Private Eye, 23 Oct 1992

Certainty level: 25%

I'm not really sure whether this cover was intended to get at me, or whether it was re-interpreted after publication to be about me. This issue of Private Eye came out in October 1992, by which time I had been under severe continuous pressure at work and from the general population in Oxford for many months. It had John Major saying to his wife, "Come back, Norma!" under the title "Major's support lowest ever".

Private Eye

There's a story behind this. In late October I was in the local pub (the Rose and Crown, nice traditional name eh) with two people from work, Simon and Phil. Phil had with him a copy of the current Private Eye. These are both "nice people" and on my side, I hasten to add. Simon pointed out the message on the magazine's cover to Phil, and asked "what do you think about that". Phil answered, "Well usually they [Private Eye] get it right". This exchange happened in front of me. Although I was ill at the time (this was before I'd started taking medicines) I hadn't read anything into the Eye cover until these guys pointed it out to me.

Sometime later, again in the same road, a student shouted to one of his friends, "so when are you COMING BACK?", again in front of me.

What I realised Phil thought it meant was a double-entendre, the "coming" referring to the act of ejaculation, the "back" referring to the human back-side. So in a play on words you get a person who is referred to as a back-side ejaculating. Charming.

Of course, Phil could have been wrong. Perhaps there was no such meaning intended by Private Eye. Perhaps he saw meaning which wasn't there. Perhaps the moon is made from green cheese. Who knows?