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contributes work

Lobster (magazine)

Lobster is a twice yearly British magazine (June and December) focussing on parapolitics. The current edition was published in June 2008.

The magazine's philosophy is:

"If you generally accept the government line, that there is a "national interest", and believe what you read in the newspapers, then Lobster is probably not for you."

Lobster was launched in 1983 by Robin Ramsay and Stephen Dorril. The name was suggested by Dorril, who had previously wanted to call a band 'Lobster'. In 1991 they described themselves in Lobster 22 as Dorril is a Freudo-anarchist, with Situationist tendencies; and Ramsay is a premature anti-Militant member of the soft old left of the Labour Party.

Format

Since issue 27, the magazine has been A4 size, desktopped and unillustrated. It costs £3 per issue.

When first launched, it was photocopied, A5 size and produced on manual typewriters. After issue 17, the publication became phototypeset.

The Dorril/Ramsay split

After writing the much-admired Smear! Wilson and the Secret State (about plots against Harold Wilson), the two parted in circumstances that remain unclear.

Dorril claims Ramsay was suffering from a mid-life crisis and wanted more recognition.

Ramsay claims that Dorril was too busy with other research projects (notably, co-authoring Honeytrap with Anthony Summers) to contribute to the magazine: Ramsay claims he therefore took Dorril's name off the magazine and the two have not spoken since.

Lobster is now edited and part-written by Ramsay, from his home in Hull.

Circulation and reception

Lobster's circulation is thought to be fewer than 1,000 copies of any issue. It is largely bought via subscription but can now be bought across the UK in the US book-chain Borders.

Lobster is widely-respected among journalists, who often use Lobster as a source and Ramsay as an advisor for difficult stories.

Content

Lobster is eclectic, and features items spanning a wide range of subjects from modern history to current events. Occasionally these turn out to be major news stories.

Lobster was the first publication, for example, to publish details of the Colin Wallace/Clockwork Orange affair.

It also follows new developments in 'old' cases. For example: years after the event, it was found that when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred Murrah building, he had also destroyed thousands of records of servicemen from the 1990 Gulf War and a TOW antitank missile that the Government was storing in a locker several floors above the building's daycare center.

From Issue 22, in 1991: The first eight Lobsters have not been kept in print for a number of reasons...some of them contain material which we learned subsequently was disinformation.

Contributors

A wide range of writers contributes work (unpaid) for publication, mainly because of Lobster's reputation and its refusal to follow mainstream news agendas.

These include:

Regular Sections

  • Parish notices - namechecks, thanks and updates on contributors
  • Re: - a round-up of news, mainly on 'fringe' issues (see catchphrases and quotes, below)
  • View from the Bridge - an editorial section, on the centre pages, written by Ramsay and consisting of short pithy observations on the news or discussing little-recognised aspects of recent developments and history
  • Historical notes - A 'long view' of events, written by Scott Newton.
  • Tittle-tattle - the self-effacing title of John Burne's column, which is actually quite well informed
  • Reviews - mainly of books, but occasionally of other media. A variety of reviewers contribute.
  • Letters

Catchphrases and quotes

  • "As denounced in the House of Commons" - Lobster on itself.
  • They're not all lunatics on the fringe - an occasional reminder used by different authors
  • "The last dribble of Thatcherism down the trouserleg of British politics" - Robin Ramsay, on Tony Blair

External links

  • http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/
  • http://www.rogerdog.co.uk/ (the first 24 issues available online)
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