Golliwogs-a-go-go: I offended you first


I know I’m a week late with this but oh well.

Reading a friend’s recent blog post about the Carol Thatcher/golliwog doll sales controversy reminded me of something I and my fellow students did many moons ago when I was founder-editor of The Cheese Grater magazine at University College London (now in its sixth year and with four awards under its belt). The students’ union had recnetly put on a “chav night” encouraging people to dress up in Burberry caps, Kappa jackets etc. and mock this urban underclass. A very snobbish middle-class Home Counties thing to do, and therefore a very UCL student thing to do.

Being a satirical magazine, one of our contributors suggested we hit back with a mock flyer for a “gollywognight” and take social stereotyping to its logical extreme. He offered a picture of the offending doll. An ethnic Asian fellow contributor was enraptured: “Look at his little face!” she squealed. I mocked up a poster (above) and we published it in December 2005.

No complaints arrived but the then union general manager, one Mike McLeod who later resigned in disgrace, did object.

Personally, I was very pleased with what we’d done and how we’d executed the joke. But I was not prepared a year later to discover that someone else had come upwith exactly the same idea… for a real club night (see below). The person who brought it to my attention had some link with the club night (perhaps a flyer boy), and was annoyed that people had been taking offence. You and me both brother.

It’s so hard to satirise the world when it keeps on turning into a parody of itself…



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2 Responses to “Golliwogs-a-go-go: I offended you first”

  1. Enoch Was Right Says:

    Just saw this and thought I’d say ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  2. cheesegratermagazine Says:

    Hahaha also 🙂

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