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Belated spike!: the great frock n robe swindle anti-jubilee newspaper

Shaun Featherstone, an artist from Cardiff, has published an alternative to the “overbearing deluge of pro-monarchy, diamond jubilee media coverage”. He has spent the last four months, with the help of a small army of volunteers compiling and editing the free newspaper which is being given away free all over the UK.  The paper is called the great frock n robe swindle – a play on words of the title of the film ‘the great rock n roll swindle’ – a film about and starring the sex pistols.  The paper has been produced “in the spirit of punk and working class activism”.

The newspaper has over 100 articles and artworks – mostly new copy – written or produced especially for the paper as well as re-published items, vintage republican and anti-monarchy cartoons, quotes and articles.  The newspaper includes items from Julie Birchill, Patrick Jones, Paul Flynn MP, Mary Macleod MP, Heathcote Williams, Mab Jones, Emma Geliot, Glenn Davies, Dr. Stuart White, Dr. Gavin Grindon, Prof. Andre Stitt, Brian Frank, Brian Jones, Jamie Reid, Michael Cousin, Boo Povey, Sean Kisby, Neil McNally, James Gray, Andrew Blick, Billy Ridgers, Martin Rowson, John Robb, Scarlett Blades, Liz Morgan, Attila the Stockbroker, James Keir Hardie and many more..

“I wanted to put another side to the jubilee story. At the heart of my protest, which is really what the paper is, is an opposition to the constitutional position of the monarchy in the UK.  It’s less anti monarchy and more pro-republican. Significant numbers of people in the UK and the wider ‘commonwealth’ are less than supportive of the British monarchy but you wouldn’t know it judging from the celebratory coverage in the UK media. So the paper is a way of getting some balance into the public domain and hopefully sparking more debate on the whole issue.” said Shaun Featherstone. “At the end of the day if it makes a few people think a little more deeply about some of the issues then it has achieved its purpose – being curious and questioning the way of things is always a good thing.”

Contributors are international too – from Canada, USA, Australia, Germany and all over the UK. Content was sourced by a variety of means: by open call, recommendation but above all exhaustive research and over 600 solicitation emails sent by me – and facebook was used extensively. The paper also includes an exchange of emails between two serving UK MP’s : Paul Flynn MP (Labour), Mary Macleod MP (Conservative) – see pages 32 and 33.

Distribution & circulation: 6,500 copies were printed and sent around the UK – the newspaper is available FREE from bookshops and art galleries across the UK including:   Word Poer, Edinburgh; Star and Shadow, Newcastle; Peoples Bookshop, Durham; News from Nowhere, Liverpool; Radish Books, Leeds; Hotcakes, Hebden Bridge; Spike Island, Bristol; Mission Gallery, Swansea; G39/Milkwood, Cardiff; Oriel Wrexham; IKON Gallery, Birmingham; SOAS/bookmarks/Freedom/Newham Bookshop/56a Infoshop/Judd Books/Gays The Word/Church Street Bookshop/Pages of Hackney/Central St Martins/Calder Bookshop/Housmans – all inLondon; The Cowley Club, Brighton; October books, Southampton.

Further information:

“Even under a representative system of government it is possible to paralyse a nation by maintaining the fiction that a reigning family is a necessity of good government. Now, one of two things must be – either the British people are fit to govern themselves or they are not. If they are, an hereditary ruler who in legislation has more power than the whole nation is an insult ; if they are not, they should not be entrusted with votes. Despotism and monarchy are compatible; democracy and monarchy are an unthinkable connexion.”

James Keir Hardie on Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, 1897

 (re-published in the great frock n robe swindle 2012)

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