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Great Gnus....You have found the resting place of....


phantom reaper

The Phantom at 30 something

It's now 30+ years since the Phantom's birth. What better time to launch the archived material onto the world. Hopefully some of our now far flung number will eventually find this page and once again raise a smile while reminiscing what truly were 'good old days'
It's funny how humor is transient, what was 'cracking one out of the park' yesterday mellows with age.The story below will aid non-Phantomers with the confusion in making head or tail of the oddest journalism of all time.
The whole story is below, as far as two old (steady) doddery men can remember.
Until...herald in the new chapter 'The Last Gasp'

The Phantom, best served with light music 


The Phantom story

The Phantom is best described as the love child of Private Eye and The Beano is a satirical magazine circulated around Knogo UK from 1988 to 1994 (Sensormatic takeover) It was the brainchild of Peter Nutt and Jon Smith. Jon and PeterThe first edition was actually intended to be informative and carry some technical information interspersed with a bit of humor. But luckily that stupid idea didn't last long. Phantom 001, largely Peter's work, was actually made with a school stencil and typewriter. It gave birth to the trademark boxing glove, satirizing the Knogo hand that appeared on the company stationary. By issue 002 Jon was supplying the quality, in his inimitable style, necessary for the development of the mag, the Jimmy Perry and David Croft (steady on) like team was born. The main targets of the mag were to apply political incorrectness to a maximum and cock a snoot at the establishment.
As the years progressed we had regular contributors and by it's demise probably half the employees had contributed something. The development of technology can be seen throughout the life span, from cut & paste to desktop publishing. Later editions had additional material added by others as it left the 'editorial offices' to get printed having a 'many hands feel'
It seemed to achieve what it had set out to do (not sure what that was) because it is remembered fondly. Many thanks to Dave Abberley for supplying 'missing phantom' copies for archiving a few years back. After reading them all again yesterday I am still envious of Jon's ability to deliver the left field, minimalist, killer quip, in text or image. Such as the grim reaper (Sensormatic) with his hands on Knogo's shoulder on the final issue (seen above) an image that a thousand words could not replace.
Yesterdays reading still triggered the editor in me 30 years on and the temptation to 'do those cleanups and alterations' I wanted to do all those years ago was still there. But to do so would be unfair to the memory of The Phantom. The odd thing still makes me cringe a bit (tipex twitching), even after all this time, but mostly it's all good. There are 8 Phantoms to enjoy, actually 9 because two versions of issue 004 appeared, not sure but I think the one that got circulated was 004B. Explanations (as much as we can remember) of Phantoms issue by issue are below so that those who didn't work at Knogo UK finding this page may still get something from the experience.
Things are slowly coming back now, I remember our early writing technique of long phone calls and getting steadly drunker as the material flowed. Probably more like Smith and Jones than Perry and Croft.
Thanks to all those who contributed and enjoy...

The Phantom 001 Phantom001In 1988 we were starting to have regular but sporadic technical meetings and we thought it would be fun to have something to circulate at these. The RF wrap desk reminder had been out for some time and the excuse for an article was the discovered that it was permanently multiplexed, the reason for so many returns. I can't even remember who Sally Elms was but we turned over the odd colourful character in my many years. The much coverted company car was always good ammunition for The Phantom. North, South banter never far away.
At this time the publication was called The Phantom Alarm, this was derived from Ray Higgs calling what most people referred to as false alarms, phantom alarms, sounded rather dramatic.

The Phantom 002 Phantom002The arrival of 001 out of the blue understandably was regarded with some suspicion and did not circulate without some alterations, as I remember.
But the next edition was gifted the arrival of the company promotional riverboat cruise, where a free bar soon had it's effects. As I remember it Christine, who was also our designated driver (seen with Neil Smith's wife) could barely stand when we arrive back at dock, or was it just the sea legs. No idea why Simon had a Tux on. Submissions appearing by this time and we decided to put them in the form of letters to the editor. Spoof classifieds never really caught on in future issues.
Texan turkeys tear up, (my headline, Jon's article), arose from the long defunct DIY chain Texas using security guards demanding full body searches during an install, which I soon pointed out the error of their ways (with mixed support as I remember)..

