Don, onetime editor of the Clarion, having recently retired from his job at Sustrans, has been keeping himself busy compiling the following information. Anyone possessing any of the missing issues could help by sending in a contents summary.
1/1 Feb. Clarion launched from 3 Marsh Lane, Gillingham Beccles. Main contents – Beccles By-pass, Barsham Fair ‘73; need for rural playing fields; saving allotments. No intro about Clarion. First ever Coypu Comix Strip. Price 10p.
2/1 March. Golf Club extension on Southwold Common; list of shops selling Clarion; one-page article on Black Shuck; announcement of Clarion ‘Travelling Circus’ of local entertainments.
3/1 April. First mention of Clarion subscriptions. Major items on preventing closure of local churches; caravans on Dip Farm, Lowestoft; post of Bungay Reeve; beer; and moated farmhouses.
4/1 May. The importance of May; problems over rural footpaths; ‘Aliens over East Anglia’; fishing for trout; folk music dates.
5/1 June. Long article (‘Dwellers in Paradise’) on the oral history tradition of East Anglia. More from ‘Friends & Neighbours’ column and the Arran Pilot’s regular gardening slot. Four letters from the public, and one page article on E.Anglian round church towers.
6/1 July. Several articles on cycling: its neglect by local Councils, suggested routes, and why we should revive it. Also: herbs, beer, fishing, phantom cyclist of Barnby.
7/1 August. History of the herring; importance of Parish Councils, Barsham Faire 1973.
BARSHAM FAIRE SPECIAL EDITION. 10 pages of features and guide to the Fair.
8/1 September. First colour cover, a ‘Thank You’ to all who made the Fair happen. Also: a long list of local Adult Evening Classes, Playgroups, and ‘Apple Pickin’ Man’ by Andrew Bell.
9/1 October. Reduced from 10p to 5p. Front page about discrimination against people with disabilities. Also: Science of the Supernatural, Sandra Bell explains workings of the East Anglian Arts Trust, Patrick Redsell describes Lowestoft Theatre Centre’s recent tour of Ireland.
10/1 November. Loss of allotments in Beccles; revival of local rail services; regular columns on – Friends & Neighbours, Folk Events, Churches. Also Free Small Ads.
11/1 December. Front page a large ad for Waveney Clarion Travelling Circus at Gillingham Village Hall. Many seasonal ads. Two pages on Healthy Food and where to buy it.
12/1 January. Lead story on alarm at proposals for large-scale marina to north-east of Beccles. Also: Southwold-Halesworth Railway; book and music reviews.
2/1 February. (Wrongly given as 1973). Crisis edition, caused by sudden death of Sandra and Andrew Bell’s baby daughter. 4 page, 3 pence edition put together by Vic Mayes, together with appeal for future help.
2/2 March. Back to 5p and 8 pages, with another appeal for help. Articles on coastal flood threat, proposed closure of Ravensmere Infant School in Beccles, and first appearance of ‘FLIX’ – film reviews by Tim Rayner.
3/2 April. Lead story on threat to Broads from too many hire cruisers. Large ‘Coming Events’ column. Also: perils of eating local shellfish, bird boxes, Global Village Trucking Company (communal local rock band).
4/2 May. Lead story on Wind Power, as ‘during the years ahead we shall have to learn to make far better use of wind and water power’. Also: Wangford Community Centre, Beccles Museum, problems about cost of cookery lessons in schools.
5/2 June. Front page on need to keep local footpaths open. Also a page each on shoppers’ rights and an urban walk through north Lowestoft.
6/2 July. Full page drawing by Paul Tucker re the ‘Beccles Stink’ and lengthy article on the smell from an animal by-products factory. This month’s walk around Easton and Covehithe Broads, plus more on Footpath Laws.
7/3 August. Large articles on lack of employment opportunities for local women, and on low percentage of local school-children going on to further education.
BARSHAM FAIRE SPECIAL edition. A confident 16-page issue, printed in blue, priced 12p and full of features and background information. A one-page list of stall-holders and their wares of particular interest.
8/2 September. Back to 8 pages. Main features on: disputes regarding Golf Club on Beccles Common, the importance of local shops, bird-watching, and details of Evening Classes and Workers Educational Association courses.
9/2 October. Dominated by Housing issues. Includes housing shortages, plight of the homeless, how to buy a house, buying a houseboat, and squatters in Norwich.
10/2 November. Front page on bad housing in St Olaves. Other items: community care, river fishing, old bottle collecting, Punch & Judy.
11/2 December. Front page on Ian Ashford’s drawing of road from Bungay to Southwold, in the style of Ian Ogilvie (1674). Major articles on lack of gipsy sites, winter river ramble, wherries, ghosts and Borderline Science Group, folk music, and edible fungi.
12/2 January. Large article by Ken Cooper on the rights of handicapped people. Also: formation of a Homeless Action Group, vegetable gardening, astrology, and background article on Coypus.
1/3 February. Front page on destructive effects of north Lowestoft relief road. Also: how to get a Housing Grant, more on ghosts/ley lines/UFOs, Council Environmental Health work, flower gardening (by Phil Adelphus) and Beccles Sports Centre.
2/3 March. Main articles: dispute over ownership of Bungay Common; successful outcome of Clarion intervention over sub-standard St Olave’s housing; work of the Samaritans; potato growing; keeping goats; and some musings by Keith Payne about possible restoration of Bungay May Fair.
3/3 April: a 12-page, 6p issue. Main features: ads for Clarion’s ‘Celebration of Spring’ event at Beccles Public Hall and for Paul Fitzgerald/Richard Morgan’s book ‘Tom the Ferryman’. Also: Don Mathew interviews Ronald Blythe (author of ‘Akenfield’) and Pam Cole does the Clarion Walk, along the Hundred River.
4/3 May. Change to A3 format, a doubling in size. Front page, ‘The Beast Lies Down at Sizewell’, a hard-hitting critique of nuclear power. Also an anti-whaling article contains first mention of Friends of the Earth. Plus: Admiral Beatty, Flix, lots of small ads, playgroups, music/folk. Includes A3 EAAT SHEET for East Anglian Arts Trust, which now has a Beccles office and Village Events Package.
5/3 June. Price increase to 10p. Lead story on untreated sewage going in to North Sea. ‘Friends & Neighbours’ column continues, as does Letters, paid ads and events. Articles on jumble sales, recycling, organic farming and loss of hedgerows.
6/3 July. More on Homelessness. Also: measures to protect children from parental beatings, childminders, interview with Adrian Bell, feature on local musician Mike Storey (one of several Andy Bell pieces), Clarion Walk around Aldeburgh.
7/3 August. A very full issue: the need for allotments, Lowestoft Night Centre, bell-ringing, interview with oral historian George Ewart Evans (Don Mathew), Sandra Bell looks forward to Barsham Fair, Lowestoft Life Boat, Thurston’s travelling fair, eel-babbing by David Butcher (subsequently a major local historian).
