Court Bans “Homosexuals And Such Like”

LONDON: Britain’s self-appointed arbiters of morals, the Festival of Light, has won an albeit temporary victory against the fair presentation of gay sex on television when Ross McWhirter, better known for compiling the Guinness Book Of Records and meddling in comprehensive education, managed to con the Court of Appeal into stopping ITV’s planned screening of a documentary by photographer David Bailey on Any Warhol, without bothering to see it.

McWhirter, perhaps in an attempt to win a record for stupidity, could not claim any greater knowledge of the programme’s content. He, too, had not seen the documentary made for the Midlands ITV company, ATV, before spending a day getting the law to rush through its due processes with undue, and almost obscene, haste.

He started with Mr Justice Forbes, sitting in private. Judge Forbes dismissed McWhirter’s objection to the programme. Within hours – not the months any mere mortal would have to wait – McWhirter was in the Court of Appeal conning three judges into passing an opinion on the programme none of them had seen.

Lord Justice Cairns said that he didn’t think the court had any right to stop the screening of the programme. But all the same he didn’t think it was the type of thing people should be allowed to see. The other two judges, Denning and Lawton, thought they could judge the programme and meddle in ITV’s schedules.

The trouble started when Lord Longford, whose self-appointed commission into pornography tried to silence sexual liberty, and other Festival of Light trouble-seekers decided they didn’t like the idea of a programme about the American movie-maker and artist that didn’t put him down.

Longford lashed out with his first broadside safe in the knowledge that he knew enough about porn to be able to criticise Bailey’s work on Warhol without moving his ass and bothering to see the film.

What he didn’t like about the movie he hadn’t seen was that he’d heard that the hadn’t seen was that he’d heard the movie Bailey had made for ATV’s documentary spot on the ITV network contained references to and the sight of “homosexuals, lesbians, transvestites” and such like.

“And on the strength of that it ought not to be shown.”

To make matters worse, David Bailey, who appears seemingly nude in bed with Warhol, who remains fully clothed, included footage from Andy Warhol factory movies. During this characters used the word ‘fuck’ four times, Lord Longford had heard. ‘Fuck’ is a word heard more than four times in the average AA-movie in the commercial cinema.

Just as the Festival of Lighters were sitting down eager to be shocked and disgusted by ATV’s cavorting around the New York movie factory the news came that the judges of the Appeal Court had come to the unprecedented decision of letting the Lighters have their way in getting the Warhol documentary banned.

The Independent Broadcasting Authority, the ITA as was, the authority that has the responsibility of making sure that all ITV output is ‘up to standard’, held out longer against the attacks from the Festival of Light than the BBC has of late in its brushes with the Festival and Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ Association, but in the end it was outmanoeuvred by the self-righteous moral guardians who managed to get the programme banned.

Where Longford and the Festival of Light with their usual under-the-counter tactics – usually so effective on Lord Hill and the BBC – failed, Ross McWhirter succeeded.

McWhirter is new to the business of being a clean-up television campaigner, and could be said to have done much to encourage violence by working for the BBC as a rugby commentator. In the past he has battled to get comprehensive school plans scrapped for Enfield where he lives waiting to be discovered for Parliament.

The position at the time of going to press was that the IBA was appealing against the Appeal Court’s ban. At this hearing the judge may actually see the programme instead of dispensing justice blindfold.

Critics in Fleet Street are unhappy about the ban, which they feel smacks of dictatorial censorship.

They are even unhappier that McWhirter got the injunction stopping the screening of the Warhol movie partly through his claims that television critics who’d seen the movie were shocked by it.

John Howkins of Time Out, Tom Hutchinson of the Evening Standard and Elkan Allan of The Sunday Times issued a statement dissociating themselves from McWhirter’s protest.

Tom Hutchinson wrote, in a remarkable front-page attack on the ban in the Standard: ‘Some of the objected-to words are in fact contained within clips from Warhol’s own films which the cinema-going public has already been granted the privilege of seeing or not.

‘Of course, now my appreciation of the film has accelerated. Bailey’s point has been substantiated beyond my first reaction. For it seems very true now, that as Bailey suggests, Warhol is what you make him and what you think he is – even without seeing him’.

When the programme was cancelled, Thames TV, the London week-day television station, was besieged with telephone calls. All of its 84 ones were blocked for 90 minutes, the IBA reported a bigger-than-ever response to any of the programmes the ITV companies had been allowed to show. All the callers were complaining that the documentary had been shelved. Mr McWhirter may claim to represent the silent majority, but the majority, in this case, were against his under-hand, old-school-tie censorship tactics.

Thames compounded the silliness, which Anglia TV had already added to by individually refusing to show the programme, when London viewers were told that there had been a programme change – just that – with no reference to the court battle that had forced the chanage.

