For some reason I woke up this morning remembering a strange phone call I had received probably 10 years ago in the Dogs Today office.
We often get unusual calls, odd requests - so we're pretty much ready for most things. (We were always puzzled why we were getting one series of calls and not a cat mag - we had a sweet old lady phoning us for a few days from a pay phone, asking for advice on how to get her cat stuffed, she had the poor thing frozen in a vet's freezer and always ran out of money at the crucial moment! She needed a taxidermist who would spread her payments like HP.)
Anyway back to the call that popped into my mind this morning!
An American voice asked to speak to me and no one else. When I took the call I was sure it was a wind-up and that I was probably on live radio being well and truly set up.
"I've always admired your magazine, it's the best in the world. You're the only person who could edit Playdog."
I think I may have coughed to buy me some time. I asked him to repeat the name of the title.
Yes, he really had said Playdog. I was polite and non-committal.
He was going to fly over to meet me immediately. He'd never been to England before, could I recommend a hotel near by he could stay at.
He did turn up, he was totally charming and he was deadly serious - he did remind me slightly of Captain Kirk from Star Trek, so I did wonder if I was on concealed cameras. He showed me the pilot edition. It had the same masthead as Playboy, it had centrefolds, and reader's dogs - the works.
He gave me his business card - must have it still somewhere - and it did indeed say proprietor of Playdog.
He wanted me to come over to the States and get going on the project straight away.
I have to say my mind raced. I imagined putting a showtrim black standard Poodle on the cover shot from behind and changing its tail to a white one - in bunny girl fashion. Having the magazine launch in New York - A dog's breakfast at Tiffanys.
I gave the offer a great deal of thought, but eventually declined.
I think I made the right choice...