Issue #1: It all started in the pub.
A crazy idea of getting a free magazine all about Swansea City Football club. Nobody with any experience in anything was involved. No design knowledge. The name took a while to come up with, at one point we were going with ‘Swans Song’ because everybody was pretty sure that the Premier League trip would be a short one (remember Elvis).
We decided on ‘Jack Swan’ and that would be the name of the magazine as well as a character and he’d be a cocky little bastard!
First Ever Joke By Spense:
Cardiff’s trophy cabinet was looted during the riots. The police are looking for two youths covered in cobwebs
32 pages and the magazine was born!
Issue #6: The First Complaint!
Amazingly it took us 6 whole issues before we had a complaint (well 5 issues and a cover). It was after the League Cup final between Liverpool and those up the road and Steven Gerrard was consoling his cousin who played for Cardiff after their defeat. We put on the label ‘you always were a loser!!!’ which angered some boring person.
Matty got humiliated in this magazine for failing to provide an interview and the magazine was starting to take shape.
Joke by Spense from this copy:
What do you call someone who sleeps with tramps?
Issue #9: From Swansea to Liverpool Office
Brendan left the club and promised not to take any Swans players for 12 months, 12 weeks later and Joey Allen is in Liverpool with him. This cover was a gimmee!
But I later heard a great story about it. Joey Allen’s father-in-law (maybe father, I can’t remember) used to stay in the Marriot hotel on the seafront and would pop in the (now Co-op) shop across the road for newspapers or whatever. On this day, he picked up issue #9 of the Jack Swan and found the cover funny. He popped back into the shop the next day to say that he had taken a photo of it and sent it to Joey and that Joey also found it funny and took it into the Liverpool office to show Brendan. It was a great feeling to know that after 9 issues, we were being talked about (and laughed with) in the Liverpool managerial office.
First Joke By Spense:
Watching the beach volleyball the other night, there was a nasty hand injury. But I think I will be alright for work Wednesday.
Issue #13: Unlucky for some
This probably isn’t overly exciting for most of you but we see Issue #13 as a major change in the magazine. The mindset of the way we looked at the magazine changed. We did something incredibly mind-blowing; we reduced the font size!!
We could now fit more in, take it from a really quick read when waiting for a takeaway into a magazine that you needed to take home and read on the toilet!! It was the start of the magazine becoming gold-dust, it become in-demand and instantly there was a mass shortage of copies in the city.
Joke By Spense:
My mates missus left him last Thursday. She said she was going out for a pint of milk and never came back. I asked him how he was coping and he said ‘not bad, I’ve been using the powdered stuff.’
Issue #16: MORE ROOM PLEASE!!
The demand for the magazine had reached new heights and it had reached the advertisers. Businesses had realised that it was worth advertising in and so we needed to expand! Issue #16 saw us increase the magazine by 50% more pages!
Joke By Spense:
Two inmates escaped from a high security prison today by hiding in the hopper of a lorry that had delivered ready-mix concrete. Police are warning the public to be on the lookout for two hardened criminals.
Issue #19: You Jack Bastard
Issue #19 saw us look for the biggest Jack bastard of all time. We were to look at the top ten candidates in the next ten issues and then have a vote at the end of the season and find out who is the top Jack Bastard of all time. It was a nice idea but it fizzled out, it involved thinking ahead and we never did that. We interviewed about 6 I think and then forgot about it. We started with Mel Nurse and he is always a pleasure to speak with. Think we were there a few hours that day; Outstanding picture by Spenser for the cover!!! Pictures of the Month started in this issue and Jokes by Spense went red!
Joke By Spense
I got into a Yorkshire university with my A level results: A, C, D, C
I’m on the Highway to Hull
Issue #20: Evening Post??
We had started to learn that controversy was good and that the job of the magazine was often to ask questions and get people talking; even if they were saying that we didn’t have a clue! In Issue #20 we chose the Evening Post as one of the top ten Jack bastards of all time and it really got people talking! At this time, the paper was coming under fire for covering that Michael Laudrup may be seeking pastures new. The interview was brilliant! Fantastic read and there was something quite amusing about interviewing a newspaper and grilling them! Felt it took the magazine to a new level once again!
The cover by Gerrald was arguably the best ever too!!
Joke by Spense:
I’ve just received a text. All it said was AGNB
I thought ‘this is bang out f order!’
Issue #21: Will you still love me when I’m 64
Issue #21 saw us jump up another 16 pages which had meant we had doubled the size of the magazine (whilst reducing its font size remember) in just eight issues and in less than twelve months. It was difficult to keep up with the demand of advertisers and the 5,000 printed copies were in high demand!
This issue simply showed off! We had previously had an online questionnaire where we asked readers what they wanted to see more of in the magazine and player interviews was the main answer. Issue #21 boasted Interviews with Roger Freestone, Julian Alsop and Phil Sumbler and there was certainly no problem filling the extra pages!
Joke of the Month
Wife: There is trouble with the car. There is water in the carburettor#
Hubby: Water in the carburettor? That’s ridiculous
Wife: I’m telling you, the car has water in the carburettor
Hubby: You don’t even know where the carburettor is, I’ll check it out. Where is the car?
Wife: In the pool
Issue #26: The Yanks read it!!
Our online magazines stay online (www.issuu.com/jackswan) and I had an email this month from a journalist in the United States who was hoping to get in touch with people who have been Cyril the Swan. I got in touch with Eddie Donne who was without doubt the very best Cyril but also forwarded the link to issue #26 and our interview with Eddie in that issue.
