My age will show here, but never mind. At least someone out there must remember JS, Junior Statesman, that delight of youth in the 1970s. And when I remember, I feel again that unbounded teenage energy, that bell-bottomed '70s chic (we pronounced it "chick", very groovy), the dreamy-eyed romance in gazing at JS's Karen Lunel poster ...
And then the arthritis gets to me.
But oh, JS! And oh, that poster! Liril girl in a bikini, and I could have killed for it. (The poster, not the bikini). (Hell, I would have taken the bikini too). It had me sending telegrams -- remember telegrams? -- to everyone I knew everywhere in the country, pleading: buy me a copy of this week's JS, I need MANY, and no, it's not because of the Karen Lunel poster, I just want to read an article in it.
Riiiight. What article? (A young female friend actually telegrammed back those words).
Still, Karen was in just one issue, after all; so I did read JS. Poring through the magazine every week, I wondered jealously: just how did all these JS dudes get these almost insufferably cool names? I mean: Jug Suraiya? Desmond Doig? And exactly who were Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh, invariably somewhere in the issue? Where did they get their cool names? Does anyone know? Did they exist? Do they exist? (Please send me a note if you're reading this, either of you, and put a 30-year-old mystery to rest).
And the memory, keen even today, of reading that goodbye note in the last issue. Was it some fantastic joke? Convinced it had to be one, I scoured newsstands for weeks. JS -- our psychedelic, multicoloured, Rajesh Khanna and Seasons in the Sun JS! -- could hardly die just like that! It had to show up again with some typically witty, easygoing explanation.
But of course it didn't. No joke. It had vanished.
Years later, I understood that it vanished at the same time, more or less, that many other things vanish in your teens. You know: youth, idealism, illusions, that stuff. Some cosmic significance there, I thought. But only for a minute. Then I dropped the idea. JS would have scorned it.
Many memories, and I have JS to thank for one of the high points of my career as a teenager. Read on and weep.
Put an ad in JS asking someone to teach me hypnotism and ventriloquism through the post. To my surprise, I was drowned in responses, including one from a Salim Durrani who -- I think -- was not the cricket hero. A good buddy, also a JS freak, called every day to sneer at my attempts to pick up such skills, and that by mail order. So I decided to teach him a lesson. Next time he came over, I stationed bro and sis up the stairs. Caught him at the front door and said: "OK, I've learned ventriloquism! I'll make you think a cow is mooing upstairs."
Right on cue, the sibs let loose a flurry of authentic moos. (How I love the sibs).
The mixture of awe, respect and envy on his face is a memory I will take to my cremation ground. I believe he still thinks I'm a voice-thrower. Thank you, JS.
Now if anyone has one of those Karen Lunel posters, I'm willing to moo for it. The sibs won't any more.