RED RAG (cover illustration)

Back Issues

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Established 1979
Free! Fortnightly! Fun!

These are the back issues of Red Rag. They'll be posted here every (usually) two weeks on or around the anniversary of their original publication. We're currently reissuing 1983; the latest issue is dated April 17th (scan / txt); the next one is due out a day early (for May Day) on the 30th.

Red Rag, or Reading's only newspaper, had a noble tradition of misspelling, mixed metaphors, wrong facts, confused political judgements and a print run by now of 1200. It printed pretty well everything it got sent ("unless the Collective judged it racist, sexist, right wing, or supportive of oppressive religions"). 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. And it was free.

In this issue (scan / txt): on 6th April 1983, four plain clothes Drugs Squad officers entered Acorn Bookshop, bearing a warrant to search the premises and seize books under the Obscene Publications Act. They went off with an idiosyncratic choice of books, including: "Junky" by Burroughs, "Doors of Perception" by Huxley, "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Wolfe, "The Dictionary of Drugs", "Hell's Angels" (a Penguin) and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", both by Hunter S. Thompson. All of these can be found in most paperback bookshops. "Opium, Diary of a Cure" by Cocteau was taken, as were "Growing Natural Tobacco", "Tomorrow"s Epidemic" (a War on Want publication on tobacco and the Third World) and "The Coffee Lover's Handbook". The Director of Public Prosecutions will now examine them to see what is "deemed obscene".

And in other news: Thursday May 5th is Democracy Day - don't walk off with the pencil.