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03-197207XX-07“We hope that Gay News will never be so completely serious that no-one could smile, laugh, or maybe happily cringe at parts of it. News is not only the bad things that can happen to us all, but knowing about what others are doing, sharing, achieving.” Thus your first editorial.

I find myself rather in agreement with the Lords Beaumont and Arran who expressed their views on Gay News in your first correspondence column. And yet I have subscribed, blindly, to your paper; further I am now writing for it. I’d like to think I subscribed through generosity and a desire to help but the basic reason was selfish curiosity. What would the paper be like? What would it do for me. a forty year old homosexual (unlike the person who accosted Alan Brien, I dislike the description “gay people”)? Would it not be too alien in taste to a reader of the Observer, the Sunday Times, New Statesman, an admirer of the B.B.C.?

Wait and see is my verdict after issue one and that I will do after sending my best respects to Julian Denys Grinspoon, whose piece on the Biograph I found not entirely to my taste. None the less, I have some fellow feeling with the old boy (he surely must be old if I’m any judge of prose style). Anyway. Jule, if you’re under 35 pop round any time and we’ll pull the curtains, switch on the telly, and pretend we’re at the Biograph) because I get randy too. And that’s one of the reasons I joined the CHE correspondence list – I thought something might come of it. There must be many of your readers who are on it or who are contemplating having their names included. Your paper could assist a great number of us by providing a forum for an initial general discussion on what we hope to gain from corresponding with each other.

My main modest ambition was to land up with one or more in a similar age group to me and with some like interests. If, somewhere along the line, a somewhat younger man or woman chose to write to me, and then to meet me, I would have no objection; similarly I would have no objection to hearing from the elderly, although I resolved to discourage the elderly and the effeminate (insofar as I can judge from prose style). Largely, I’m sure, because I live in an agreeable part of the country. I had several letters. Because of this, I felt it cowardly myself not to initiate at least one piece of correspondence and so I selected a man who appeared from the list to be very similar to myself; I gave him the option of not replying. He didn’t, which was one in the eye for me, since I thought giving him that option would clinch it. Next time I shall write to a twenty-one year old and then I can blame the age barrier if there is no reply.

The following briefly sums up the situation with those who wrote to me.

“A” was about my age and he came to see me for the day. We turned out to have little in common. We went to bed, but not with too much enthusiasm, simply because for my part I was feeling like Jules sometimes feels. I wasn’t happy after he’d gone until I’d flung open all the windows and washed all the things his body had touched.

“B” was also about my age but sounded to me (and to ”C” – see below) terribly camp. I have decided to shun those who introduce the words “active” and “passive” too early in the correspondence. I decided the best way of disposing of him was to “outcamp” him in a letter of my own. It was effective, but on reflection, it was also cruel and I shan’t do it again. Also, it would have been awkward for me if it had encouraged him.

“C” is a very lovely memory. About fifteen years younger than me and beautiful. We fucked when we met and while not wishing to intorduce any “Which?” best buy element into this serious subject, I can only say that it was the best I’ve had for years. He’s now moved house and job but I never deluded myself into thinking he would be a permanency in my life.

“D” is my current white hope. I haven’t met him yet; he’s a tardy corresponder but likes my letters. He’s my age though I don’t think our interests altogether chime in. But I like the sound of him and. as I have told him, I think he may turn out to be more like myself than any of my other corresponders.

“E” and “F” are both elderly; “E” clearly wants not to be his age and sounds very effeminate. Unfortunately, he lives very near me. I don’t want to meet him. “F” said in his letter that our interests were similar. When I looked down the list, I could find little that we had in common.

So there are my six. At present, I’m still searching for the ideal one and shall go again on the next list. What does “the ideal one” constitute? Very simply, a friend with whom sex will come (slowly perhaps) to be a simple and natural part of the friendship, not a matter of convenience (sic) as it was with “A” or a once and for all experience like it was with “C” A walk on the downs or a visit to the cinema and then home to bed. I wonder if that’s too much to hope.

Well, it shouldn’t be because it’s something surely, that a lot of people want. It’s just a matter of pairing off correctly. I would be very interested, meanwhile, to hear and read, in your columns (your columns, Neville), the experiences of others with the Che correspondence list. We might all be able to learn something. Is the age barrier important? Do we place too much hope on a happy sexual outcome? (Combining the two, I realise I’ve never had, or wanted, sex with a man considerably older than myself, yet “C” never turned a hair). Does the meeting, after sometimes lengthy correspondence, more often than not result in dissapointment? At least the method allows us to warn the other parties of our defects and I’ve taken full advantage of doing that when writing.

