Thistle Publishing Home News Authors About Books

A Polar Bear Ate my Head: Misadventures in Magazines

This is the hilarious and surreal true story of Britain’s biggest ever men’s magazine launch… and the chaos and disasters that followed.

Paul Merrill was an award-winning magazine editor when he was inexplicably chosen to launch Britain’s first weekly publication aimed at the ‘new lad’: ZOO. He quickly gained notoriety after running competitions to find the country’s randiest nanna, ugliest baby and teen mum of the year, and offering prizes of a boob job for your girlfriend, lesbian wedding and even euthanasia.

Then he was suddenly deported to Australia to launch ZOO there, and events became even more outlandish.

Find out how Merrill:

• attacked Tony Blair with a puppet

• lost 130,000 pairs of inflatable breasts in the South China Sea

• accidentally gave his home address to a serial killer

• tried to cook a dwarf

• threw a biscuit at Christopher Lee

• searched for the hottest horse dentist and sexiest wall.

• employed Mo Mowlam as a sex columnist

• was accused by the attorney general of trying to overthrow the government

• persuaded the Aussie prime minister’s daughter to strip off

• was given advice on stain removal by Gordon Brown

• received death threats from enraged Islamists and a convicted killer

Containing hundreds of bizarre and unexpected anecdotes, A Polar Bear Ate My Head is the most side-splitting insider’s account of the world of magazines ever published. Whether or not you’ve ever bought a men’s magazine or been attacked by the world’s largest white bear, you will love this book.


"Hilarious - and your boy will love it too!"


“You’re guaranteed a laugh a page”

The Observer

"A bloody brilliant lid-lifting expose…Frank, funny and enlightening. We have notified our lawyers *****"


“The best book ever written about the excesses and weirdness of the media. Every page is laugh out loud funny”

Will Storr

“A very entertaining book full of anecdotes and insider gossip. 9/10”

Encore Magazine

"This insider's look has the air of Toby Young's How to Lose Friends and Alienate People *****"

Melbourne Weekly

“Straight up the funniest book I’ve ever read – and I haven’t read many books.”

Aussie Rules legend Warwick Capper

"Such a funny book - we loved it, and so did everyone in the office. You've really GOT to read it. "

Amanda Keller WSFM Breakfast Show

“Australia’s funniest author. Everyone should read A Polar Bear Ate My Head, it’s brilliantly funny. You’ll never look at teaspoons the same way.”

Kara Byers, Foxtel

“A very entertaining book.”

Luke Buckmaster,

Buy Paul Merrill