About the Pagan Prattle
A quick history
The Pagan Prattle was first published in Manchester just before Hallowe'en 1988. At that point, it was just a local Paganlink newsletter and contained listings, gossip and nothing else. After the first issue, I became the sole editor and it quickly mutated to reflect my own obsessions.
At the time, extremists calling themselves Christians were busy convincing social workers that there was a conspiracy of Evil Satanists horribly abusing children as part of their religion. To their eternal shame, the social workers believed them and soon Rochdale and the Orkney Islands became infamous. We even had a Conservative MP—Geoffrey Dickens—stand up in the House of Commons demanding that something be done about the
scourge of witchcraft sweeping the country, to the amusement of the Opposition and newspaper cartoonists.
All of this influenced the style and content of the Prattle. It soon began to resemble a very small tabloid, and contained articles making fun of the excesses of certain publications, such as the News of the World. The Pagan Prattle published exposés such as
SATANIST SANTA SHOCKER! The label
The Sunday Sport of Paganism was first applied at this time.
The Prattle has never stayed still. A few issues in, I moved to Leeds and it came with me. Then it followed me to Watford, and commuted to Bradford with me to take up time I should've spent writing university essays. Finally, it clung on as I moved to Edinburgh, where I celebrated its 10th birthday by proving I could organise a piss-up in a brewery.
While the subject matter covered hasn't changed much, the depth of coverage increased. An ideal issue would contain a number of news articles covering loony fundie activity, important archæological discoveries and general religious interest. The main article would be a detailed piece about whichever loony fundie was causing the greatest hassle for Pagans and occultists - inevitably they would be shown to have a history of confabulation, fantasy and outright dishonesty. Shorter articles would cover a theme—there once was an issue covering fundie perspectives on UFOs, and there is always at least one funny. As well as letting the religious extremists entertain us, the Prattle has always tried to cover civil liberties in general. Ceasing to believe in any religion hasn't changed that much.
About this web site
The Prattle web site was set up at a time when a print edition still existed, and was meant to supplement that. As well as making the content more widely available, it would make up for the fact that the news pages would always be out of date by allowing me to publish news as soon as I knew about it.
The site is done with Movable Type. For the first year or so, I used a slightly-hacked version of Addendát. This is a much simpler weblog system and I still heartily recommend it. Addendát is released under the GNU Public License and has many advantages over the other systems I checked. If you are able to run CGI scripts on your site, want to host your own blog and don't want to be bogged down with excessive features, it's well worth your consideration.
The masthead on the home page was done using two of my own typefaces—the lettering is
Chapbook and the pentagram came from
Symbats. Another of my fonts, Styl Round, was used for the
Word from the Squirrel's Nest title. In fact, many of my fonts were created because I wanted something specific for the Prattle and it didn't seem to exist.