Robin Ward and the Black Lion - Prices in the sixties
the first in a series of three pieces on "The Black Lion" which I'd
be pleased if you could add to the website at a suitable place. I doubt
whether any Old Priceans will even remember the magazine, but we at
least had a lot of fun with it! However, if anyone can remember any
further details or correct my memories, which after such a long time
might be a bit faulty in places, I'd be pleased to know. Best
Phase 1 - A
pioneering project is born (1968)
the mid to late 1960s traditional
values, conservatism, authority and the Establishment in general
were being called into question in many circles in Britain. Just
one of many manifestations of this was the offshore pirate radio stations,
which sought to shake up the entrenched music establishment and provide a
free all-day pop music service which would also give opportunities for unknown
talents to make themselves heard who would otherwise have been completely
ignored by the BBC.
changes in thinking were also being felt at Price's. The
school magazine, the "Lion", was chiefly renowned for its
endless reports on football, cricket and rugby matches
and what the CCF and the stamp club had been doing the previous year. In other
words, pretty monotonous stuff that one might flick through once but which
didn't really hold one's interest for long enough to warrant a second
liven the magazine up boys were always encouraged to produce pieces of
and some of the results certainly were creative. (In fact, in one extreme
case in 1967 the writing aspect virtually took over the magazine!)
However, other forces were coming
to play in the background, in the shape of Chris Bard and Mr. Johnson. Around
spring 1968 they conceived
the idea of producing an alternative magazine, to be called "The
Black Lion", which
would provide an outlet for writing deemed to be too conservative for the
"Lion" and would aim to stir up the staid way of thinking of
the Price's establishment. Articles on pop music, anti-war poems,
anti-religion rants, anti-authority stances, in fact anything as long as it
was anti-something could be considered for publication. I vowed to
support the project in any way possible.
After a call
for contributions, which took months to materialize, the first
issue finally saw the light of
day around October.
It consisted of twelve enormous pages typed on one side and
mimeographed in red, blue and green (on some pages so badly that the
print was more or less illegible).
The first page
welcomed readers with the following, somewhat condescending remarks:
Smallacre once said: "Blessed are the Apathetic for theirs is the
achievement of nothing", and so let it be with us.
for this magazine were few, but the standard, of course, was good. This
would indicate the truth in Smallacre's prophecy, for this magazine is run by
the intellectual minority on behalf of the moronic majority".
Page 12 praised
the virtues of "Revivalism", which was seen as the antidote to the
prevailing Price's mentality:
"REVIVALISM - a means or an end.
word "Revivalism", and all the excitement and intrigue that is
connected to it, have, for some weeks, been echoing throughout the School. The
Great Price's Revival has begun.
People in all walks of life: parents, masters, priests, magistrates, soldiers
and others have all been asking the same question: "What are they?"
Even the recently liquidated Friendly Society and Prisoners Aid Committee have
felt the first twitches of Revival. For, as the dark cloud of apathy
disperses, slowly, the School is seen in a new light. Even the Ordnance Survey
people, with whom we are mis-registered as a "Borstal", are
looking twice. The Revivalists have extensive plans for: The Church, the
Bible, Education and the Country as a whole; we will be publishing White
For Revivalism can only stand for the Future. Revivalism is now, and evermore
Dynamic C.F.J. Bard
and C.H. Retzler.
between was a collection of poems on among other things the
subjects of growing old, despair, death, slavery, freedom and capitalism, and
a tirade in the "Opinion" column, signed by
"Late", on the cycle park door always being locked when boys wanted
to park their bikes (the official reason being to keep the heat in), with the
remark that if moderately intelligent boys could not be trusted to close a
door, then those in the High Places should condescend to fit a spring, so that
it might close itself.
100 copies were made in the initial campaign, and one morning at break Chris
set up a table in the library with the magazines in a box and a poster above
his head proclaiming the appearance of the new publication. The mags were
to go on sale at 6d each (i.e. 2 1/2 p) and the proceeds - if any - would be
ploughed back into the next issue.
noted that they were selling very briskly, and towards the end of the day
I asked Chris how we'd been getting on. To my disbelief he gave me a
conspiratorial grin and said we'd got rid of nearly all of them. In fact, by
the end of the week we'd completely sold out!
surprisingly Mr Poyner didn't exactly seem enamoured of our
project, and as far as I remember a number of heated discussions took
place between Chris, Mr. Johnson and him. But to his credit he
didn't try to ban it. And as long as we had Mr. Johnson as an ally ....
As if to defend itself, the "Lion" which came out in December
1968 proclaimed on its front page "The Official Magazine of
Price's School, Fareham".