Paul Goodman Dies In US

Banned from teaching by several universities and colleges in the ’40’s, Paul Goodman never ceased to fight for gay civil rights and equality.

Much regret will be felt by the gay community at the passing of this writer, teacher and social critic, who died on 3rd August, 1972, aged 60, of a coronary, at his farm in North Stratford, New Hampshire.

Born in New York’s famous/infamous Greenwich Village, Goodman was brought up in poverty (his father having deserted the family soon after Paul’s birth). He surmounted the struggle to educate himself with the same zeal that was to characterise his lifelong attitudes.

After graduating from New York City College in 1931, he could not afford to enroll at Columbia University, so he cycled there day after day and by devious means contrived to attend the philosophy lectures of Richard McKeon. Later, he hitchhiked to attend free classes at Harvard.

Some while after, McKeon, his former teacher, and by now Dean of the University of Chicago, invited Goodman to lecture on English literature. In 1940, however, Goodman was fired from this post because of his freely-admitted homosexuality; later this also cost him a teaching job at Black Mountain.

“I don’t think that people’s sexual lives are any business of the State,” he said. “To licence sex is absurd.”

In spite of being gay, Paul and Sally, his wife, lived together for some 30 years, producing two children in the process. They were however, never formally married.

Propounder of the most extreme solutions to mundane problems, Goodman has been described variously as poet, psychologist, anarchist, iconoclast, novelist. His most famous book, Growing Up Absurd, made him a sort of youth-cult figure in the years following its publication in 1960. Of this book, Colin McInnes has written:

‘His readers were of all generations, and he had an undercover readership both of students who dogmatically rejected literacy and of educationalists alarmed by change. Despite the mockery of its analyses, Growing up Absurd remains a cheerful book – optimistic, and its satire positive and revealing.’

One of the most elusive and yet most daunting talents of his generation, Goodman combined prophetic vision with rebellious despair.

In connection with his gay tendencies, amongst other things, Goodman underwent psychotherapy both in the late ’40’s and early 50s; this experience led him to become a lay psychotherapist.

In spite of this, his later years were filled with despair. Despite having published more than a dozen books and countless articles, he wrote:

‘I am continually tormented by not being published… I guess I’m the least-known author of my ability in America. This has made me bitter enough at times, yet I also take it as a good sign, that what I stand for is important and resisted.’

Condemning society and the educational system, he said, in Growing up Absurd:

‘It corrupts the fine arts. It shackles science. It dampens animal ardour. It dims the sense that there is a Creation.’

It is typical of his indomitable courage that, until his death he insisted on following – despite two heart attacks – a daily routine of gardening on his North Stratford farm. He also visited friends and was in the process of writing both a book on religion and a collection of poems.

“He wasn’t a man to follow prescriptions.” his doctor said, “He had too much to do.”

Rough And Tombola

CHE’s Autumn Fair

Autumn is upon us once more, and as I watch the golden brown leaves flutter limply to the ground … you mean this isn’t Readers Digest?? Well, actually I feel as though Autumn has been upon me since last July. However, this is almost all completely beside the point, you see to brighten your autumnal gloom, London CHE groups decided to get together and produce another sparkling fair. Only this time it’s bigger and better and we’re holding it in Autumn, which explains the incredibly stupid content of the first few lines of spiel. Yes, an Autumn fair, and what better way to raise money for the CHE London Club, that we so badly need, than to give people a really good time? Well, that’s what we thought anyway.

You may remember that last year, despite little or no advance planning or publicity, we did much the same thing and managed to raise £300 in just five hours for the club. Now, £1 a minute isn’t bad going by anybody’s standards is it? Unfortunately, London prices being what they are, £300 isn’t going to get us very far, but apart from all this fund-raising bit, we wanted this fair to be an opportunity for all the London groups to involve themselves in what almost everyone agrees to be a worthwhile project. So this year’s preparations started that much earlier, giving us more opportunity to get the goodies together and to pick up the bargains you’ll be finding on our heavily laden stalls. We now have contributions from all our London groups and even one from the Home Counties (Windsor’s Fruit, Flower and Veg Stall).

We hope we’ve learnt from past experience, and although last year’s fair was quite a success it was by no means perfect. So this year, we’ll be aiming to ‘keep the customer satisfied’ by laying on food and hot drinks not to mention somewhere to rest your aching feet and have a chat with your friends.

Our idea is that this fair should be fun for everyone and certainly not just the participants. Of course, with some fund-raising events you can find your hand in your pocket every five minutes, but we know that this fair couldn’t be a success based on the rip-off principle. That’s why you’ll be finding fantastic bargains from 5p to £5.

