RED RAG (cover illustration)

Back Issues

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Established 1979
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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 June 9th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 23rd.

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 five and a half years it had never sold a single copy.

In this issue (scan / txt): late on a Saturday afternoon in the centre of town three kids from Tilehurst meet an empty panel of plywood and a shopping trolley full of paint; there are plans for USAF Upper Heyford to store Binary Wave gas, whatever that is; the Tudor Arms loses its credentials; tickets for Glastonbury CND are on sale at Acorn; a loosely situationist meeting will attempt to discuss the secret life of Reading and how to influence councillors by remote control; how to get a sleeping bag from the DHSS; and the Rabbit Squad is back in town. Do not let them into your house.

I rushed over to begin snapping away with a telephoto lens on my camera. I had shots of a pregnant woman being dragged away while her husband was savaged by a dog and beaten. I had pictures of a truck attempting to leave the field while two riot vans hurtled over tents and benders to ram it to a halt. A pity I have them no more. At the first opportunity my camera was taken by a sergeant and two constables and, in my presence, the film very unceremoniously removed.