During the safe replacement documentary on a Nottingham craft centre – a programme which had been shown before – the BBC had The Old Gray Whistle Test on BBC2, including David Bowie’s Andy Warhol track, from the Hunky Dory album – played in sympathy?

QUOTES: Andy Warhol (in New York): “How quaint. How old-fashioned. Maybe they should see my movies.”

Jimmy Vaughan, Warhol’s European agent: “This is a terrible blow – it is censorship of the worst kind. Surely people have a right to decide what they watch.”

The National Council for Civil Liberties: “While a minority has a right to persuade, it does not have the right to impose its views with the blunt weapon of censorship. The NCCL urges the IBA to show this film at the earliest opportunity and let the viewing public decide on its merits or deficencies.”

Peter Thompson, secretary of the Festival of Light: “Thank God for men like Mr McWhirter.”

David Bailey: “I am amazed that the judges can make the order stopping the film without having seen it. Hitler used to burn books he hadn’t read.”

Welfare Man Jailed

LONDON: A 23-year-old welfare worker from Hackney was jailed for two years at the Old Bailey after being tried for having sex with five boys in his care. Justin pleaded guilty to charges of committing eleven sex “offences” against the boys who were aged between 12 and 15 years.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of ‘counselling’, ‘procuring’, ‘aiding’ and ‘abetting’ another man, Sidney, to commit a ‘serious sexual offence’.

Sidney, a hospital porter of Eltham, didn’t appear to stand trial and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Justin, it was said, was employed as a house master at a Twickenham school for difficult boys. He had no training. Later he worked as a senior parent at a special reception centre run by Hackney borough council, then as a deputy warden of a hostel in Hounslow.

When he was arrested last May he was employed by the Inner London County Council as an educational welfare officer, according to the Hackney Gazette’s report of the trial, which failed to mention that there is no such thing as the Inner London County Council.

Mr Stephen Mitchell, prosecuting, claimed that, in 1969, on a caravan holiday in Canvey Island, Justin slipped a boy a tranquiliser in his cup of cocoa and “when he fell asleep sexually assaulted him”.

Then, in 1970, Justin met two brothers aged 13 and 14. He introduced himself to their parents, who “were totally put off their guard because he was working for Hackney borough council. As a result they allowed their sons to meet” Justin.

The prosecution claimed that one of the boys was shown a copy of the ABZ Of Love, into which Justin “had stuck obscene photographs. When the boy complained of a headache” Justine “gave him three sedatives and then, when he became drowsy, indecently assaulted him”.

Justin, it was said, had taken the same boy to see a “friend” – the Hackney Gazette’s quote-marks – in Shepton Malet jail, but the prison authorities refused to allow the boy in. The man they’d gone to see was Sidney, who later jumped bail.

Mr Mitchell said another of Justin’s victims was a young boy who was having difficulties in settling down at school after being indecently assaulted abroad.

When he was arrested on May 25, Justin said: “I do feel terribly ashamed and guilty for all the anxiety I have caused to all those whose trust I have betrayed. I am glad these children have been relieved of the awful burden I have placed upon them.”

Judge Corcoran listened to all this, then he jailed Justin for two years. He said that Justin was someone said to have a bright future in the social service. He went on: “You embarked on these employments with a certain flair which you undoubtedly have for this sort of work. But things went wrong because you had no training in any social studies. There was no period when people could supervise you in training before you actually did the work and when your particular failing may well have been spotted.

“You may have been saved what happened to you and the boys under your care might also have been spared. It is a pity.

“You met five boys in the course of your professional work. There is no doubt that you excited them sexually by showing some of them photographs. Certainly in the case of two of them you gave them tablets which acted as a sedative. You may well have put them in a position of not being able to resist what you intended to do to them.

“The majority of the boys were in your care because they were difficult, maladjusted and disturbed.”

The actual sentence came as something of a surprise after the judge had blamed Justin’s actions on the council for not training him, and his sham at liberal thinking.

The Four Minute Kiss

Photograph: David Hart

LONDON: The Campaign for Homosexual Equality held a promising sounding conference on New Ghettoes for Old, with Lord Arran, Maureen Duffy, Brian McGee and Chad Varah speaking on sexual liberty and the struggle for it.

Lord Arran let on that he was in touch with higher spirits, who, like him, didn’t like the idea of gays kissing in public.

Brian McGee and Maureen Duffy dealt eloquently and informatively on the problems of Gay Liberation for men and women respectively.

Chad Varah said he found it difficult to accept modern ideas of sexual relationships and liberation that belonged, perhaps, he said, to another age.

The possible high-spot was an unplanned speech by a demonstrator in women’s clothes, who used the microphone loudspeaker system in the Conway Hall to tell the audience that sexual liberation could only be achieved after the destruction of capitalist ideals.

