Dilly Boys Make The Times

LONDON: Britain’s press has suddenly discovered the ‘Dilly Boys’ after a book by the same name was published by a small publishing house, Croom Helm. First in where angels fear to tread was the Sunday Mirror. With dazzling originality it called its Sunday Mirror Documentary on the Dilly boys ‘The Dilly Boys’ and admitted that it borrowed heavily from the book.

It saw a Picadilly Circus peopled almost entirely by 13 and 14-year-olds playing the flipper games and the market at Playland and the other mausement arcades, but carefully avoiding naming names or getting close enough to the problem for the article to be more than an empty piece of plagiarism from Mervyn Harris’ book.

It seemed the only people at Piccadilly Circus older than 14 were either older men there to pick up the boys, probation officers leaning on the anti-pedestrian railings or even Sunday Mirror reporters.

The Mirror’s story said: ‘We traced the case-histories of five Dilly boys who, homeless and short of cash got caught up in the dragnet.

‘Two have graduated from amphetamines to hard drugs; one has gone to jail for stealing another has put a girl “in the club”. The fifth has managed to get out of the game and gone back to Bolton.’

Midnight Piccadilly: A day’s rest over, a night’s work begins. [Photograph: Peter Mundy]
Earlier, Victor Sims, the Mirror’s man in the dirty mac at the Dilly had told us: ‘Nearly all of them have heard about the easy pickings to be had in London’s rich heart, and reckon they can eke out a living on their wits.

‘more often, they finish up frozen, half-starved, asleep inside a telephone box, huddled for warmth in a deserted railway coach, in a hotel car park or even in warehouse packing cases.

‘It’s at this stage of disillusionment that the trouble starts. They hang around Piccadilly, desperate for food and shelter. Instead of pocketing their pride and going home, they become easy prey to anyone who will offer them a warm bed …

‘Horrifying? Shameful? Almost unbelievable?

To the senior police officers and detectives at West End Central police station, the problem is very real.

‘The Chief Superintendent told me: “The situation created by these juveniles, who drift into our area is one of the most difficult we have had to handle.”’

The Chief Superintendent didn’t mention gay trade at the Dilly being more of a problem than any other drop-out youth situation there. But the Mirror chose to run as its second headline on the piece: ‘Their trade shames a national showplace’ and under it published a picture of a probation officer ’at “The Meat Rack”, the Piccadilly Circus haunt of young boys waiting for homosexuals.’

Five days later it was Friday and the Times lifted its skirts and had a slam at the Dilly.

In a series called Policemen Talking, Peter Evans wrote a piece on the ‘Missing boys and girls enmeshed in Soho vice nets.’ Racey stuff this for The Times. Police sergeant M Woodheath of the Juveniles Squad, gave us the low-down from her point of view. She said: “If they are young lads, men will start speaking to them and take them home and be nice to them. These boys are usually naive and often accept. The man demands something more of them. Eventually they put these lads on the streets as male prostitutes and they give the men part of their earnings. Their ages can range from 14 upwards. Many of these boys end up as permanent homosexuals. It is very difficult to get at the men in charge of them. Boys are reluctant to give a description or a name and address. They are frightened to give you much.

“One man had ten little boys working as male prostitutes for him from 14 upwards. They were reluctant to give evidence. Some turned up at court to give evidence. He was convicted.

“The same sort of thing happens to girls. Lesbians pick them up from 13 upwards. Three girls from Cardiff were arrested for soliciting before we discovered they were juveniles…”

And so on. It seems you get the Dilly’s dirty washing aired just as publicly in The Times as you do in the Mirror. And The Times gives its readers more details of the washing its discovered.

ED: We’ll carry a full review of Mervyn Harris’ The Dilly Boys in Gay News 17, and we’ll try to look a bit deeper into the rent scene in the future.

Mums Make Sons Gay

DUBLIN: The Irish Medical Times’s resident man on the psychiatrists couch, Dr T K McKeogh, reckons that dominant Irish mothers and one-sex schooling in Ireland, usually by anti-sex clerical teachers, helps make young Irish people gay, and worse, is psychologically damaging to the young people.

In his Talking Points column in the IMT, Dr McKeogh wrote: ‘Some interesting illustrative studies have been done in this field, and one which indicates the influence of cultural patterns on the expression of symptoms in patients with a given mental disease is the study of Irish-American and Italian schizophrenics in New York City by Dr Marvin K Opler in 1959.

Latent Tendencies

This study seemed to demonstrate unequivocally that the Irish culture inhibits sexuality and emphasises male inadequacy, fear of females and latent homosexual tendencies, and inevitably that alcoholism was much more common among the Irish than in the Italian-American patients.

‘Whilst the change in sexual mores amounting to a revolution in some countries in the last decade may have gone too far, in Ireland so far one can applaud the more liberal attitudes now prevailing and point happily to a rising marriage rate and the lower ages at which they occur.’