8/3 August. An increasingly wide range of contributors. John Neville on thatching, Jerry Perry on Beccles Youth Club, Christine Barker on post-natal care, Meg Amsden on Lowestoft Theatre Centre trip to France, plus review of Nicholas Saunders’ ‘Alternative England and Wales’.
9/3 October. Major pieces on the need to revive rail and bus service. Increasing use of Steve Wolfenden photos. Also: bring back the bike, wheelchairs, Beccles Common, Ben Loftus praises horse power.
10/3 November. The Clarion launches its own barter scheme, SWOP. Also: Claimants’ Union, Lowestoft Club for the Elderly, consumer protection, inland water transport, Ruth Sparksman’s ‘Snipz’ column on frugal living. The enclosed EAAT sheet announces the huge financial success of recent Barsham Fair, with £5,500 profit (£500 to go to Intermediate Technology: £1000 to Village Membership Scheme and Mobile Cinema: £1000 for next Fair: and £1500 start-up fund for Bungay May Fair).
11/3 December. Clarion HQ moves to Hill Farm, Weston, near Beccles, together with a revolving Editor of the month system. The back page contains a cheery, slightly hairy photo of all the main contributors. SWOP, FLIX, Admiral Beatty, Music Folk, Friends & Neighbours all of Weston continue. Also: metal detecting, a blind craftsman, Clarion walk in North Lowestoft, probation, play schemes, and links to the Third World.
12/3 January & February combined issue. Beccles concerns – youth centre, Ravensmere School, lack of youth activities. Also: new waste pit at Haddiscoe, Women’s Refuge Centre, Folk, and first ‘Down The Pub’ column by Mick Sparksman. Also EAAT SHEET, giving update on activities and a welcome to Norwich and Norfolk Activities – aiming to do similar events – and mention of Norwich’s community magazine ‘Doris’.
4/1 February (despite previous combined issue). Front page article by David Butcher on Beccles market. Piece by Geoff Waterson on further worries about Bungay Common ownership. Poems by Rob Parfitt. Lengthy feature on vegetables by Admiral Beatty (Rob Parfitt) and on Buster James Band, playing a Clarion benefit at Beccles Public Hall.
4/2 March/April. Lead story on growing problems of waste disposal. Also: more on NANA, Barbara Rickards on prison visiting, Mick Sparksman on Lowestoft pubs.
4/3 April/May. ‘Say No to Sizewell B’. Also: harvest, theatre in education, ‘Olly Olly In’ (unofficial school games), first appearance of City Slicker column about Norwich. EAAT sheet mostly on forthcoming Barsham & Bungay Fairs, plus success of Mobile Cinema.
4/4 May/June. Bungay May Fair Special: included programme, history of past Fairs, blacksmiths, horses. Also: Ravensmere School saved; large features on adopted local musicians Gary Shearston and Hank Wangford.
5/4 June/July. Front page photo of the Can-Can Girls. Several contributions by Andy Bell, including reviews of the Global Village Trucking Company and of Steve Ashley, and also his poem ‘Summer Road & Far Away’. Also: Mike Burgess on Standing Stones, Liz Mathews on Folk, Don Mathew on ‘How I Didn’t Get Elected’ (to Waveney Council), plus large feature on Norwich folk organiser Alex Atterson.
6/4 July/August. Full page ad for ‘The Last Barsham Fair’. Ian Prettyman reminisces more about the lore of school games, surfing in Lowestoft, Sizewell B, Archaeology, Geoff Waterson on Royston & Heather Wood (folk singers).
7/4 August/September. 10 pages, still only 10 pence, dominated by features on Barsham Fair, including site map. Also: Larry Kom from Japan on natural farming, Norfolk Structure Plan, and full page ad for Adnams Bitter.
8/4 September/October: Admin changes: the Clarion moves to 38 Reeve Street, Lowestoft, with Don Mathew as editor. Mick Sparksman retires as lay-out designer after 43 issues, succeeded by Mike Hammond. Ruth Sparksman takes over Subscriptions, and Peter Warbey relieves Patsy Brander to become Business and Advertising person. Dermot Hetherington writes on Hales Hospital and Geoff Waterson on ‘Magic Lantern’ community arts group.
9/4 October: 12 bumper pages including Neil Watson on skateboarding, Michael Burgess on Lowestoft tunnels, David Butcher’s first in series of ‘Building of the Month’, Trevor Garrod on the road lobby, Barbara Cornford on the Norfolk Structure Plan, two uncredited articles on redundancies at Lowestoft Birds Eye factory and Lowestoft Night Centre, reviews of Sandra Bell’s ‘Build Another Barsham’ and of Andrew Bell’s third book of poetry ‘See You at the Beautiful Feast’, plus the latter’s famous elegy ‘Barsham – the Once and Future Fair’.
10/4 November: Neil Watson feature on band Boy Bastin, Jan Martin on Halesworth adventure playground, more on the road lobby, grape-picking in France, Suffolk Structure Plan, and motor-cycle scrambling.
11/4 December: review of the year, Ken Cooper continues, current position on Cannabis, Roger Jones on routes for Beccles by-pass, two-pager by Dyfrig and Angela Hughes on Vegetarianism. Feature on the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA, founded in 1971).
1/5 January: a radical issue. Jeremy Blundell proposes ending compulsory secondary education; Mike Cooley writes on ‘Swords into Plough shares; Arthur Sutton describes the struggle to save small village schools in Norfolk, and Horace Herring reviews ‘Radical Technology’, a seminal book of the time. Nigel Colebrook illustrates a one-page poem, ‘Woodman’, by Gillian Bruce Jones.
2/5 February: continues new tradition of having large photo on front page. This trailed a 2-page feature on ‘Child’s Play’ Playspace Action Group, plus features on street events in Norwich and Lowestoft by Ivan Craggs. There were also two pages on self-sufficiency by Dyfrig Hughes (the co-ordinator of Waveney FoE local group), and a large spread on C19 rural poverty by Don Mathew, with the first of many illustrations by Borin van Loon.
3/5 March: similar themes recur – more on self-sufficiency from Dyfrig Hughes; a page on waste problems by Terry Kelly; Rod Usher on the survival of Aldeby school; and a whole page illustration borrowed from ‘Undercurrents’ magazine (very much required ‘alternative’ reading). Also music critic N Phelge (Andy Bell) makes his debut. His ‘Countryside Gig Guide’ reflects the extraordinary vibrancy of the contemporary live music scene, with thumb-nail sketches of Jon Owen Band, Half Dead Live Band, Buster James Band, Fly by Night Removals, Hank Wangford Country Roadshow, Kangaroo Alley, Dunlop, Latchlifters, and Skelton Level.
