In All Probability It’s The Movie Maker Who Is Perverse

If anyone wanted to know why West Germans have been denied the sight of It Is Not The Homosexual Who Is Perverse But The Situation In Which He Lives, a couple of showings the movie got at the London’s National Film showed that it’s probably for the good of gays in Germany and also for the majority of the TV audience, which is, presumably, heterosexual.

There are quite a few Germans and if they believed that gays lived a form of Rake’s Progress (or should it be The Three-penny Opera?) as it was portrayed in this movie they might do everything they could to make sure that Amendment 175 of the constitution of West Germany, which makes homosexual acts legal among legal consenting adult males, and all that stuff.

The NFT showed the movie on two successive nights, and on both nights they got a full house (it’s probably the first time the NFT’s commissionaire has ever seen a queue) and although Volker Eschge, the assistant director wasn’t allowed to finish his piece which tended to go on and on, by shouts of boredom from the audience, no-one who missed Herr Eschge’s summation of the director Rosa von Praunheim – who’s male, by the way – missed much.

On the second night, either the audience was more tolerant or Herr Eschge had severely curtailed his speech on the relevance of Marxism to a sexual revolution.

The important bit he said was that the movie was shot as a simulated documentary about 1967 and planned as far back as the first stirrings of the USA Gay Liberation Movement – the riots in the Greenwich Village Stonewall. Which put the movie into perspective. Even if no-one was admitting it, it was made as a piece of pro-gay propaganda made to show how society forced the homosexual into a degrading life-style.

As Derek Malcolm said in the post-movie discussion after its second showing: “It shows that Rosa von Praunheim knows nothing about the gay scene.”

Whether Mr Malcolm, who writes about movies for The Guardian, knows all that much about the gay scene is immaterial, largely because he found the movie’s fundamental flaw. Every scene looked like a cheap back-of-the-lot Hollywood Western set. Cheap fittings with any little bits of effort put into it so hard they stuck out a mile.

It’s true that this sort of garish gay scene did exist before Amendment 175 was passed. At a time when German gays were totally disorganised. So the movie preaches that they should join their local groups and become militant gays, equating sexual and social revolution with a political revolution.

It’s true that you can’t have the former without the latter, but the unprocessed propaganda that the movie came out with was more likely to get the millions of German gays retreating into their closets with their Bullworkers, iron crosses and elevator shoes, as well as turning the majority of society against gays.

It Is Not The Homosexual… followed one Daniel on the broad path through the bar scene, the rent scene, and, after freaking out of leather, and into drag to being talked at by six well-meaning nude gentlemen who were doing all they could to cover their naughty parts.

The plan of the movie is probably – it’s not so obvious as to be able to say that this is what it’s about definitely – the degradation of Daniel through his contact with the Berlin gay world. Unfortunately the only English language print was made for showing in the USA, so we had a lot of references to ‘faggots’, ‘leather-freaks’ etc. And that sort of categorising doesn’t do anyone any good.

During this scene there was a mysterious large bottle of Coca-Cola being passed from one end of the group to another.

So, basically, It Is Not The Homosexual… is about another time, another place and none of it is helped by the fact that it’s made with all the expertise of a ten-year-old psychopath turned loose with a Super-8 camera and a roll of Kodachrome II.

Herr von Praunheim won’t let the movie be shown unless there’s a discussion after it. So George Melly tried to get people discussing the movie one at a time on the first night the movie was shown.

Come the second night and Mr Melly (of The Observer) had been replaced – according to plan – by Mr Malcolm, Roger Baker of CHE by Bernard Greaves of CHE and Denis Lemon of Gay News by your faithful reporter.

Regrettably the movie is to be shown at last on German TV in January. Pity really, as the direction and the acting are both so wooden as to make Crossroads look like a masterpiece of movie-making.

GLF At Stoke Newington 8 Trial

Although there is absolutely no connection between the Gay Liberation Front and the activities of the ‘Angry Brigade’, a number of gays from GLF were called to give evidence at the Old Bailey Trial on Thursday 2nd November.