The Irish Trouble

In his column, which was headed ‘No Thanks To Heaven For Little Girls!’, the doctor said: ‘The dominant Irish mother who idolises her sons and deprecates her daughters does incalculable damage to both, and our one-sex schools, too often permeated by the anti-sex attitude of the clerical teachers, male and female, aggravates the injury.

‘There may have been a time when the Irish were the chivalrous lovers that light fiction once asserted, but that possibly was before the deity appeared to weigh in on the side of Victorianism with the disastrous famine.’

He also tells us a story which made him think of all this. A girl walked into the lounge of a Dublin hotel, and wanted to sit down with her girl-friends. There was no empty chair, so she had to drag a chair up to join them.

I’m Only A Psychologist

The doctor, in horror, confides in the IMT’s readers that ‘none of the males present displayed the slightest interest in her that I could see (and a psychologist is a man who watches other men’s faces when a pretty girl enters the room).’ At no time does he explain why he never rushed to help the seatless lady.

Some Can Some Can’t

LONDON: Just to prove that there are some that can and some that can’t, the three judges who banned the David Bailey documentary on Andy Warhol actually sat down and looked at what they’d stopped the public seeing.

It was the first time the judges, who banned the television programme without seeing it, put their innocence in jeopardy by exposing themselves to the documentary film about the pop artist and movie maker.

Three judges watch the David Bailey television documentary, with Ross McWhirter sitting second row middle. [Photograph: Syndication International]
For this treat, they left the boring old Appeal Court, where they spend about 30 per cent of their lives. And just to prove that he didn’t mind risking being corrupted by the ATV programme he’d got blacked out, Ross McWhirter, the rugby commentator and record book compiler, who has ambitions for political office, went along too. He’s behind the Master of the Rolls, Judge Denning (centre, front row).

Now that McWhirter has battled the Bailey documentary to a guarenteed high viewing figure when it is finally shown, he intends to take on the Attorney-General at the European Court of Human Rights alleging that the Government committed an illegal act by making Britain join the Common Market.

He’s a versatile campaigner, who even the Daily Telegraph put down as someone who ‘has set himself up as a legal watchdog on Governments and public bodies’.

In the past he’s failed to get elected to Parliament as Conservative candidate for Edmonton (1964), accused James Callaghan, the Labour Home Secretary, of jerrymandering (1969), and finally settled out of court for £250 costs.

The fact that not only the judges, but also McWhirter were allowed to see the television movie demonstrates that in the eyes of the law some can be corrupted, and some can’t. Those who can’t are judges and their friends.

Aussie Ads Bust

SYDNEY: Australia’s first serious gay magazine, William and John, has been busted by police for obscenity.

The charges the publishers face are caused by their continuing publication of gay small ads. The case appears to be similar in many ways to the International Times case, which the three defendants lost.

Life With The Louds

NEW YORK: America’s latest super media-wheeze, the televising of the agonies of real family life – as opposed to the homogenised cleanliness of David Cassidy et al – has caused something of a storm, possibly because young Lance Louds is a silver-haired gay.

The idea of the programme was to show the real life-style of the real American family. But during the filming of the family going about its everyday business, the main protagonists, Mr and Mrs Bill Loud discovered they couldn’t stand each other any longer. Their 20 year old marriage collapsed and they discovered that their son Lance was gay.

Dyed Hair

Apparently the idea had never crossed their minds, even when Lance dyed his hair silver when he was 14.

The film showed Mrs Loud going to the gay commune in a hotel in one of New York’s seedier districts and not even then grasping the full significance of what had happened.

Scenes like this has made the Loud family’s public agony bigger in television ratings than the Partridge family and that sort of thing, as people start wondering whether the malaise that’s affecting the Loud marriage might not apply to just that family.

No Idea

Creator of the series, Craig Gilbert, finds himself sitting on top of a hit. He claims that when they started the nine-month shooting programme last year, the television company didn’t realise that the Loud marriage was in such imminent danger of collapse or that Lance was gay.

What chance is there of seeing the programme here? It’d really get them going in Enfield.


Project note: the making of this series, An American Family, was turned into a fictionalised film in 2011 starring James Gandolfini and Tim Robbins called Cinema Verite.

Boy Was Experienced

LEICESTER: Two men were given suspended prison sentences by the Crown Court here be cause they had sex with a 15-year-old boy who was, according to their counsel, “experienced in these matters”.

Terence (40) and David (59), both of Leicester, pleaded guilty to buggery, attempted buggery and charges of ‘indecency’ with the boy.

Mr Michael Astill, appearing for both of them, said of the boy: “His corruption took place long before he met these men. He was experienced in these matters. Both men are adamant that it was the boy who was the instigator. The boy came back, and back again.”

Protection

Terence was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and David was jailed for 18 months. Both sentences were suspended for two years.

