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30 Years of Oldie Laughs - Valerie Grove

Features | By Valerie Grove

Oldie launch at Wheeler’s, 1992 Back row: John Mortimer, Larry Adler, Roy Greenslade, Carmen Callil, Miles Kington, Naim Attallah, W F Deedes. Front row: Jennifer Paterson, Candida Lycett Green, Richard Ingrams, Beryl Bainbridge, Harry Enfield

Valerie Grove, our radio reviewer since the first issue, recalls the birth of The Oldie and the three joyous decades that followed

In 1991, a caucus of middle-aged public-school chaps half-jestingly set about launching a magazine with what seemed a terrible name, The Oldie. (‘Why not Old Bastard?’ suggested one reader.) Actually, John McEwen the art critic – now our Bird Man – says the idea came to him in a dream: a magazine for elders, called not Saga but Sage. Richard Ingrams, late of Private Eye, and Alexander Chancellor, late of the Spectator, met over a pub lunch. They were taken with this notion: an antidote to the cult of youth; a riposte to all things new-fangled – ‘the ugly debris of the 20th century’, as Ingrams put it. ...

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