Back Issues

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Established 1979
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(cover illustration)

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 1985; the latest issue is dated March 17th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 31st.

Red Rag, or Reading's only newspaper, had a noble tradition of misspelling, mixed metaphors, wrong facts, confused political judgements and a readership 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 over five years it had never sold a single copy.

In this issue (scan / txt): the old Unemployment Benefit Office in South Street is squatted for ten days and hosts a series of workshops and projects: from music to video, screenprinting to street theatre, Tai Chi to Red Rag production. The media might think that the Greenham Womens' Peace Camp has faded away, but Newbury Council have set aside £52,700 for evictions during the current financial year; one of the student halls of residence goes Nuclear Free and its president writes with great enthusiasm to Red Rag in the apparent if unfounded belief that Reading's Only Newspaper is the body that can bring this change about; and Woozy Wombat is keen about something but we don't know what.

This is where you get a reputation for oddness, sneaking around town with rucksacks of nettles or bags of rotten vegetation.