The detritus of little newspapers begun in a bedroom or tiny office downtown is everywhere in the historical record: flotsam and jetsam of political fervour and voices striving to be heard. Reading some of Sydney’s late 19thC examples, I’m struck by how much they functioned like blogs – that is, as a diaristic commentary on their editor’s daily life and proclivities.
I’ve already written about the Truth, for example, which included accounts of the unsavoury Bob Avery on his visits to theatres and bars. Another example is Society, another easy-come-easy-go Sydney offering with a theatrical bent. Wish I knew what its editor looked like. He inhabited a very similar oeuvre to the owner-editors of the Truth, but in a more benign and charmingly lugubrious way. ‘The other night our Ed was mournfully perusing copy under the somnolent effects of whisky and tobacco’, he wrote in Feburary 1886. And elsewhere: ‘One of my idiosyncracies is to want refreshments. Wherever I go I have a morbid longing for tea, and cakes, and lemonade and ice-creams, little things like that. And I note that whenever ladies condescend to overlook my repulsive personal appearance… they develop an appetite for ice-cream’.