Pornography, Obscenity and Gays
The law as it stands makes certain kinds of published material ‘obscene’, and therefore illegal, if, in the opinion of the jury, that material tends to ‘deprave and corrupt’ the people who might read it or see it.
There has been considerable dissention, not least in legal circles, over what depravity and corruption is, and how its effects can be measured. I would contend that propaganda which, in order to make a case for certain views, distorts what truth it sees where it does not ignore it outright, which would contain and condemn sexual expression within confines pleasing only to its authors, which seeks, in effect, to pervert natural, free and honest human sexuality in literature, art, the cinema into the narrow confines of heterosexual marriage only, is pornographic within that definition.
The Longford Report on Pornography is just such a book. Although the enquiry was a totally independent one (ie set up by individuals not a government body), it has received assistance from government sources and has been aided (for which thanks are offered) by the police.
As regards gays, the book is a total distortion of the truth and perpetuates all the myths about us, despite evidence from CHE in the person of lan Harvey. The only suggestion offered as regards gays is that, if we are prepared to seek it out, we ought to be allowed our wank literature. We are one more ‘perversion’ along with prostitution, bestiality pederasty, sado-masochism, though none of these are explored, but accepted as such. Likewise, the terms ‘normal’ and ‘decent’ pepper the book without any exploration of their meaning or implication. They are taken to mean heterosexual intercourse within marriage and chastity before (despite the fact that more than one ‘witness’ underscores the impossibility of this).
The inquisitors themselves clearly state the propoganda intention of the inquiry, and therefore the book.
HOW FAR CAN WE GO ?
“These were the terms of reference of the committee: ‘to see what means of tackling the problem of Pornography would command general support’.” In short, they accepted the existence of a problem and the ‘need’ to do something about it. Their only concern was ‘how far can we go and get away with it.’ (my quotes). That alone destroys any confidence one might have had in any conclusion they might produce. This is not a serious enquiry into porif and its effects – it is a political exercise by a minority in an attempt to impose their views on the majority, and should be read as such. As should Mein Kampf, and Das Kapital. This is the Festival of Lighters handbook.
“Hard pornography is intended to appeal to the person who wishes to go well beyond simply acquiring some erotic literature. It builds its own market by appealing quite unashamedly to various groups of inadequate of sexually maladjusted people.” That, among others, is us, of course.
As regards children, they accept the common attitude that a child’s introduction to sex is the prerogative of the parent. They know, but hardly take account of, the refusal or reluctance of most parents to undertake this duty. They nowhere mention the obvious point that a child ought not to need ‘introduction’ to sex, but that it ought to be an open and freely stated part of his/her life from birth onwards. On the contrary, they seem to want to keep the child unaware of any sexual relationship between his/her parents, until the child becomes disturbed enough about his/her developing sexuality to want to ask about it. They stress sex as essentially a private and family matter, not a subject for public discussion or display. They want parents to have the right to keep the child in ignorance by withdrawing them from sex-education lessons.
Great play is made at one point of the fact that the BBC sex education series gave no stress to moral standards, to the point that the pregnant woman in the film wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.
In short, they want the right to pervert, repress, and distort a child to suit their politics. They would destroy a child’s right to freedom, development and love.
Their definition of pornography is wider than most of us would accept. They see no value or service in magazines such as Forum, since these do not moralise as they would. They see ‘sex-aids as a further ‘corruption’. They see the whole field of sexual education and pornography as an addiction, leading happily married men and women (who defines their happiness?) to experiment with other forms of sexual activity which, without porn, they might have remained ignorant of. They see it as ‘perverting’ children away from ‘normal’ (ie hetero/married) sex to experiment with ‘perversions’. They ignore the diversity and richness of the human-sexual spectrum, and would repress and confine human development.
Despite the confusion in the evidence, and the examples of the American report and the Danish experiment, they cannot accept that pornography can suffer from over-exposure, and that it might in the process do some good. They point out that, since pornography is ‘bad’ (which they have failed to prove), it must have a bad effect.