4/5 April: some of these bands are mentioned as performing fund-raising events for the forthcoming Bungay May Fair, at Geldeston Village Hall (a focal point for Clarion events, partly because of the ‘Wherry’ pub across the road). Also: Pat Daniel on Women’s Aid Refuge, Transcendental Meditation, a review of ‘Zen and the Art of Motor-cycle Maintenance’, Chris Parfitt on wood-burning stoves and Rob Parfitt on the wood for them.
5/5 May; a 16 page issue, with full colour front and back (ad for Adnams beer). A 15 pence special, mostly devoted to Bungay May Fair, past and present. Some lively letters; Elizabeth Lowe writes on otters; Roger Deakin reviews poems by Elizabeth Smart, Morris dancing; and Cousin David added to list of local bands.
6/5 June: back to 10p. Richard Seago on Friends of Norfolk Windmills; D C Gibbs on the Open University; appeal to fight Windscale nuclear processing plant (now named Sellafield); the opening of ‘Premises’ Norwich Arts Centre, and a lot of letters and ads, including live folk music at the Bear and Bells, Beccles.
7/5 July: a rash of initials. RWC on the Future of the Boards and on the river Waveney; RD on empty houses and homelessness; DM on Mettingham fruit farm and self-sufficiency. A highly entertaining article by Trevor Garrod on injustices at the Ipswich by-pass inquiry (no minutes, no evening sittings, no hearings in Ipswich), TG himself removed by police, and veteran roads protestor John Tyme carried out chained to a table.
8/5 August: a lot more on threats to village schools, plus an article on home schooling. Rod Usher writes on the perils of lead in petrol, Michael Burgess on Suffolk tunnels, Pat Daniel on the Norwich Women’s Refuge, and Dubs Schofield on events in the Leiston area. Also: a large advert for the Eye Show, (which the Fairs community joined with) and a 4-page NANANEWS insert.
9/5 September: a general attack on Norfolk County Council called ‘Social Services or Social Suffering?’ by Jim Philip. Neil Stevenson on Contraception, Margaret Philip on the link between school closures and village decline, Rob Parfitt on lurchers, Joan Rodgers interviews Jon Owen, Borin van Loon on Underground Comics, and Roger Deakin (later to write ‘Waterlog’ and ‘Wildwood’) on a canoe trip down the Waveney (‘Blazing Paddles’).
10/5 October: large feature by Mike Tristram on Lowestoft Night Centre, story by Rod Usher, return of Down the Pub (by Mick Sparksman), working in a laundry, the history of the local fishing industry, problems of the new Lowestoft Relief Road, and the first inclusion of Yarmouth events.
11/5 November: a very eclectic issue (still at 10p), including eels, energy, record and book reviews, Yarmouth news, Margaret Bailey on Edwardian tastes, Robin Dauncy on why most by-passes do not work, and Don and Deidre Shepherd from Wood Farm Vineyard on English wines.
12/5 December: front page article on the wherry ‘Albion’ (then at Oulton Broad) and the money needed to keep her sailing. Also: Graham Gosling on Scroby Sands; Peter Bostock on Lowestoft Night Centre; PBS on nursing; home education; Lowestoft Theatre Co in France; and news and events from Leiston, Norwich and Yarmouth as the Clarion’s sales area expanded.
1/6 January: major feature by Alun Howkins on East Anglian folk music. Plus 1-page article by Jan Martin on Children’s Books. Also: Foots Barn Theatre Co., Pat Drake on Waveney Playbus, Geoff Drake on 12 days on a trawler, David Wright on Wickham Market.
2/6 February: fifth birthday issue (10p). Quick summary of past features, and belated ‘thanks’ to Tom Cann and Colour Artisans of Beccles who had printed all 60 copies to date, and to Clarion typists (very much unsung heroines), Susan, Barbara, Ann, Amanda and Anne. Roger Deakin has a 2-page interview with Paddy Fletcher of Incubus Theatre Co., David Butcher laments during ‘In Memory of Norfolk Beer’; Neil Watson discusses ‘The New Apocrypha’ (a summary of unconventional science and beliefs), and Alun Howkins has a major feature on the 1923 Norfolk Farm Strike. There is also an enthusiastic review of ‘Coypu Capers’, a show based on Mick Sparksman’s then ever-lasting comic strip in the Clarion – particularly the final event, held in Geldeston Village Hall.
3/6 March: the first firm news about ‘Albion Fairs’, a travelling successor to the Barsham and Bungay Fairs. Also: Yarmouth Hauntings by Ivan Bunn, Community Arts by Ivan Craggs, wooden sculptures by Dubs Schofield, home births by Maggie Levien, Stuart Harris illustrates a review of ‘North Sea Surge’, and Oliver Bernard contributes a poem.
4/6 April: a full issue. The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway (‘Last train to Brockford-cum-Wetheringsett’ by Arthur Copping), the campaign for a better deal for cyclists in Norwich (Hugh Brayne); Rev. John Littlewood and Jonathan Miller on ley lines; R A Haxell on Will-o-the-Wisps, Mick Sparksman on jukeboxes, Alan Hewitt on ‘The Whole House Omnibus’; Neil Watson on William Kotwinkle’s ‘The Fan Man’; and ‘Chive Talk’ on the delights of moving to East Anglia, written by John Ellerby with pictures by Pat Carter. Lastly Des O’Brien begins his long-running column ‘Down The Pub’.
5/6 May: another bumper edition. DH on bee-keeping; ORB on Mother Julia, the Paston letters and John Skelton; a map of Outney Common, Bungay; Graham Gosling on the 79 deaths when Yarmouth Suspension Bridge collapsed in 1845; Annie Randlesome on toy-maker Ron Fuller; Jackie Fearnley on home schooling; Ivan Bunn on May Day rituals; and Freddie Murcomb on Peddar’s Way.
This issue, as with so many, was only possible because of the stalwart support of many advertisers whose names became very familiar. Among them: Inwards of Bungay; M Ramm (butchers) of Bungay; Tinker Wholefoods of Walberswick; Dave Ward house renovations; Rainbow Wholefoods, Norwich; the Carpetbaggers Shop; W J Cook newspapers, Beccles; Sargeant’s Nursery; Adnams; Scruton Sewing Shop, Beccles; Head in the Clouds, Norwich; medieval banquets at Three Tuns, Bungay; and East View Guest House for the Elderly.
6/6 June: Albion Fair is up and running, with a presence at Strawberry Fair, Cambridge and a joint event with the Clarion at Wildream Fair, Huntingfield. A first mention of Greenpeace and more from the spreading number of local FoE groups. Plus the Anti-Nazi League, Socialist Theatre by Richard Wilson, aftermath of the Eleni V oil-spill, more John Dashwood illustrations, a good number of book reviews, and complaints that Adnams beer is 29p a pint.