“Holy shit I’m reading it and laughing so hard— the head poking out of a Nissan Micra!!!”
That interview was amazing and it could have taken 200 pages but it is just great to know that somebody is reading a Jack Swan magazine in America which is now over 2 years old and really enjoying it!
Joke by Spense
To the wise guy who hid my trainers as I played on the bouncy castle yesterday afternoon. You need to grow up mate!!
Issue #30: We just got sexy!!!
I remember the first perfectly bound Jack Swan I felt and it was so damn sexy!! I couldn’t touch an old one after that!! The new 100 page magazine had reached a totally new level! It was the same magazine, with the same dodgy jokes and content but only it was now really sexy!!!
The expansion (as ever) was driven by the demand from advertisers who we didn’t have room to put in but it became more than that. The magazine had started as a ‘mans mag’, it was for the working man, mid-30s! Struggling for money! That was our target! But we had a problem, everyone enjoyed the magazine! A common trend when dropping the magazines off was that ‘we like the tone of the magazine but have no interest in football’, we’d hear this from 80 year old women!
So we decided that the next expansion would be non-footballing content!! The original 64 pages would stay as they were but the extra 36 pages would be looking at food, activities, music etc.. but in the same Jack Swan style. This saw the introduction of the Secret Breakfaster, Mind Puzzles, Parentless Parenting as well as others. Jack Swan magazine had become sexy and not just about football. The entire city changed that day!!!
I’m sick of my wife blowing everything out of proportion.
She’s single handily running my balloon animal business.
Issue #34: Don’t mention the spine!!
The cover is often left to last and it can be a tough choice. It is important to get it right, you want to keep attracting new people to pick up the magazine while also keeping it familiar with those who already do. On this particular issue, nothing was really jumping out as an obvious cover and the only real story was that the potential American investors had pulled out. A midnight choice was a cover of the American flag burning with the words ‘I think they got the hint!’.
Sent to printers, uploaded the magazine online, went to bed. Woke up and holy hell had broken out! Football forum, facebook, twitter had gone crazy! Getting attacked from everywhere! Then the Evening Post phoned asking for my comments before they published their story on the magazine.
Grin and bear it comes to mind and I did. The magazines came back from the printers and I remember delivering the first few copies into places with extra caution but it seemed that those people who actually left their houses were less offended than those glued to internet forums with nothing better to do (strange that).
I will never forget delivering those magazines to Vietnam in Uplands. Was quite funny delivering a cover with a burning American flag into Vietnam. The funniest thing about it all is known by very few people though and I’m now sharing it with you. Very, very few people look at the spine of the magazine and while there was mayhem going on about the online magazines cover, nobody knew that I’d written ‘Front cover by terrorists’ on the side. Stupid joke which seemed funny at the time!
Joke By Spense
The cost of living has gotten so bad that my wife is having sex with me because she cant afford batteries.
Issue #35: The Follow Up
How do you follow the American flag front cover? The publicity from it was huge, there were now people waiting to see what was to be put on this cover. An apology? Was that the way to go? Something really offensive? Or how about a burning Welsh flag? Could that be used to defend the previous cover while also recreating publicity? We took a cowardly option and just stuck two fingers up to those who went overboard from their computer chairs. It is the worse cover we have ever done but for me it did exactly what it was supposed to do; it just said ‘f%ck off you boring twats!!! ‘
Joke By Spense:
Scientists have invented a drug to prevent depression affecting lesbians; it is called trycoxagain
Issue #39: The Jack Swan Card
The Jack Swan Card! Talking sexy!! How sexy are they!! 6,000 printed and floating around the city. The idea was that businesses could offer special deals when the card id produced. It took more work than we were willing to do though and so there aren’t as many companies offering discounts as there should be, maybe one day we will get around to it again. I do still see signs up where you can save 20% here and there! Free shot in one pub!! Half price pint elsewhere! Worth having!!
Joke of issue:
A bloke walks into a library and says ‘do you have any books on suicide?’
‘No chance said the librarian, you wont bring it back!’
This issue was destined to get me into serious trouble (not the first time!). The Swans were going through a bad patch but that was all it was wasn’t it! A bad patch. Normal service would resume and so when newspapers started gunning for our manager and saying that his job was under threat then I backed the manager in the strongest possible way; the words on the cover were said with certainly! There was no concerns!!!
Joke of Issue
Found a Tesco carrier bag with an England rugby shirt in it and I thought I will keep that. They are 5p now!
So maybe I was a little bit wrong about Monks job being safe. I upset a few people this issue (not the first time) but once again, it was great fun. Newspapers got in touch, BBC 5 Live got in touch, basically there was a couple of weeks where anyone who was anyone wanted to call me an idiot! I will let you into another little secret, the cover the fans chose didn’t include the blue badged background, I added that to make it look worse, thought they let me off lightly! I’d have chosen much worse!! Oh, and the spine was good to; ‘front cover by inbreds!’
Stuck for Xmas present? Buy a fridge and watch their face light up as they open it!
The Day that the Jack Swan award nominations were revealed!! Excitement across an entire city! It was awesome seeing everyone’s faces as they saw they were nominated! 177 Nominees in 19 different categories! Jack Swan Awards Night was born and excitement buzzing!
Joke of issue
I accidentally swallowed some scrabble tiles last night – Now I’m frightened to go to loo – could spell disaster