Posts Tagged ‘Felix dennis’

This month in magazines: Oz in 1967

February 17, 2017
The first issue of underground magazine Oz in February 1967

The first issue of underground magazine Oz in February 1967

Oz was an underground magazine launched in London in February 1967 that became a leading part of Britain’s counterculture. Notice the word ‘London’ at the top left of the Oz title above. It’s there because Oz was originally an Australian magazine, founded by Richard Neville, Martin Sharp and Richard Walsh. They were prosecuted in Australia and Neville and Sharp came to London, where they launched another version of the magazine with Jim Anderson.

It was not the only magazine of its type – International Times, Ink and Friends were also influential – but Oz gained mainstream notoriety for the obscenity trial that followed the publication of the Oz School Kids issue (number 28).

The Oz Schoolkids issue

The Oz Schoolkids issue

The three editors (Sharp had left and been replaced by Felix Dennis) selected a group of youngsters aged between 14 and 18 to edit issue 28. The magazine’s offices were raided by the Obscene Publications Squad, the issue was seized and the editors were charged with conspiring to ‘debauch and corrupt the morals of young children’ because of some of the cartoons and discussion of sexual freedom and drug use.

Protest issue at Oz obscenity trial

Protest issue at Oz obscenity trial

For Felix Dennis, the Oz trial was the ‘finest hour’ for John Mortimer, their defence lawyer and later author of the Rumpole of the Bailey TV series and books. Although they were found guilty under the Obscene Publications Act, the verdict was overturned on appeal.

Like Private Eye, Oz might have looked crude, but it was an innovative user of the latest production techniques such as lithographic colour printing. It produced some amazing imagery by people such as Peter Brooke – now the leading political cartoonist on The Times – and Sharp’s iconic imagine of Bob Dylan, the Tambourine Man.

Another Australian who worked on Oz, in Sydney and London, was Marsha Rowe, and Germaine Greer wrote for it, too. Greer wrote The Female Eunuch in 1970 (and was gardening correspondent of Private Eye with the byline Rose Blight!) and Rowe was a co-founder of Spare Rib in 1972. She condemned a plan by Charlotte Raven to relaunch Spare Rib in 2014. The archive of Spare Rib can be found through the British Library’s website.

Felix Dennis went on to found Dennis Publishing, which launched Maxim and The Week. Since Dennis’s death, the profits from the company have been put to creating a massive forest. As well as the people behind Oz becoming mainstream, so have many of the ideas it, and the other undergrounds titles, argued for.  Oz is also one of the most collectable magazines.

The last issue of Oz - November 1973

The last issue of Oz

The University of Woollongong holds an online archive of the Australian issues of Oz, which was first published in Sydney on April Fool’s Day 1963 and continued until December 1969.This was set up with Neville’s co-operation after he returned to Australia and became a writer.

Woollongong also has all the London editions of Oz, from February 1967 to November 1973. The last issue cover carries a photo of the Oz staff naked overlaid on a background of disgraced US president Richard Nixon.

 


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 

 


Collectors come out for £2,700 Oz on eBay

March 31, 2014

 

Oz magazine first issue

Oz magazine first issue January 1967

Underground magazine Oz is one of the most collectable titles – and proved the point in March when half-a-dozen bidders took their offers up from the £999 starting price to £2,728 in just nine bids. The set included all 48 issues ‘in exceptional condition’ of a magazine that sparked the 1972 Oz trial and introduced Maxim millionaire Felix Dennis to the magazine world.

A copy of the Oz first issue on its own went for £895 – well above the £650 one sold for back in 2007. Several others issues fetched up to £220.

Another title that attracts collectors is trendy cycling title Rouleur, with a set of the first 43 issues selling for £1000 as a buy-it-now.

Part works aren’t usually big sellers but a James Bond collection with model cars fetched £691. Buying it new would have cost £7.99 x 132, more than £1000.

strand_1904_4aprSherlock Holmes in the Strand is a long-standing attraction for collectors and a set of the first seven volumes of the magazine fetched £545. Mind you, unbound copies fetch far more, and this single issue of the April 1904 Strand with a Holmes story fetched £443.

The first 50 issues of the Face were priced at £500 and the seller took an undisclosed offer.

More on: collecting magazines and eBay prices

More: Strand Magazine and its iconic cover

LOOK OUT FOR: British Magazine Design, a new, highly illustrated book from the Victoria and Albert Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£1,019 for a copy of OZ

August 27, 2012
Oz issue 1

Oz issue 1

That’s right. A grand  – £1,019.01 to be exact – for a copy of the first issue of OZ on eBay! That’s almost three times what one fetched in 2006 and pretty much double what a copy of issue 5 from July 1967 sold for (£561.30 on Ebay in May 2007). A February 1967 first issue sold for £560 in September 2007 and another for £360 in 2006.

Two years ago, a complete set of OZ  went for $5,700 in New York.

Jackie from Crazyaboutmagazines alerted me to this. But what other British magazine would fetch more?

Profile: underground magazine Oz

More on: collecting magazines and eBay prices

LOOK OUT FOR: British Magazine Design, a new, highly illustrated book from the Victoria and Albert Museum

Did-he-or-didn’t-he Felix Dennis

April 21, 2008

The ‘I killed a man’ confession of Maxim founder Felix Dennis in the Times isn’t lying down. The great man himself has tried to pass it off as an April Fool in BusinessWeek:

‘What [the press] didn’t notice was the date,’ [which was April 1, Dennis claimed] ‘Anyone who thinks that story is real needs a sense of humour check.’

Did being such a tycoon and celebrity go to his head? Had he just had too much chardonnay? But there’s no playing it down in Press Gazette. Read all about it there: ‘Ginny Dougary reveals the story behind her explosive Times interview with magazine mogul Felix Dennis, and how she kept his murder claim in it.’

Oz is where it’s at

September 28, 2007
Oz magazine

Oz magazine: selling well on eBay

A first copy of 1960s underground magazine Oz has sold on Ebay for £650, almost double the figure one went for last year. The magazine is a true collectable – or is it just Felix Dennis buying them all up to wallpaper his mansion walls?