7/6 July: a startling drawing of a pile of rats on the front cover, and a slightly risqué photo of Sandra Bell (as a Can-Can dancer) on the back. Plus: the ‘Featherstone Flyer’ by Dr Kack’s theatre company; the work of Masque Theatre Norwich; a review of George Nobbs’ new book on Norwich, and more on FoE groups/East Anglian writers/loss of village schools.
8/6 August: a ‘FAIRS SPECIAL’, with major features and info on the Fairs at Rougham, Eye and Raveningham, the latter a ‘threshing fair’. Still more on local FoE activity and local writers. Don Mathew reviews Robert Malster’s book on ‘Wherries and Waterways’, a poem by Roger Deakin, and first appearance of the cloth-capped quizzical gent looking at short measure in ‘Down the Pub’.
9/6 September: a special issue on ‘Cycling’ as an environmental and sensible mode of transport. Front page illustration by Borin van Loon; items on cycling in Norwich and Yarmouth, and Andy Bell’s thoughts on ‘Swift Travel’. Whole page feature by David Butcher on damaging historic fires at Diss, Bungay, Beccles and Lowestoft. Les Smith on phosphate pollution of the Broads; Premises Art Centre in Norwich on the move; a feature on Francis Codling of Bungay (well-known landlord of the White Horse). Once again Tim Rayner shows ‘Flix’ on Lowestoft Friday nights. Grief that the Hank Wangford Band had ceased (though only in that guise, as it turned out).
10/6 October: some more on cyling, and some feedback on the Albion Fairs, plus Andrew Bell’s epic short poem about Eye Fair (‘Dragon Hill’). Plus: Factory Farming; Veal; Jenny Shevlin on claiming Benefits; more on Cycling by David Wright; St George’s Art Centre, Yarmouth; large review of Rowland Parker’s ‘Men of Dunwich’; Chris Holmes on ‘Summerhill after Neill’; Steve Smith on music in Norwich pubs and a great deal of events – Clarion Ceilidh at Hoxne, Footsbarn Theatre Co presenting ‘The Tempest’, and the beginning of Friday night Geldeston gigs.
11/6 November: a great amount on the local music scene, plus Musikxtra flier featuring an extraordinary amount of high quality gigs, with profits split between the Clarion and Geldeston Village Hall Fund. Also: an article on the Hall itself; Andy Bell interviews Kangaroo Alley from Norwich, and in his guise as rock critic ‘Phelge’ once more struggles with his Editor, Don Mathew, increasingly known – for various reasons – as Captain Sensible. Several long letters, including one on Cycling from the Waveney Planning Officer. Also: historic alternative medicines (Ivan Bunn); a day in the life of an industrial Chaplain; the first appearance of ‘Snipstrip’, and of ‘Heavens Above’ by Mike Poxon.
12/6 December: a 16-page Christmas Special, for 15p. Centrefold is ‘Snakes and Ladders’ style ‘The Great Beet Route’ by Mick Sparksman. Other main features include a history of Liverpool Street station; the possibility of a Broadband barrier at Yarmouth; the astonishing postcard collection of Mrs Porter from Beccles; the second part of Arthur Copping’s ‘Idle Thoughts by an Idle River’; ‘Elemental Harmonising’ by Jill Bruce (explaining her work at the Fairs with Bruce Lacey); a review by Sandra Bell of Michael Burgess’ ‘The Standing Stones of Norfolk and Suffolk’ (plus a rare poem by Keith Payne); a big interview by Andy Bell of James Lascelles and Mike Storey of the Incredible Ivory Brothers on their new band ‘Cuckoo’.
1/7 January: some lively correspondence, complaining of typos (Jill Bruce), reporting of folk music, and of Suffolk and the Clarion getting complacent. Plus: an anguished editorial apologising for putting the price up to 15p; front page by Keith Williamson on ‘UFOs over Waveney’ (leading to this issue selling out at all outlets); Hugh Walding on the Breydon Barrier, and the short-lived notion of creating a river short-cut between Acle and Cantley, thereby by-passing Yarmouth; Lizzie Lowe on Otters; DS on ‘East Anglia at War 1939-45’; and more on musician James Lascelles.
2/7 February: a reversed black/white front and back, seventh anniversary issue, announcing yet another Clarion Benefit Concert, this time at Gillingham Village Hall. Also large musical features on Steve Ashley and on the Tannahill Weavers (playing at St Edmunds Hall, Hoxne, -except it was snowed off). Plus: anonymous Lowestoft Co-op Factory writer, claiming there is a secret plan to close the plant (it did); DM on ‘Day in the Life: Roadsweeper’; CP reviews Michael Watkins’ oral history ‘This Other Breed – East Anglians’; and Victoria Plum starts her ‘Up the Garden Path’ column.
3/7 March. An Environment Special and one of the great front pages. No text, just a large Borin van Loon drawing of two children at a cross-road: one direction is labelled ‘Doom, Destruction, Despair’, the other ‘Wholeness, Harmony, Radiance’. Inside are six features on the rapidly growing Friends of the Earth; a full page on the Greenpeace boat ‘Rainbow Warrier’; Hugh Brayne on the East Anglian Cycle Roadshow; features on the YHA and riding for the disabled; Day in the Life features work on a lightship; and lengthy regular columns by Mike Poxon (Astronomy), Des O’Brian (beer and pubs), and the local music scene (Phelge).
4/7 April. Green issues dominate again. In a first, the Clarion was organising a bus from Bungay to a big demonstration at the site of the proposed nuclear power station in Torness, Scotland. Criticism of FoE by ‘Dissenting Voice’ (Don Mathew in disguise) aroused fierce reactions in the letters page. On a broader scale, George Delf from the Centre for Village Studies in Yoxford wrote a lengthy article on the issue of ‘Suffolk – Old Hag or Sleeping Beauty?’ CS also wrote a lengthy piece on land ownership. Waveney FoE published their report on ‘Cycling in Lowestoft’. Elsewhere Andy Bell wrote on singer Steve Ashley, Albion Fairs geared up for its second year, and Simon Loftus of Adnams took columnist Des O’Brien to task over his criticisms of the previous months.
5/7 May. This issue carries 4 arranged responses to George Delf’s Suffolk article, from the local Conservative, Ecology, Labour and Liberal parties. Plus: agreement on the Beccles by-pass, Ivan Bunn on the 1970 Lowestoft earthquake, Brian Pattenden on hang-gliding, John Ellerby on Sam Easey (the much-loved caretaker of Geldeston Village Hall), the start of the Clarion Chess Challenge, a lengthy Andy Bell feature on local R & B band Dunlop (‘The Band That Stood Up’); big ad for the Oaksmere Fairs (Spring Folk and May Fair), and more news on the thriving music scene, including a flyer for the May/June Geldeston Gigs in support of the Clarion.
