I published my first home-made duplicated mag in December 1966. It set me off and I’ve been self-publishing (and others) ever since.
In the spirit of the times, nothing was copyright and smallmags winged like homing pigeons between fellow editors (usually blokes). As a consequence, I have a vast collection of counter-culture literary ephemera. It’s all in boxes etc. from my previous moves and mostly unopened in years.
I’m no archivist. I’m disorganised, careless, and frankly can’t be bothered. One consequence, however, is I can never find anything specific, though I’m certain I have it somewhere. I love that world of small mags: its eccentricities, its heedlessness, its commitment and its passion. In the first week of May I was trying to find something (I failed) and chanced instead upon a duplicated smallmag. It was its cover which caught my immediate attention. Amongst its graphics was this handwritten credo:
The new manifesto calls for
sacking of the royal family;
£100 a week for every child woman and man;
workers’ control of industry;
outlawing of insurance companies;
the army directed to repair of bicycles,
and a free fire service’
I whooped with joy and read on. Untitled, the mag was ‘printed and published by Radio Iceland 13 Overey House Webber Row London SE1’, no editor mentioned but ‘David Radar Wilson (prop.)’ announces ‘….we like to withold information about contributors…prose preferred. Cheers.’
There’s a ‘broadcasting schedule’ which lists the contents but not the authors and it includes – to my surprise – an anonymous poem by me ‘The horizonaI heavyweight’. I have no memory of this mag but must have read it way back and it’s a splendid read now. Its back cover is a piece of sheet music. and its last article is signed (by one Chris White). His last paragraph reads:
He will strike out again, in pursuit of the dreams and they will follow him. He will weave them into a huge tapestry of life, discarding those whose violence is inappropriate, whose message is coarse. Or the dreams will coalesce into an impersonal dream-substance that is the common dream, much as the rivers flow into the sea.
The magazine is undated but I’d hazard it’s from the mid 70s. My poem was clearly written during ‘The Troubles’:
the horizontal heavyweight
Jack Doyle: boxer singer ladies’ man (1913–1978)
a broth of a boy so he was
sang like an Irish nightingale
his mother’s pride and….vain?
Champeen of all Ireland he called hisself
a lovely singer sor
like John Macormac – only wid de gloves
painted suntan liquid under the arcs
worried a punch would lumpen his looks
he sang his heart out from the ring
through blood and teeth sweet as that bird
I hear him now sometimes
crooning and losing
while the radio tells
of Irish boys much sooner lost