Thursday, October 24, 2013

Russell Brand to edit the New Statesman

You may have seen the embarrassing interview with Brand on yesterday's Newsnight.

The New Statesman's decision to ask him to guest edit an issue reminds me of this column I wrote for its website in the magazine's glory years:
I liked the Statesman in the 1970s. Under Anthony Howard’s editorship, the back half was written by the hip young gunslingers of the day: Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens and Julian Barnes. Those in the know called them “The Hitch”. “Mart” and “Julian Barnes”. 
Further forward it was all politics. They even printed the leading article on the front cover, which made the magazine appear wonderfully serious. 
Today, after 30 years of educational advance, the Statesman has to put a colour picture on the front or it wouldn‘t sell at all. 
And if you open it today you find that every comedian in the country has a column. And Julian Clary has a big one. 
It wasn’t like that in the seventies. The contents page didn‘t read: 
Freddie "Parrot-Face" Davies on the future of the Common Market; Dickie Henderson on the Palestine Question 
And coming next week: 
Mike and Bernie Winters debate the Bullock Report on Industrial Democracy.

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