Monday 23rd January 2012
GRAB it… be a fool not to… money’s not brilliant but think of the prestige… like having your own monthly column… could be a way into that market… and I’ll get to do that thing of casually browsing the shelves in Smith’s and seeing loads and loads of them on sale, with my work inside: yay!
“Hi, Charlotte. I’ll do it. When’s the deadline?”
Thus I became a regular contributor to the exciting new glossy magazine, Mensa Quest, £1.95, on sale now from your newsagent or local stockist.
And fair play to Charlotte: it caught the eye, was lively in tone, and appealed to the intelligent older reader like my Mum. I even bought copies myself, as, somewhat disappointingly, those of us working in the freelance basement on the (less significant, admittedly) word puzzles page didn’t qualify for a freebie.
I wrote ‘lingua-phonies’: three for each edition: a variation on what I was doing for Pebble Mill – though I always chose words not featured on the television programme. Example:
Identify the correct meaning of…ESSOIN
a) an excuse not to appear in court; a case of, “Sorry, Your Honour, I’d love to be there to defend myself, but already have a prior engagement”; a ploy much favoured by celebrities caught speeding or pop stars suing record companies
b) thinly cracked as a result of being dried out; having hair-line fissures, as happens with paint or varnish; looks unsightly when it’s the paintwork of your bathroom window, but proof of authenticity if it’s a Rembrandt or Botticelli
c) reduced in cost due to damage; at a knock-down price, if the item receives a knock en route from the factory; or, of clothes with some faulty stitching; of the dented tins found at the end of supermarket aisles.
After six issues, things started to go awry. Calls to the office went to an answerphone. Half my invoices were never paid. The magazine folded and the publishers filed for bankruptcy. I was so hacked off I binned all my back copies.
There was no point suing them. Bankruptcy is a perfect essoin.