Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Evading Standards

News and other Busyness

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Police impound alternative skit on the Evening Standard

Squall 15, Summer 1997, pg. 16.

ON THE FRIDAY before the general election, 20,000 rush hour commuters in central London were given the news. "General Election Cancelled - Election collapses as new polls reveal massive public cynicism."

And, leafing through their copies of Evading Standards, stunned readers read the kind of succinct editorial they were unlikely to find in the rest of the media deluge.

"The election is the defining moment of our so-called democracy. Even more hideous, it confronts us like a huge advertising war between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Both claim to be the real thing and as the campaign piles farce upon farce it becomes clear that if our problems have solutions they surely lie outside the parliamentary fray. Machievelli wrote that the ruler must inspire either fear or love in his (sic) subjects. Our rulers do neither. They inspire at best pity and at worst contempt. But mostly they inspire nothing."

Evading Standards was one of the most well-executed UK guerilla-media spoofs in recent years. Fashioned convincingly on the Evening Standard, the Eros logo was reprinted with red horns and a pointy tail - but yer average commuter had to look closely.

The fact that Evading Standards was distributed at all was a monument to tenacity.

Two Fridays previously an attempt to distribute the newspaper on the evening prior to the March for Social Justice on April 12th, was thwarted when police swooped on the Piccadilly distribution point and impounded 20,000 copies. Three members of the RTS crew were arrested and charged with incitement to cause affray and highway obstruction. As an after thought the next day, they were also charged with breach of copyright on the Evening Standard logo and a Metropolitan Police logo changed to Multinational Police for a spoof advert on the back page (see 'Watch With Big Brother?' in this issue).

Police efforts to squash the distribution of the newspaper were bypassed when the paper was improved upon, reprinted and successfully distributed from several distribution points two weeks later. The quality of the spoof extended to a convincing weather report on global warming, a seditionary crossword and colour sports pages.

Copies of the original impounded version of Evading Standards as well as the the redesigned version can be won in the competition on page 43 Get your new Standard here!