After all, they say, who can argue that what people see and read does not affect them? Why else, they ask, do advertisers spend millions of pounds on television time and display space? Why do parents and the state spend so much to educate a child? Because all these have an effect.
Firstly, as I have noted, they have failed to prove any conclusive effect one way or other in the majority of cases.
Secondly, advertising is designed to persuade – porn, along with other kinds of depiction, merely shows. Of course literature has an effect – there would be no point in writing it otherwise. But if a display of pornographic material affects someone (ie arouses them), that arousal or offence is their reaction, it comes from them, not the porn. It does not create that person’s sexuality, simply exposes it.
As a second line of defence. they point out that even the people who deny the corrupting effect of pornography agree with the sanctions preventing the ridicule and abuse of coloured people, so doesn’t that prove ‘an effect’? They ignore the fact that such sanctions exist to prevent damaging lies from creating a damaging effect on the way people live together. Do they regard the depicted sex-act as a lie? Even if a woman wears a wedding ring?
Perhaps the nastiest and most unreasonable part of a thoroughly nasty and unreasonable book is the attack that Malcolm Muggeridge, disguised as the Sub-Committee on Broadcasting, perpetrates upon the BBC. The report itself, in other sections (notably Frank Gillard’s refutation of the Sub-Committee report) shows up the lack of investigation, thought or concern for truth of Mr Muggeridge, so I do not propose even to discuss these lies. Unfortunately, they are well-phrased;
“‘Family viewing’ (the practice of placing more adult programmes after 9pm), therefore, like family planning, more aptly describes a
process which is destructive of family life.” Need I say more?
The result of this superficial and prejudiced ‘enquiry’ is a proposed Bill to change the law on obscene publications. These changes would appear to have been discussed with the police beforehand.
A publication (or programme, or film) would become obscene if “its effect, taken as a whole, is to outrage contemporary standards of decency or humanity accepted by the public at large.” In other words, once more publishers will not be able to discover whether they are breaking the law or not until the jury decides. Thus the police will have an even freer hand to close things they do not like. To them, the existence of a gay newspaper could be an outrage.
It would remove the defence of literary merit or public good – on the grounds that if it is well written it must be more effectively corrupting!
It would increase the penalties for everything.
If it ever became law it would be an artistic disaster.
I note with apprehension that shortly after the publication of this report the police chose to raid the least offensive of porn – the Paul Raymond magazines.
The only thing I can say in conclusion is that the report continually equates porn with Nazi anti-semitic propoganda. I would have thought that this report itself was open to a not unsimilar charge. More than that it is not necessary to say.
The Metropolitan Community Church, which Perry founded, is fast becoming known as a ‘gay church’ because Troy Perry and the pastors at the church’s 36 branches across the USA, from Hawaii to New York, will perform marriage ceremonies for gays.
In an exclusive interview arranged with Gay News, Troy Perry said that even if he was gay and his church attracts gays back to church, the MCC is not a specifically gay church. He added: “We say gay is just as good as heterosexuality in the eyes of God. Neither is better, they are just equal.
“At the Los Angeles church about 60 per cent of the congregation is male homosexual, 20 per cent female homosexual, and the other 20 per cent heterosexual.
“But at our church in Long Beach, the proportion is about 50 per cent men to 50 per cent women.
“In Los Angeles the main Methodist church has seating for 33,000. They’re lucky to get just 300 in. Meanwhile we have standing room only at our main services on Sundays. So we must be giving people what they want.”
Troy Perry isn’t all talk though. He’s been married twice. First time around it was at the age of 19 to the attractive blonde daughter of a Pentecostal minister.
He says: “I come from the south of the USA, and there the attitude was ‘get yourself a good girl, and that will sort you out’ if you thought you were gay. It doesn’t work.”
The marriage split up when he told her he was gay and she got a court order to stop him seeing their children both of them boys.
His second marriage was in January this year to a Roller Derby star, Steve Jordan.
