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The Oldie

We don't have a section for magazines, I think, but my brother-in-law has subscribed to The Oldie, a British magazine aimed at older educated peole, I think.  He has passed them on to me, and I love them.  They are full of wit, intelligence, rants, reviews, small articles etc.  The present one I am reading (December 2012) has an interview with Clive Dunn shortly before he died, then a feature about how the face is compiled - its uniqueness, its emotional abilities, its proportions and then scientific and medical information about repairing cleft lips.

That's the first ten out of 90 pages.  Other articles are Olden Life (wrestling in the past) and Modern Life (Cult Information Centre), a continuing feature (many of the features are on-going) called I Once Met - this one is about Richard Burton; a previous one was about Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) defending himself on a driving charge, fashion.  There are medical question and answers, other tiny memoirs (kids befriended by Joan Littlewood, learning the facts of life,), bits on language, on stately homes, letters to the editor, intellectual quizzes, reports on current events and little-known places, etc.

I have lent out the last one I read (January 2013) but its competition was to write a publisher's letter to the author of a famous book.  (I don't remember if it was to be a letter of rejection or not; they all were.)  The winner was to Dante, and talked of the overly violent nature of the presentation, the problem of not appealing sufficiently to female readers, being suitably succinct at times which was good wince some readers have a very short concentration span, but over-using the three sentence paragraph.  In short the book had possibilities but needed reworking.  it was wonderfully witty and snarky about modern attitudes.  

Lots of lovely old art or cartoon-style painting, which add to rather than overwhelm the publication.  Just fantastic, I think.

Do others of you read it?  The trouble is it so tempting to pick this up and it takes to read a single issue that I have to be careful or nothing else will get read!

I met it a couple of years ago and got a subscription for my husband as a birthday present. We have been firm fans since and even went to one of the Oldie lunches in London. (We has talks by Barry Crier, Charlie Mortimer and Jane Ridley). I think it is a better version of how Punch used to be. I am not a magazine fan but I read The Oldie from cover to cover. It is a kind of guilty pleasure. I love the 'tips for meanies' as I am very mean, though I prefer to call it green.

Caro, are the tips for meanies genuine ones or spoofs?  I can never take such items seriously after they were mercilessly sent up by Viz magazine;  e.g. "Instead of spending money on expensive jigsaws, why not buy frozen chips and try to reassemble them into potatoes?"

But the Oldie does sound interesting and it's something I've been meaning to explore.  I'll investigate if I can read it for free on the internet.  (You see, I don't need tips for meanies - I've plenty of my own.)

The tips for meanies are genuine but still often funny! I'm not sure if you can get it on line but you could try medical waiting rooms - that was where I saw it first!

Sorry to go off on a tangent, but Sandra's pst reminded me why I like Viz magazine. It's not recommended or anyone who objects to the scurrilous - or, indeed, to the downright obscene - but it does make me laugh. One of my favourite Top Tips: " Dutch artists: put some light in your paintings so we can see what the f**'s going on!"

Top Tips was always the best thing in Viz. Here's a personal favourite:

Drivers, save money on expensive personalised numberplates. Simply change your name to match your numberplate. - Mrs GU58NVJ, Newcastle.

Apologies for getting Ann and Caro confused.

How much does changing your name cost? - could this be false economics?

I have found the first Oldie I mentioned - must have given my friend a different one.  Its Tip for Meanies is this:  There are many virtues to supermarket shopping but buying fresh herbs is not one of them. Many Meanies flinch as they reach for the over-priced packet of dill, tarragon, coriander or what have you, knowing that the bulk of it is doomed to wither at the back of the fridge for the next couple of weeks. The remedy is simple. Chop the unused portions of parsley, sage, basil or tarragon and greeze in ice cubes filled with olive oil. This provides convenient-sized portions of flavoured oil for winter cooking. Voila!

The next month's was using shampoo for cleaning generally and fixing hinges, etc. So quite genuine.

I had the Oldie competition muddled, sorry.  It was the one to King James that mentioned being unhappy with the level of violence and an unsympathetic treatment of women, as well as suggesting the lists (too many begats and smites) should be in an attached Appendix. And they were bothered by finding similar content by one William Tyndale, and thought in the light of that, the King James might wish to find another subject.

The winning one to Mr Dante reads:
"Many thanks for your draft. A very interesting subject, playing to the reader's sense of schadenfreude and the current taste for ghoulish punishments. Travel, as ever, gives a good structure, but we wonder if a leavening of humour might widen the appeal; not all readers choose to wallow in unrelieved gloom and despair. The vogue for Misery Lit has passed.  You could, for example, add an extra character to the pairing of Protagonist and Guide; someone constantly getting into 'scrapes' and needing some inventive rescuing, perhaps, would make it more of a page-turner, as well as lightening the dialogue.
We like the short paragraphs (readers' attention spans can be very short) but could you give a little more variety? Some might argue the repetition of three-line paragraphs becomes monotonous.
Could you also reassure our legal team that you have cleared the copyright status with the Virgil estate?
I hope this helps."
Jen M

It is cheaper to change your name by Deed Poll (about 33) than to buy a personal registration number for your car (minimum 250).

I have been put off buying The Oldie as I like to think of myself as not old (enough?).  I may be misguided.  Perhaps I will bite the bullet and buy a copy.

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