I have insisted to the collective, among whom I suspect the nice people outnumber the nasty ones quite substantially, that if this is published it must be done so under a pseudonym. Nonetheless, if anyone wishes to write to me through Gay News, I’m sure the collective will see to it that any letters are sent to me, and whether You think I can help you or you think you can help me. I’ll do my best to reply. But we can best help each other by giving our views on these pages.

I don’t know whether I’ve made you smile laugh or cringe I only know I want the paper to be a success on as many levels as possible. And if those classified ads on the issue no. 1 were put in by collective or by anyone else, the advertisers should not necessarily assume, because I have not replied, that I don’t want my sporran fondled or that I don’t want to meet someone who’s slim, slightly hairy, and who thinks that sexuality is beautiful. It’s just that I (and I suspect many like me) have some trepidation in replying to such adverts. Anyway, I have turned the tables on them so that they can reply to me through Gay News, having read this article, which should perhaps be Sub-Titled “How to get a free, respectable small ad in Gay News”.

Biograph Review

03-197207XX-07Hello dears, here I am again, to tell you all about future delights and titilations in store for you all at the Biograph.

But first let me tell you a bit about the little holiday I had in Paris last week. It was seven days of blissful relaxation in that beautiful city. Mind you, a couple of odd things did happen. An acquaintance had told me about a cinema I might enjoy whilst over in Paris, saying that I would hardly be able to tell the difference between the jolly old Bio and the place he was recommending. The cinema is called the Mexico and it is in the Porte St Martin quarter. So on the second day of my stay I paid it my first visit.

Very nice too it was. Just like home. Lots of nice re-runs, ever so crowded too. It really was amazing how the Mexico’s clientele were so similar to London’s equivilant. Same familiar strange habits too. It possibly has something to do with its close proximity to the Gare du Nord, as I sometimes feel the nearness of Victoria plays an important part in the restlessness of the clientele of the Biograph.

At the Mexico, they provide a rest room just to the left under the screen, supposedly for people who do not want to strain their eyes for long periods. (Very thoughtful, why not follow their example Bio management.) I tried to get in, but it was so dark and crowded that I soon gave up. Of course, when I got back to my seat someone had pinched it. Cheeky! Nice place generally though, if you can take the Bio’s strange diversions to begin with. After the Bio it made a nice home from home.

Nearly had a nasty incident at a convenience near the Gare de Lyon. I had had, I’m sorry to admit dears, one or two Pernods too many one evening, and was dying to relieve myself. So I eventually found this strange looking iron convenience, but what a queue there was I waited nearly half-an-hour, and was I hopping, and with my best Take 6 trendy suit on too. Anyway, there I was waiting when suddenly the whole place was alive with Gendarmes, who rudely pushed through the small crowd, and into the metal pre-war mausoleum, reappearing a few moments later with a handcuffed bunch of extremely distraught citizens. Well how would you like to be interrupted? Whatever they were up too I don’t know, if anything at all other than Nature’s callings, but I suppose there must be some Parisian by law that states how long you can stay in one place. The only good to come out of the incident was the thrill of having a Gendarme standing guard outside of the place when I finally managed to gain access.

Enough of my ramblings though, what you want is my thoughts on future delights playing at the Bio. Whilst I was away I missed seeing that little angel Michael York in Zepplin. As I said before, not much of a film but I could watch Michael for hours as he does his little thing on the screen. Another goody I missed was The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer. Strange surname don’t you think? Please write to me care of this paper if you can throw any light on what it means. Julian’s intrigued.

Anyway, back to the coming treats that are in store for us all. On Thursday 27 July Jealousy, Italian Style with Monica Vitti is showing, along with The Buttercup Chain with little Jane Asher and that dish Hywell Bennett. The latter is a little charm, with both the stars performing well together.

Sunday fare on 30th July has Paul Newman impressing in that exciting thriller Moving Target. I’ve seen this twice before and it still sends shivers down my, excuse me, spine. To tell the truth though, I’ve always been a little ‘biassed’ towards Paul Newman. Support is the instantly forgetable In a Colt’s Shadow.

Charge Up The Light Brigade shows for three days commencing on Monday 31st July. Stiff upper-lip Trevor Howard and gorgeous Vanessa Redgrave play leading roles in this historical epic, complete with surprises such as the occassional animated sequences. Not a bad picture, well worth a visit. Support is Loving, which I haven’t seen before. I shall pass no comment for now and will hope for the best.

