Black Lion III - Phase 3 - Professionalism 1969-71

Link to Black Lion II

At one point we held one meeting of somewhat greater importance, at which we decided it was time for radical change. Despite the undoubted quality of the contributions, the format and general appearance of the  Black Lion  were, we felt, a bit (or more than a bit) amateurish and rather resembled a propaganda broadsheet than a proper magazine. Issue 3 looked exactly the same as no. 1! But perhaps our biggest advantage was the fact that our expectations as regards the proceeds had been wildly exceeded (No. 3 had like the others sold out), and we now thought we had enough resources to put the whole project on a more professional footing, even though a further bit of financial aid from Chris would still be required.

We decided to make the following major modifications for No. 4 - in the direction of minimalism. The page size would be halved, only a small black lion would appear in the middle of the cover, without "1721", and "No. 4" would appear towards the bottom of the page. Depending on the amount of material available the number of pages in future issues would be 12 or 16. Perhaps most importantly though the whole project would be handed over to Farleys the printers in West Street, who would also ensure that a decent uniform type face was used instead of our having to rely on the ancient typewriters bashed into service by Entwhistle's mum, Brian Cariss and Andy Neal.

At some stage the venture would also be officially named "Black Lion Enterprises" to give it a veneer of respectability.

When no. 4 came out in July we were very proud of the new slim, elegant format. Unfortunately I cannot at least for the moment locate any of the issues from no. 4 onwards (should I be able to unearth them a sequel will follow), but I recall that the topics dealt with were broadly the same as those covered by the first three, so the "alternative" element was still very much in evidence. I also recollect that we sold out most, if not all, of our print run, so we were still popular. Chris once said something to the effect that boys evidently enjoyed being called morons .... 

Chris then never seemed to have much time for the Editorial Board, as he was invariably just popping down to Farleys for the latest discussion whenever we wanted to ask him something. Sometimes I'd also bump into him trudging up Trinity Street, armed with Black Lions, as I was on the way home after school. These meetings were clearly fruitful: by December we had also got no. 5 out, and we could then with some justification look back on a highly successful 1969. We had produced four issues of the magazine, of which nos. 4 and 5 were in the new format, our financial situation was rosy, and at last we had a decent amount of new material coming in (a highly promising poetic talent, Alan Hill, was now making major contributions), together with plenty of editors to keep things ticking over. 

This was the time when I left Price's and later went to university, meaning that contact with the editors was invariably lost. However, I heard that by the end of 1970 the Black Lion had reached issue no. 8, so the momentum created by the first issues had clearly been sustained. On the occasion of the 250th anniversary celebrations in July 1971, which I made sure of attending, a stand was set up to sell no. 9, the "250th edition", and interest certainly still seemed to exist. But whether or not any further issues ever appeared I cannot tell: if anyone can shed any light on the history - or lack thereof - of the magazine post-1971 I'd be very pleased to know! 

As for Chris Bard, the 1969-70 6th Arts Upper (or "Tarts" in Black Lion circles) photo on the website shows that he may well have made his peace with Eric Poyner, sitting as he is in the front row just four places away from the said headmaster instead of skulking at the back somewhere. But the sullen, rebellious Black Lion look is still there ....

Looking back, whether we were able to go very far towards achieving our ideals of shaking up stodgy old Price's and the outside world is more than questionable, but at least at the time we really believed in what we were doing and - not least - had a lot of fun in the process. To quote from somewhere:

"You don't live unless you live for something" - which from 1968 to 1971 would have been a fitting Black Lion Enterprises motto.

Thanks: Thanks are due to all those who contributed to the first three issues along with Chris Bard and Mr. Johnson, namely:
Issue 1: K. Beaumont, M.A. Seeley, "R.W.S.", C. Williams, "T.S.B.", Alan Hill, Ken Giles, R. Long, G. Martin, K. Bundell, Brian P. Cariss, Chris Retzler, Grant Blakely and yours truly.

Issue 2: A.N. Reid (2A), Dave Cummins (6 Arts Upper), Thomas DuBoyce (1A), Tim Hancock (2A), "P.M.W.H." (a.k.a. Paul Martin Wilson-Hawes), Brian Cariss, "Vigilante".

Issue 3: Dave Cummins, A.L. Smith, Kevin Day, I. Bundell, M.A. Seeley, Ian Kenway, John Newton, Brian Cariss, N.P. Astley, "als" (probably A.L. Smith again), and "Mary Nekklis".

Issues 1-3: Mrs. Entwhistle, Brian Cariss, Andy Neal (typists who went well beyond the call of duty) committed to webspace by robin ward on behalf of black lion enterprises, november 19, 2001