A publisher whose print magazines, including Maxim and The Week, are still in full swing despite the detritus of print media, died this week. Felix Dennis, a gaminlike Brit and underdog of the ruling class, made his hundreds of millions by playing to the baser instincts of human nature....much as Shakespeare once did. He loved porn -- whether it was sex porn as in Maxim or computer porn as in Computer Shopper or pop music porn as in Blender -- and hired the best writers, like Charlie Cooper, to write great prose about porn for the people. A poet himself, he not only wrote thousands of rhymes, he also recited them at inebrious readings, much like orgies of old.
I met Felix inside a covered tent at an early Comdex...maybe in the late 80s or early 90s...while he was publishing Computer Shopper, a magazine whose 900-page heft yielded a google of product ads, which in those days were informative -- full of specs and functions -- rather than phantasmogoric. Someone introduced me to him -- I think it was Dennis Brothers, the author of MicroPhone, the telecom software for the Macintosh, which the company I worked for developed and sold.
Felix was a little guy... even sitting down that was obvious. Very little. With round, thick-paned glasses and smoking something, perhaps a cigar or a little cigar, which is what got him in the end.
He told me about the girlie magazines he published in the U.K., Australia, and other parts of the former British empire. He got into computer publishing because he saw a market for a compendium like Computer Shopper, akin to an Amazon storefront for all things computing. He loved publishing and we must have spent an hour talking about the industry. I didn't find him sexist, more like someone who missed out on love, loved to shock, and who made do with physical pleasure (He was said to have bragged about having dozens of mistresses.) and great wealth. And also, great timing.