Leeds Other Paper: A sideways look
Copy.Deadlines.Publication.The sweat of the printshop,the raw adrenalin of the editorial office.The rythms of being a freelance journalist with ambition,desire and something new and different to say.
My political and Trades Union activism goes back to 1975,the CPGB and then SWP and its 2 most vibrant off-shoots, the Right to Work campaign and the Anti-Nazi League.Back in ’79,after Callaghan and Labour managed to lose to Thatcher,APEX the clerical workers union(800 members) at Yorkshire Imperial Metals aka The Copperworks at Stourton came out on strike.I contacted LOP with a story and some inside info and the rest is history.
Occasional political satire pieces on the letters page as “The Man in the Queue” morphed in October ’83 to “The Man in the Stand”,Rugby League correspondent.R.L. in general isn’t what the alternative scene let alone the Broad Left at the time “did” or were remotely interested in.
My columns ran mostly uninterrupted through to the infamous demise of Leeds Other Paper’s ill-fated successor, “Northern Star” early in ’94.
But through it all,when there were doubts I ate them all up and spat them out as week by week Man in the Stand match reports and latterly as match previews.My labours of Sisyphus featured and commented on occasionally by wider national media including BBC Radio 4’s “Wilko’s Weekly”which featured LOP nationally in ’88.
There you go.
I always enjoyed and still do enjoy the notion of copy,deadlines,publication.In November ’99 I became the Rugby world’s (in either League or Union) first official Poet in Residence at a Rugby club with the history and pedigree of Wakefield Trinity.Less than 18 months later, Wakefield Cathedral invited me to become their first ever Poet in Residence.Since 2010, I became both Founder of Destiny Poets UK and Editorial Administrator at www.destinypoets.co.uk
But ’83 to ’94 were the visceral years,the coal face years of community and political activism; of leaflets and ineluctably and indispensibly Leeds Other Paper.
Those were the days my friend, and for some of us they never really came to an end.
( The Man in the Bath Chair )