To give you some idea of what we’ve got in store for you I’ll list out just some of the stalls. We’ve got the New Books stall; Cards and Calendars; Framed Prints; House Plants; For HIM For Christmas, (sorry girls, but nobody put forward a For HER Stall); Homes and Gardens Stall; Pickles and Relishes; Cakes; Bottles; Antiques; Candles(!); White Elephant Stalls; and so it goes on, not to mention Fortune Tellers, Bingo etc, and of course our own pivotal CHE stall where you can find out about us and some of our aims. Then at 7.30 pm we’ve got entertainment lined up for you in the form of our own CHE players who will be presenting three comic one-act plays: ‘Gladys Otherwise’ and ‘One Blast And Have Done’ both by N.F. Simpson and Harold Pinter’s ‘Trouble In The Works’. As well as all this there’ll be a Revue which will present some of our ‘home grown’ talent in glittering style!!

Although we’re hoping that many of our own CHE members will support our venture, it would be a great pity if this turned out to be an ‘in’ thing. We want as many gay people as can make it to come along and, for that matter, anyone else. This is why we’ve tried to keep the entrance price so low (20p for the fair; 30p for the evening entertainment; and a 40p ticket that will get you into both). Then, as a kind of bonus, we’ve numbered each ticket and at 6.00pm there’ll be a draw to see who’s going to win themselves a Mediterranean holiday for two.

So you see we’ve all been quite busy getting what should be something really special together for your delight, and dare I say, titillation, and we hope that you won’t want to miss it. The fair opens at 11.00 in the morning at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 on Saturday 4th November. If you’re going to come by the tube you’ll want the Holburn stop which is on both the Piccadilly and the Central Lines. If you want to try and get tickets in advance send a postal order and a stamped addressed envelope to Charles Micklewright, 46 B Chart field A venue, London SWI5 6HG or you can call in on our CHE London Information Centre, 22 Great Windmill Street. For my sins I will be ‘on the door’, I hope not literally, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Seized

GLASGOW: A street-seller for the City’s Black Box alternative newsagency was arrested for a breach of the peace for selling IT, Gay News and Black Box’s own paper, Spike.

The seller the police arrested was Leslie Twycross. Galsgow’s Provost is reading all three papers to see if there’s anything worth busting him any more on.

Earlier this year a Black Box seller was arrested for selling IT and another alternative paper. The provost could find nothing wrong with them.

BBC Bans Bowie

LONDON: Brixton-born figurehead of the gay-rock revolution David Bowie met with a ban on footage his Mainman company supplied to the BBC for its Top of the Pops programme.

As a Mainman man, Hugh Attwooll, told Gay News: “They say it’s a matter of taste, but no-one who’d seen the last few weeks’ Top of the Pops programmes would seriously think of the BBC as an arbiter of taste.”

The footage, shot by David’s usual photographer, Mick Rock, was of Bowie and mime-king Lindsay Kemp doing a mime act to Bowie’s overtly gay single John I’m Only Dancing.

Instead of the Mainman/Mick Rock film, the BBC showed a film of people on motorcycles.

Hugh Attwooll at Mainman, said that he, too, could not see the relevance of the footage that the BBC showed.

Gay Lib News

Dear GLF-in-London,

Today 5 September 1972, I HAVE BEEN CHUCKED OUT OF THE ARMY BECAUSE I’M HOMOSEXUAL. They don’t seem to want perverts like me to corrupt their kids. Really, I hardly thought I’d be so brave as to go there and say “Look mates, I’m afraid I’m not fit for your game. I’m Titania, I live in another world. My dwelling is an orchid’s bud and I am attended by elves and imps”.

That happened in the barracks. He said “Right” and wrote abnormal personality on my dossier. Then I was sent to the military hospital, to the neuropsychiatric ward, and a doctor there asked me, “What does this abnormal personality mean, that you sleep with men.” I said “Yes, I do and I like it.”

Thinking of you all has been a tremendously great help to me, thank you very much. You see. I’ve realised that without being with GLF I wouldn’t ever ever ever do it. Now I’ll have to wait for the signed papers, as I told you, in order to have my passport renewed, which I hope won’t take me more than one month altogether and I’ll be able to see you all again, for good. I really love you all…

Ed: Thanks, Tony and GLF for passing this on to us to print. Right on, Titania, and anyone else who’s trying to get themselves out of the army.

East London Gay Liberation Front

East London GLF was formed a few months ago to try and get something together for gays in East London. We live in a fairly depressed area both in terms of facilities for gays and in terms of facilities for anyone. So far we have found only 3 gay pubs (if you know of more please tell us) and of all the cottages I cruised as a boy/lad less than half remain. We have the problem of getting something together that will give a really human alternative for gays here, that helps with our specific problems, and that also does not so alienate the people of East London that we find total hostility to what we are doing and doing on a minimal budget (unfortunately the David Hockney’s and Graham Chapman’s don’t want to live in Groovy EL, and who can blame them?)