The group of people charged with the ‘Angry Brigade conspiracy’ are popularly known as the ‘Stoke Newington 8’. Among them is Angela Weir, who before her arrest last year was an active member of GLF.

The Gay Lib people were called by Angela’s defence council to give evidence, on oath, to the effect that she was a participant of a GLF demonstration on 19th August, 1971. The prosecution council claim that on that day she was on an ‘Angry Brigade’ expedition to France, which resulted in an illegal explosion in that country.

The prosecution allege that an identity photograph establishes that Angela was a member of the part of ‘AB’ people who supposedly made the cross-channel trip. The GLF people, amongst others, gave evidence to the contrary. In all about fifteen people were alibi witnesses for Angela.

The demonstration on Thursday 19th August, 1971, was held by GLF for two reasons. Partly it was about the misrepresentation of Gay Lib and homosexuality in general by the national press, and also because of the complete press silence on important gay activities. The demo was held in London’s Fleet Street and the surrounding area. A number of newspaper offices were visited. Leaflets were distributed throughout the event.

Most of the GLF witnesses giving evidence stated that they positively remember seeing Angela, accompanied by Sarah Grimes, outside the Sun building in Bouverie Street, just off Fleet Street. Amongst the Gay Libbers verifying this were Michael Lynham, Timothy Bollingbroke and Andrew Lumsden. Sarah Grimes also gave evidence substantiating this claim, as did Denis Lemon (of Gay News), who was at that time involved in GLF.

Other witnesses testified to the fact that they had met Angela in London on the day in question. Amongst those who met her at her flat were GLF member Tony Hallyday, who said on oath that he had spoken and been with Angela in the evening of the 19th August. Tony lived in the same house as Angela.

The prosecution also claims that samples of Angela’s handwriting are the same as written material alleged to be connected with ‘AB’ activities. But the defence’s handwriting expert disagrees with the findings of those stated by the prosecution’s expert in the same field.

The case, where all the defendants are jointly charged with conspiracy to cause illegal explosions and with firearms offences, is not expected to be over until some time in December.

Hired To Murder

COPENHAGEN: Danish police have arrested a man for killing Wolfgang Ihns in Hamburg late last month and claim he says he was hired to kill Ihns by Frau Ihns’ 24-year-old girlfriend.

The police arrested a young Dane called Danny Nielsen, an invalid living on a disability pension. They say he immediately admitted to committing the murder in Germany.

According to the police, Nielsen said he had been hired for £175 to “get the husband out of the way”.

Official sources add that 34-year-old Frau Ihns and the girl had been living together earlier this year.

Old Boy And Fag

Our thanks to The Sunday Times for a little weekend hilarity in its Atticus column: After many years of drifting across to America and over Europe, one of Oxford’s most illustrious old boys, W.H. Auden, has come shuffling back to the University town with a fag dangling out of his mouth and octopal hands in baggy pockets to spend a winter in a cottage in Christ Church where, as an occasional lecturer, he will be meeting students.

Offensive Badge

LONDON: Julie Frost, one of the GN editors and members of the paper’s editorial collective was stopped and questioned by Chelsea police, who after asking him for his name and address, took a ‘Glad to be Gay’ badge away, calling it an “offensive weapon”.

Julie was walking home to Lennox Gardens from a GLF discotheque. He turned into Pont Street and was stopped by two policemen.

The police asked Julie what he had in the carrier bag he was carrying. In it they found a copy of GN9, a GLF diary he’d been given for the GN office and his cheque book

When he was asked his name and address, Julie gave it to them. The National Council for Civil Liberties told him the next day that he should not have given his name and address. The NCCL’s legal department told Julie to complain to the Commissioner of Police at Scotland Yard against his treatment at the hands of the Chelsea Police.

The police questioned Julie about the paper in his bag and about his working for GN.