For this he got an earful of abuse from Ian Harvey, the meeting’s chairman and enthusiastic applause from the audience. After his speech the radical demonstrator left the stage and kissed a GLF member for four minutes.

Gay Spies Hit The Sundays

LONDON: Britain’s Sunday ‘heavy’ newspapers have suddenly had a rash of reports on people convicted of spying, who were said to be gay.

First it was John Vassall, interviewed by Francis Wyndham in the Sunday Times. He was a little camp, but essentially honest in the interview in which he remembered prison life – for instance, its concerts.

He said: “The ones we did ourselves were the best. There was one very amusing prisoner who was very good at dressing up. He had a nickname – Stella. Before Mountbatten (the Mountbatten Commission’s prison report) we had a wonderful concert at Thanet. We had to pick the Miss Thanet of 1965 – it was really a scream. Eight people took part: two of them were gay, so they knew what they were doing. People ran up dresses for the show, made wigs — everyone put in a lot of effort. Oh, it really was a hoot! I did a mime with someone else. He was a girl sitting on a bench and I came in as a man reading a newspaper. Somebody shouted out ‘You’re wasting your time there!’ Even I got a kick out of that. It’s much better to hear something than nothing.”

Next week The Observer slammed back with part one of a two-part serialisation of bits of a book by Brian Inglis on Sir Roger Casement, the eminent Edwardian hanged for treason in 1916 for his alleged part in the Irish ‘troubles’.

The Observer introduced the package with a paragraph describing Casement as a ‘diplomat, homosexual, Irish patriot’.

In his book Inglis claims that: “He (Casement) had left some of his possessions in his old London lodgings, among them his so-called Black Diaries for 1903, 1910 and 1911.”

Others have argued that these diaries never existed until the British Secret Service wanted to ensure Casement’s conviction and execution. It is said that they are not even in a passable imitation of Casement’s handwriting.

Indeed the Black Diaries are among the few once-secret papers the authorities keep very close tabs on.

They are still unpublished. They are in the British Museum but only ‘bona fide’ historians can get to see them.

Something Nasty In The Non-Fiction

LONDON: It’s hardly surprising that the majority of libraries in Great Britain refuse to carry gay newspapers or magazines when you consider the sort of bigoted attitude that emerged in a letter to the Librarians’ Association Record in the latter part of last year.

John Noyce, who writes a column on magazines librarians might be interested in, for another paper, the Assistant Librarian, innocently said: “As usual, the British alternative press papers seem to be following their American counterparts. The general papers are in difficulties – Seven Days and Ink gone, Frendz and IT are in financial troubles – but the sectional papers grow ever more numerous.”

Then he listed Spare Rib, and Gay News, along with GIN, Lunch, SMG News, Arena Three and Sappho.

Little did he know there was something pretty vicious waiting in the non-fiction section. A librarian wrote in to say: “In the August issue of Assistant Librarian, a contributor lists for our special benefit or enlightenment (I’m nor sure which) an extraordinary catalogue of recent outlandish periodicals, the very latest from the front line of the sexual revolution, suitable, perhaps, for educated perverts and emancipated Bohemians, as well as Lesbian librarians with doubts about their masculinity, and, of course, any pouffes-in-boots and beyond-the-fringe eccentrics floating around the outer reaches of cosmopolitan professional librarianship, but to the membership at large, of no use, one would have thought, whatsoever, unless, in the present phase of cultural pollution, we are to be credited with the same tastes.” And so he goes on. And on. Quoting George Bernard Shaw and T S Eliot. He’s read them!

With a wonderful old-fashioned hatred like that, a man could get a job with the Festival of Light.

Gay News Makes News

HATFIELD: The Hatfield and Welwyn Advertiser burbled happily when it discovered that local talent, Barbara Cartland, the ageless authoress, had been chosen as a calendar girl by no less than Gay News.

The Adver chirruped: “She is one of 12 celebrities to illustrate the months – others include Mae West, Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard and silent film star George Arliss.” George Arliss? The Herts Adver bubbled on: “Asked why they had singled out Miss Cartland, a joint editor of Gay News, Mr Denis Lemon, said: ‘We think she’s a rather fun lady.’”

JOHANNESBURG: Viv Prince, who writes a column for the Rand Daily Mail, reads the journalists’ trade paper UK Press Gazette.

For his Play Back column he virtually reprinted verbatim UKPG’s report of Gay News getting a bit professional. Over to you, Viv, you’re better at it than us.

“I suppose it had to come. Last week I was saying how devious our young maidens are here in Johannesburg with their liberated dating techniques. Now comes the freedom fight of the twilight male.

“It’s just been announced that Gay News – the new fortnightly for homosexuals – is getting its first full-time trained reporter.

“The lad in question, a Mr Peter Holmes, is leaving the English evening paper for which he works – ‘for a paper I can believe in’.

From here on out it just quotes the story Peter wrote for UK Press Gazette.

