The TAP Newsletter

The Cheshire Catalyst was the last editor of TAP - The Hobyists Newsletter For The Communications Revolution, which was published in New York City from 1971 to 1984. TAP first stood for the "Technological American Party". It was changed to the "Technological Assistance Program" when it was found to be difficult to open a bank account without being a bone-fide political party.

At one point in the late 70's TAP recieved a letter from a Women's Lib group complaining about our use of the term "Ma Bell" when referring to "The Phone Company". "After all," they said, "Not only are women a down-trodden majority of employees within 'The Bell System', but a 'Ma Bell' wouldn't have the physiological equipment to do what it does to their employees, and their customers". Ever since, the newsletter always referred to The Phone Company as "Pa Bell".

TAP was founded by Abbie Hoffman of "Chicago 7" fame and founder of the YIPPIEs (The Youth International Party), and "Al Bell", a phone phreak from Long Island as YIPL, the Youth International Party Line. Legend has it that YIPL was founded on May Day of 1971. I've been told the date was about right, but May 1st was decided upon because it made for an interesting legend.

After a year or two, Al Bell was wondering what all this "political crap" was doing in his technical newsletter. He picked up his marbles, carried them up Broadway, and changed the name to TAP. A few years later, "Tom Edison" of New Jersey took over the publication.

Tom ran the publication for many years, and did a fine job if it. The office in the Broadway loft was closed in the late 70's, and publication continued out of Tom's apartment. After Tom's apartment was firebombed in 1983, (the cops said it was a very professional break-in, but the fire marshal said it was a very amateur arson), Cheshire was told "Get this stuff out of my basement by Friday, or it all goes in the dumpster!" Cheshire, not a very good businessman (even to this day), did his best to keep the rag going, but it died the following year.

If you get a "real" set of TAP Newsletters, they will be on 11 by 22 inch paper folded in half to give four 8-1/2 by 11 pages. There will be two issues folded in thirds that were sent out together to save postage, so storing them two per envelope will be a common practise. Since the newsletter came out 6 issues per year, it was mailed out 3 times per year.

You can view Early YIYPL Issues at Dave's Web Site.

This web page is Copyright ©1996, Richard Cheshire.
Any trademarks used are the property of the respective trademark holder (though I personally don't respect any trademark holder that holds me to putting in a disclaimer this ridiculous).


last updated: 96-02-04 17:42:23 UTC

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