Troy happily describes him: “He’s just 5 ft 8 in tall, 23, Mexican-American and beautiful. We are very happy.”
The gay marriages the MCC performs have attracted most attention to the sect. But the church has strict rules about the gays it will marry. Troy Perry says: “To get married they have to have been together for at least six months – usually they have been living together for three years. Sometimes a couple who have been living together for up to 25 years want to get married.”
Are gay marriages happy? Troy Perry says: “Out of the 200 ceremonies that I have personally performed, only about four or five couples have separated.”
Are they legal? “In California the law does not say that one person who is to be married must be a man and the other a woman. So far no-one has tried to get a divorce, so we don’t know how the courts would treat the marriages. ”
Troy Perry does not see his church’s work ending at the church door. In fact, he’s arranged several gay demos in the Bay Area.
He remembers the battle of Barney’s Beanery. He says: ‘There used to be a sign in the window – ‘Faggots Stay Out’.”
“We found society never expected gays to become militant, so we got 300 gays down to Barney’s Beanery. Half of them had to take over a stool at the bar, order one drink and then sit over it all night. The other half had to go into the restaurant section and take over tables. They ordered a coffee and just sat over it all night.”
The management moved next and upped the price of a coffee to two dollars. So Troy Perry ordered a coffee, drank it. “Then I went to the check-out and refused to pay. The owner called the police. When they arrived they took one look at my collar and took the owner in the back room. They suggested it wasn’t such a good idea to bring a court case against a priest. The police said he was losing business and losing money, so why didn’t he take that sign down?
The sign came down pretty soon. It’s hanging in our kitchen now.”
He says he knew he was gay from the age of five. “I used to go to kiddies’ matinees at the movies in Talahassee, Florida and Tarzan used to turn me on. That’s when I knew I was different from the rest of the boys.
When I told my mother I was gay she was absolutely hysterical.” But now his 56-year-old widowed mother lives with Steve and Troy. He says: “There are no hang-ups in our family.”
Historically: Troy Perry became licensed to preach at the Pentecostal Church at the age of 15. When he decided that he was gay, he told his immediate superior, who told him not to be so silly. When the bishop got to hear about the gay priest, he paid him a call and asked him to resign.
So the 33-year-old son of a bootlegger founded a church that would dispense God’s love to all. That’s why he called his book The Lord is My Shepherd And He Knows I’m Gay.
Joint Editors and Members of the Editorial Collective
Richard Adams (Design), Martin Corbett, Ian Dunn (Scotland), Charlotte Corday, Bob Fletcher, Julian D. Grinspoon, Peter Holmes, David Hart, Denis Lemon, Alastair MacDougall, Glenys Parry (Manchester), Suki J. Pitcher, Doug Pollard, David Seligman, Peter Waldschmidt and Graham Chapman, David Sherlock.
GAY NEWS SPECIAL FRIENDS
Roger Baker, Denis Cohn, Barry Conley, Lawrence Collinson, Brian Dax, Martin Grant, Antony Grey, Peter MacMillan, Manus Sasonkin.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Richard & Norman, Ken & Allan, Angus, John, Stanley, Peter, Anthony, David, Ken, Wolf and all the other Friends & Loved Ones.
|News||…||Page 3–5||Gay Lancet||…||Page 11|
|Letters & Opinion||…||Page 6||Books||…||Page 12|
|Rent & Russia||…||Page 7||Films||…||Page 13|
|Arran & Pederasty||…||Page 8||Records||…||Page 14|
|Feedback||…||Page 9||Personal Ads||…||Page 15|
|Perfume & Bio Review||…||Page 10||Information||…||Page 16|
Gay News is published fortnightly by Gay News Ltd., 19 London Street, London W2 1HL. Tel 01-402 7805.
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Gay News is the registered Trade Mark of Gay News Ltd.
