Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Roneo, Roneo, Wherefore Art Thou Roneo


It was 1968. I was spending a year at Fircroft College in Birmingham. The swinging sixties had just split in two : one faction dedicated itself to overthrowing capitalism, the other to peace, love and chemically-induced oblivion. I hung around with the first crowd. Whilst at Fircroft a small group of us had produced a College Magazine (called, if I remember rightly, "The Firker"). Produced from Roneo stencils cut on my old portable typewriter, it was a mix of satire, poetry and political communiques. At the end of the year we all went our separate ways: mostly onto one university or another. Three of us, Alan Carr, Richard Frost and myself decided to take the old College magazine with us. We would publish it from three centres : Belfast, Lancaster and Stoke-on-Trent. We would all contribute freely and within a relatively unstructured framework. We would call the resulting magazine "News From Nowhere". It would be a vehicle for our thoughts, our fears, our loves and our discoveries. We had two thousand sheets of headed notepaper printed and went on our way. Sadly, not a word was ever written, not an issue ever produced. "News From Nowhere" lived up to its name in a way none of us would have predicted.

What we had done, of course, was to invent the first blog. Sadly, the technology was not available in 1969 to enable the idea to come to fruition. How many of us would be blogging today if we had to cut each entry onto stencils, wrap them around an ink-filled drum, print off piles of ink-smudged copies and post them to readers all over the globe? However, when I started this blog, several months ago there was only one possible name for it : "News From Nowhere". But to be the true inheritor of that concept developed thirty-odd years ago, it needed to be more than just me.
With my old friend David Hornby joining with me in producing the News From Nowhere blog, we have, at long last, the true realisation of that idea. After thirty-seven years of silence, News from Nowhere has finally come home. Hopefully, over the coming weeks and months other voices will be joining us (Alan Carr and Richard Frost, where are you now?). All we need now is an old Roneo machine.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:07 AM

    Happy to help you acquire an old Roneo duplicator. John Sacks, john.sacks@roneo.co.uk

    ReplyDelete