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The weekly student newspaper
Brought to you hot off the
press, every Friday by skilled teams of Printers.....
Each week about 1200 copies were printed on Roneo duplicators, that were never intended for that sort of excitement. For a typical edition about 10,000 sheets went through.
Setting up each run, took a long time, involving reels of masking tape and the spilling of large quantities of ink. However things could be speeded up, by removing the side panels of the duplicator and dismantling the governor. This made the machine run much faster, but the resulting paper jams had to be cleared while it was printing.
As you can see from the clock, it's nearly midnight and the stuffers are hard at work. If the organisation was working properly, we printed from the middle pages out. There was a fearsome machine that folded the pages, but then it had to be assembled by hand (stuffers).
Publishing BF took a team of about thirty people, from 7pm on Thursday to 2am on Friday.
Each page was typed, drawn, slapped together and glued onto a sheet of A4, with a separate sheet for each colour.
But for this we needed Typists.
These were the days before everybody used computers, so students that could type reasonably accurately, were valuable and cosseted. (In fact they often ended up as cosseted as a newt. (Hello Anne))
A very old copy of Bare Facts from 1968 - click here
My part in the production of this comic, was that I
could operate the Scan'o'line. This was a drum scanner that cut stencils from
pasted up pages, very badly. I also worked for a Letraset agent during the
holidays and so could get loads of part used sheets (with no X's on
This was all very low tech printing, on equipment that was designed for much lighter duty. It was very unusual for both of the Roneo duplicators to be operating at the same time. 'Bare Facts' was often hard to read and full of typos, but it did have a certain anarchic charm. This was soon to be lost, with the introduction of offset printing and higher production values.
These days when you visit the University, you are handed copies of 'Bare Facts' by the authorities. In the goodolddays they wouldn't have dared. One of the reasons was :
Work on 'Bare Facts' tended not to start until
Thursday evening and finished with 1200 copies, typed, printed, stuffed and
distributed by Friday morning. So there was no opportunity to read the thing
through, in the 'cold light of day'.
Production was fueled by regular trips to the bar and occasionally, the conditions were just right for the printing of the notorious article called Grapevine.
It consisted of base level gossip, libel, rumors and anything that was funny, true or not. Pressure from the university authorities, eventually lead to its demise.
This was probably for the best, as legal action had been threatened a few times and the editor was feed up with having to flee the campus for a few days, while people calmed down.
Mary Parsons (She was never mentioned in Grapevine)
There was also
Current issues of Bare Facts can be found on the UniS Students Union web site.
Articles from Spring 2003 issues. Written
by Alumni who graduated between 1956 & 1976.
This includes a history of Bare Facts, from editions 1 to 100.
|Famous Editions of Bare Facts|
|No. About 107 (Nov 71)|
|Both duplicators were broken. The only one that printed at all, had a fault whereby the paper jumped about 2mm, while it was printing each sheet and making the characters appear twice. The effect was to fool your brain into believing that you were drunk and couldn't get your eyes alined. Somebody had the bright idea of making this a feature, so that weeks BF became the 'Special Hard-to-read Edition'.|
|No. About 194 (May 74)|
|There were a total of seven ink
drums for the duplicators. To print more than one colour on a page, this large
inky roller (A3 surface) had to be swapped.
On this particular Thursday, jim (aka Bob (aka Robert Slater)) turned up with a cover design that used all seven colours and an inside page that needed four. So each sheet of paper had to go through eleven times. So we started at 4pm.
|No. 199 (July 74)|
It has to be said that this edition was fueled by a few too many trips to the bar and as a result was a little 'off the wall'. And it was the last edition of the year and several people were leaving and it was all a bit emotional and at 4am in the morning we finished with:
|If you remember a copy, with particular fondness, please write to me and I'll add it here. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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This site features photographs taken at the University of Surrey in the 1970's
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