OZ Magazine

 

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Controversial Magazine of the 60s Now Online!

by  OZ Magazine Issue #33 (3) Jim Leon (1)

It was 1967: birth of the Summer of Love as well as a magazine that would become the icon – and the enfant terrible – of the underground press. Produced in a basement flat off Notting Hill Gate, Oz was soon renowned for psychedelic covers by pop artist Martin Sharp, cartoons by Robert Crumb, radical feminist manifestos by Germaine Greer, and anything else that would send the establishment apoplectic. By August 1971, it had been the subject of the longest obscenity trial in British history. It doesn’t get more 60s than that.

Two colourful covers from the Oz back catalogue, now available online. Composite: University of Wollongong Archives
Two colourful covers from the Oz back catalogue, now available online. Composite:A

Until now, Oz’s kaleidoscopic history – 48 issues and who knows how many police raids – has remained just that: the stuff of 60s nostalgia and accounts of a decade we never tire of remembering. Back copies remain rare, both of the British version and the original Australian edition launched by Richard Neville in Sydney in 1963. I spotted a copy of issue six of Oz London (containing features on John Peel, Greek prisons, and RD Laing) going on eBay for £100, despite being “slightly dog-eared, with hippy candle wax on the cover”.

 Issue 16, described by art critic Robert Hughes as ‘one of the richest banks of images that has ever appeared in a magazine’. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives University of Wollongong Archives.jpg
Issue 16, described by art critic Robert Hughes as ‘one of the richest banks of images that has ever appeared in a magazine’. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives

Now anyone can flick through a virtual copy of the magazine that wrote the decade. The University of Wollongong, after releasing the digital archive of Oz Sydney two years ago, has followed up by making every issue of Oz London available. In true hippy spirit, it’s free. “No one else was doing it,” Michael Organ, a library manager at the university, says. “Oz was one of the leading magazines of the underground press. Fifty years later, it’s important as a capsule of the times, but also as a work of art.”

Issue three: the Mona Lisa cover. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives
Issue three: the Mona Lisa cover. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives

The archive has been made available “for historical and research importance”. And, presumably, for anyone who wants to have a nosy at the infamous Schoolkids issue, which was edited by 20 teenagers and features a Rupert Bear montage that resulted in Oz’s editors – Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis – being charged with “conspiracy to corrupt public morals”. The six-week trial became the biggest culture war of the time. “The 60s probably ended with the Oz trial,” says Anderson, then Oz’s art director. “Ted Heath had come in. We’d gone through 1968 in Paris, the death of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.” All of which is contained in the colourful pages of the magazine (colourful apart from when they were broke and had to publish in black and white). “To see it online from beginning to end is to see everything the 60s produced – gay liberation, feminism, sex, the pill, acid, rock music, Vietnam,” Anderson says. “Everything the establishment hated was in Oz.”

The first issue of London Oz, published in January 1967. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives
The first issue of London Oz, published in January 1967. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives

As Organ puts it: “Oz is a record of the cultural revolution. Many of the issues it raised, such as the environment, sexuality and drug use, are no longer contentious. In fact, they have now become mainstream.”

Issue 10: ‘the pornography of violence’. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives
Issue 10: ‘the pornography of violence’. Photograph: University of Wollongong Archives

After the trial (the sentences of up to 15 months’ imprisonment were quashed on appeal), sales hit 100,000, the magazine moved to swanky offices off Tottenham Court Road and Anderson became disillusioned. “Oz lost its revolutionary feel,” he says. “It became a bit upmarket.” And how does he feel now it’s back again for a new generation? “It’s absolutely wonderful,” he enthuses. “It’s good to have it out there in all its glory.”

View the archive at ro.uow.edu.au/ozlondon    

Or Click Here for More: oz-magazine-wanted-collection

 

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Click on banner for even more underground magazines, posters,etc.!! Thanks to Jon Limbert who really did an amazing job at scanning it all on high resolution images so that they get preserved for posterity! Kudos!

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7 thoughts on “OZ Magazine

  1. Hi,
    Since you have used my image from the beatchapter website how about a mention in your blog? Had you asked beforehand that is all I would have wanted in return. I have tons of images of rare 60s & 70s underground press from USA, Canada, Europe & UK. It was hard work creating the numbered image of all those Oz Magazines on a black background. Of course you can just ignore me if you like. Just thought I would mention it but I’ll not hold my breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just tell me what you want me to put as link and /or names and I will do it. I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional really. I understand what you mean. I been had in similar ways. I just never bothered. I should have then I’d be more careful. Thanks for reminding me. But I still can say it wasn’t intentional really.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I dunno really. It’s up to you. Have a look at the underground magazines category on http://www.beatchapter.com & say what you think. If you need any info or scans I have higher res images & tons of American/Canadian underground mags that I’ve not had time to list yet, like Kaleidoscope, The East Village Other, The Drummer, Georgia Straight, Chicago Seed, LA Free Press, Hooka, etc etc.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Hey thanks for the hint!! I also put Beatchapters.com on my fb page!! Wow! This is really something !! You have them all!!!!! I’m really impressed!! Do you think I could have done this post without seeing this? Cuz I have no idea why I wouldn’t have mentioned it!! Anyways… I’m glad you contacted me so I could give my followers the opportunity to visit your page now! Is there anything you wanna add on there?? Maybe you’d prefer a different image rather than your banner??? I’m definitely open! You must have so many really kool images!! If you even wanna have something published on here I would be honored! So far I have had only one contributor, my friend And artist, writer, composer, musician Chris Barry but I am so open if you’re into underground magazines!! I’d love to publish an article from you linking to your page!

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Whoa!! Kool!! I’m gonna do something very nice and loud and clear! TY so much for doing all this work to preserve those magazines! I have all ”SLASH” and ”No” Magazines in PDF if it’s of any help but I got them for free so I don’t know if you can sell them. I got them on circulationzero.com as promo or something??

      Liked by 1 person

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