Radical media, politics and culture.

The Return of International Times

The Return of International Times
IT (International Times) – Europe’s first underground newspaper, founded in 1966, is back. Irish poet Niall McDevitt is its editor

IT is the only blog with two rooms at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The original newspaper has been archived at the V & A and also made available online. It covers four decades of alternative journalism, cultural criticism, and sheer art anarchism.

Such pieces as J.G. Ballard’s ‘Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan’ and Paolo Lionni’s ‘A Message to the Queen’ showed what could be done by creative journalists, artists, writers and activists inventing their own media.


The new IT is an online magazine for radical poetry/art/prose and in its first few months has featured cutting edge pieces by Heathcote Williams on the Monarchy, Paula Rego on female circumcision, John Kinsella’s ‘Manifesto Against Rapacity’, Niall McDevitt on the hypocrisy of the Dickens bicentennial, and much much more.

IT, which inspired the alternative media of today, is less a newspaper now than a creative/critical forum. It offers radical artistry for a radicalised era. Texts are illustrated by a team of brilliant house artists inc. Mike Lesser, Nick Victor, and Elena Caldera.

IT, as well as reflecting the English scene, is internationalist in outlook. Contributors include Chinese poet Bei Dao, Portuguese artist Paula Rego, Burmese artist Saw Wai, Sebian writer Nina Zivanzevic and pieces by British contributors are often about international themes e.g. ‘The First Opium War’ by South London writer-performer John Crow and 'Putin' by Stroud-based poet Jay Ramsay.

IT offers a countercultural hub for the most gentrified, domesticated and castrated of the artforms: poetry. IT is completely different from the vast majority of dull, po-faced and inartistic poetry magazines who like to think that political poetry was something that happened in the 1820s, or 1930s at the latest. IT redresses poetry censorship.

For instance, Heathcote Williams’ Royal Babylon is a powerful antidote to Diamond Jubilee jingoism and a major contribution to the debate as to whether England should be a Republic. Helen Moore’s astounding ‘ecopoems’ challenge capitalism’s destruction of natural resources.

IT is now multimedia. For instance, a recent translation of a Surrealist poem by Louis Aragon, ‘Dreams Deams Dreams’ has been set to music and made into a short film. The IT reader can read, listen to, and watch the translation.

Artist Robert Montgomery who glues his anti-capitalist poems onto advertising billboards is also featured via ‘jpegs’ of his graffiti.

IT also excerpts new biographies of important artistic figure such as Seeker! about the theatrical genius Ken Campbell, and A Lucid Dreamer about the great poet Peter Redgrove. IT is pro-genius, and against the confederacy of dunces. It rounds up a lot of disenfranchised voices.

IT can still fulfill a journalistic function. A review by Beryl Bainbridge of Helping Themselves - The Leftwing Middle Classes in Theatre and the Arts, a political critique by playwright Gregory Motton, had been intended for the Guardian; but even though Bainbridge was on her deathbed when she wrote it, the Guardian rejected it. Gregory Motton has since sent it to IT who have published it for the first time, some years after it was written and rejected.

IT is delighted with the response so far. Readership is in the thousands. One contributor, the great Scottish poet Tom Leonard, said he never thought he’d be cheered up by seeing ’a logo’ back in circulation.

As IT is such a historic magazine, we try to reflect what is happening in the present day – Diamond Jubilee, Austerity, Dickens bicentennial, 'Zion Olympics' etc. – but in our own inimitable countercultural style. When readers of the future look back, they’ll know what was really going on and what intelligent people really thought.about it.

A poem ‘Early Christians’ catches the atmosphere at St. Pauls Tent City as protesters prepare to be evicted:

IT will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2016.