Despite continuing financial, distribution and organisational problems, here we are again with issue No. 8. At least no-one can say that we are just a ‘seven-issue wonder’. And although the problems pertaining to the paper’s existence still continue, we of the collective are coming to terms with how much work and commitment is needed to carry on bringing out a regular fortnightly newspaper. It’s also becoming much more fun for us to be involved with such a project; even the rows and unpleasant situations we have recently found ourselves taking part in have not stopped us from realising that an aura of happiness from each member of the editorial collective is an important factor in getting out each edition of Gay News. We don’t want to bore you with the long hours etc. bit, but you really can do just about anything if you keep smiling.
Our money and distribution problems are closely tied together. You have no doubt noticed that under the credits and contents section on this page, we claim that distribution is done by ‘Us, You and A Prayer Book’. Well, strictly speaking that’s true. We do have three or four small distribution companies helping us, but the majority of copies you see in the limited number of shops that stock the paper are there because we supplied them. The shops have them either because they responded to a letter we wrote to them; because the shops got fed up with being asked for the paper by their customers, or because one of you wrote or telephoned us giving details of outlets you thought were worth us following up. (Thanks a lot, and keep it up). Also, as many of you will know, we regularly sell the paper in the major gay pubs in London, and we believe that copies are available in a few pubs and clubs around the country.
But unfortunately these distribution outlets are still not enough to support our continued existence. We must sell more copies to carry on, and we hope that as a result of a lot more effort on your part, and help from you whenever you can supply it, that we will be able to sell more of each edition, both in London and, more importantly, in the rest of the country.
There are so many areas of the country we never reach and then there are places where the amount sent is, in our opinion, ridiculously small. One such place is Manchester, where it is left to one or two people to try to get the paper to the whole of the gay population of that city. It’s crazy that we should sell almost double the quantity we sell in Manchester in Brighton. Even Reading sells almost as many as the major city of the north of England. And it’s not just Manchester that has such poor distribution. Liverpool, at present, has less copies sent to it than Bath.
Of course, we are not trying to put down the people who already do as much as they possibly can in those places where our circulation is so disastrous, but we appeal to all gay people who live in places where the paper is rarely seen to help alter this situation. There are a number of ways you can do this for us. Firstly, you can sell them for us, whether in your local gay pubs or clubs, or just to your circle of friends and acquaintances.
Secondly, if you are not into selling copies yourself, perhaps you know of someone who might, or maybe you could approach gay pubs and clubs in your area to sell them for us. Thirdly, you can send us the names and addresses of any newsagents and bookshops you think may be interested in stocking us. It would be better still if you could approach them for us. Fourthly, please send us details of newspaper wholesalers and small distributors that operate in your part of the country. Lastly, you could take out a subscription and let all your friends see the paper after you have read it, and then encourage them to also take out a subscription. And, as a last thought, you could send us the names and addresses of any people you know who, in your opinion, would like to see Gay News, and would like us to send them a sample copy of a back number so that they can see what we are up to, and all being well, they might decide that they want to see the paper regularly, especially if they live in a more isolated part of the country.
We feel that it is important that Gay News reaches as many places and people as possible. It wasn’t so long ago that nearly all of us had to live ‘double lives’, but times have changed and although the situation is still far from ideal, at least not as many of us have to live in dread and in isolation for being what we naturally are. So it is essential that Gay News takes its place alongside of all the other newspapers and periodicals at newsagents, street vendors pitches and bookshops. Gay News has ‘come out’ and must stay out in the open and not be relegated to just a few sympathetic retailers and pom shops. In time we hope that we will be joined by other gay publications, and not just the ones that are out to exploit you.
It looks now that distribution will always be our responsibility (with a little help from our friends and you). In past issues we have shown you the ‘polite’ and ‘understanding’ but unco-operative letters from major distributors who have refused to handle us. In the columns of this editorial we reproduce two more such letters. The addresses of these firms should be legible, so may we suggest that you write to these companies and tell them that wide distribution is necessary for the paper, and also let them know about the difficulties you have encountered in obtaining copies.
