‘Is there any news of the iceberg?’
Alan Coren was on fire. Or, at least, smoking. He was also ablaze with enthusiasm. In due course, the cigarette was extinguished. The enthusiasm was not.
It was 2004 and he had come to see the archives of Punch, which the British Library had just acquired. Coren had worked on the magazine since the early 1960s and been its editor between 1978 and 1987. After he left, it went into a terminal decline, ceasing publication in April 1992. The title was eventually purchased by Mohamed Al Fayed and relaunched in 1996 but finally sank in 2002.