No Sex Please, We’re British… Richard Neville & OZ magazine

Richard Neville Oz magazine

A couple of weeks ago Vivienne left a page torn out of The Week magazine on my desk. It was an obituary for one of the three founders of OZ magazine, Richard Neville who died on the 4th September this year. I asked her if she had any connection with him & she told me that she hadn’t, just that she liked him & thought that it might be interesting for this blog.
She mentioned that Neville was Australian & that she liked Australians as some of her most favourite people are from there; Julian Assange, Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Everage) & John Pilger all hail from down under or ‘Oz’.
OZ magazine ran in the UK for 7 years & was a fixture in the counterculture movement between 1967 & 1973, winning renown as one of the most visually exciting publications of the day.
Oz magazine covers
Its articles covered subjects such as flower power, drugs, black power, the Vietnam war, alternative lifestyles, sex & its taboos.
Out of these contentious issues it was of course the subject of sex that gave the establishment their chance to try to crush this opposition (if they can’t get you anywhere else, the establishment can always play their sex card on you. They tried this with the prints for Seditionaries t-shirts for example. So hypocritical, especially considering the Westminster paedophile allegations)
On the 22nd June 1971, a trial began at the Old Bailey in London accusing the three editors of OZ magazine of obscenity & conspiring to debauch & corrupt the morals of young children.
Richard Neville Oz magazine
Number 28 of OZ had been ‘The School Kids’ issue & featured articles and cartoon strips which communicated the teenage view on music, sexual freedom, hypocrisy, drug use, corporal punishment and education. It also featured the piece which got it into trouble, a collage of Rupert the Bear’s head pasted onto the pornographic work of cartoonist Robert Crumb.
The prosecutors completely ignored the point that all the editorial choice & content had been the work of a group of schoolchildren, most of them boys.
The trial lasted six weeks & was the longest obscenity trial in British history. Neville represented himself in court with considerable skill & a lot of wit, adding to the media circus around the event.
The three accused were found guilty & sentenced to up to 15 months each, but after two weeks in prison the conviction was overturned on appeal. Of course, all three had, had their long hair cut off, the usual attempt by ‘the establishment’ to humiliate those out of ‘uniform’, but it didn’t work, the three turned up to the appeal wearing long wigs & schoolboy uniforms.
Richard Neville Oz trial

Here is a link to where you can view the entire offending issue 28. I won’t put it on this blog in case we get charged :-)
Rest in peace Richard Neville & Thank You!

Oz magazine

Richard Neville  Interview  2011

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One thought on “No Sex Please, We’re British… Richard Neville & OZ magazine

  1. Delicious satyrical wit, and fabulous editorial layout. Hardly surprising that the Mary Whitehouse era “establishment” felt so threatened by such outrageously free expression. A truly great legacy left by Richard Neville & Co.