The NCCL said that, strictly speaking, Julie could bring an action for assault against his person by the policeman who removed his Glad to be Gay badge, saying it was “an offensive weapon”.

The Commissioner now has that complaint and Julie is waiting for his reply.

Longford Withdraws

LONDON: Lord Longford, the self-appointed arbiter of Britain’s morals and his publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, have issued a statement admitting that at least one section of the Longford Committee’s report on pornography was inaccurate.

Longford and Hodder Paperbacks had been challenged by Derek Hill, the founder of the controversial New Cinema Club, which has always tried to erode absurd obscenity laws, that a ‘quote’ from Mr Hill in the Longford report was a fabrication. Now they have admitted it.

The following statement was issued jointly by the Longford Study Group on Pornography and Hodder Paperbacks: “In the Longford Report published last month, Derek Hill was stated to have told the study group on pornography that to ,afford to show experimental minority interest films and to insist on the principle that cuts are unacceptable … he was forced to offset losses on an audience of, perhaps 50 to 150 people, by also putting on sexploitation films which would attract perhaps 5,000 and … most of the national critics.’

“In fact Mr Derek Hill has never described any films presented by the New Cinema Club as ‘sexploitation’ films, as Lord Longford on behalf of the Study Group and Hodder Paperbacks, the publishers of the report, are glad to acknowledge. They accept that the Club does not select films to offset losses and that Mr Derek Hill did not make the statement attributed to him.”

That may be just one small part of the report; but how much would Longford and Hodder have to withdraw if everyone misquoted by the official report were to take the same stand as Derek Hill? Makes you wonder who you can trust these days.

Gay Civil Rights

In Gay News No 10 the article on the “New Gay Movement” (Gay Civil Rights Council) was the result of a very early meeting. Since then a modified programme has been developed. We see ourselves primarily as a service — legal, counselling, information, accommodation and a place to meet and chat.

At the same time we would hope to work with CHE and GLF in propaganda and education. We would talk to schools, colleges and medical schools or any other institutions where necessary. We believe in developing a sense of self respect and pride amongst our community; but we are a non-political organisation and we are not into publishing any particular line about liberation. To do all this we are trying to get people to invest money in buying a building. Anyone with expertise or who is willing to work, or who has money to spare, should contact Frank Honore, Room 405, Hughes Parry Hall, Cartwright Gardens, London WC1, or Telephone 01-387 7501.

Mental Check For Gay

JERSEY: Assistant magistrate Sir Graeme Finlay sent a gay for a ‘medical check’ after he had refused to stop interrupting the police case against him, calling the case a “bloody farce”

Twenty-nine year-old David, of Oxford, and another man, Edward, were charged with ‘gross indecency’ after police had arrested them in the island’s Weighbridge cottage.

Det Sergeant D. M. Watkins told the court that he and another policeman were on duty on the cottage roof keeping an eye on gay activity under them. When the sergeant reached the bit of his evidence saying that David and Edward went into the cottage, David shouted what the local press described as a ‘four-letter word’ to describe the ‘evidence’.

The Assistant Magistrate told David to shut up and control himself. But David shouted: “This is a load of rubbish. It’s a bloody farce.” and Sir Graeme walked out of the court in disgust, while David was removed to the cells.

The detective tried to chat David into apologising for his behaviour, but he stood his ground and refused.

When Sir Graeme deigned to return to the courtroom, he said he wasn’t prepared to go on with the case “under these circumstances.” Then David was brought back into the dock and stood there with his hands in his pockets. Sir Graeme said he was going to order a medical report to be made on David because he didn’t know whether he was fit to plead, David just shook his head and grinned.

When David and Edward were remanded until the next hearing, Edward was given £20 bail and David was remanded in custody.

Your Letters Cont.