Judge W A Sime told them: “The law in its wisdom some time ago made it legal for persons to indulge in these kind of practices in private and with adults. But one of the points of that relaxation was that young boys should be protected.”

Back To Normal

READING: Reading Gay Alliance’s discos and socials hit by the end of the late drinking-and-music licence at the Railway Tavern are now getting back to normal.

The landlord of the Railway Tavern has got his licence back and the silent-and-dry social evenings have become fun again.

The new licence runs out in April, but before that the brewers Ind Coope, are replacing the present licencee with their own manager. Then anything could happen. Ind Coope has already told RGA not to mention the Railway Tavern by name in any of its advertisements.

The present landlord consistently let the room to RGA, at the expense of other groups already using it.

Meanwhile RGA has held its annual meeting, and, in the light of the recent licencing problems, the members agreed to make the social functions into members-only club functions.

Members of RGA from Reading town have been pressing for a club set-up for some time, but this has been opposed by members from Reading University, who wanted RGA to go on without bothering about membership cards.

NEWSETTES

Irish Help

DUBLIN: Gays who want to talk about ‘their problem’ in an informal, understanding and ‘constructive’ atmosphere are invited to contact the Legion of Mary in Dublin.

The legion which has been running its gay-help group for about five years, says the majority of those it’s helped have found it useful.

It stresses that the group is non-denominational and that all problems are treated in confidence.

The contact number for the Legion is (01) 776083, any evening between 8pm and 10pm.

Poison Ivy

MORECAMBE: The Morecambe Visitor, the weekly paper that’s biting its editorial fingernails and waiting for the CHE conference, ran an amazing letter from the Rev Frank Ockenden.

The Rev Frank quoth: “Homosexuality, like prostitution, is a moral disease, which society may at best only contain, but for its good must endeavour to prevent or cure.

“To condemn the practice does not necessarily imply the condemnation of its victims. Being Holy, God condemns all sin, and has said so, but being also Love, He has provided salvation from it in his Son Jesus Christ. This includes all homosexuals, and makes irrelevant any campaign for equality.”

Then in slammed the Corrs of Lancaster, lambasting the Rev Frank, who (incidentally) lives at Ivy Cottage, Arkhole, for would-be correspondents.

The Corrs – Bill and his wife Anna – blasted away in fine style: “Since the majority of people in this country are no longer practicing Christians the advice of the Rev Ockenden and his fellow minsters of religion would be heeded only by those who share their respective faiths.

“Homosexuality ought to rank equal in the eyes of the law with heterosexuality so far as age of consent, marriage and so on are concerned.

“At the moment homosexual men (the law does not recognise that female homosexuality exists, oddly enough) exist in a legal minefield.

“Naturally all that this would mean is that the gap between the law of the land and Mr Ockenden’s theology would be at liberty to denounce homosexuality as a sin to anyone prepared to pay any attention.”

The Rev Frank is a loner in the realms of backwoods revivalism. His Arkholme Evangelical Church broke away from the Lancaster Methodist Circuit about two years ago, because the Lancaster Methodists were having dealings with members of other churches.

Since then the Rev Frank has been wearing the top dog-collar at Arkholme and master-minding Munich style rallies of revivalist religion. Even the Rev Ian Paisley chickened out of one invite the Martin Luther of Poison Ivy Cottage sent him.

John Pointless Ross

LONDON: The Evening News’ man-for-all-occasions, John Pointer Ross, managed to get a swipe at gays into his January 19 column for the more boring of London’s evening papers.

Along with Ross’ ‘thoughts’ on crime and punishment, drug-addiction, a farm-worker from Brighton who has sired 17 children and the price of beef – Ross was never the first with an idea – we got this gem: “CHE, in case you didn’t know, stands for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

“They wanted to hold a conference for their members. The usual resorts where conferences are normally held have turned them down.

“The homosexuals seem surprised. Are you?”

But the Fleet Street hacks don’t all think the same way. Readers may remember Des Wilson as the man who cared about the homeless. Now he’s returned to his first love, journalism.

From his perch on top of his regular column in The Observer, Des Wilson observed: “Weymouth and other seaside towns (including, I gather, Morecambe) have certainly shown why a Campaign for Homosexual Equality is needed. The ignorance and prejudice reflected in some towns’ responses have been incredible.”

Normal Homosexuals

From the tons of newsprint produced every day we present this excerpt from the Evening Post (Luton):

Question: Can you be a homosexual and still be normal in other ways?

Answer: Most certainly. But that’s not to say that all homosexuals are otherwise normal.

The same applies, of course, to those who favour the opposite sex.

Chaplain Charged

LEEDS: The Church of England chaplain at Wakefield prison was released on bail by Leeds magistrates after he had appeared before them charged with ‘indecently assaulting’ a policeman in a public lavatory.

The Rev George who is said to have assaulted PC Gordon in a cottage in Marsh Lane, Leeds, was remanded on £25 bail. The police did not object.

He will appear before the magistrates again on March 6.