Cruising Down The River

Beefeaters at the Tower of London last Wednesday evening were quite taken aback by the constant stream of young men heading for Tower Pier to board Tricky Dickys’ River Boat Shuffle. I never did find out who eventually broke the Bottle of Champagne over our bows but we were finally ‘Launched’ at about 8.15 pm, to head up the river towards Richmond.

The Captain of the boat was delighted to see about one hundred and twenty of us enjoying the merriment accompanied by the flow of beer, river and music. Dancing ranged from the Valeta, cha cha cha, charleston, and limbo, through to the latest dances including reggae. I am not sure what the significance of our ‘turning’ at Putney Towpath was but the result was our arrival back at Tower Pier at about 11 o’clock and the end of a very happy party. Right on, Tricky Dicky, let’s have some more of these too few happy events soon.

Incidentally, Tricky Dicky has Disco’s every week, details of which appear on the back page – well worth a visit if you are feeling like a lively, happy night.

Varda Our Ken

Kenneth Williams will be returning to the West End stage in November in a new comedy called My Fat Friend. Attractive and very slim Jennie Linden plays the fat friend of the title, writes Michael Owen.

The comedy is a first play by Charles Laurence. Rehearsals started in London on 16th October. The director is Eric Thompson, who also staged two current West End hits — Time and Time Again and Journey’s End.

The production will be premiered at Brighton before opening in an as yet unspecified London theatre in mid-November.

Welcome back, Kenneth. Gay News will be reviewing the play when it reaches London, but would welcome a review from any Brighton reader who manages to see My Fat Friend in Brighton.

Getting Silly Again

The 19th November saw the return to television of the very popular Monty Python’s Flying Circus. This new series is transmitted on BBC1 at 10.15 pm on Thursday evenings.

Reports of the programme confirm that it is up to previous standards, if not better. And a fair number of sketches contain references to gayness. All of which come over in the nicest possible way, instead of relying on the usual stereotyped images of ‘limp wristed faggots’.

One of the principle actor/writers of Monty Python is Graham Chapman. An interview with Graham was published in GN No 4.

Best Bet

In the USA at present a popular feature in some magazines is to have a ‘best bet’ page or section. This means the article features products, services and new ideas that are available and are considered to be by the editorial staff superior in their presentation, capabilities and inventiveness.

We at Gay News thought that it might be a good idea to have such a feature in our pages. The items and services selected would range from electric kettles to motor cars, beds to lubricants, record shops to milkmen and clubs, and anythinig else we considered worth recommending.

We, of course, would be completely impartial and honest in our appraisals of the goods etc. and it definitely would not be just an excuse to attract advertisers. GN has no intention of ever selling out just for the sake of an ad.

It might be useful to also have a ‘worse bet’ column as well. So many products available today are shoddy, badly designed, even dangerous, and a lot of services leave a good deal to be desired.

We would welcome your comments on this suggestion, as well as asking you for your opinions on good to outstanding products and goods on the other end of the scale. Think it over.

Gay News By Sappho

So the egg has finally chickened off the inside pages altogether. No wonder for eggs are solely dependent on the hen. (No — it’s the chicken that needs a cock).

GN No 7, together with the previous issues, gives the impression that homosexuality is exclusively male/drag-queen orientated. (Oh, there was the odd roaring lesbian, Homosexual Woman and VD and Het GRANDMOTHERS, for gods sake, – Barbara Cartland, Mae West and Marlene Dietrich.) It’s enough to make an egg boil, let alone disappear, that lesbians have such indecent exposure. Don’t give me that bit about information is hard to come by; sisters are too shy; we could have a women’s page. Homosexuality cuts across role playing, income and class structure. GN, as the alternative press collective, has the whole field to itself to prove this fact. The content, in the main, is based on politics of experience and rightly in these emergent times – the experience of the male dominated collective, who are marvellously militant about police harassment, social oppression and legal discrimination. By all means continue the in-fighting. At the same time the politics of experience have a wider range than cottages and courts. Besides knocking the ioiquitous areas GN must publicise the positive progress between the gay community and the uncommitted heterosexuals and write about it with the same ardour as in outrage.