That lovely little boy, David Bradley appears in Kes on Thursday 3rd August. Such a nice boy, even though I couldn’t understand a word he was saying when I saw this previously. The Last Warrior is the second feature, with weather beaten Anthony Quimm showing all he’s got to offer, as an actor that is.

Dear old Henry Fonda acts his heart out in Big Deal at Dodge City on Sunday 6th August. They don’t make westerns like this anymore. Lots of action, guns blazing and men dropping their like flies. Two for The Guillotine is also on the bill. Connie Stevens and Cesar Romero are the actors who find themselves in this rather queer situation. I do love that Connie Stevens, do you remember her from that interminable TV series on the commercial channel a few years ago? Exquisite little voice she used to have.

Henry Fonda turns up again in There Was A Crooked Man on Monday 7th August. Wonder what the title means? Bent goings on no doubt. I must make a point of seeing this as I have missed it at past showings at the Bio. Kirk Douglas plays with Henry in this drama.

Before I leave you let me just say a word about a couple of future attractions. Brotherhood of Satan, followed a few days later by Not With My Wife You Don’t, which features drag star Tony Curtis, are forthcoming goodies not to be missed.

Bonjour and Bonne Nuit for now. Love and Kisses to you all.

For The Biograph programme see Classifieds Page 11.

Rank Revival?

03-197207XX-07The Moon and Sledgehammer” Directed by Philip Trevelyan. Documentary. Vaughn Films/Rank 65 minutes (cut from 90)

Rentadick” Directed by Jim Clark. Starring James Booth, John Wells, Tsai Chin, Donald Sinden, Julie Ege, Richard Briers, Michael Bentine, Spike Milligan. Distributed by the Rank Organisation. 90 minutes.

Carry on Matron” Directed by Gerald Thomas. Starring Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Cope, Terry Scott, Hattie Jacques, Joan Simms, Kenneth Connor et al. Distributed by the Rank Organisation. 89 minutes.

The Moon and Sledgehammer is initially a sweet picture of an eccentric family living in a scrapyard idyll in the woods near Horsham in Sussex. On the surface they are living the lives we all “ought” to be living, making everything they need with good old fashioned craftsmanship, restoring old traction engines, shooting the meat they eat. Subtly though, we are soon shown the desperation and unnaturalness of the their existance. The two sons over 30, devoid of wives/girlfriends/boyfriends. The daughter who runs off from time to time, does something crazy and ends up doing bird. Dad, chain smoking, the great dictator who rules mind and body over his family, cool and calculating, and almost succeeding in presenting a picture to the camera of a rosy rumbling country yokel. The precise outstanding direction makes the film by brilliantly capturing facial movements and mannerisms.

Rentadick the main feature of this ill assorted double bill is the latest British comedy from the re-expanding Rank stable. It tells the story of an incapable private detective agency, which is employed by an equally incapable chemical factory to guard the plans of their new nerve gas, from a marauding band of Japanese gas board people, a kind of natural peril. Despite the array of fine comedy actors, and writers, most of whom have had their names removed from the credits, the Monty Python style which rather weakly takes over the closing minutes of the film, gestures towards 1970s satire – there is a signpost with “Neasden” on it; the film is painfully rooted in 1950s style British comedy, the abject failure of which caused the original demise in film production at Rank and British Lion. Its all here folks – jokes about poofters, car chases in eccentrically peopled Rolls Royces and other old faithfuls; weedy young men fainting at the sight of big busted bikinni clad Swedes etc. etc.

The Carry On Films however, are getting ever more brilliant and entertaining as they parody and mock the extreme nonsenses of British Life and its weird sexuality. In the latest Carry On Matron, Sid and the gang plan to rob a large hospital of its stocks of birth pills, and export them to some underdevloped nation, the Republic of Ireland perhaps? This involves Kenneth Cope dressing in drag in order to pose as a nurse, nutty psychiatrists, randy house surgeons chasing the drag nurse, railwayman, and as always the regulation constipation joke. The jokes are blue and broadly funny, the acting, a host of brilliant parodies of those awful people who live next door and these we deal with every day. Everything’s a send up, including the critics, who constantly pan these films; even the big heterosexual womanisers are always played by gay actors; while the cinemas are full of loud escapist laughter, and occupied seats.