Popular Follies

Back in the 1970s, Peter Pope and I spent a lot of time writing joky stories and mind-teasers into a red notebook, dedicated to the capture of stoned babbling. Combined with Peter’s collection of strange print ephemera, a fascination with the business of cut and paste, and a desire to produce something amusing to read, this eventually resulted in a magazine (one issue only) called Popular Follies, master minded by Peter, with contributions from me and others. I’ve long been meaning to make a digital version of it available, since the hundred or so print copies produced are long since disappeared. The unexpected news of Peter’s death yesterday morning made me think this might be a commemoration he’d have appreciated, so here it is.

Front cover.
24 pages of bad vibes. The cartoon at left was Tim’s; the rest of this spread Peter confected from his archive of printed ephemera
Shave the egg and take its hair. The Kierkegaard cartoon was also Tim’s and continues over the next two pages. The photo shows me and Peter and a mirror. I wrote “Splot the Mistake”. The remaining good advice on this spread is all from Peter
Tell the folks this is the promised land calling. Peter wrote this poetic tribute to a major component of the soundtrack of life in our cottage in Stanton St John.
Eternity now! Peter performed the prophetic poem about Mechanical Animals on his battered olivetti. I don’t know where the vegetarian put-down on the right comes from.
Je suis marxiste: tendance Groucho. At one stage, we planned to call the magazine “Tendence Groucho” in homage to that celebrated slogan of 68. In the event, this spread is as close as Popular Follies gets to a political statement, On the left a nice drawing by Caroline. On the right some cheerful prose by me. And a photo of John Ruskin.
Sorry it’s not on our list of places. The picture at left is one I found in some 19th century journal, not consciously emulating Akbar Del Piombo. The collection of photos and associated text all come from Peter.
After I hadn’t known you for what seems like a long long time: this constructed history around a collection of postcards is one of the nicest things in the magazine
Kicks for you. More residue from the Red Book, a quote from Groucho Marx, more lovingly curated ephemera. Tim’s cartoon continues overleaf…
Every man his own neighbour. More found art at left; some scientific speculation at right. The running title on the right is a Firesign Theater catchphrase.
Even the worm in the stone eats herbs. I admit to responsibility both for the caption at left and the blameless sheep photo at right. Peter wrote the rest.
Hold it right there… is another quote from The Firesign Theater. My pease pudden recipe pays tribute to a Stanton St John speciality. Tim’s cartoon exhibits his superior draughtsmanship.
Fast and Bulbous .. is a quote from another favourite album: Trout Mask Replica. Peter’s take on logic problems at top right.
Pack your ermines Mary, we’re getting outta here is probably a tip of the hat to William S Burroughs. Peter and I argued interminably about the questionnaire, but I think we got it right in the end. I particularly like the last sentence of question 7. And the remarks to the typesetter at the endx.
Back cover
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