Tony Elliott, Whose Time Out Clued Readers in, Dies at 73


The magazines started the careers of mostly young writers, some of whom got old with Time Out. “Stephin Merritt wrote ‘69 Love Songs’ when he was our copy editor,” Ms. Stivers said, referring to the leader of the band Magnetic Fields.

Anthony Michael Manton Elliott was born on Jan. 7, 1947, in Redding, England, to Alan and Dr. Katherine Elliott. His father was managing director of a food distribution company; his mother was assistant medical director of the CIBA Foundation. The family moved to London during his second year.

He attended Stowe School, then went on to Keele University in the Midlands city of Keele, north of London, where he edited a student arts magazine called Unit, which ran features and interviews with Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Returning to London during a school break, he found that the local listings in the mainstream and alternative press were thin guides to all that was going on in Swinging London. He felt he could do better.

“In 1968 he came into the Black Dwarf, a radical magazine I was editing, and said he loved the paper, and why don’t we have a supplement that is essentially listings?” said Tariq Ali, a writer and historian who became a columnist at Time Out. “I burst out laughing.”

His original name for the magazine, abandoned days before it went to press, was Where It’s At. Instead, Mr. Elliott borrowed the name Time Out from a Dave Brubeck album. The initial print run of 5,000 copies rolled off a press owned by the local Communist Party.

He was 21.

A pause here to consider Mr. Elliott’s one idea, which seems obvious now. At the time, most publications’ event listings were simply rewritten news releases, presented dutifully. Mr. Elliott and his founding partner, Bob Harris, licensed his staff to be opinionated, funny and idiosyncratic. He demanded absolute consistency of format, typeface and style, “but you could say whatever you wanted,” Ms. Stivers said.

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