6/7 June. The front page – ‘Uncommon Market’ – heralds a long piece by Daif (Dave Lee, the Clarion’s rep in Norwich) on the city’s ancient market and describes some of the stalls. More Norwich influence from long-standing ‘Head in the Clouds shop’; Norwich Folk Festival; details of 8 outlets now selling the Clarion. Elsewhere: George Delf responds to the politicians in previous issue; Pam Cooke interviews Christine Pearce, the UK’s youngest female truck driver; Andy Bell reports on the Torness demo; and there is yet more music – notably a feature on the Short Wave Band and another flyer as Geldeston Gigs extend into July with the Marauders, Pete Kirtley’s Mob, and Ronnie and the Roofers promising alcohol-fuelled mayhem, Gay Gordon and the Cumberland Squares play a benefit ceilidh in Ditchingham in aid of Keith Payne and Peter Warbey doing their ley-line walk from Cornwall to Corton.
7/7 July. Ecology continues with a large feature regarding the Whale Rally in Trafalgar Square and the front page photo proclaiming ‘Whales are Disappearing’. There are paid ads by FoE head office and a piece by FoE Director Tom Burke reflecting on the body’s first decade. Also: Don Mathew reviews East Anglia’s fishing history; Sandra Bell looks at the need to preserve traditional farm buildings; Alan Bateman makes the case for naturism; Roger Deakin interviews Scottish folk-rock band the Tannahill Weavers; and Lyng Fantasy Fair has a half-page ad.
8/7 August. A classic 16-page 20 pence issue, with green front, back and inserts. It includes a site plan for Rougham Tree Fair; 2 pages on the trees in the Druidic alphabet; large ads for the Eye Show and Country Fair and for the Stour Valley Fire Fair; a report on the FoE Whale events; a lengthy report on a nuclear seminar held in Norwich; more on the keen competition to wear the Clarion Chess Jacket; an alarming drawing of Judas Priest by Borin van Loon; the founding of the Waveney branch of the Ecology Party (forerunner of the Green Party); more on the importance of re-using redundant farm buildings (based on a report by Sandra Bell and Prue Loftus) and Don Mathew realises the fantasy of a life-time by turning rock critic for the day and interviews Andy Barton of Ronnie and the Roofers and of Reg Rabbit and the Fast Breeders. Lastly page 6 on ‘Do It Yourself’ has a seminal article on the difficulties of sustaining alternative journalism, together with a map suggesting how East Anglia could be carved up into different circulation areas.
9/7 September: a quieter issue, in part centred on the annual Raveningham Threshing Fair. The lead story commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of the Halesworth-Southwold railway. Paul Scheller previews a forthcoming Anglia TV documentary on the Broads; there is more on cycle campaigning in Lowestoft; Paul Weston writes on recycling farm tools and Paul Quant discusses Morris Dancing. The Clarion tip toes round the legal minefield of the Fred Riches case, as written by the Rev Jack Burton (claiming that farmer Riches was framed by the ‘Norfolk establishment’). Andy Bell is given ample space not only to attack his Editor (again…) but to highlight new country-rock group the Bottle City Rockets.
10/7 October: 16 pages for 15p. A special issue on the decline of the Broads, based on the Anglia TV feature ‘No Lullaby for Broadland’. Includes pollution, muddled management, a possible Breydon barrier, Ranworth Conservation Centre and bird-watching. Plus: Sandra Bell on Bungay’s Town Recorder Frank Honeywell, Hugh Brayne on FoE Cycle Roadshow, Susie from Shrub House Farm on a fraught journey to support the Right to Work march, and news of yet more Geldeston Gigs. Also some retirements – Don Mathew as Editor, Anne Scriggins as typist, Lizzie Lowe as Treasurer and Mike Poxon as astronomer.
11/7 November: the Clarion is now run from 86 Tonning Street, Lowestoft, with John Ellerby as Editor, Pat Carter as typist, and Patsy Brander back for Business & Advertising. Ruth Sparksman continues for Subscriptions and Mike Hammond stays at his strenuous post as Design Editor. Mick Sparksman’s Coypu strip continues its unbroken run, and Phelge, Victoria Plum and Des O’Brian still write at length. Yarwelp begins ‘On the Wing’ bird-watching column. The main feature is a report on the National Front conference at Yarmouth. Also: Jenny Shevlin on Gingerbread, John Ellerby on Nuclear Power, Pat Carter interviews Mick Sparksman, and dairy farmer Peter Thirtle is the subject of ‘Day in the Life’.
12/7 December: another classic cover, of a cruise-missile over East Anglia, with the caption ‘Happy Christmas’. More on the proposed deployment of these US weapons inside, plus possible threats to local rail lines, Kathy Reay on the poor state of Lowestoft’s play areas, Sandra Bell on the Payne/Warbey ley-line walk, Don Mathew on David Butcher’s book ‘The Driftermen’, Tim Rayner on films, and again a large number of rock/folk/film events.
1/1 January: lead feature is by Gil from Beyton on trees and their value. Also: 2-page story ‘Bust-up at Busselbay’ by Miss Oory and Mrs Sippy; Pat Carter interviews Lowestoft artist John Reay; Don Mathew on National Bike Workshop in Norwich; Graham Button on threatened public service cuts; and Georgina Smiley on anti-Cruise missile lobby.
2/8 February: seventh birthday, and front page announces large celebration at Geldeston Village Hall. A whole new range of vital advertisers (Suffolk Pine, Chris the Truck, W E Lowe, Rainbow Wholefoods, Capsicum, St Johns Antiques). Also – Cruise missiles, Sizewell, FoE’s role, battery farming, debate on the Corrie Abortion Bill (Lynda Waterson). Pete Draper is the Milkman in ‘Day in the Life’ (DM).
3/8 March: issue dominated by nuclear stories – Sizewell B, radiation, costs, design flaws, accidents, civil liberties, the solar alternative. Contains a flier for ‘March for a Nuclear-Free Future’ in London. Plus: early news of summer fairs and announcement the public can now buy Clarion badges and t-shirts.
4/8 April: the future of North Sea fishing dominates. David Butcher’s lead article is ‘1,000 years of Fishing’; editor Ellerby contributes ‘Last of the Hunters’ on Lowestoft’s fishing decline; Linda Shaw writes about ‘Long-lining’. Plus: John Ellerby on Civil Defence, Philip Evans on Footsbarn Theatre Company, and latest EAAT/Fairs news.
5/9 May: The Ariel Fair at Hemingfleet promises a host of delights. Also: Pat Carter interviews Lowestoft artist Will Hacon; JE on the loss of local allotments; news of the Argyle Street squat in Norwich; William Duffield on the Soil Association; and a chance for the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation to buy Carlton Marshes near Oulton Broad (later successful). The 3rd edition of EAAT Crafts Directory is now out, and the Clarion features in a bibliography by the Minority Press Group ‘Here is the (Other) News’.
