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 October 13th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 27th.

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 six years it had never sold a single copy.

In this hastily mimeographed issue (scan / txt): half way through going to press, Red Rag receives a phone call from Acorn to say that their offset litho has broken down; the show must go on but the outcome is even less legible than usual. Minister for Social Security Tony Scumbag Newton, obsessed with the hounding of Bed and Breakfast claimants, his Benefit Regulations declared illegal by Justice Mann, is now using a Specialist Claims Unit to investigate B&B claimants in Reading. They're acting on instructions to find examples of fraud by claimants - information desperately wanted by Newton so that evidence on benefit abuse can be presented in the press, paving the way to dissolving public support for those who live in the appalling conditions which many crook landlords subject people to. The latest scapegoat in the Greenham witchhunt, Katrina Howse, is given a six month prison sentence by Reading Crown Court on framed charges; it's been six lean months since the last Veggie Dining; and Reading Between The Wavy Lines, the 1985-66 edition of the most unpronouncable and indispensable guide to Reading town, has appeared amongst rain, chaos, a Will Hay film of dubious merit and free lettuces.