After some very trying times, issue one finally hit the streets, and the first feedback from our would-be readership began. Some of us weren’t too keen on going out to sell the paper ourselves, since there is more than enough work to do in the writing and the preparation of the paper, but the reception almost everywhere was so overwhelmingly friendly that I don’t think any of us will hesitate with this or any future issue.
Of course. there were times when some of us found it a bit trying – like being threatened by a couple of skinheads in Richmond, or being asked “If I buy one can I have you?” (the answer was yes, but the guy didn’t wait!).
People have begun to send in letters, articles, and reviews, whim is really nice and exactly what we hoped would happen – keep up the good work. The number of people dropping into the office has increased, too, which makes life a bit crowded some of the time, but they are often coming to offer help with office work, selling and distribution (all of which is very welcome) as well as just calling in for a chat.
One such visitor was Alan Brien of the Sunday Times, carried into our midst by a whirlwind born of the fleeting press interest in gay small ads, the Spare Rib party, and Jill Tweedie. As those of you who saw his piece in the Sunday Times, 25th June, must have realised, the main topic of conversation was the Radical Feminists in G.L.F. and their behaviour at the Spare Rib party. We both agreed that it was a pity, since most people will now think that Radical Feminism equals Gay Lib, whereas they are only a very small minority on its right wing. Many others in G.L.F. are leaving the movement rather than have these people’s views imposed upon them – on Monday, Harrow local group decided to split from G.L.F. and go it alone under the name “GAY UNITY”: a title which seems to be an appropriate hint to the divisive Rad. Femmes. It appears from what we hear that other groups are considering similar actions.
However, back to the paper. We have now had refusals to stock us from quite a number of bookshops around the country (including an official refusal from W.H. Smith’s on the grounds that we wouldn’t sell fast enough to justify the space we would take up). So we still need you to visit your local bookshops and newsagents as our salesmen, to put these people in touch with us. The more daces you visit the easier it will be for all of us to communicate with each other, and that’s what it’s all about.
One or two people that we met thought the first issue a bit dry, but liked it in spite of that – in fact, the response generally has made the incredible amount of work well worthwhile. Of course, for some it was too radical, for some, too conservative, but you can’t please everybody all of the time. It seems especially difficult to please the Rad. Femmes; since deciding to run the pieces on the Spare Rib party and on what they are doing to G.L.F. generally they have tried to get us to postpone issue two, censor out our opinions of them and generally forget the whole thing. We have made space available in this issue for them to give their version of the events, but at the time of writing this, it has not arrived. It seems unduly hard to make them realise that other people besides themselves have things to say, like the nicer faction of G.L.F. who demonstrated outside the Earls Court pubs. Of course, the Rad, femmes did not support the main body of G.L.F. on this part of Gay Pride week; a prefect example of the selfish way this faction operates.
Anyway, one last thought to leave you with; if you buy the paper from one of the streetsellers in London, the person will most likely be one of us, the editorial collective, so if you’ve anything to say, any articles that other people might like to read, any criticism or encouragement let rip and we’ll do something about it.
See you around.