Getting Silly Again

The 19th November saw the return to television of the very popular Monty Python’s Flying Circus. This new series is transmitted on BBC1 at 10.15 pm on Thursday evenings.

Reports of the programme confirm that it is up to previous standards, if not better. And a fair number of sketches contain references to gayness. All of which come over in the nicest possible way, instead of relying on the usual stereotyped images of ‘limp wristed faggots’.

One of the principle actor/writers of Monty Python is Graham Chapman. An interview with Graham was published in GN No 4.

Provincial info

Here is our first round up of pubs, clubs and other goodies in the provinces. More towns will be listed as we receive the information from YOU the reader. We are indebted to Bob Mellors for supplying the information below.

Norwich

Gay pub: Studio 4, near Angelina Studios. Men and women.
GLF: Non-existent
Bookshop: Bristows
Forthcoming event: Disco party upstairs at the Studio 4, December 30.

Nottingham

Gay pub: Roebuck, Mansfield Road. ‘Members Only’ bar on left – tell them you’re gay (the landlady is too). Women and men.
GLF: Faded away
CHE: Yes
Women’s Centre: off Pelham Street.

Leeds

Gay pubs: Great Northern. Mostly men. Hope and Anchor, women and men.
Gay club: Charley’s, Briggate, members and guests. Free in the week, pricey at weekends, mostly men.
GLF: University orientated, mostly men.
CHE: Yes. Write to David Young, 12 Scott Green Crescent, Gildersome, Morley, Leeds. One of the better CHE groups. Men and women
Bookshop: 84 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2.

Manchester

Gay pubs: Union Hotel, Princess Street. Women, men and drag. Recommended. Rembrandt, Sackville Street, mostly men. Trafford, (back bar) at Gaumont Cinema, Oxford Street. Mostly men. Cavalcade, junction Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury. Sunday lunchtime.
Clubs: Samantha’s, back Picadilly (off Newton Street), Their ban on women sparked off the recent demonstration there.
Picador, Shude Hill, Unit 2, Shude Hill. Expensive. Rockingham, Queen Street.
GLF: Tuesday 8pm at Women’s Centre, phone 061-273 2287. Men and women.
CHE: Yes. University Homophile Society, c/o Students Union, Oxford Road, Manchester 13. Meets Thursday 8pm, term time only.
Women’s Centre: 218 Upper Brook Street, Manchester 13. Phone 061-273 2287.
Cottages: Several, but BEWARE OF POLICE HARASSMENT AND ENTRAPMENT: USE OF AGENTS PROVOCATEURS.

Blackburn

Partly gay club: Merchants, Darwen Street.
Partly gay club: Top Hat Club.

Challenge?

04-197208XX 05Challenge was founded in February by five people who felt that there was a need for a group which was neither politically oriented nor ‘over-organised’. We have weekly meetings, of around forty people at present, which usually start with someone giving a talk about something of interest, and continue with a social get-together over drinks. We have a brief manifesto and a good way of showing our intentions would be to quote the first three paragraphs:

The aims of Challenge are to bring about greater social acceptance of homosexuals by means of charitable and social work within the whole community, and to combat the isolation and difficulties, so often experienced by homosexuals, through discussion and mutual help.

Challenge will have no religious leanings or political policy beyond the advocation of equal rights with heterosexuals. Exhibitionism, hostility towards heterosexuals, and the provocative demonstration of affections in public will be avoided.

Challenge will be constructive and positive in order to further, by example, the acceptance of “gay” people amongst the “straight” majority. Advice, and where possible assistance and home visits, will be available to gay people suffering from loneliness, depression or a breakdown of health, and to anyone in despair.

So far we haven’t been as successful as we would wish in promoting the social work aspect but this isn’t through lack of trying.

I would like to point out that we welcome interest from anybody and we will shortly be having branches as our membership looks as if it will increase quite rapidly in the near future. At the moment we meet in a room above a pub in Kilburn and charge 10 pence per person. Perhaps interested people would care to look us up on the back (information) page.

“Queer” is how I feel

04-197208XX 05I feel there must be many potential readers of Gay News who have a similar situation to mine (see below) so perhaps you will be interested in my reaction to your first 2 issues.

I am greatly heartened by the existence of Gay News and filled with admiration that the product is so together, considering all the problems you must have had. I think the design and presentation is completely satisfactory although I didn’t care for the drawings, (except the one illustrating ‘Hamburger Jesus’ in no. 1). I approve of a radical viewpoint but you generally seem to be writing to gays who have long since come to terms with themselves and have only the Gays-in-Society problem to overcome. I mean that the contributors to, and persons written about in G.N. so far, seem already liberated. Maybe this is how it should be but read on! I hope for their sakes there aren’t many like me but I suspect there are and I am far from adjusted yet. I can’t add my voice to Gay Lib until I am a self assured gay. How about some encouragements and re-assurance for those like me! For example I would have been very interested in details of how David Hockney reached his apparently happy state – how did he tell his Mum? As your paper has moved me to write my feelings down you may also be interested in the non-events which have led me from total to partial ignorance; in any case it will be good therapy to precis it for myself, so here goes. It’s rather sad so get out your hankies!

Nine months ago I could not have written down I AM GAY without being sickened by myself. I have known since school that I was attracted to boys but as I also liked the company of girls I hoped I could encourage a hetero urge and become “normal” (cliche no.1). I never knew anyone who admitted to being gay and felt I was the only one in the World etc. etc. This had eaten away my confidence and although I have friends I can’t have a close friendship, because I can’t be completely honest with them. After years of worry and a few disastrous attempts to form hetero relationships I finally admitted to myself last year that I am gay and always will be. (I still hate saying it; it seems such an inappropriate word – “queer” is more how I feel). I hadn’t the courage to tell friends or parents in case they are repelled – still haven’t! And so I was completely despairing and felt utterly alone, but this year things looked up. From somewhere I found the confidence to improve my career and then almost at the same time I met Mr. Wonderful! (Surge of Strings). He seemed to quite like me and he has very similar tastes in entertainment, records, clothes etc. He is about my age and in more or less the same profession. And he is gay! (Thrills). The few gay people I have met or known of so far I have found rather caricatured anyway; unattractive, probably because I was too naive to recognise them unless they were very camp.

But he is a real person, sensible, sensitive and I love his weaknesses. He has gay friends and straight friends who accept him, although he is not without hang ups. Now the most banal pop love songs seem meaningful and I can’t listen to Dusty S. without becoming an emotional jelly. Is this boring you? Well one night we went to a (nice) gay club and the people were beautiful – I was amazed that they weren’t all posturing ponces. You can imagine the thrill of dancing with him after years of trying to enjoy groping girls. A little later after another evening out, I mustered the courage to tell him I was gay. He knew of course, but it was quite something for me to tell someone. He was very patient and sympathetic and near enough kissed me (Heaven!). It was such a relief to be open with someone at last that on a later occasion I just had to tell him I was crazy for him. SHIT!! What a mistake! He (tenderly) told me he was still hung up on an old boyfriend. That’s the end of the story. I still see him sometimes but he seems to be able to live without me as he doesn’t phone nearly often enough. What should I do Auntie Gay News? I’ve probably shown him my weakest side – Should I have taken the initiative? Are there others like him? There can’t be! My entry into GAYLAND starts and ends with him. How can I tell people what I am when I haven’t even been gay? Instead am I technically a homosexual? What a sad tale! But still I will be optimistic; things must change.

It’s done me good to wnte this down – I wonder if you’ll print any of it. I sure hope he doesn’t read it and recognise us or I’ll never face him again so please please don’t print my name or address (perhaps one day…). I would answer letters though.