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Private Pop Eye:
The Life and Times of Spiggy Topes

click to enlarge

Macdonald, London, 1969
(price: 7/6)

The blurb in the front:

Introduction by Professor Hans Killer

Hello Fens!
Vot a wonderschon buch is here comink alive for all ze millionz of svingers und hippy kets vot dig ze Turds, ze popular sinkink Gruppenfuhrer.
Here for the first assembled between ze plastiches coverinks is ze treasure trove von heppy rink-a-kink cosmic experiences vich make ze Turds vat zey are today - ze Meistersingers von ze explodink galaxies whose astronomisches dotted crotchets make my old chum Adolf Schoenberg sound like ze choirboy von ze frog in ze throat.
So! Stick ze kaleidoscope in ze ear; jab ze needle in ze arm und off ve go!

Private Eye in the old days (i.e. when Richard Ingrams was still editor) had many virtues, principally the bringing together of some of the greatest satirical writers of the late-20th century. Ingrams, Auberon Waugh, John Wells, Willie Rushton, Peter Cook - that's a pretty damn good line-up. Unfortunately the magazine also had its problems, not least of them a perception in some quarters that it was shot through with hatred: hatred of women, Jews, black people, gays ... well, anyone they weren't at school with, basically.

The other major gap in the magazine was its absolute lack of interest in popular culture. This has changed since the arrival of Ian Hislop and Craig Brown, but back in the 1960s the dislike of The Beatles - and John Lennon in particular - swam resolutely against the stream. The absurd canonisation of Lennon in the mass media since his death means that being reminded of the Eye's relentless attacks on him (in his guise as Spiggy Topes, leader of The Turds) should be all the more welcome. Unfortunately it's difficult to take the piss out of something you know nothing about, so this collection of pieces from the magazine is of strictly marginal, historical interest. Probably the best bits are the reprints from Pseud's Corner featuring the likes of John Peel and his ilk.

Mind you, fans of EJ Thribb may be interested in an early free-form work in response to the arrest of Mick Jagger:

    For Mick Jagger
    Biglips is king oh yes he is the turned on king of the ectoplasmic galaxy
    Oh hipster Jesus the fuzz will try and crucify you baby yes
    But you will rise again Micky boy because you are such a biggy oh yes indeed.
    - EL Threbbit


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