John Walker's Electronic House

by on Sep.12, 2004, under The Rest

A quick and stupid thought for the weekend:

I don’t think there’s anyone I know working for Future Publishing who hasn’t at some point told the story of how they had the most fantastic collection of Example Magazine, every edition including issue 0, until one day they returned home to find their mother had thrown them away.

What is the cause of this bizarre yet common behaviour? Why do mums think it ok to ditch such things, when most would never consider chucking a stack of CDs, or a shelf of books? It happens too often for it to be a coincidence, and ladies and gentlemen, I believe I have a theory.

Last weekend, while in London, I was taken to a shop in Soho that sells film memorabilia and the like, and downstairs sells issues of all manner of magazines dating back decades. It’s very odd – the magazines aren’t special editions or rare prints – just regular, every day copies of, say, Q from June 1987. And it was browsing around in here that my previous thoughts were finally feeling more confirmed.

No, it’s not so obvious as that. I don’t think mums are secretly selling the magazines to collectors’ shops such as that one – not at all. If this were the case, these shops would be inundated with copies, so prevalent are the cases of maternal magazine removal. And crucially, such large numbers of issues would inhibit the high prices being charged.

My contention is that mothers are paid to destroy magazines, in order to increase their value for collectors. It’s a commission thing. Say, for every ten magazines “thrown away by accident”, they receive a small amount, thus ensuring the market value of those remaining.

It would explain why copies of regular computer games magazines from the 80s can now shift for a tenner on eBay, when they only cost a pound when first released. And it would explain why shops like the one in Soho are able to make a sustainable living.

And of course, the conspiracy doens’t end there. How much do you reckon Superman Issue 1 would be worth if it hadn’t been for the mums? 25p. That’s how much. But because of this secret matriarchal malevolence they are instead worth over 400 million billion pounds. And who’s getting a cut when that sale goes through? Exactly.

I’m onto you, mum. I now know where my metal Transformers went, and I’m not fooled. In fact, I’m onto you mums. And the word is out. Your remaining days of this evil hegemony are few.

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