Type of site
|Community, local news, politics, direct action|
|Headquarters||Brixton, London, England|
Urban75 originated from a football comic Bluebird Jones - an e-zine formed around football fans opposition to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The campaign received large amounts of exposure in the media, and in May 1995 an unknown helper on the campaign from Brighton put together the first version of the Urban75 site, using a modem donated by The Levellers. The site is characterised by an opposition to mainstream culture and does not carry adverts. Its editor is founder Mike Slocombe.
The site and forums expanded beyond football and direct action with a mix of left-wing politics, drugs, music, and photography amongst other interests. As it grew in popularity, it first became part of the Head-Space Project in 1997 until it moved to its own domain in 1998. Early publicity was generated by Shockwave games in which politicians and celebrities could be virtually "slapped" or "punched".
In March 2002, Urban75 entered the national news when Lambeth police chief Brian Paddick posted on the forums in order to discuss issues with Brixton's internet users while he was conducting a cannabis tolerance experiment. However, when the tabloid press discovered Paddick's posts on the site, a scandal ensued. In particular, the press highlighted one such post where Paddick had said: "The concept of anarchy has always appealed to me". Paddick subsequently met with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, and accepted criticism of his remarks. No disciplinary action was taken and Paddick remained in his post until his retirement in 2007.
In October 2005, a forum post entitled "Can squirrels get addicted to crack?" would be picked up by the local South London Press, leading to a number of national newspapers also running with the story.
In September 2006, the technology news website The Register would dub Urban75 as "the naughty corner of British politics" after posters on the forum disrupted an online petition in support of then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Urban75 held its first Offline club night in February 2004, and continues today hosting nights in Brixton venues such as the Ritzy Cinema, Dogstar, Brixton Jamm Club, 414 Club, and the Prince Albert. Offline hosts a line-up of DJs and has also put on well known acts such as Alabama 3, Sharks, Morton Valence, Stewart Lee, Josie Long, Rob Newman, Shazia Mirza, and Howard Marks.