Red Rag

Reading's Only Newspaper


These are the back issues of Red Rag, freshly digitised but still reliably full of mistakes.

Red Rag was Reading's only newspaper. Documenting the minutiae of life in central Berkshire during Thatcher's first two terms in office, it had a noble tradition of misspelling, mixed metaphors, wrong facts, confused political judgements and a readership in its heyday of 4000. It printed practically everything it got sent ("except poetry and party political broadcasts, provided it isn't racist, sexist, militarist or otherwise supportive of oppression"); it aimed to provide a decent alternative coverage of local news and issues from a radical non-aligned position; to promote subversive and creative initiatives; to provide a forum for unorthodox views; to allow some sort of co-existence between a huge variety of interests. An indispensible source of local information? a forum for the self-indulgent and self-important? a continuous experiment in collective, de-centralised organisation? Who knew? But in eight years it hardly sold a single copy.

Issues from 1982 onwards are physically housed at the University of Warwick Modern Records Centre. All content is available online, in two forms: as zip archives, and browsable, arranged by year of publication.

  • 1980, incomplete
  • 1981, incomplete before October (do you have any of the missing issues in your loft? ).
  • 1982
  • 1983
  • 1984
  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1987

A Red Rag Reunion took place on January 10th 2015.

Any thoughts?