How They Castrated Monty P.

LONDON: Sources at the BBC say that censorship at the Corporation is reaching insane proportions. They are either worried about the renewal of their Charter in 1976 — or there is interference, from some person or persons nominally designated as “Someone Higher-Up”.

Apart from the Wilde sketch from a programme of series three of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, other things to be censored include part of a song in which a character sings: “I’m getting pissed tonight”, whereas, in the same episode the words ‘piss off’ were allowed to be broadcast. It seems that you’re strictly limited to the number of ‘pisses’ in one show.

A competition in which contestants were given 12 seconds to summarise all the volumes of A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu, one contestant claimed that his own hobbies were golf, strangling animals and masturbation, after which the MC remarked he must have let himself down a bit on the hobbies there – “golf isn’t very popular round here”. This, too, was banned. Apparently you are not allowed to say the word ‘masturbation’ on comedy shows, although it would be permissible on the news, in ‘serious drama’, or documentary.

A rather childish and commendably ‘silly’ sketch in which a wine taster was being asked to give his expert opinion on various vintages of ‘wee-wee’ was hacked out of the show completely on the grounds that the second wine appeared to be rosé. (The BBC bosses, knowing very little about ‘medical matters’ assumed, without any reason, that this was intended to be ‘menstrual urine’!)

A thought that never occurred to the writer or the cast and in all probability would never have occurred to the general public!

Their only logical complaint could have been that the so-called rosé came from someone suffering from a disease of the urinary tract or who’d been eating a lot of beetroot. Menstrual Urine! Who’s getting paranoiac.

Any further example of this kind of censorship will, of course, be passed on to this important newspaper. The above article has absolutely nothing to do with Graham Chapman, who wishes to remain anonymous.

J. Martin Stafford, BA Explains

The news that J. Martin Stafford, BA – member of CHE’s Executive Committee – had urged Lord Longford and the Director of Public Prosecutions to take private action against Gay News, naturally enough caused somewhat of a stir within CHE itself and in the gay community at large.

Mr Stafford felt it necessary, therefore, to give an explanation of his actions. His memorandum was circulated to local groups of CHE and to delegates of CHE’s National Council (which will be reported in Gay News 14).

The item that horrified him was “what purported to be a photograph of Lord Longford in a naked state”. J. Martin Stafford, BA, makes it clear that, though he mentioned his position within CHE in his letter to Lord Longford, he did not suggest that he was acting on CHE’s behalf.

He writes: “I am convinced that the Gay Liberation Front and all bodies and publications of a similar persuasion are a potent menace to the cause which I embrace and a hindrance to the realisation of ends which I – and no doubt most other people in CHE -esteem desirable. For let us be quite clear about this: GLF, by the outlandish appearance of many of its adherents, by the lunatic extravagance of its professed aims, and by the blatant indecency of its publications, makes social acceptance and further law-reform less probable, not more so; since almost everything which it does, says, and is – far from dispelling prejudice and assuaging potential sympathisers confirms all their gravest apprehensions that homosexuals are freakish perverts … etc etc etc”.

He continues: “… there is absolutely nothing in GLF or Gay News with which any person who held a position of responsibility or who had any concern to maintain his own good name and reputation would wish, or could afford, to be identified, however erroneously”.

Still linking GLF and Gay News together, he believes they give an impression of homosexuality as misleading as that offered by Dr Reubens. He urges CHE to “disassociate itself from all jargon-happy idiots and to renounce their theories as mistaken; their recommendations as impracticable.”

He writes: “I therefore took the view, by which I abide, that any lawful means of eliminating this menace was justified, and proceeded to conspire its ruin.”

After a further paragraph of attack on GLF and Gay News during which he suggests that in himself homosexuals will see they have “at least some spokesmen fit to plead their cause” and also that “some homosexuals have the sense to reject the idle pretentions of revolutionary fanaticism”, he concludes by asserting his intention of remaining on the Executive Committee of CHE “until 1975, or at least until it suits me to leave.” And ends: “The role I play can not, alas, be a very constructive one (sic) but perhaps a restraining influence is not altogether without value.”