6/8 June: front page feature on the Southwold-Walberswick ferry. A packed 12 pages includes problems on Outney Common, Bungay; news of Lyng Fair; Paul Quant on Morris Dancing; Peter Gerrell on horse brasses; Graham Gosling on St Fursey of Burgh Castle; news of anti-nuclear events (energy and missiles); Mick Sparksman returns with a beer column; and in a new venture (‘Sick as a Parrot!’) Honest John writes on Norwich & Ipswich football news.
7/8 July: Grim stuff: 3 full pages, two casting serious doubts on the Government’s ‘Protect & Survive’ post-nuclear survival strategy, the other (by Elizabeth Sigmund) on the Chemical Weapons. Plus: JE interviews local photographer Steve Wolfenden; discord at a Stalham meeting showing ‘No Lullaby for Broadband’, and news from the Ariel Fair. No-one was successful in human-powered flight – and there had been a serious fire 2 days after the finish.
8/8 August: a 14-page edition to promote Rougham Tree Fair. Contains programme fliers and some detail of artists, a Sandra Bell feature on theatre group Forkbeard Fantasy, how to age a tree, an article on Dutch Elm Disease, and a major piece on hedge destruction funded by EU farming policy, plus features on organised husbandry and forming a Smallholders’ Association. Phelge mentions a long-running music magazine ‘Folk Penny Bit’, edited by Alan Walters. Lastly, news that a Clarion-style journal has appeared in North Norfolk, ‘The Paper’, edited by Bernard Phillips.
9/8 September: a large number of news, views, adverts, events, book reviews and regular columns. There is a feature on Footsbarn Theatre Company, fiction in the form of Petunia’s Diary, and some anguished debate on nuclear missiles. The front page is on the re-thatching of the roof of Barsham Church, whilst Linda Waterson reports on Norwich Women’s Centre.
10/8 October: (though not for the first time the month gets forgotten). But a real and highly detailed piece of investigative journalism, examining how apparently a combination of dodgy directors and Barclays Bank had all but destroyed the historic Leiston engineering firm of Richard Garrett. Plus: more passionate discussion on nuclear weapons; the lengthy ‘Death of a Dyke’ piece about the drainage threat to Broadland grazing marshes; primitive Methodists in Bungay; a lot of small book reviews; Yarwelp signs off from bird-watching; and Rob Parfitt laments the recent death of local author Adrian Bell.
11/8 November: a lengthy review by Don Mathew of David Butcher’s new book ‘The Trawlermen’, and a shorter piece by him interviewing John Seymour of self-sufficiency fame. There is a large follow-up to the Richard Garrett story, basically suggesting the pension fund has been spirited away. Freewheel Bookshop in Norwich is becoming a centre for radical and alternative thinking and ‘Flipping the Pages’ gives an excellent thumb-nail sketch of contemporary magazines. There are increasingly long and impassioned letters in response to Clarion features, notably on nuclear issues – plus a healthy amount of advertising, many events, and a trailer for the Clarion’s 8th anniversary exhibition in Lowestoft Library.
12/8 December: a Christmas issue packed with short snippets rather than long articles. More on Freewheel Bookshop, on Garretts, on a possible Yare Barrier, and on Cycling. Even more letters, two of them a tribute to the late Stuart Harris, who as Senior Arts Lecturer at Lowestoft College of FE had been a founder member of EAAT, a designer of early Fairs posters, and an inspiration to his many students.
1/9 January: most articles go unsigned. The front pages bemoan the state of current cinema in Lowestoft, while on p.5 GB describes the curious world of the Kessingland Kinnodrome, owner Everard Wigg Carrebar and his board game Solotogo. Plus: a review of Stephen Peart’s ‘The Picture House in East Anglia; an item on the National Union of Unemployed Workers; Hot Dawg on the rise of ‘free-sheets’ and the problems they pose the established press; 2 Yarmouth poems by John Dashwood; and news on cycling, heavy lorries, Anglian Water.
2/9 February: a 16-page, 30 pence, Eighth Birthday Special. The front page is an ad for Clarion events at Geldeston, the back an ad for its Art Exhibition in Regent Road, Lowestoft – both big fund-raisers. Inside Don Mathew interviews folk band Blowzabella; Kabal on ghosts at Blythburgh; Waveney FoE on beach pollution; a profile of Norfolk cider-maker Maurice Brooks; Colin Bannister on Lowestoft artist Will Hacon; reports on discussions regarding the future of the Fairs; and 3 lengthy thoughtful pieces – Mike Reeder on the future of work, Howard Kelsey on the church and the nuclear deterrent, and a group letter trying to define the ‘Alternative Society’ and how it organises itself.
3/9 March: back to nuclear worries, both power (especially Sizewell B) and missiles and a considerable spread of public meetings to debate both. Features on 3 favourite theatre groups: Cliff Hanger, Incubus, and Forkbeard Fantasy. The indefatigable Victoria Plum has even more to say in her gardening column; Events, Flix and Small Ads continue strongly; and small local Fairs are very much in vogue this year.
4/9 April: issue missing.
5/9 May: lead story marks 10th birthday of Friends of the Earth, noting its extraordinary growth in 10 years, not least its 250 local groups. Former Clarion editor Don Mathew is interviewed in his new capacity as Bicycles Campaigner at FoE. However, main feature is probably a scoop, current editor John Ellerby securing a lengthy interview with Norwich City star Justin Fashanu. Elsewhere Jude Smith reports at length on the first international anti-missiles meeting in Brussels. Page 2 has an impressive list of small-scale local Fairs in East Anglia.
6/9 June: the 100th edition. An impressive amount of advertising and events. The Fairs are in full swing, and there is a full page ad for Blyth Green Fair. There is an introductory feature about the Clarion on page 2, complete with only the second ever photo of its main stuff. On the serious side is a page-long piece on the perils of microwave transmission; an interview with new County Councillor Alison Child; more on North Sea herring; Graham Gosling interviews John Marjoram, one of the Broadland River Inspectors; and Maureen Long writes further about Everard Wigg of Kessingland.
7/9 July: Fairs again, with full page ad and plenty of details on Follye Faire at Hevingham and Faerie Fair at Lyng. However, the main feature by CJE is on some grim stats relating to Len and Sheila Baker’s ‘Swan Rescue Service’. Also: Ipswich Women’s Group, ‘The Rape of Magic’ film (by Clive Dunn), CJE again on the Halvergate Marshes, and Honest John returns for the new football season.