The Phantom 003 Phantom003Now developing a life of its own and the name dropped to The Phantom.
Knogo buys up the D-Tec UHF system (mixed results from that!)
At this stage, as I remember, Phantom was drawing some critics, but much more praise, even complaints about insufficient circulation. The previous edition had included a voting sheet for Burk of the month all returns had one name unfortunately, although I'm sure the nominee went on to do good things. Hmm we didn't repeat that one.
Technical faxes from Belgium were often so funny you could publish them native and get a laugh. My frustration with parking in Manchester seems to have spilled into this edition too.
Simon's leaving do stripper, I never thought Phantom material, but history saw different.
Quite the eclectic mix this edition.

The Phantom 004/004B Phantom004By now, to some extent produced by computer, but no digital cameras yet so pics still cut and paste.
Two issues found here in the vaults 004 and 004B, there seems to have been a result between the two on the subject of annual leave, (which was particularly stingy as I remember), prompting a hasty edit.
Anne Tenor submissions joined the team at this point (Tony Doyle) for which we are eternally grateful.
I get knicked for over a ton. We get Marc a present at the meeting for being a clever bastard...a car phony! brilliant present. Now that was funny. Yet another ballot paper, less controversial, don't think any were returned, rubbish idea.
Too much pading, not our best effort for me in retrospect.

O Fantasma 005 Phantom005The Phantom in Portuguese. This issue was based around the trip Ray Keeper and I did to Lisbon to assist in a Supermarket install. never a dull moment as you can imagine.
"I'll stand next to those birds with no teeth, you get the photo" his exact words.
The mission was rather a badly planned mess, the' local help' were useless rip off merchants who took Knogo for a ride. Glad to get home.
No input from Jon on this issue and boy does it show. Not sure what the unleaded ramble was about.

The Phantom 006 Phantom006The first of the 'composites' An issue I was never happy with the edit on, (mostly minor esthetics).
The Southern crew added material to make it a Christmas bumper one.
Some good stuff in there, including the eurostandards joke, how good where we! No crystal ball, look at that connector and look at today's engineers needs.
While searching for Phantoms, I came across the real Banana maintenance letter it was based on (Umbrella maintenance) it was almost as funny, could have published it. I think Noel had long gone by now, but the card is funny.
No Christmas party due to rowdiness at the previous one, can't think who they mean.

The Phantom 007 Phantom007Probably it was difficult to muster much enthuasm for this one as Ray Keeper had died of an Aneurysm earlier that year. Truly a remarkable person, I was so glad our paths crossed in life.
However we produced Phantoms Christmas Turkey, we always promised ourselvs a serialised cartoon, but it proved too dificult to achieve long term. Be Wise contract was won (hence the gas masks) and the company car got kicked around again.

The Phantom 008 Phantom008With the end game rapidly approaching. Most of us hoped for a future after takeover, but deep down knew it was the end one way or another for most of us.
Jon and I knew we had to launch The Last Phantom. With a bit of gallows humor. Jon had saved his best for last with that headline. Hats off mate.
Revival chat (mostly when drunk) went on for a while, but deep down we knew it was over.
My copy was signed by everyone at the last meeting, it's the last page on the pdf

The Last Gasp Phantom007This is it, ladies, gentlemen and non binaries. There will be no more output from the Phantom machine. There has been little interest expressed from readers, trolls, haters. So pen (pen? ed.) has been put to paper for the last time.
Enjoy, emulate, plagiarise until your hearts content.
It's 73s from him, me, her, them, Jonny & Pete.
Remember:“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”– Oscar Wilde
The Phantom wierd nonsense 1988 - 2021
All material within this website and downloaded from this website is the property of Peter Nutt & Jon Smith (authors) and may not be reproduced, re-edited, redistributed or sold without the authors express permission