At CHE’s National Council, delegates having read Mr Stafford’s hysterical memorandum (for those of us with less intelligence than that Mr Stafford claims to possess found the path from a cartoon of Lord Longford to the “idle pretensions of revolutionary fanaticism” a little difficult to follow), proceeded to give the little fellow a severe trouncing. He sat it out with his usual cool and it was only later in the day that he delighted his fans with one of his celebrated stamping performances.

Mr Stafford told the council that Gay News should be suppressed and “all its shallow and immature gestures eliminated” since it confirms all the worst impressions of homosexuals that people already possess.

A delegate from London (Kensington group) pointed out that Mr Stafford’s action was entirely antagonistic to all the law reforms CHE seeks because he represents himself as a spokesman who wishes to impose restrictions. “He has done everybody a grave disservice”, concluded Peter to loud applause.

The chairman of London’s Putney group remarked that for a homosexual to “recommend that heterosexuals should take legal action against homosexuals was utterly abhorrent”.

The chairman of the Brighton group, speaking with controlled anger, said that Mr Stafford’s action was outrageous in itself, but his “arrogant explanation has added fuel to the fire; the excuse that he is speaking only for himself is rubbish”, said John, “until now Martin Stafford has been a joke. But unless he is removed he will become a menace”.

It was a delegate from London (group 1) who rose to associate himself with Martin Stafford. In a peculiarly confused speech he insisted that he “strongly associated himself with Gay News and had even renewed his subscription. Yet when he saw the relevant cartoon “I was shocked, I thought it in gross bad taste”. Clearly the concept that merely being shocked by something is reason to try and get it prosecuted in the most punitive way, still exists.

Finally two resolutions were put before the Council. The first, from the Croydon delegate, said: “This council disassociates itself from the action of Martin Stafford over Gay News and deplores that a member of the Executive Committee should consider such an action”. Three people voted against this.

The second, put by Bernard Greaves of Cambridge said: “This Council welcomes Gay News‘s existence, applauds its editorial independence and thanks it for its contribution to the homophile cause while not necessarily agreeing with everything contained in it”. Again an overwhelming show of agreement with two votes against.

Martin Stafford embodies all the negative, depressive, death-dealing qualities of the acutely self-repressed homosexual. It is most unfortunate that he has acquired a position on the National Executive Committee of CHE. He admits he will not support his colleagues ard states he will always try to act as “a restraining influence.” His efforts at restraint have hitherto only been exercised within CHE and, while acutely disturbing, have had no relevance to the gay community at large. But in this case he has moved outside CHE to attack (in what is potentially the most vicious way) the efforts of another group of people (homosexual and heterosexual, unaligned to any organisation) to bring those much needed elements of contact, communication and information to both gay and straight communities.

Whenever Martin Stafford goes on one of his anti-life rampages, he falls back on the fact that he was elected to the Executive Committee of CHE this year with a majority. “Ten months ago the voting figures confirmed beyond all dispute that my views command considerable support; for after submitting myself to election on a question of confidence I was returned to the EC, not only at the top of the poll, but by a very impressive lead.”

This reads well. However it must be pointed out (as indeed the vice-chairman of CHE, Tony Ryde, did point out at the council) that Martin Stafford won 95 outright votes at the election, less than 10 votes ahead of his nearest rival. Out of a potential electorate of about 2,500 at this time, this is less than considerable, certainly not impressive. These facts, of course, only reflect on the inertia or lack of interest of CHE’s membership at large in electing their representatives. It also means that the other members of the Executive Committee are in the same position. However, it must be remembered that the other members of the EC are aware of this and only act after collective agreement and do not go off on individual rampages claiming a massive, but mythical, support.

Roger Baker

ED: We repeat again and again and again – Gay News is linked in no way whatsoever with any organisation.

Calender Boys

WELLINGTON: New Zealanders are getting a little hot under the collar because of a cover-the-naughty-parts all male nude calendar being published in Wellington.

According to the NZ press the calendar, which will be sold by mail order-will have “six full-colour pages of naked young men.” One paper said: “Some show the models in a full frontal position.”

The company that’s publishing the calendar says it’s doing it because of the calendar’s artistic merits.

