Back in the early days of the last century there was a magazine called Dublin Opinion.
It was what is known as a satirical magazine. Satire in those days seems to have consisted of large cartoons featuring a stout ugly person (England) and a spry, intelligent-looking individual (Ireland).
The wording under the cartoon (speech balloons not having been invented yet, possibly because they hadn’t discovered helium) would say something like:
England: Here, this Home Rule Bill will deafen your scurrilous ears.
Ireland: Prithee no, this Bill will echo in ears all across your perfidious empire (collapse of stout party).
The people of the time obviously had a very subtle sense of humour. Or were mental.
The magazine died out in the 1960s, possibly in a fit of laughter, and the only reason I mention it today is because it was re-vamped in 1987. There were only about a dozen issues, it was during a recession and the wrong time to be trying to sell advertising space, but it was the reason why I had to add “actually that’s not strictly true” to my statement in last Sunday’s post that I’ve never made a halfpenny from writing.
I had articles published in some of those issues, and I got paid for them.
I find now that I can’t remember what most of them were about. It was a satirical magazine, like its forefather, so most of them poked fun at the politics of the time. I know one was about the UK Labour Government’s plans to privatise Princess Diana, the others seem to have been even less memorable than that.
I did manage to publish one actual story, in the very last issue. After Marvel Comics readers voted that Robin should be killed off “because he was a twerp” I wrote a story about a group called the Sidekicks’ Union, and over twenty years later, after Disneycorp took over Marvel, I used what I could remember of it as a starting point for this story.
So I have in fact been both a paid (about three hundred quid in total) and published writer, though so long ago that I had genuinely forgotten the fact when I wrote that I haven’t.
I didn’t exactly make enough money from Dublin Opinion to keep me in Ferraro Rocher and ambassadors’ residences for the rest of my life, but I’m still glad the magazine ran. On the cover of their second issue they listed some of their contributors (under the heading “you’ll laugh at their best efforts”), and my name was among them. 1987 was the year my mum died, she was in hospital when that issue came out, and I still remember the smile on her face when I showed it to her.
I will be grateful to them forever.