8/9 August: the front cover shows the route of the Great British Bike Ride, being undertaken as a fund-raiser for FoE, and undertaken by John Ellerby, Mike Hammond and Pat Carter from the Clarion, and Don Mathew from FoE. Elsewhere ads for Stour Valley Rainbow Fair at East Bergholt and Rougham Harvest Fayre. Plus features on the Cold War and the missiles crisis (Howard Kelsey); settlement of the draining of Halvergate Marshes dispute; yet more on Everard Wigg; Anna Joyce interviews Meg Amsden and Frances Key of Lowestoft State Puppet Theatre; and Rose Loftus expresses concern over chemical sprays for farming. Enclosed is a flyer advertising an ambitious programme of events at the King’s Head, Bungay.
9/9 September: front page and main story concerned the Great British Bike Ride and the highs and lows of Clarion staff on this 1,000 mile epic. Also: second homes, family genealogy, homeopathy, interview with Leslie Crowther (appearing in Lowestoft), cider making, Charles & Di’s wedding, and news of a 12-hour Geldeston Gig
10/9 October: a strong anti-nuclear front page, followed by advance news of a big demonstration in Hyde Park. The East Anglian Arts Trust is still vibrant, a letter complains about the Clarion advertising a circus with animals, Victoria Plum presses on, women in films, Halvergate Marshes once more, and news of the East Anglian Film-makers Co-operative.
11/9 November: contrasting fortunes of sister papers. Stour Valley ‘Grapevine’ has folded, but the North Norfolk ‘The Paper’ allows reproduction of a lengthy article by John Rosser on how to claim Family Income Supplement. Plus: a report on the Hyde Park demonstration; a biting attack on Suffolk County Council for their handling of the planning application for Sizewell B; big worries about how the new District General Hospital at Gorleston would work; concern over small rural schools in Suffolk; Robin Sadler on passive solar heating; and news of FoE’s attempts at mandatory glass bottle recycling.
12/9 December: John Rosser has another full page, this time explaining the Supplementary Benefit jungle. Opposite is a whole page, ‘Blood from a Stone?’ on the experience of those trying to claim SB in Lowestoft. Plus nuclear power issues, more on bottles recycling, the draft Lowestoft & North Waveney Plan, news of the Alternative Forum in Norwich, and DM interviews Lowestoft hero and historian Jack Rose.
1/10 January: missing.
2/10 February: front page and feature on the new ‘sun-burst’ village sign for Barsham. Designer Keith Payne explains. Roger Deakin re-appears, with an extremely detailed analysis of singer-song-writer Carole King, due to appear at Snape Maltings in April. Elizabeth Butterworth on Women’s Day meeting in Eye, and an oddly much delayed article (by Mike Reeder) complaining that animal welfare agencies are doing nothing to stop the extermination of the coypu. Miraculously, Mick Sparksman’s ‘Coypu’ comic-strip has – like the Clarion – just completed its 10th year.
3/10 March: Barsham disasters: the new village sign has been decapitated, and a complete dampener has been put on any more Fairs there. Jill Bruce writes about fiddle player Julia Clifford on the ‘Artists Celebrating Ancient Places’ project and on the East Anglian Gate at the forthcoming Greenham Common event. Robert Stirling is still doing his National Health Service column. There is an impressive list of Fairs planned for the summer.
4/10 April: missing.
5/10 May: missing.
6/10 June: 16 pages, printed in green, and absolutely packed with action, events, news and argument, the last being some impassioned debate about ‘whether the alternative society has copped out’. Worries about nuclear missiles have intensified. But the Fairs are in full swing, with Bungay Green Fair on Outney Common setting the pace, and allowing for more Bungay features, a potted history of the town and a lengthy article by David Butcher on growing up there. Victoria Plum wrestles with school closures in S. E. Norfolk, and Desmond Fairybreath injects his own thoughts. Clarion changes are afoot: Pat Carter retires as typist (to be succeeded by Debbie Fox), Tony Stennett takes over Distribution, and John Marshall-Potter emerges as Music Critic.
7/10 July: missing.
8/10 August: changes at the top. John Ellerby retires as Editor, and is succeeded by Anne Scriggins (also Lowestoft). Mike Hammond steps down as Design Editor, to be succeeded by Gordon Songer. In another sign of change, Waveney FoE seems about to fold. However the second edition of the ‘Rural Resettlement Handbook’ has sold well. The main Clarion feature is a lengthy article by Mike Burgess, alleging that most Broadland ghost stories are hoaxes. The back cover is a full page ad for the Fire & Water Fair at Bayfield, north Norfolk, and Fair news/events/Peace news/crafts fill much of the paper.
9/10 September. Fairs still rule, with Rougham Tree Fair at the start of the month, the Castle Fair at New Buckenham on the 12th, and the Pure Energy Fair at Westleton, Suffolk, in the middle. Also: reviving the Woodcraft Folk, past lifeboat rescues, pigs and factory farmings, a ‘Depth Journal’ workshop in Norwich, lots of events – and Coypu continues.
10/10 October: two features on Lowestoft’s past from Don Mathew – a review of Eastern Angles’ production of ‘When the Boats Come In’, and a summary of Bob Malster’s book ‘Lowestoft: East Coast Port’. Two pages of various nuclear news, including a further proliferation of Peace Groups. However, the main discussion point is the future of the Fairs, what to do about the Peace Convoy (John Ellerby); and news that Richard Barnes is seeking material for a book. The heart of the matter was the size of the Fairs and who was to organise them.
11/10 November: main feature a discussion on the position of women, by Pat Carter, Jaki Carthy, news from women’s groups at Greenham Common, A Mann, and a report on Women’s Film weekend in Norwich. Also: worries about the future of Premises Art Centre in Norwich. There is outrage that the proponents of Sizewell B nuclear power station will have millions of pounds of public money behind them, but objectors will receive nothing. Plus: a borrowed article by Martin Newell from Stour Valley ‘Grapevine’ on ‘Fanzines’ and a piece by Martin Darby on the problems the new ‘free-sheets’ are causing to the newspaper world.
12/10 December: still at 30p and 12 pages. Lots of news about the Fairs, musical events, Geldeston Gigs re-starting, a preview of the Rayner/Ellerby film ‘Blak Flak’, a whole page collage by Mick Sparksman, Don Mathew re-visits the topic of Children’s Games, Dave and Linda Ward report from Zimbabwe, Neil Watson reviews Bill Goode’s book on Round Tower Churches, and there’s a review of David Butcher’s latest ‘Living From the Sea’.
1/11 January: missing
2/11 February: missing.
3/11 March: back cover is an excellent picture of folk group Blowzabella, plus article inside. Front cover and inside relate to rail issues. Trevor Garrod has all of p.4, firstly to examine the current state of the local railways, secondly to discuss the threat to the national network posed by the recent Serpell report. There is also a lengthy interview with Jack Reynolds, train driver and local Councillor. Also: a lengthy piece on the Argyle Street squat in Norwich, Rosie discusses the problems of a divorcée, a report from CND’s national conference, another report from the Sizewell B public enquiry, Joy McLeod on problem drinkers, and a feature on Astral Chess.
4/11 April: missing.
