Instructing the young, reforming the old, correcting the town, and castigating the age.

In October 0f 2001 a small-format newspaper appeared at book and magazine stores across at least 4 of the 5 boroughs of New York. Copies showed up in coffee houses. Copies were seen on benches. The occasional copy was perhaps taken aloft by a discerning wind. Amid the lunatic crush of printed bombast and color-glossed offal, literate residents of the great city might certainly be excused for having missed its arrival and subsequent departure completely. But if you did it’s a shame, because for its year-long run Three Weeks was without doubt the best written publication the city had to offer.

“I had the good fortune of having been aquatinted with Mr. Brownejohns. We would occasionally share a libation on MacDougal street or browse the nearby record shops. (I remember distinctly that we disagreed on the musical merits of Steely Dan.)”

First: did you mean to write ‘acquainted’ and get headed off by a spellchecker? Contextually it would seem so, but I actually like the idea of getting aquatinted rather a lot!

Second: Steely Dan, yea or nay? I say yea, incidentally. Although afflicted with mellowitis after the first few records, Steely Dan (and I include Donald Fagen’s solo efforts, since nobody can tell the difference) have the virtue of being smart and stylistically unique. They don’t sound like nobody else. In a weird way, the most comparable band is actually Talking Heads, in terms of a similar path through a different idiom.

I go now to read the Three Weeks archive.

posted on 06.08 at 08:22 AM.

@Tom: As to the first- yes exactly. Thanks for the heads up, fixed it.

On the second point I, myself, was then and still am now resolutely pro while Brownjohns was equally as resolutely against.

posted on 06.08 at 09:03 AMjmorrison

you have the complete set! uproar, consternation! I have but a few.  Good find on that website.  Last I heard from Brownejohns was on the birth of my lad.  He responded to the birth announcement and wished us well.  I don’t recall whether I have made an attempts at contact since.

posted on 06.08 at 10:25 AM.

Indeed I do. Also have a stack of strays which I was likely meant to disseminate but kept for myself instead. MWUA-HA-HA!

posted on 06.08 at 03:05 PMjmorrison

The is the most wonderful thing I have encountered on the Internet in some time.

Maybe someone would someday consider making PDFs of the newspaper, or some selection of them. I’m enjoying reading the site but the front pages look beautiful. It would be great to be able to print them out and read them on paper.

posted on 06.08 at 03:38 PMPierce

@Pierce: I knew others out there would appreciate it as much as I did. As for the PDF’s… eh. I don’t know. To much work. Why not email the head of the Brownjohns appreciation society and cajole him? He might oblige.

I remember hearing once that there were plans to publish the whole run in one book, though I don’t know where those plans ended up.

posted on 06.08 at 04:17 PMjmorrison

Ah yeah. I wasn’t suggesting you’d do it, as such. I was just kind of dropping the idea into the ether…

posted on 06.08 at 04:33 PMPierce

Okay, spill the beans…this is a wind-up, isn’t it? I mean, obviously the paper actually existed, but the unbelievably improbable name “Henry William Brownejohns” and his mysterious disappearance get my Bullshit Detector twitching.

Well…if it’s not a literary hoax, you should probably get in touch with the guy. From the site’s FAQ: “I’ve heard from lots of people that they swear they know someone who knows someone who knows who Brownejohns is…but no one ever just knows.” I’m sure he’d be interested in hearing from someone who claims to have gone record shopping with “Brownejohns”.

posted on 06.09 at 08:47 PM.

It’s no hoax Johnny. No joke either. His “mysterious disappearance” was simply the losing track of a friend, which happens all the time. As for his improbable name… well, I didn’t name him, so can’t say much about that. But thanks for the comments. I’m sure you’re not the only one wondering.

posted on 06.09 at 11:00 PMjmorrison

Well, regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes, the writing in Three Weeks is terrific. Thank you for pointing us towards it with your eloquent and engaging post.

(Sorry if I came off a bit harsh up above. 1. I hadn’t yet read the issue archive, and 2. I’m spending the summer tutoring AP English kids in their summer reading, so my tolerance for shenanigans is at an all-time low…)

posted on 06.12 at 06:50 AM.

No worries Johnny, and may no further shenanigans darken your mental doorstep this summer. Damned kids (impassioned and disgruntled shaking of a fist in the air)!

posted on 06.12 at 08:57 AMjmorrison

I would very much so like to get my hands on a copy of Three Weeks.  Have you ever seen one surface in used bookstores or on online marketplaces?

posted on 07.15 at 04:55 PM.

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