Readers with memories in better condition than mine generally is may recall me mentioning this about a year ago. At the time, it was a wicked glint in the eye of its creator, Adrian Teal, noted for his work on Spitting Image many years ago, and for his caricatures that have appeared in various places. Anyway, Adrian had an Idea. He wanted to create a compilation from a fictional newspaper of the late eighteenth century, featuring scurrilous stories of the great and not so good, together with illustrations in the style of the time. This sounded like a lot of fun to me, and I was quite happy to pay up front to those nice Unbound people. Unbound have an interesting business model, which can best be summarised as “Kickstarter for books” – basically, writers put up a proposal for a book, and offer various levels of reward for people prepared to invest. These generally start at an ebook for as little as £5, passing through signed hardbacks to more specific items or treats for people prepared to pay more than the eventual selling price of the book.
As I mentioned last year, one of the offers was to have a caricature of yourself created by Adrian Teal himself. For reasons that seemed, err, reasonable at the time, I found that irresistible, and coughed up the necessary number of pounds. It took a while longer for enough sensible people to commit to the project, and eventually it was indeed produced. Then there was the matter of Adrian having to sign all those books. but eventually, in the latter part of last year, this arrived:
Now, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t such a handsome, well-bound hardback as this. It looks nicely expensive, and is properly bound, complete with one of those ribbon bookmarks that nobody puts into books these days. The insides turned out to be an even greater delight, with care being taken to use recreations of actual fonts of the time, complete with the authentic long S. The illustrations have the look I’ve seen in documents of the time, though there are some sneakily modern references in some of them, which add to the fun. Here’s a sample spread:
The book is presented by the (fictional) editor of the Gin-Lane Gazette as a compilation of the best bits from fifty years of publication, on the occasion of his retirement, and quite apart from reports of duels, scurrilous affairs, scandals and hangings, includes adverts for patent medicines, inventors in search of investors for their perpetual motion machines, and much more besides. All good fun, and just what was proposed in the original pitch. Nicely done, Mr Teal.
At the back of the book, as promised, is a list of contributors, including someone whose name might be misread as Les Beffant by anyone not familiar with the long s.
All that remained was the caricature. Again, towards the end of last year, I was asked to post a couple of photographs to the artist, and just over a week ago, it arrived. This is what Mr Teal did with the material available:
It’s an improvement on the original, to be honest. You’re far too late to be commemorated in this way, but you can still buy the book
 For authenticity, it should probably have been guineas, but never mind.
 Often confused for an F by modern readers, which would be prepofterous.