And anything else you may care to add. We suggest you do this as soon as possible; it just might make someone at Seymours or one of the other organisations such as W.H.Smiths wake up to the reality that it is not just us that want Gay News to be as widely available as possible.
We dislike to be continually appealing for your help, but if we are to survive, we must have your support. This is your paper, don’t forget, and there are no nameless, faceless people trying to make a fortune out of you. Nor is it the aim of Gay News to subvert you with one particular political viewpoint. Your political opinions are your affairs, just as the ones we individually hold are ours. There is a need though for a change in the existing legislation that affects gay people, but one does not have to subscribe to just one political party or organisation to attempt to obtain these much needed alterations to the statute books.
Eventually, through more efficient and wider distribution of the paper around the whole of the country we hope to alleviate most of our money problems. And add to this the increased advertising which we hope to attract, and maybe soon we will be in a more secure financial position. But at present we are very short of cash. And what national newspaper isn’t. But we feel that what we are attempting to provide through the news and information that appears in our pages is something that papers such as The Times, The Sun do not print, and they have no positive plans to include such items in their columns, no matter what the need. So if you feel that we are a valuable asset to the gay community, please help us to carry on, in any way that you are able.
Since the completion of GN No 7 and the appearance of this issue, we have gone through a number of changes in our organisational structure. At times this has led to some bitter quarrels and truth games amongst ourselves, but all is now resolved. The result is that we feel that Gay News will be a more effective and streamlined operation, which will mean both a more comprehensive and objective system for the gathering in of news and articles, as well as generally tightening up our office procedures. The last point being somewhat boring but necessary, although we hope to avoid all the bureaucracy that so many organisations fall foul of. The addition of new members to our editorial collective, who bring with them both experience and new ideas, will in time make it possible for us to boast a ‘new improved’ Gay News.
There is also a good possibility that we will be moving to larger offices next month (at no extra cost, we hope). Those of you who have braved 79 steps up to our present office will understand why it is necessary for this move, and will be relieved to hear that our new premises will be on basement level.
We apologise for not letting you know what happened to the Biograph Review in the last issue. We leave it to Julian D. to explain what has been going on in his column in this edition. Also Denis Lemon will be commenting on the recent legal proceedings he has unfortunately been involved in.
Some of you may have noticed a number of design errors in GN No 7. These were due to the fact that the collective had to get the paper together, for the first time, without the invaluable aid of our resident designer. Everything is back to ‘normal’ in this issue though, we are glad to say.
We hope you all find something interesting and informative in the pages of this issue. But please remember that it is basically up to you whether or not we succeed in being useful and entertaining, not forgetting too that we need all the help you can give us in just keeping the paper alive, well and ‘kicking’.
Take care of yourselves, write to us, and to misquote the words of a past Gay News ‘queen of the month’; ‘Come up and see us sometime’.
So many of you complained when we went back to 12 pages again last issue that we’ve relented and given you 16 again. Apart from anything else we couldn’t have fitted everything in otherwise. I only wish you were as eager to send in your spare cash as you are to moan when we try and do something better.
BEDFORD, PLYMOUTH, STOKE, DONCASTER, YORK, ABERDEEN, CARDIFF, BOURNEMOUTH
In some of these towns., Gay News is not as available as we would like. If you live in these towns and want to sell ‘Gay News’ in bulk (10 or more copies) at 7p each, write or phone GAY NEWS, 19 London Street, London W2. Tel. 01-402-7805
First Class Male
Dear Gay News,
I am writing this short note to gay brothers and sisters everywhere, with small hope of change.
I am simply fucking fed up with being classed as a screaming queen. First of all, let me explain the cause of this letter. It is simply to say the queens who prance about, drag up, and fucking let down the gay side of life when they go to those stupid GLF marches ought to be shot. If only they would stop to think what a bloody fool they are making of themselves it might change their attitude.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am gay and jolly well proud of it. I am, needless to say, the normal gay. Get that folks, normals I dress normal, go to gay pubs and clubs etc, but I feel so ashamed when I see some of the pranks those queens get up to. So come on all you normal gays, there must be thousands around, put ink to paper and write to Gay News.
