Dilly Boys Make The Times

LONDON: Britain’s press has suddenly discovered the ‘Dilly Boys’ after a book by the same name was published by a small publishing house, Croom Helm. First in where angels fear to tread was the Sunday Mirror. With dazzling originality it called its Sunday Mirror Documentary on the Dilly boys ‘The Dilly Boys’ and admitted that it borrowed heavily from the book.

It saw a Picadilly Circus peopled almost entirely by 13 and 14-year-olds playing the flipper games and the market at Playland and the other mausement arcades, but carefully avoiding naming names or getting close enough to the problem for the article to be more than an empty piece of plagiarism from Mervyn Harris’ book.

It seemed the only people at Piccadilly Circus older than 14 were either older men there to pick up the boys, probation officers leaning on the anti-pedestrian railings or even Sunday Mirror reporters.

The Mirror’s story said: ‘We traced the case-histories of five Dilly boys who, homeless and short of cash got caught up in the dragnet.

‘Two have graduated from amphetamines to hard drugs; one has gone to jail for stealing another has put a girl “in the club”. The fifth has managed to get out of the game and gone back to Bolton.’

Midnight Piccadilly: A day’s rest over, a night’s work begins. [Photograph: Peter Mundy]
Earlier, Victor Sims, the Mirror’s man in the dirty mac at the Dilly had told us: ‘Nearly all of them have heard about the easy pickings to be had in London’s rich heart, and reckon they can eke out a living on their wits.

‘more often, they finish up frozen, half-starved, asleep inside a telephone box, huddled for warmth in a deserted railway coach, in a hotel car park or even in warehouse packing cases.

‘It’s at this stage of disillusionment that the trouble starts. They hang around Piccadilly, desperate for food and shelter. Instead of pocketing their pride and going home, they become easy prey to anyone who will offer them a warm bed …

‘Horrifying? Shameful? Almost unbelievable?

To the senior police officers and detectives at West End Central police station, the problem is very real.

‘The Chief Superintendent told me: “The situation created by these juveniles, who drift into our area is one of the most difficult we have had to handle.”’

The Chief Superintendent didn’t mention gay trade at the Dilly being more of a problem than any other drop-out youth situation there. But the Mirror chose to run as its second headline on the piece: ‘Their trade shames a national showplace’ and under it published a picture of a probation officer ’at “The Meat Rack”, the Piccadilly Circus haunt of young boys waiting for homosexuals.’

Five days later it was Friday and the Times lifted its skirts and had a slam at the Dilly.

In a series called Policemen Talking, Peter Evans wrote a piece on the ‘Missing boys and girls enmeshed in Soho vice nets.’ Racey stuff this for The Times. Police sergeant M Woodheath of the Juveniles Squad, gave us the low-down from her point of view. She said: “If they are young lads, men will start speaking to them and take them home and be nice to them. These boys are usually naive and often accept. The man demands something more of them. Eventually they put these lads on the streets as male prostitutes and they give the men part of their earnings. Their ages can range from 14 upwards. Many of these boys end up as permanent homosexuals. It is very difficult to get at the men in charge of them. Boys are reluctant to give a description or a name and address. They are frightened to give you much.

“One man had ten little boys working as male prostitutes for him from 14 upwards. They were reluctant to give evidence. Some turned up at court to give evidence. He was convicted.

“The same sort of thing happens to girls. Lesbians pick them up from 13 upwards. Three girls from Cardiff were arrested for soliciting before we discovered they were juveniles…”

And so on. It seems you get the Dilly’s dirty washing aired just as publicly in The Times as you do in the Mirror. And The Times gives its readers more details of the washing its discovered.

ED: We’ll carry a full review of Mervyn Harris’ The Dilly Boys in Gay News 17, and we’ll try to look a bit deeper into the rent scene in the future.

Mums Make Sons Gay

DUBLIN: The Irish Medical Times’s resident man on the psychiatrists couch, Dr T K McKeogh, reckons that dominant Irish mothers and one-sex schooling in Ireland, usually by anti-sex clerical teachers, helps make young Irish people gay, and worse, is psychologically damaging to the young people.

In his Talking Points column in the IMT, Dr McKeogh wrote: ‘Some interesting illustrative studies have been done in this field, and one which indicates the influence of cultural patterns on the expression of symptoms in patients with a given mental disease is the study of Irish-American and Italian schizophrenics in New York City by Dr Marvin K Opler in 1959.

Latent Tendencies

This study seemed to demonstrate unequivocally that the Irish culture inhibits sexuality and emphasises male inadequacy, fear of females and latent homosexual tendencies, and inevitably that alcoholism was much more common among the Irish than in the Italian-American patients.

