Friday, October 30, 2009

Viz and the London Review of Books

There was a treat in yesterday's Guardian: the Diary was in the charge of a competent journalist. And Michael White had a winning lead story:

It is a national disgrace. The week may pass with scarce acknowledgment that two of the nation's cherished literary magazines are celebrating their 30th birthday within days of each other – not even a joint service at St Paul's, despite their shared interests.

The London Review of Books began as a supplement to its New York sister just as the Thatcher era was emerging. It now sells 44,000 copies among the progressive intelligentsia – the sort of people who so dislike Labour.

Founded two days earlier in Chris Donald's bedroom at the parental home in Jesmond – the progressive quarter of Newcastle – was Viz, hand-stapled and sold in pubs for 20p. It mocks politicians too. At its peak Viz sold 1.2m, but still shifts about 80,000 at a yuppie £3 a pop.

I have not missed an issue of either publication for years. They used to have something in common in that neither appeared that regularly. The LRB comes out fortnightly and in its heyday Viz appeared every two months. As Private Eye shows, if a magazine is good and does not appear too often, you look forward to each issue far more eagerly.

Mind you, the LRB isn't as funny as it used to be.


Simon Titley said...

Such is the esteem in which Viz is held that Nobby's Piles warrants its own Wikipedia page:

Simon Titley said...

You can tell the difference between the LRB and Viz by the catering establishments they respectively promote: