My Back Pages
It's slightly spooky. As you can see from other pages on this site, I'm a manic collector - political pamphlets, ephemera, lapel buttons. I love the stuff and the vicarious sense of association it allows, the material link to a moment and place and cause.
I've often wondered what happened to all the political detritus I assembled while a hugely ineffective student political semi-activist more than three decades ago. Thanks to a chance web search, I now know.
At some stage over the decades, I have given all this stuff - I guess a cardboard box or two - to an academic archive. (I'd entirely forgotten this act of hubris or generosity.) And there the archivists have, with loving care - or gritted teeth, who can tell - listed every single item. Every handbill, stray magazine purchase, dog-eared poster ... there's even a 45rpm propaganda disc. The list runs to a full fifty pages.
So such ephemeral political publications and causes as 'Strumpet', 'Red Herring', 'Z-revue', 'Fresh Garbage' and Fred Bakunin - which may well have faced the contempt as well as the condecension of posterity - have a toehold in to a new era. And given the amount of time I have spent over the years trawling in archives through political shavings assembled by activist onlookers from an earlier era, I'm glad all this "stuff" has an enduring home.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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