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 27th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on November 10th.
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 issue (scan / txt): under the cover of producing a local guide book, members of the Red Rag collective describe the Reading Chronicle as "a preposterous compendium of estate agents' adverts and sponsored hopping events". There were 300 arrests on the NHS anti apartheid demo on 19th October; a test for antibodies to the AIDS virus is now freely available to anyone who wants it; a new women's health group is to start shortly; Reading Gay and Lesbian Helpline publishes a report to mark six years of continuous operation; Paradise could do with a cleanup; and Red Rag takes on a style correspondent.
One can hardly expect the local labour councillors to throw themselves in front of the bulldozers, because this isn't Prague 1968 and such well-respected people cannot afford to be seen to be identifying with the lumpenproletariat of the Caversham Road.