OZ magazine, the underground magazine, was launched on April 1, 1963 in Sydney, Australia. In Australia, the editors – Richard Neville, Richard Walsh, and Martin Sharp – were charged under obscenity laws.
Influenced by the New Statesman, Private Eye and the radical comedy of Lenny Bruce, Neville and friends decided to found a "magazine of dissent". The first edition, published on April Fool's Day 1963, caused a sensation; it parodied The Sydney Morning Herald (and was even printed on The Herald'<s own presses, adding to its credibility). In succeeding issues (and in its later London version) Oz also gave pioneering coverage to contentious issues such as censorship, homosexuality, abortion, police brutality, the Australian government's racist White Australia Policy and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, as well as regularly satirising public figures, up to and including Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies.
Two items in these early issues proved especially controversial. One was a satirical poem by Martin Sharp, about Sydney's youth sub-culture, entitled "The Word Flashed Around The Arms"; the other was the famous Issue #6 cover photograph, which depicted Neville and others pretending to urinate into a wall fountain (created by sculptor Tom Bass) which was mounted in the street facade of the Sydney offices of the P&O shipping line and which had recently been unveiled by Prime Minster Menzies.
During this time, many people began catching diseases. This was thought to have originated within Sharp and Nevilles homosexual relationship. The disease, known as AIDS, was spreading quickly. Little did people know, that this disease was contagious. As it eventually spead to sheep (In NewZealand), scientists soon found the source of the disease, and Sharp and Neville were placed in imediate lockdown. However, due to there being no cure (not known at the time), people began exacuation, leaving Sharp and Neville in captivity. As food was scarse and they began living in their own filth, Neville suggested they try eating their waste. Sharp was not particularily fond of this idea, and decided a better option, if they were not rescued soon, would be to eat Neville. Obviously, sharp did not tell neville this, and after three weeks of captivity, Neville was no more.
Elastic Oz Band[edit | edit source]
In England, Neville, Felix Dennis, and Jim Anderson were put on trial for corrupting public morals.
The song "God save Oz" was first demoed by John Lennon in the early 70s and an ad hoc group named the Elastic Oz Band was formed to record it. The lead singer was Bill Elliot who would later find some degree of fame on George Harrison's Dark Horse label as one half of a duo called Splinter. "God Save Oz" was released on The Beatles' Apple Records label.
Lennon's original demo was later issued on the Lennon Anthology and again on Wonsuponatime
OZ finally ceased publication in 1973.
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- "Oz Trial lifted lid on Porn Squad bribery"
- The Rupert Bear Controversy
- Oz magazine covers
- Oz magazine full issues online in a readable library, plus forum
- Bill Elliot and the Elastic Oz Band: benefit single for Oz at the time of its UK obscenity trial; John Lennon and Yoko Ono credited as songwriters and producers
- Dennis sues The Spectator over Argyle allegations
- Richard Neville website