Intrigued

Manchester M20 9DT

Gentlemen,

Your initial issue was sent to me by courtesy of the SMG. After contemplating your style and format, decided that a subscription for 20 issues would at least be an encouragement. Very promptly issues 2 to 7 arrived. I spent an exhausting evening catching up, somewhat mentally indigestible. Today number 8 arrived. Thank you for expertise, and the underlying instinct of not wishing to sermonise. Every issue has been an improvement on its predecessor. Even those bachelors have been spelt correctly; there must be a reason why the ‘t’ appears in so many gay journals.

The published letters intrigue me as also does your warning to letter writers, surely you don’t mean it? I have a sneaking suspicion that journalists write their own letters: At least you admit to asking, loaded questions to the BBC – considering the present climate of opinion, I think that you got a very fair reply — but surely First Class Philip, who says he is fed up at his classification. Maybe it’s all that ‘fucking’ that labels him. For surely we are classified by others, not ourselves, we just present the evidence, for the writing on the tags. Basically I think I know what he means, or rather implies. After some 30 years’ knowledge of myself as a homosexual, am not over concerned how I am labelled. If the GLF wish to lighten up the darkness, limp wristing it down the Dilly, with a Lily, so what? One does not have to join in. Frankly I rather enjoy the occasions. The audience are often as not more amusing than the play. We are classed, labelled, tagged, call it what you will, by the company we keep. Surely our First Class Male has heard of CHE.

Have been collecting, and subscribing to all types of gay literature and journals for many years. Am currently in the process of comprising a thesis on ‘gay publishing’ past, present and future. It will no doubt give my foundation heart failure, let’s hope the examiners take it home to bed. I’ll get that Ph.D. Cast that couch aside.

Your collective collation full of candour and camp, compels me to enclose a cheque for £5. Better than wasting it on the local rent.

Just for interest’s sake, notice that you have advertised GIN and JEFFERY, no response from them so far. I sent them P.O.’s not wishing to add to my Bank Manager’s heart failure. Way of all flesh no doubt. Quorum seem to be quivering, maybe it’s that man at the G.P.O.

Lots of luck – but does Mr J.D. Blount exist? Your cullusive collective.

With apologies for the alliteration and the typescript. Must find myself an au pair boy who can type.

Richard Spenceley

ED: The letters printed in GN are, of course, all received from readers. Thanks for your donation, Richard, it’s now safely in our vaults.

Our Wonderful Policemen

Surbiton,
Surrey.

Dear Gay News,

In many gay’ publications, including Gay News, one reads with monotonous regularity complaints and stories of allegations against the police concerning their actions and manner towards gay people.

In GN9 there was an article called Spying in Cubicles. The writer complained of police action against him. I would like to ask him what does he think should happen? I am sure he must be fully aware that such actions to which he admits can only lead to arrest, prosecution and punishment. So if he wishes to engage in such pastimes in public places instead of in private places, he should take his punishment and learn from it and not try to cast blame on the police for doing their duty. He also states that there were no children about that afternoon, but I am sure he must now be aware that a young child could have walked in, if he was not so aware before.

I would also state that I have used both gay pubs in Earls Court and many others, and have seen police move people on outside the Coleherne, but it has been when the footway has been completely obstructed and passers-by have been forced to push through a crowd or walk in the roadway. Their manner (the police) I have found to be polite and justifiable.

The number of times I have been stopped while trolling by the police, I have again found them polite and courteous. Perhaps if one takes a reasonable manner with the police they in turn will take a reasonable line with us. At least, that is my opinion, after many encounters.

I would further state that I am not a police officer nor in any way connected with the police.

Yours faithfully.

S. J. Gardner

Women in the Background

Caerphilly,
Glam,
Wales

Dear Sir,

I agree women do tend to remain in the background a lot more than our brothers, there are many reasons for this.