Isn’t there some sort of club or organisation we could all join apart from GLF etc. I do apologise if I have caused any ill feelings, but once again I got fed up with being classed as the queens who attend marches!!
PS These GLF marches etc are the only side of the gay life the public sees and we’ve got to be bloody well classed with them. Bloody cheek, if you ask me!!
PPS Gay News is great. Keep up the great work.
‘Go On Boys, Don’t Mind Me’
Michael Kaye’s little piece on ‘Coming Out’ (GN No 6) reminds me of an experience about ten years ago, when I was still a good little civil servant, I got into the Cheltenham train at Paddington one evening and found an empty compartment, in which I was joined by two railwaymen, evidently just off duty and still in their working gear. They were both nice-looking well-built chaps in their thirties, and I was struck by their rather pre-occupied manner. As the train neared Reading I became aware of the extreme intensity of the silence in our compartment and glanced up from my newspaper to see that they were both leaning forward with their knees wide apart, their elbows resting on their knees, and their hands clasped in front of them. (They were sitting side by side and I was sitting directly opposite them.) The right knee of the one was very firmly laid against the other’s left.
I was immediately paralysed with embarrassment.
I longed to say, ‘Go on boys, don’t mind me!’ but couldn’t have spoken to save my life. I thought of myself as they must have seen me, a very proper Establishment figure in my trilby and city overcoat, looming over them. I thought of moving to the other end of the compartment, to give them more privacy, but I felt I couldn’t do so without their interpreting my action as one of disgust. Instead, I buried my head in my newspaper, hoping that if I could be out of sight to them, I might also become out of mind. This lasted till Swindon, where they got out. As they stood up, one of them looked down at me over the top of my paper with an expression of mingled grief and hatred that I have never forgotten. Perhaps this was the first and last time in their lives that they could be together, and by my presence I had spoilt it for them.
Well now, boys and girls, the moral of this little anecdote is as follows: that respectable citizen who seem momentarily such a blot on you and your lover’s landscape — give him the benefit of the doubt. He may be really on your side. He may be rejoicing in your mutual happiness and anxious to encourage you, but too shy to say so, too scared of seeming intrusive.
On the other hand, of course, he may not!
J. D. Blount
Dear Gay News,
The piece on Hoover (Friends in High Places, No. 6) turned me up!
Are we expected to forgive this man for hounding hundreds of decent Americans because he laid off a few gays? This is “Fuck you. Jack, I’m all right” with a vengeance.
Can anyone work out similar pleas for Hitler?
Of course GN should be open to many points of view, but we keep hearing “no politics!”
In heaven’s name, why? However much we shout, the age of consent won’t be lowered or the Act extended to Scotland till Parliament amends the law.
And the police are “politics” too!
More Letters on Page 6
Terry Mahon, who’s managed the pub for a year said. “One reason why I don’t like the drag lads drinking in the pub is because it upsets the rest of my customers. My regular customers just don’t want the drag people in the pub.
“And it’s my job to give the customer what he wants.” The licensee of any pub has the right to refuse permission to serve anyone who he doesn’t want to serve. So Mr Mahon’s alright there.
Before taking over the Champion, Mr Mahon did a three-month relief managership at the Boltons in Earls Court. Now he has asked Bass Charrington, the brewery that owns both pubs, to let him stay at the Champion for another two years after his two-year managership runs out.
He told Gay News: “I’ve got nothing against gay people. In fact I’ve made some good friends among them. That’s why I want to stay on longer than the brewery normally lets its managers stay at a pub.
“This pub just isn’t the sort of place where drag is welcomed by the customers. When I first moved in I suggested we should have one drag night a week – a night when all the customers wore drag. And the customers were so indignant I dropped the idea right away.”
Mr Mahon’s answer came after accusations that he bullied his customers from some of 20 drag gays who were refused service in the pub – as reported in GN7.