So we came up with the great, nay superb, idea of starting a gay counselling service, run for and by gay people. We have written to all the councils in East London, getting no joy, to try and find a couple of rooms somewhere from which to operate. We intend to offer advice and practical help on health, legal and social/emotional problems. We will be producing a short, cheap, (about 5p) pamphlet on all forms of VD, to destroy some of the myths about it; as well as trying to build an alternative social scene for ourselves. For these things, of course, we need money (any you send we would gratefully receive) but also we need two rooms (very, very cheap rooms) in East London, near a tube station – and support – would you come to a gay dance in East London? If you can help in any of these ways, please contact us – East London GLF, c/o 248 Bethnal Green Road, London E2.

‘My First Time’ Is Obscene

Sentencing a publisher to nine months gaol on obscene publications charges, Middlesex Crown Court Recorder Mr Rodney Bax QC, said: “I regard this as a bad case of trading and trafficking in the most revolting and filthy pornography for gain…”

James Wrate, former editor of ‘Sun & Health’ naturist magazine, was convicted on charges of publishing and sending through the post, obscene articles — copies of Sun & Health and Private magazines; and a book called My First Time, which dealt with “the homosexual experiences of boys and young men.”

In a statement, Mr Wrate said he and his family were naturists, he had never seen copies of My First Time and Private, and was concerned with providing information about naturism for people who were “genuinely interested”. “I have petitioned the House of Commons twice, and the House of Lords, to have the importation of pornography looked into,” claimed Mr Wrate. “I don’t want any change in the law, only the present laws enforced… and the shady, foul set-up looked into.”

The court nevertheless accepted evidence that Mr Wrate was concerned with advertising, ordering and selling the books, and Mr Bax said that, in his view, the worst part was found in “the repulsive publication My First Time… | which glorifies every kind of perverted, homosexual activity,”

Yet again, law-enforcers say, if it’s homosexual, it must be the worst kind of obscenity – we are used to being singled out for extra victimisation, but how much longer will we accept the dirty end of the stick from both profiteer-pornographers and the powers-that-persecute?

To London

From a Rector’s notes in a Gloucestershire parish magazine: ‘Choirboys. They are all going on an outing, probably to London, on August 22nd. It occurs to me that since we have no funds to cover the cost of this there might be the odd person who could care to sponsor this trip. Good fairies should contact me.’

Labour Weekly

Is He Or Isn’t He

FAIRFIELD, CALIFORNIA: American justice officials, desperate to nail anyone for the mysterious slayings of 25 farm workers at Yuba City, have finally hit on an answer that satisfies them — all 25 who were mutilated after being killed were the victims of one man. A man they variously describe as ‘hopelessly heterosexual’ and as a ‘homosexual masochist’.

Juan Corona, a 38-year-old married farm labour contractor, is not the man who killed the 25, his defence lawyer says. But lawyer Richard Hawk won’t name the murderer.

He did tell Corona’s trial at Fairfield that in all cases the victims had been found with either their pants off or open: “We will establish that these were homosexual murders – with the 25 victims playing the part of the man” and the killer “playing the part of the woman.”

He said witnesses would testify that the killer must be a “homosexual masochist” who went into a “broiling homicidal rage and destroyed and mutilated his victims”.

Juan Corona was none of these things, said Mr Hawk. Witnesses would testify that Juan Corona was not a homosexual.

In fact, lawyer Hawk said, Juan Corona was “Hopelessly heterosexual… and hopelessly in love with his wife.”

Juan Corona is a Mexican – California’s lowest grade of citizen – and he has pleaded innocent to all 25 charges of murder. Mr Hawk called him “a well-liked man, the type of guy who taught his daughter how to ride a minibike. He had no motive for the killings.” However, the prosecution has called Juan Corona a homosexual masochist and told the jurors in Fairfield that he killed all 25 men before cutting off their genitals.

Sapphonic Success

Sappho had a ball on Saturday! Sounds like a line from a dirty song, but actually it describes the party organised by Sappho magazine at the Marquis of Cornwallis pub in Coram St on Oct 8.

There was a friendly disco, superb hot food in generous helpings, an efficient bar service, a prize treasure hunt over a map of Lesbos (where else?) and a happy, dancing crowd of Sappho subscribers from all over Britain, with a sprinkling of friends from CHE. It was the most relaxed crowd of gays I’ve seen for a long time, and the intrepid male Gay News reporter who went with me agreed: “It’s good to get away from staring lines of men clutching their drinks and watching each other” he opined.

Earlier in the evening Maureen Duffy read some of her poems, which we missed. As latecomers we were not allowed in for fear of disturbing the reading. Who would attempt to argue with the divine Jackie Forster, guardian of the peace, but two small doubts – do poetry and a dancing-and-drinking evening mix, and might I have fled the pub if I’d mustered the courage to arrive alone, and then been asked to wait downstairs in the pub for half an hour?

This is in no way a detraction from the success of the evening, well deserved by all the Sapphos involved – when’s the next one?

S.J.P

ED: See the details of Sappho meetings and magazine subscription on the information page.