A spokesman for the calendar’s publishers said: “There is nothing indecent about our calendar. All the models are shown in natural poses.”

One interesting feature of the calendars is that they come equipped with strips of sticky paper to obliterate the models’ genitalia or any other parts of the body one might find offensive.

What the NZ papers are up in arms about is that the models on the country’s first male pin-up calendar are New Zealanders.

It is a spin-off from the New Zealand male nude book Sons Of The Southern Seas, which it’s said has sold well in Europe.

The publishers’ spokesman said: “We believe that women are getting over-exposed. Men have beautiful bodies too.”

NEW YORK: The usually staid Ladies Home Companion has entered the battle of the male calendars with its own tasteful, sepia variation on the theme.

The majority of the models in the LHC calendar look bored and some appear far from the husky masculine image the calendar strives for.

The LHC calendar may be full and nude but the last thing it is is frontal. Most of the models have found some way of turning away from the camera, giving an overall impression of coyness.

The American calendar is being imported and sold by Walton Street Stationers of London for £2.50

Devil Murder

READING: The London Airport murder the press dubbed as a gay killing was said to be the work of an “agent of the devil” at Reading Crown Court when the murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Douglas Geddes, aged 23, a chef from Birmingham, was found guilty of killing Paul Duval (22) whose body was found near Heathrow Airport, London, on July 5.

Geddes and Barry Woodard (28) of Walsall, had both pleaded not guilty to murdering Paul.

When Paul’s body was found the papers said that the area was a well-known trolling ground and intimated that this was just yet another gay murder.

At the time Gay News reported that even Slough Police admitted the gay-tag was rubbish. “As far as we know, only fishermen go there,” a police spokesman told GN.

During his trial, Geddes told the Crown Court jury that he might have stabbed Paul, but he couldn’t remember. “It was the two of us, I can recall it.”

He said that he and Woodard had driven down to Slough with Paul and taken him into a field where they got out of the car.

He said: “Woodard held him and I put the knife into his body once, and a second time.” The Court’s clerk then read the murder charge to him for a second time and he changed his plea to guilty.

Geddes said: “I am nocturnal. I just stay awake during darkness hours and just move about. A few days before this trial I was blessed by a priest and I was a devil worshipper.”

Woodard’s trial proceeds.

Watch Out

LONDON: Although denied by the police that the practice of using agents provocateurs in Earl’s Court is happening at all, it is apparently becoming standard police procedure in that area.

The scene of these activities, which have been widely condemned, is in Wharfedale Street, which runs directly behind the popular Colherne public house. A GN newsman had heard rumours that plainclothes police officers would be in action behind the pub after ‘closing time’. This information came from two, usually reliable, independent sources, both of whom overheard the conversation of a group of five plainclothes officers.

The rumours turned into reality, for in court last week, a 34-year-old carpenter admitted persistently importuning men for a homosexual purpose. He was fined £25.

Sergeant William Smith told magistrate Mr John Hooper that after speaking to two men in Wharfedale Street, Michael (the carpenter) then approached him and asked, “Do you want to come back to my place ?”

“You weren’t in uniform, I take it?” the Marlborough Street magistrate asked him. Supposedly not, and Sergeant Smith sounds as if he must be rather attractive.

When asked by Gay News if agent provocateur methods would be a regular occurence from now on in Wharfedale Street, the station officer of Chelsea Police Station first replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”.

After having the question explained in more simplistic terms, he then stated, “These methods aren’t being used. Apart from that, there’s no comment I can make”

Gay News ventures to suggest that those people who may be in Wharfedale Street, or the near vicinity, late at night, should take the utmost precautions to ensure that they are not entrapped by these dubious means.

Any developments in this situation will appear in this paper.

GLF Books Are Back

LONDON: The decision to ban Gay Liberation Front publications from the CHE London Information Centre has now been reversed.

The change of mind came at a co-ordinating committee meeting of the Campaign For Homosexual Equality.

CHE’s London management committee have decided to put GLF literature under the counter at its Great Windmill Street Information Centre.

The Co-ordinating Committee, which meets quarterly, is senior in the CHE hierarchy to the monthly meetings of the Management Committee – and it has the final say.