Skip to content


September 28, 2021

At the first magazine where I worked, the useless publisher* who replaced the excellent publisher we’d had for years was given the nickname Numbnuts. The excellent publisher also had a nickname: “JT”. His actual name, somewhat unfortunately (unless you’ve never read Lady Chatterley’s Lover), was John Thomas. Yes, we could have just called him John, but we opted for JT – both referring to him and to his face. 

It was a place of nicknames. The general manager, Keith MacDonald, a large and avuncular man, was nicknamed Big Mac, though seldom to his face. (Despite his size, he turned out to be surprisingly light on his feet when he asked me to dance one year at the staff Christmas party. I suspect he and his wife did ballroom dancing.) Most of the nicknames came from my friend Hilfra, whom I dubbed Hellfire. (Amusingly, after computers and spellcheck came along, the first time I typed her name, Hellfire was the only alternative offered.) She dubbed me “Holmesie”, our friend John “Galpers” and our friend Maureen “Pepsi”. I’ve long since lost touch with Hellfire, although, oddly enough, Galpers did suddenly reappear last year, after a 40-year absence, just as the world was going into lockdown. As I’d thought of him as Galpers for decades, it was an initial challenge to go back to calling him John.

Why this trip down memory lane? Because, as I was finally hauling myself off to bed at 4:30 this morning, the name Numbnuts was what I called myself. 

Yesterday was not a good day. Most of the actual day was taken up with endless games of Freecell. (I believe I’ve previously mentioned that somewhere along the line an addiction to Freecell has replaced my former addiction to Spider Solitaire.) Managed to tear myself away from the computer around 6pm. Instead of the nice dinner I was planning to make, I had a tuna sandwich. Watched a couple of shows I’d taped on Sunday, then I watched the news. Whilst doing so, decided to check for emails on my tablet. After the emails I decided to have a game of internet backgammon. Did not stop until 4:15am, when I got off the couch and washed the dishes before heading to bed, slapping myself on the head as I left the kitchen and calling myself Numbnuts. 

Although I should have been able to conk right out, I couldn’t because I had to figure out where Numbnuts came from, which led to remembering all the other nicknames from that period, which led to remembering all the crazy things “The Syndicate” (the nickname Hilf gave the four of us) got up to back then. (Telex machines, which preceded the fax machine, featured heavily.)

It is a new day and I swear (fuck, fuck, fuck) that I will NOT play any sort of computer game today.


* A year after Numbnuts turned up, the magazine was shut down. Four years later he turned up as the new publisher at the magazine to which I’d gone following the closure. The editor walked him around the office, introducing him to all the staff. As we were shaking hands, I said, “We’ve met before. You were the publisher who closed down the last magazine where I worked.” A year after that, he shut the second magazine. I suppose a more apposite nickname would have been the The Terminator, but he was definitely a numbnuts.

From → Blog

  1. John Galpin permalink

    I remember those days well, Holmesey…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: