Thursday, November 09, 2006

Salad Days

Back when I was at university...all right, sorry, back when I was in college, I became (thanks to a roommate of a friend) a big fan of Spy Magazine. (Warning: Scroll-down NSFW.) What a great publication! I must have started reading it in about 1995, and bought every issue from about a year after that. I still have them, years after I got rid of most of my other magazines. Then, in early 1998, it stopped appearing. I remember seeing the last issue, with JFK Jr. on the cover, on the stands for quite a while, as if they were waiting for the next issue, which never came. Much later, I was IMing with Mugger, of the New York Press, and thought to ask him about it. He told me that they'd stopped publishing and why- something to do with the magazine market being in a slump around then. (Interestingly, I think it's his review, for the New York Sun most likely, of a posthumous biography of John-John that I tucked into that last issue.)

Anyway, last week I saw a note in the paper that a new book, "Spy: The Funny Years", had been published, and the authors were speaking about it, unfortunately on a Friday night. Earlier this week, I was in Barnes & Noble and chanced across it- a nice big coffee-table book, 'tis being the season for coffee-table books. "The Funny Years", apparently, are 1986-1991, after which the founding editors, authors of the book, sold the magazine and, soon after, left it. There's even a spread inside the back cover showing the covers of every single issue of Spy, and there's a break at one point with an arrow indicating as "The Funny Years" all the issues before the break.

Turns out the magazine had folded and restarted just around the time I started reading it, and the subsequent issues and even many preceding (according to the authors, who, of course, are very likely biased) were nowhere near the quality of what came before. And here I thought it was among the funniest stuff I've seen! There's worlds to be discovered out there, not that I'm too interested in "The Funny Years."

The local Barnes & Noble, by the way, has finally lined up their flags the way I wanted them to, nice and symmetrical. (And no, I didn't tell them.) Good for them.

And I have my paper poppies, but no lapel to wear them in. A moment for our vets, God bless them.

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