In the provinces, clubs are few and far between, and many of us don’t care for group activities. In fact, I feel there are still many who do not know these groups exist. I myself, until recently, didn’t know CHE or Gay Lib existed, until I heard Speakeasy on the radio (GN1). There’s one exception, of course, some knew they were gay very early, but not all of us realised we were gay until we were married with children, then what could we do? A divorce, perhaps. That’s not always easy when children are involved. And, admit it, who wants to know you when you’ve got ties? Do we have to wait maybe years, before we can start to live, too. Or will someone, somewhere, realise our need, too, and give us a chance to meet discreetly, not in clubs or bars, but with others like us who need to be discreet.

Women have their cross to bear, too. It may be legal for us, but a great many of us must keep in the background, behind closed doors, because we were not lucky enough to realise we were gay. It’s not only single people who are gay, there’s thousands of us. married with families, and remember there are still a great many who are still in the dark concerning gay magazines, papers, etc. Another way must soon be found if we are to bring a ray of light into these lives.

So, if there is any reader living in the Cardiff area, who would be interested in coming along to a coffee evening, to meet others to talk, relax, or any reader anywhere who would like to write to me, there will always be a friendly ear, and a reply.

Please write to Mrs. D. Higuera, 2 Haldane Court, Lansbury Park, Caerphilly, Glam, South Wales.

D. Higuera (Mrs)

Strange Customs

Dear Collective,

Until I read the letter from HRA of London in GN9 referring to the reply he received to an ad published in a previous issue, I had no idea that it was possible to obtain such material for less than the exorbitant sums charged in the back rooms of Soho bookshops.

I immediately despatched postal orders in many directions to see whether any of them solicited a similar reply. Unfortunately, my letter to Lux Publications in Amsterdam solicited only a note from HM Customs and Excise informing me that I had contravened the Exchange Control Act of 1947 and that my postal order had been seized. This was not what I had been expecting, nor could it be described as an acceptable substitute. I was, therefore, dismayed. And not a little curious to know how they knew there was a PO in the letter. Would it be cynical to suggest that perhaps they have a list of continental magazine publishers (and, by extension, a record of those who write to them?)

If any other readers have had a similar problem, they might like to know that the solution (at least to the financial aspect) is an International Money Order, which, unfortunately, costs 40p as opposed to 2½p for a postal order. The extra expense, however, would safeguard against the interception of mail on grounds of Exchange Control infringement — ie they’d have to find another reason if they really wanted to stop a letter. It would also avoid the disquieting situation of knowing one’s private correspondence is filed in HM vaults (under G for you-know-wot, perhaps).

Incidentally, if someone at HMC&E has been compiling a little list, if he cares to return my postal order I’d gladly send him a photo to file with my name and address.

JT

Ad To Your Pleasure

Dear Sir,

May I thank you so much for such quick replies to my advert in GN9. I have now replied to all concerned, but feel that if it had not been for you, I don’t know what I’d have done. Keep up the good work.

May God bless all gays, Graham

Gay Tried For Acid Murder

LONDON: A staff supervisor from Paddington wept in the dock as he was jailed for four years by a judge in the Old Bailey at the end of his trial for killing his former lover.

The prosecution’s case had been that Michael Dickinson, who was originally called Smith, murdered his lover, William Dickinson, and after stabbing him, poured acid over his body to disfigure it. The prosecution said William had been out with a sailor friend of Michael’s the night of the stabbing.

Mr Richard du Cann had appeared for the prosecution and had alleged that after Michael and William met last March they started to live together. But their relationship was stormy because William was bisexual.

Two doctors called by the defence said that Michael was mentally disturbed, and the jury found him guilty of manslaughter, and not of murder.

The judge told 36-year-old Michael: “You have taken away the life of a young man of 24. He was a person of not very good character and he behaved very badly towards you, but he was entitled to live.

“I have no doubt that all you wanted from him was a little bit of kindness and straightforward dealing and because you did not get those things you completely lost control of yourself.”

When the trial opened the Evening Standard ran a scandal-type headline as a page lead, and used seven-and-a-half inches of the prosecution’s case. During the rest of the week-long trial it reported not a word until the verdict.