog of cartoonists like The Spectator used to such good effect earlier, but they're retaliating with a splending mock-drama by a comic writer known as 'Red Box'!

BOB: Oh, very nice!

JERRY: Very sharp. V-ERRRRRY SHARP! And it's a goal! They're ahead again!

BOB: But look at this, Jerry!

JERRY: It's Charles Moore! Again!

BOB: It seems there's even more life in his column, and he's on the attack: just full of witty observations!

JERRY: Oh, this is neat! He's quoting a Labour minister. And he finishes it off with a superbly erudite backhanded compliment.

BOB: He says "The non-sequitur in that last sentence is breathaking." And HE SCORES!

JERRY: Marvellous! But there's only a minute left!

BOB: Can they do it? The Spectator is raring to win!

JERRY: OH MY GOD! It's Deborah Ross again! And after that superb restaurant review triple Bon Mot play, she's back - with a film review!

BOB: Marvellous! An arch reference about Keira Knightley, a sly self-revealing quip about Jonny Dep, and a brilliant disparaging nickname for his co-star, Orlando...

JERRY: ROSS is on FIRE! The Statesman just can't stop her! And that's a goal! The Spectator is ahead! AND THAT'S THE SIREN! IT'S OVER!



BOB: Oh my GOD!

JERRY: And the Tories in the crowd are just going wild!

BOB: Bit over the top for them, don't you reckon?

JERRY: Give them their moment, Bob, give them their moment...


The mean team behind Viz Comics face off against the well-trained team behind The New Yorker. Who will be the winner?


Karen said...

You just had to write it, didn't you? But capital, just capital! Do they do a WWF-style death match as an encore?

And do you have a tea aria for me?

TimT said...

Ah yes, the tea. It's been brewing for a few days now, so maybe tomorrow... (I shall have to type it up from my notebook, and go over it again to iron out the kinks.)

TimT said...

I just remembered that I haven't used the word dashed in a post yet. Dash it all!

Karen said...

Oh dear me! I didn't realise that you had written it in long hand. I just assumed that it was on your 'puter. Please do not interrupt your long weekend to type it up. I'm not such a monster that I would expect you to do that.

And I'd forgotten all about the dashed stipulation/request, so you were completely off the hook on that score.

The Polarizer said...

Looking forward to VIZ having a big win next week.

The Fat Slags are fit, Mr.Logic is in form and Sid the Sexist is confident of a big win.

But that is not why I am here....
As you know the Hobsons Bay revolution is in full swing and we are now out-sourcing some justice.
You are required to provide a 'witness' for questioning at the internets first ever VIRTUAL GULAG!

,your assistance would be appreciated. Please take note that your voluntary help is compulsory.

TimT said...

And I was so looking forward to typing up the two-part fugue...

Most of this blog comes from longhand notes. I think better in longhand. It may be force of habit, but I can't help it! This post itself... well, let's just say it was a long day today, I had an hour and a half to spend in the train and in the cafe afterwards before seeing a long film, etc, etc, etc...

Al, good to hear Mr Logic is raring up. Thank you for presenting me with that wonderful option of compulso-voluntary attendance at the Virtual Gulag. It sounds a little like mandatory voting, so of course, I'd only be too happy to participate in such an important communal and civic activity!

Karen said...

Well, do what you want, by all means! I have a tendency to write things in longhand too, although not in their absolutely complete form- more an embarrassingly scrappy form (physically scrappy too!). Do you have a special notebook or do you just opt for exercise books?

An hour and a half on the train for a movie! Which film inspired such feats?

TimT said...

No, no. I was half an hour on the train and then lurked around in the cafe for another hour.

I buy exercise books - whatever I can find, really. I was looking for a particular brand at the newsagent yesterday morning and didn't like any of them - I started saying to myself, 'No, no. That's too big. And that's too small. They've got to be thought sized.'

Karen said...

Yes, I go for the exercise books. I'm actually a hit of a (secret) diary writer, although I've had to leave off it for a while because everything has to go into the book. For the book I have absolute bundles of notebooks in special boxes and then other bundles of notebooks which are the "inventories" for the other notebooks. Surprisingly, I'm not having too much trouble finding the things I want to add in! And then I go through phases of liking loose-leaf pages, if I'm trying to fool myself that I'll just look into this thing quickly and really won't get carried away with it... Endnote has really been a godsend, since I have such terrible habits!

Suitable notebooks are indeed very difficult to come by. The really irritating one at the moment is the "You'll love Coles" brand- horrible to write on and they seem to have arranged it so that a lot of the time it's the only one available in the supermarket. I did discover a nice brand of pen the other day though.

Sorry to ramble. I'm quite obsessed with stationery- of the utilitarian kind. I've still got some old "Government of Australia" stuff my father nicked a couple of decades ago (I try to conserve it for special occasions!). Oh, and I have the most wonderful bookrest. I'd take a picture for you if I had a camera.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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