5/11 May: part of 6/11 June. Another 16-page issue headed ‘Campaigns Galore’. Some of this leans heavily on material provided by trade union NALGO, focusing on fears about cut-backs in social services, education and public transport. There is also great concern about the planned privatisation of gas, water and electricity. By way of escape, Lowestoft College offers a wide range of courses for mature students and these are explained. Maggie Bullard writes of her own experiences, whilst Rosie describes her life as a door-to-door saleswoman. Mr Atom has a great deal to say on nuclear matters, and Old Uncle Catastrophe reports on Ralph Nader’s appearance at FoE’s Green Rallies. Neil Watson describes the work of modern toy-maker Henry Spratt, and there is still much news of Fairs, Events, Folk Music, Cinema etc.
7/11 July and 8/11 August: missing.
9/11 September: the Clarion is facing hard times and has reverted back to A4 size. The previous issue had featured a ‘Crisis’ appeal, and Derek Smith is in charge of the Appeal Fund, with Carol Smith doing Design. Other changes see Anne Clarke, John Ellerby, Don Mathew and Mick Sparksman listed as ‘Contributors’, and the HQ address reverts back to 38 Reeve Street, Lowestoft. The centre-fold of this brown print issue is a discussion about the future of the Fairs, in part based on a review of ‘The Sun in the East’ – Richard Barnes’ collection of writings and photographs, an advert for which takes up the back cover. Also: lots of Norwich events (eg Premises Art Centre, Cinema City) and others at Ipswich, Aldeburgh, Yarmouth. A great amount from Mr Atom, and a large feature on Rabies.
10/11 October: a ‘Beer Special’, partly to coincide with the 6th Norwich Beer Festival. More inside on this: what is ‘real ale’, an illustrated ‘Down The Pub’, Adnams, women and pubs, DM on ‘Real Ale ‘n’ Reality’, and Julia on the fight to save the Rushall ‘Half Moon’. There is a ‘Clarion Crisis Roll Call’ showing those who have helped financially, plus a whole page ad from the Norfolk and Norwich branch of the National Union of Journalists, supporting the Clarion and ‘urging other trade unions and community groups to offer support by subscribing and advertising’. JE reviews Eastern Angles’, ‘No Song, No Supper’; Amanda Wright describes the Glasshouse community business centre in Norwich; Mr Atom reports: and the Clarion interviews Lowestoft’s Chief Superintendent.
11/11 November: a retro look, with a Coypu cartoon and Mike Hammond as guest Designer. In a nice touch, Albion Fairs has donated to the Crisis appeal; more on beer, with a 2-page centrefold – ‘Nine of the Best’ – on rural pubs by Arthur Copping. Plus: John Ellerby on ‘Pipeline’, a youth monthly in Ipswich; bowls; book reviews by Andy Highfield; nuclear missile news looking ahead to a Winter Solstice gathering at Lakenheath; changes to the Benefit system; and the astonishing news that Suffolk Coastal District Council are opposing plans for a fisherman’s shed on the beach at Sizewell – whilst supporting a nuclear power station being built a few yards away.
12/11 December: Lesley and Ivan Bunn have come forward as designers. The future of the Fairs is again discussed, and there are plenty of small-scale articles, plus a large one on trading standards and potential Christmas rip-offs. Neil Watson writes on domestic pianos, Don Mathew reviews Jack Rose’s latest book on Lowestoft, Karen reports on Footsbarn in France, there is a poem by Oliver Bernard and a healthy array of events, films and music.
1/12 January: a new year dawns, but there are still appeals for money to keep the Clarion afloat. However, it remains at 16 A4 pages for 30 pence, with a healthy and entertaining amount of advertising. Mr Atom returns; Lesley Bunn writes about the Waveney Playbus; there’s a review of odd Items of 1983; Norfolk’s bus services are under threat; a peace camp is planned for USAF Alconbury, and Folk Clubs are still thriving.
2/12 February. 11 years old. A ‘Mysteries’ special issue: Richard Haxell describes the history of the Borderline Science Investigation Group and its journal ‘Lantern’; Mike Burgess traces the tales of Black Shuck; Ivan Bunn writes on ‘Haunted Hostelries’, and also delves into the ‘Rendlesham Forest UFO Mystery’. This leaves little room for anything else except news, events, music, etc.
3/12 March: a ‘Local History’ special, and an ambitious 24 pages. This includes: Baskerville’s 1681 ride in the Waveney Valley; rail history; Beccles Museum; a feature by/on David Butcher; Poppyland Publishing; Clifford Temple on Norwich, the work of the East Anglian History Workshop; numerous book reviews; discussions on who ‘owns’ history; an illustrated feature by Jack Rose of Lowestoft Beach Village’s 13 pubs; the role of the Parish Recorder; more on Jack Rose (now a regular contributor and doing a slide show benefit for the Clarion), and the work of the Suffolk Local History Council. The main jarring note is that of cancelled sites for possible Fairs on account of previous visits by the controversial ‘Peace Convoy’.
4/12 April: missing.
5/12 May: an ‘Environment’ special, reproducing Boris van Loon’s famous March 1979 ‘Harmony or Destruction’ illustration on the front cover. Also: Bob Walker on the Green Movement, Pete Wilkinson on the Windscale nuclear plant, Sue Troughton on ‘Trees: the God of our Ancestors’, RH on butterflies and Keith Payne on the standing stones of the Hebrides. Plus: Astrology, Fairs, Jack Rose, Footpath Law, and Square Wheel Peace Theatre.
6/12 June: a Broadland theme. Main stories are ‘Haunted Broadland’ by Michael Burgess, the ‘Free Quay at Oulton Broad’ by Ivan Bunn, Reggie the Marshman, (‘Under an Open Sky’) by John Ellerby, and Halvergate Marshes re-visited. Also: successful Clarion fund-raiser in Kessingland, ‘Stargazer’, and a Coypu strip.
7/12: a ‘Seaside Special’. 30p for 16 A4 pages. Ivan Bunn on Lowestoft’s Raglan Street fish smoke-house, Peter Gerrell interviews old-style Southwold mariner ‘Dusso’ Winter, Paul Durbridge on ‘Coastal Erosion at Covehithe, sea pollution, Sizewell ‘B’ power station. Plus: John Ellerby on Halvergate, torture of Bahais in Iran, FoE’s campaign against irresponsible car ads, Old Lowestoft and District Society, and R A Haxell on Tenth Anniversary of Waveney Folk Club.
Despite promises of future editions on ‘The Countryside’, ‘Back to School’, ‘The Old Religion’ and ‘Books and Bookshops’, this was the last issue of the Clarion. Falling revenue, especially from ads and events, and a mounting backlog of printer’s bills meant it had ceased to be financially viable. A child of the Fairs, it finished as they, too, were coming to an end.
Notes by Don Mathew