Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It was twenty years ago today

Maybe not today precisely, it could be twenty years ago tomorrow, but the first issue of Quote Unquote the magazine was published in early June 1993. In order of appearance the contributors were: me, Peter Allison, Kevin Ireland, Denis Dutton, Elizabeth Smither, Bill Manhire, Louise Callan, Michael King, Nigel Cox, Keith Stewart, Denis Edwards, Tim Wilson, Barbara Anderson, Lesley Max, David McLoughlin, Brian Turner, Owen Marshall, Sue Miles, Sheridan Keith, Peter Bland, Hamish Keith, Stephanie Johnson, Steve Bohling, James Allan, Jo Harris and Chris Slane.

Of that starry, starry list, Peter Allison is the only one of us to have appeared on YouTube as a rock star, though Bill Manhire is all over it as a poet and lyricist and Peter Bland must be there somewhere, if only as the voice of the BBC on ’Allo ’Allo (not a lot of people know that).

The books reviewed were Maori: The Crisis and the Challenge by Alan Duff; Rolling Back the State by Jane Kelsey; Last Summer by Gaelyn Gordon; Land of Memories by Mark Adams and Harry Evison; The Family Man by Ian Cross; Confessions of a Wicked Stepmother by Leigh Bramwell; All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy; Becoming a Powerful Lover by Yvonne and Michael Edwards; Deep River Talk: Collected Poems by Hone Tuwhare; How to Talk by Andrew Johnston; The Idles by Damien Wilkins; and Chris Booth Sculpture by Alexa Johnston and Chris Booth.

The first subscriber was Dick Scott.

The first threat of legal action was from an art dealer unhappy with Keith Stewart’s story in that issue about the Moët et Chandon art awards. I explained the law of libel to her at some length, suggested that she talk to her lawyer who would give her exactly the same information but charge her $200 – and I heard no more, as invariably happens when people threaten legal action. I’d had seven years’ experience of this at Metro, and was mightily chuffed to get threatened with a libel writ on the first issue. Sadly, it never happened again. I guess we didn’t try hard enough.

Still, it was fun while it lasted. It was wonderful to be there, and certainly a thrill. So here is Jimi Hendrix performing “Sergeant Pepper‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in December 1967:


Mary McCallum said...

And I was a subscriber! I had young children and I LOVED it - was as excited as I was picking up my Girl Guide magazine in England from the stationery shop when I was 10. for ages I kept all issues of Quote Unquote but have been forced to relinquish most of them to clear some space. Still have a few... Bravo you Stephen for a fabulous mag.

Stephen Stratford said...

Thanks, Mary. I know what you mean about the Girl Guide magazine - that's very high praise indeed.

Keith Stewart said...

Stephen! I had no idea you were excited by Girl Guide magazines.

Stephen Stratford said...

A magazine junkie from way back.