Spy: The Funny Years

Since these pages are nearly the only online repository of the Spy œuvre, a mausoleum for its esprit, you may have wondered at the absence of a review of what is a kind of “reunion” book, Spy: The Funny Years (perverse official orthography: Spy The Funny Years).

First of all, within minutes of receipt I did publish a photograph – technically substandard and nothing I was happy about, so I did a reshoot in April ’07.

I attacked the book with vim. I was placed in the position of writing the definitive review which, combined with the book’s length, made the whole task seem Sisyphean. I sat in a state of option paralysis for months.

I read the whole thing again, taking notes, just as I did with Ten Years Ago in Spy and elsewhere. Randomly:

But look, it’s pointless. The last three chapters nearly killed me. Spy all but died on the bank ledger, the founders left (individually), they sold it twice, it died and was resurrected twice, and the magazine pretty much stank during that entire period. The sales and resales and closings and reopenings were one thing and one thing only – pathetic. Seemingly everyone involved with the real Spy – the Spy of the Funny Years – went on to bigger and better things, but Spy didn’t.

And neither did I. The death throes of the magazine reminded me too much of my own career, to the extent I’ve ever had one. It reminded me I could actually have written for Spy if the idea had only occurred to me. I say again: Everyone in the inner circle got along fine. I was only a reader, and then, nearly two decades later, an obsessif (misrendered on p. 111 as “obsessive”). I’ve put an awful lot of work into things, even these pages, with less to show for it than everyone involved with Spy has.

I’m still missing several issues from 1987. And how long ago was that?

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Posted: 2007.05.03 16:36