Your editorial in No 5 states ‘We here at Gay News don’t want two worlds, gay and nongay. We want one world for everybody.’ So you know. So you don’t need telling. You just need to be doing – editorially that is! And you can start right away with more lines for the lesbians. The ladies have learned a lot about the lads in your columns, it’s now time that the lads knew more about the ladies.

A Welcome At Challenge

Dear Gay News,

Re your article in GN8 regarding organisations who turn away lonely gay people when approached for information, because they are not members. We at Challenge agree entirely with your article. Several gays have phoned us having arrived from the provinces or abroad and have asked where they can find gay bars, clubs, and saunas. Also where can they meet other gay people since thev feel very lonely.

We are only too pleased to give them any information available, and gladly do what we can to help. We invite them to some of our Challenge meetings and have found that they they have returned many times. They immediately feel at Challenge that they are amongst friends. We make each visitor feel relaxed and encourage people to get to know each other. We have no time for the starchiness and aloofness one finds in most gay clubs and bars.

Challenge now has three groups in London, meeting in Marble Arch, Ealing and Hampstead. We are non-religious or political, but social and charitable. We arrange informal programmes also from time to time we have socials and parties.

I have enclosed a letter from an American who contacted us while in London. He was extremely lonely until he came to Challenge. I am sure our group would appeal to Philip (your letters, last issue), as we are a non-demonstrative group. We advertise on the back page of Gay News each issue.

Carry on the good work, Gay News and thanks again Denis, for coming along to our Hampstead Group to speak and making it such an enjoyable meeting.

Love and peace,

Sidney

Dear Challenge Members„

Please accept my sincere thanks for doing but one thing: existing. Your mere existence was a reassurance to me as a lonely stranger in London and your friendly concern was a joy. I very much enjoyed attending your meeting and social functions. Thank you. I would like to extend personal thanks to: Hugh, Frank, Sid, and Robin for their kind friendliness.

With my sincerest…

ED: Gay News is in no way affiliated with Challenge, although we wish them every success.

Provincial info

Here is our first round up of pubs, clubs and other goodies in the provinces. More towns will be listed as we receive the information from YOU the reader. We are indebted to Bob Mellors for supplying the information below.

Norwich

Gay pub: Studio 4, near Angelina Studios. Men and women.
GLF: Non-existent
Bookshop: Bristows
Forthcoming event: Disco party upstairs at the Studio 4, December 30.

Nottingham

Gay pub: Roebuck, Mansfield Road. ‘Members Only’ bar on left – tell them you’re gay (the landlady is too). Women and men.
GLF: Faded away
CHE: Yes
Women’s Centre: off Pelham Street.

Leeds

Gay pubs: Great Northern. Mostly men. Hope and Anchor, women and men.
Gay club: Charley’s, Briggate, members and guests. Free in the week, pricey at weekends, mostly men.
GLF: University orientated, mostly men.
CHE: Yes. Write to David Young, 12 Scott Green Crescent, Gildersome, Morley, Leeds. One of the better CHE groups. Men and women
Bookshop: 84 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2.

Manchester

Gay pubs: Union Hotel, Princess Street. Women, men and drag. Recommended. Rembrandt, Sackville Street, mostly men. Trafford, (back bar) at Gaumont Cinema, Oxford Street. Mostly men. Cavalcade, junction Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury. Sunday lunchtime.
Clubs: Samantha’s, back Picadilly (off Newton Street), Their ban on women sparked off the recent demonstration there.
Picador, Shude Hill, Unit 2, Shude Hill. Expensive. Rockingham, Queen Street.
GLF: Tuesday 8pm at Women’s Centre, phone 061-273 2287. Men and women.
CHE: Yes. University Homophile Society, c/o Students Union, Oxford Road, Manchester 13. Meets Thursday 8pm, term time only.
Women’s Centre: 218 Upper Brook Street, Manchester 13. Phone 061-273 2287.
Cottages: Several, but BEWARE OF POLICE HARASSMENT AND ENTRAPMENT: USE OF AGENTS PROVOCATEURS.

Blackburn

Partly gay club: Merchants, Darwen Street.
Partly gay club: Top Hat Club.