On Wednesday, I went with fellow RAGster Clare to the studios of Dublin Community Television (DCTV) to film an episode of a show called "Looking Left." RAG has previously done shows for DCTV -- you can see the show about DIY publishing HERE. The show has previously dealt with publications that have come out of lefty political movements, but this was the first show that dealt with publications that mix both the political and social, but aren't the product of a political party, namely the 70s Journal "Banshee" and RAG.
In preparation for the show, I downloaded pdf scans of issues of Banshee and was amazed at so many things. First of all, in 1976, when the issues came out, contraception was not legal in Ireland. Divorce was illegal. Women were being refused service in pubs (or else they weren't allowed to drink pints; they could only drink half pints at a time). And Ireland was the only country in the UN to refuse to ratify the equal pay for equal work law. And so much more...for example, if a woman had an affair with a man who wasn't her husband, her husband could sue the other man for compensation for lost services. I am not joking -- it actually happened! Women had almost zero rights and were literally the property of their husbands. Reading Banshee was both like stepping back in time, but also many of the articles reminded me of how much still needs to change here, and how behind the times it really is. And not just in Ireland, but in most of the world. Reading about the direct actions the Irish Women United took inspired me. I think they actually made a difference in the world they were living in.
Anyhoo -- it struck me how similar the subject matter was between Banshee and RAG. We also learned that their process of creating (editing, writing, publishing) the magazine was extremely similar to ours in its non-hierarchical, collaborative nature. So naturally, when given the chance to talk to Anne Speed, one of the founders of Banshee, Clare and I were pretty pumped.
The studio is in this big warehouse kind of building. Man it was cold in there. In fact I think it was colder in the studio than it was outside. I took a picture of the building:
Inside the actual studio, it was a little warmer, but they only can have the heater on between filming because of the noise it makes. So we started off toasty, and started shivering most of the way through. "Looking Left" is a panel show, so the host, Conor McCabe, started off by giving a historical context for Banshee, but the show was really run by Louise O'Reilly from SIPTU, who did a fantastic job keeping the conversation on task. Here's a photo I took of the set after we were finished filming:
All in all, we heard some compelling stories, both before and after the filming, and we made sure to get Anne Speed to agree to be interviewed for the next issue of RAG. Then she was kind enough to give me a lift home! I felt like I was driven home by Irish feminist royalty or something, haha. I will post the episode when it's available online! I hope they edit out all the parts where I sound like an idiot.