Such as “Said Mr Holmes: ‘It may be hard work for low pay, but it’s worth it for a paper that’s only just getting off the ground. I’ve decided to put my pay packet where my mouth was.’”

Our Viv ends up with a bit of his own: “I suppose that’s what you call being liberated.”

ED: George Arliss??

No Secrets from The People

Would You Like To See Them Behind The Bar In Your Local? simpered the Sunday People, who ran the picture when the man on the left won a landlord of the year competition.

The Sunday People giggled on: “Which makes on wonder what is happening to the traditional English pub.”

For Ken Pilling, the landlord of the Merchants Hotel in Blackburn, Lancashire is gay and makes no secret of the fact. And the People giggled “some of his barmen are the same way.”

Ken told the newspaper: “I’ve always been completely frank about myself. Fellows out for a stag night come in and laugh at us. But my barmen have a quick answer for any joker, and these lads who come for laughs return as regulars.”

Ken started a pub football team and their opponents taunted: “We’re playing a bunch of fairies.” Ken’s lads thrashed them 16 to 2.

“There’s not a homosexual among them,” he says. “People thought everyone who came in here would be bent.”

The People snickered: “A lot of people would, no doubt, be put off by Ken’s scene. But certainly his sexually – normal regulars are full of praise.”

Before he took over the Merchant’s Hotel, Ken was an Army drill instructor and the pub was run down. Now its turnover is more than £1,000 a week.

The 500-pub Lion brewery, which owns the Merchants says Ken won the award as the “Licensee who made the most effort personally to improve his pub atmosphere, by way of added attractions, customer relationship and genuine desire for his customers’ welfare.”

Being all of that won Ken a weekend in Paris – “Gay Paree” to the People.

Victory In The West

BRISTOL: Gay author and playwright Jean Genet has given his permission for the first British production of his play The Screens, which deals with the Algerian war of Independence – in Bristol.

When it opened in Paris, it caused considerable political mayhem, as the scars caused by the loss of Genet’s native France losing its last and favourite colony had not yet healed.

Since then it has been staged in New York, but it has never been performed in this country. So winning the first performance rights is a considerable victory for the provincial theatre.

Come Togethers

MANCHESTER: On Saturday January 27, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality is holding the first national meeting for gay and bisexual women.

Liz Stanley who’s been involved in the meeting’s organisation told Gay News: “Any woman is welcome to the meeting.”

After a general discussion about involving more women in CHE, people will split up into discussion groups.

These discussion groups will talk about subjects including the problems of married gay and bisexual women, and the children of gay parents; coming to terms with one’s homosexuality, relating to each other and to gay men as well as to heterosexual people; where gay women can go for help – and the specific problems of the help organisations; women’s liberation; radicial feminism and its relationship to the gay women’s struggle; the problems of isolated gay women in provincial towns.

After that they’ll get together again to discuss “Women In CHE – Where We Go From Here”.

After the conference there will be a mixed disco – although the conference itself is for women only.


LONDON: The Havelock Ellis Society will have its second annual lecture at the Royal Overseas League, London SW1 on Friday February 2.

This year’s subject is Sex Research and Social Changes. The lecturer will be Professor John Gagnon, professor of sociology at New York State University.

ED: Details of the women’s conference from Liz at CHE, Manchester – the address is on the back of the paper. More on the Havelock Ellis lecture from Edgar Wright, 121 Broadhurst Gardens, London NW3 3BJ.


LEEDS: A National Gay Liberation “THINK-IN” is to be held in Leeds over the weekend February 17th-18th. The hosts are Gay Lib Leeds and the venue: Leeds University Union.

All Gay Lib groups will be invited and any interested individuals are encouraged to come along.

This will be an important meeting for GLF in this country: at a stage of revolutionary change within the national group and the widely diverse regional groups.

On the Friday night groups will be expected to arrive.

A disco/party will be held. The first Get-together will be held on the Saturday at 10pm. The ‘think-in’ will last all day. A Grand Dance will be held on the Saturday night. A policy meeting and round-up of discussions will take place on the Sunday afternoon.

More news will be released as they get-it-together.

Sam Faces Spite On Coucil

DURHAM: The city’s councillors are being asked to buy Gay News for the Durham public libraries. But the application may be turned down by councillors who dislike the city’s Gay Lib councillor Sam Green.

Sam told Gay News that the Durham Librarian would have to refer any application for spending the municipal cash on Gay News to the Libraries Committee.

He said: “It might even be agreed to, as it is not the full council, on which I am, and where there is a lot of personal animosity towards me – but some of them might try and make political capital out of it.”

Sam became Durham’s first Liberal councillor last year after ousting the sitting councillor in Crossgate ward – after 18 years on the council. In his campaign he made a point of telling his electors he was gay (GN8).

He will be standing for the district and county elections this spring.