Monday, February 27, 2006

On Viz

Very few other countries would ever publish something like it. Viz represents some of the best traits of the British character. Discuss.

A favourite Viz related story is when Trinny and Susannah threatened to sue them after the published a comic strip spoofing them. Viz told the press 'We are unable to comment on the legal moves as we have yet to stop laughing.'

Viz does represent a lot of great British characteristics. It is satirical, self effacing and is exceptionally good at deflating those with too high an opinion of themselves. It is also a good example of an organisation that built itself up from nowhere. I mean, it is now a national magazine who has created nationally recognised figures – Roger Mellie, the Fat Slags, Sid the Sexist. And it basically started from someone’s bedroom. There is quite a strong argument that only Britain could produce something like Viz, as we are an intensely culturally aware country but also not self obsessed enough to take offence when our culture is mocked. Viz operates very well by exaggerating life, rather than by making up things.

Drunken Bakers is fascinating as it is not actually funny, just deeply disturbed and probably quite an accurate (if slightly exaggerated) representation of alcoholism. I think it must be quite difficult to write something that bleak. You must sit down and think about the worst scenario possible. It must be a bit like writing The League of Gentleman.

Some of my favourite letters have been in Viz, including 'I note with interest that the Pope has announced that limbo is not longer part of Catholicism as it is a Christian hypothesis. What, like God you mean?' and the wonderful 'Having read the reproduction of your first issue given away free with your magazine, I wish to express my incredulity that there was ever an issue two'

There is some quite sophisticated critique in it too. A few issues ago Gilbert Ratchet was going to 'poke some light hearted fun at certain aspects of Islam.' In the next frame, he changed his mind: 'Oh no, readers! I think I'll go into this church instead!'.....

Note also Richard Little John, Major Misunderstanding and Baxter Basics.

You've got to love a magazine that bills itself as 'not as funny as it used to be.'

Ah yes, the wonderful Susannah & Trinny - Fatty & Thinny. Re; its legal history, they once received a cease-and-desist letter from Kappa re; Tasha The Kappa Slappa. They claimed Viz' portrayal of their product would damage sales.

Viz replied that the people who wear Kappa don't buy it, they steal it.

Also, the Special Brew 'central heating for tramps' incident. Carlsberg were unable to prove anyone other than tramps actually bought the stuff.

My current favourite Viz letter is: 'I would like to congratulate my wife on her successful breast reduction operation. It was only a bit of backache, you selfish b*tch.'

It’s odd, Viz are in that position where you have to laugh with them as they poke fun at you or you come across as utterly humourless. They do have that ability to cut people down to size quite effectively.


Blogger Largetrousers said...

I think you'll find that Viz's out-spoken columnist was named Richard LittleCock.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Largetrousers said...

Oh ... by the way, we're out of eggs but there's a bottle of Calvados. Hmmm - it's a bit tart... . ./ ;'/

12:33 PM  

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