Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New Society not Big Society

The summer issue of the V&A Magazine reminds me that I've only got until the 26th September to go to the V&A exhibition of photos from New Society, of blessed memory. Paul Barker, who edited New Society from 68-86, revisits the magazine and its photographs with an essay for the V&A. If you go you can pick up a copy of his Arts in Society, a book of essays reprinted by Five Leaves a few years ago.
His article (and the book of essays) is a reminder of how important New Society was for leftish of centre people writing and reading in that era. Sadly it disappeared into the New Statesman in 1988. Even more sadly it would be hard to imagine a modern day New Society without the backing of local government and charity job ads, which must have kept the weekly afloat.
A surprising number of New Society regulars have found their way to the Five Leaves list - Richard Boston and Colin Ward, both now sadly deceased; Ray Gosling (our re-issue of his Personal Copy arrived today) and the art director Richard Hollis, now running his own imprint under the Five Leaves umbrella. Richard designed the cover for Paul Barker's book, illustrated here. We have, however, avoided Melanie Philips, however, who is busy ranting from the right in the Daily Mail and other places that should have more sense.

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