|Issue 4 - April 1972|
we talked about our hopes and plans to become a co-ordinating and information
agent for social, political and cultural groups and individuals in
the north-east. We said that we thought such a body would make existing
and planned groups and projects more successful in realising their
aims, as many were isolated from others doing similar and complementary
projects, and were thus not receiving the assistance and knowledge
which were theirs for the taking had they but known it.
Although we felt this was needed, we weren't sure if it was possible. However, certain groups, namely the police and their big brother the Special Branch, thought that we stood a good chance of putting our plans into effect, for the time between the last edition and this has been one of peculiar happenings.
Shortly after MG 3 appeared we at last got a telephone installed (61242). Considering the untimely clicks and strange noises experienced by both ourselves and people ringing us we have no doubt that the phone is tapped. So if you have anything private to tell us, please don't tell us over the phone.
A few days after the phone was installed a policeman visited us and asked Mike if he could go along to the station that evening to see the CID. Mike, being a brave lad duly went along to be told by Chief Inspector Organ (that's right) that MG 2 was going to the Public Prosecutor following a complaint of obscenity (see page 5). We have heard nothing since and doubt if we will. Chief Insp Organ then went on to ask Mike about his whereabouts the previous Sunday when a bren gun had been stolen from the DLI (war) museum in Durham, saying that Mike was a suspect. The police knew of all Mike's visits to the museum in the previous year. He told them where he had been and was allowed to go. The next day he returned to the station with a witness to corroborate this and was told it was all over. However, the next morning Maurice was woken up by a guy claiming to be from the Special Incidents Squad (Special Branch heavies) who asked him some questions about Mike. When he wasn't able to trick Maurice into making Mike appear guilty he left. Finally Mike went again to the station, this time with legal advisers, and that's the last we've heard.
These events go to show what one comes up against when trying to do something constructive to help achieve a better society. How many people, having read this, do not believe that phones are tapped, or that these events really happened? People should realise the hypocrisy of a system that whilst proclaiming to support freedom of speech and press employs large numbers of special police nasties to identify, and keep track of the activities, of those people who exercise this freedom, regardless of the fact that they are not breaking any laws.
Anyway, having dealt with events in the past, now to mention future plans.
The activities of many individuals and groups in the area are being hampered by lack of facilities. Many have lots of information, advice and propaganda they want to publish but find this difficult or impossible because of the unavailability of duplicators, typewriters and paper. Obviously it would be financially impossible and wasteful for every group to own its own duplicator etc and we feel that the most practical solution would be to have a number of duplicators etc available for use by such groups. So if anyone owns or has easy access to such facilities and agrees to them being used by others, could they drop us a line giving the location of the equipment, acceptable times for using it, and approximately costs (these, we feel, should just cover costs and maintenance). We could then tell people enquiring about such facilities where the nearest available to them are.
We still need more information and sellers. A paper's only as good as the articles in it and can only be read by people if it's sold in the area in which they live or work. At the moment many of the smaller communities and towns haven't been covered - so if you are willing to sell Muther Grumble (and you get 2p a copy), please contact us. At the moment we're £400 in debt and Muther Grumble's monthly costs are a nerve-wrecking £375, all of which have got to be covered by sales. Our main costs are coffee, printing, typewriter hire, rent, telephone, electricity, stamps, paper and biros (we aren't getting anything out of it). So if you feel the north-east needs a community newspaper, then you're just as important as us in ensuring it has one - and what kind of one it is.