In a scuffle at the pub following this incident five of the gays were arrested and charged with a number of charges including obstructing the footpath, using threatening words and using threatening behaviour.
They appeared the next day – a Saturday – at Marylebone magistrates court and were remanded on bail until October 24.
Richard Chappel, Douglas McDougal, Peter Bourne, Peter Reed and Andrew Lumsden were the five gays arrested. They were held by the police from 10.30pm until about 2 am, when after being stripped, searched and questioned they were released.
They charge the police with insulting them, pulling their hair and refusing to allow them to use the telephone.
Mr Mahon told his side of the story to Gay News: “I told them I wasn’t going to serve them, then they sat down and I asked them to move out. So I called the police.
“I don’t think these GLF lads who come in realise my customers don’t want them around If I served them regularly I’d lose half my customers.
“The other night, after they had been thrown out by the police, when I came back I had about a dozen drinks bought for me and people walked up and shook me by the hand.
“They say I bully my customers, but how can one man bully 300 people at the same time? It’s ridiculous.”
In GN7 it was said that the five gays arrested at the Champion, Notting Hill Gate, would appear at Marlborough Street magistrates court, whereas, in fact, they were remanded to appear at Marylebone magistrates.
We regret this error, which was caused by incorrect information being given to the newspaper by Scotland Yard early on the morning following the arrests.
And when the police arrived they found the ends of cannabis cigarettes in an ashtray, and Mr Kemp ended the night being interviewed about the drugs by Scotland Yard drugs squad men.
He said afterwards: “It all happened after I returned from the premiere – and it was the worst night of my life.
“I called in the police in the first place because I genuinely thought a man was trying to murder me – a man had too much to drink and just went beserk.
“I was covered in blood and in a terrible state when I barricaded myself in one of my rooms and called Scotland Yard from an extension after the main phone had been tom out from its socket.
“I’ve gone through an awful experience – confronted with a hammer and cut about the body. I had also seen my flat wrecked.
“By the time the police arrived it had quietened down and there seemed no cause for alarm.
“Then the police spotted about half-a-dozen roaches (cannabis dog-ends) in an ashtray.
“I told them I certainly hadn’t smoked them. In fact I’m not at all interested in drugs myself, although I don’t disapprove of people smoking cannabis, which I consider far less harmful than alcohol.”
A young American visitor to London was arrested outside the Coleherne pub in Earls Court, for obstructing the footpath, and — even though he chose to be imprisoned rather than pay a fine — the police removed £7 from his wallet before setting him free.
Jim, the American, was a newcomer to London and after leaving the Coleherne he waited for his friend to come out when the police arrested him for obstructing the footpath.
He was held overnight before appearing at Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court.
There the magistrate decided to give Jim the choice of paying a £7 fine or going to jail for 14 days. He was taken to a cell, because he chose jail.
Then a policeman came and gave him back his possessions and told him he was free. They had removed the £7 fine.
When Jim was in court he was refused permission to call witnesses. When he was picked up by the police he was called “an American fairy.”
Jim has now left the country.
MANCHESTER: Last August Weymouth Council told the Campaign for Homosexual Equality it was reversing its Entertainments Committee’s decision to allow them to hold their first conference at the Pavilion, Weymouth. This decision was aided by a great deal of support from the national and local press.
CHE then made what they thought to be definite alternative arrangements to hold the conference, due to take place in April, at More-cambe. They had planned to hold it in the theatre at the end of the pier – and all seemed to be going smoothly. Now, apparently, Morecambe Council are backing out.
A CHE spokesman said: “In order to discourage us the Council has put out a trail of red herrings such as saying the pier is too unsafe for us to hold our conference there. Curiously though they haven’t cancelled the fire brigade conference due to take place in the same building shortly after ours.”
Is it possible the Council are just being kind and imagine that should the building collapse, a group of firemen could rescue themselves from the rubble whereas we poor things couldn’t?
Gay News has not yet spoken to Morecambe Council.