Comedy historian Robert Ross has resurrected Cor!, his comedy magazine. He explains more here:
The eternal winter of lockdown has dictated that lots of us have actively had to think widely and wildly outside of the box. While there is always the 'next' book on the horizon - whether it be a comedy reference work, or a comedian biography - the enforced confinement has allowed me to fully find my passion for writing again. In the last few years I have rather reinvented myself as a touring stand-up comedy historian: a fresh string to my bow somewhat scuppered of late by dark theatres, and docked cruise ships.
So, in lockdown, there's been my daily comedy YouTube films, accelerated social media, our live Facebook chat shows, and - drum roll, please - the return of an old favourite.
Back in June 1993, when I was an unpublished, keen and eager, and fledgling comedy historian, the double whammy of the deaths of delicious droll Les Dawson, and hulking Carry On hero Bernard Bresslaw, really hit me hard. So much so that I determined to publish a fanzine dedicated to classic comedy. So Cor! was born. It was a real Ross family affair. A cottage industry of photo-copying, stapling, and pack-horse journeys to the local Post Office. Readership was high and loyal. We even attracted some prestigious honorary members. Everyone from Jack Douglas to Rik Mayall.
It was tremendous fun, and surprisingly hard work. So much so that when, once my first book The Carry On Companion, was commissioned, and published, in 1996, I found the magazine more and more of a drain on my time. So, with Issue 14 (a special edition dedicated to The Goodies) published in the dying days of the last century, that was it. No more.
Thus, when in the hinterland of Lockdown II late last year, my gorgeous partner Gemma Fanning came up with the idea of us doing a comedy magazine, I recoiled in horror. For all of, ooh, ten seconds! My protests were all about the pressure I felt when producing the original Cor! magazine. Then the very happy members of pulling the original Cor! magazine together came flooding back, and I said a resounding 'Yes! Let's do it!', or words to that affect. A few more minutes passed when we desperately tried to come up with a title. That mild panic evaporated when we thought. 'Hang on!'. We have the perfect title. Call it Cor! Again.
And lo, it came to pass.
As Christmas was fast approaching, the inaugural issue of the new online Cor! was to be a special: although it's very much a comedy magazine for life not just for the festive season! Issue 1 celebrates the centenary of Carry On director Gerald Thomas, salutes the happy association of The Goodies with Christmas, includes an exclusive and hilarious chat with that doyen of comic genius, Barry Cryer, and lots, lots more.
The current issue, Issue 2, which was released in the month of love, is again not just for the Valentine's season although it does wallow in the fun and games of George Burns and Gracie Allen, and features a delightful interview with the delectable Jacki Piper, in which she reveals all about her string of screen and stage husbands!
There's also some personal memories of life on location with the Last Of The Summer Wine gang, in celebration of what would have been the 100th birthdays of actors Frank Thornton and Peter Sallis this year; as well as a loving tribute to unique televisual experience The Strange World Of Gurney Slade: freshly minted on sparkling Blu-ray from Network DVD.
The plan is to be back with Cor! - The Comedy Magazine, every two months or so, so hopefully issue three will be published when us April Fools are still giddy with merriment.
I'm sure the lovely folk at the British Comedy Guide will add all the ways you can purchase Cor! below, but in the meantime, you could do a lot worse than have a lengthy browse 'round my website: robertross.co.uk, like the #ComedyHistorian Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter @RobertWRossEsq
Stay safe. Keep smiling.
And remember, this year comedy is the answer!
COR! The Comedy Magazine, priced £2.50, is available online via issuu.com/cormagazine