‘Whilst the change in sexual mores amounting to a revolution in some countries in the last decade may have gone too far, in Ireland so far one can applaud the more liberal attitudes now prevailing and point happily to a rising marriage rate and the lower ages at which they occur.’

The Irish Trouble

In his column, which was headed ‘No Thanks To Heaven For Little Girls!’, the doctor said: ‘The dominant Irish mother who idolises her sons and deprecates her daughters does incalculable damage to both, and our one-sex schools, too often permeated by the anti-sex attitude of the clerical teachers, male and female, aggravates the injury.

‘There may have been a time when the Irish were the chivalrous lovers that light fiction once asserted, but that possibly was before the deity appeared to weigh in on the side of Victorianism with the disastrous famine.’

He also tells us a story which made him think of all this. A girl walked into the lounge of a Dublin hotel, and wanted to sit down with her girl-friends. There was no empty chair, so she had to drag a chair up to join them.

I’m Only A Psychologist

The doctor, in horror, confides in the IMT’s readers that ‘none of the males present displayed the slightest interest in her that I could see (and a psychologist is a man who watches other men’s faces when a pretty girl enters the room).’ At no time does he explain why he never rushed to help the seatless lady.

Some Can Some Can’t

LONDON: Just to prove that there are some that can and some that can’t, the three judges who banned the David Bailey documentary on Andy Warhol actually sat down and looked at what they’d stopped the public seeing.

It was the first time the judges, who banned the television programme without seeing it, put their innocence in jeopardy by exposing themselves to the documentary film about the pop artist and movie maker.

Three judges watch the David Bailey television documentary, with Ross McWhirter sitting second row middle. [Photograph: Syndication International]
For this treat, they left the boring old Appeal Court, where they spend about 30 per cent of their lives. And just to prove that he didn’t mind risking being corrupted by the ATV programme he’d got blacked out, Ross McWhirter, the rugby commentator and record book compiler, who has ambitions for political office, went along too. He’s behind the Master of the Rolls, Judge Denning (centre, front row).

Now that McWhirter has battled the Bailey documentary to a guarenteed high viewing figure when it is finally shown, he intends to take on the Attorney-General at the European Court of Human Rights alleging that the Government committed an illegal act by making Britain join the Common Market.

He’s a versatile campaigner, who even the Daily Telegraph put down as someone who ‘has set himself up as a legal watchdog on Governments and public bodies’.

In the past he’s failed to get elected to Parliament as Conservative candidate for Edmonton (1964), accused James Callaghan, the Labour Home Secretary, of jerrymandering (1969), and finally settled out of court for £250 costs.

The fact that not only the judges, but also McWhirter were allowed to see the television movie demonstrates that in the eyes of the law some can be corrupted, and some can’t. Those who can’t are judges and their friends.

Students Back Gays

BRISTOL: The student newspaper of the Bristol Art students, which has a circulation of about 15,000 copies, published an article headed ‘Gay News’ on January 25th. The article dealt with a description of what it is like to be a gay person today; it opened with a description of a typical gay club and then went on to describe organisations such as GLF and CHE and gay publications such as Gay News, Lunch, Come Together and Gin.

Distributed among the article’s 2000 words were photographs of a Gay Liberation demonstration in Trafalgar Square, a picture of two men kissing and a cartoon. The article also included a section on the relationship between student unions and the gay rights movement which involves the possibility of getting a gay rights motion passed by the National Union of Students at its next conference in April. The article was the first to be published by the area paper although individual college papers had run articles about gay lib before they were replaced by the area paper last year.

Motion Passed

The General Meeting of the University of Bristol Union passed a motion dealing with homosexuals on January 17th. The motion, which was passed without opposition, called for trade union support for homosexuals who suspected that they had been dismissed for being gay. The motion also instructed the union’s executive to produce a report on homosexuals and to send a motion to the NUS for their next conference. In proposing the motion, Trevor Locke, who is a member of the union’s executive, said that the student movement in this country could do a great deal of good in supporting gay rights and trying to attack social and legal discrimination against homosexuals. Similar motions have been passed at other universities so that there is a growing body of support for gay people in the universities of this country.

Bristol Assists Exeter

A speaker from Bristol University Gay Soc addressed a meeting of 200 students at Exeter University on January 19, which was the first time that homosexuality had been discussed publicly there. Some students asked questions or made comments, and one student declared to the audience that he was gay and outlined the feeling of isolation he had as a gay person living on a heterosexual campus. There is no gay group either in Exeter city or in the University, but Bristol will help the formation of a group there.

Aussie Ads Bust

SYDNEY: Australia’s first serious gay magazine, William and John, has been busted by police for obscenity.

The charges the publishers face are caused by their continuing publication of gay small ads. The case appears to be similar in many ways to the International Times case, which the three defendants lost.