Gay Screen

LONDON: Several months ago a few people got together and decided to form a gay film unit. And this week, on a G-string budget, the unit showed it meant business.

A little professional help is turning the amateur enthusiasm into a dream realised.

But before the movie-buffs rush off to the Biograph to see a blue movie, a word or two of warning: this is just the first of a series of commercials for gay liberation politics, the initial project being called Party Piece.

Needless to say, there’s a nude scene, played by Leonard Whiting, a fantasy leather sequence and so on. The message the movie gets across is quite explicit, so, of course, there won’t be a generous screening of it when it’s finished (the unit hopes it won’t take more than about a month in postproduction) and it may turn up at the Electric Cinema Club, or the Kings Cross Cinema, the unit hopes. But so far no definite arrangements have been negotiated for its screening.

The movie has the obvious weaknesses you expect if one uses an entirely amateur cast, but producer Ray Fowler and director Bruce Wisehart have very definite ideas of where they think the gay visual art scene should be headed.

The two-minute colour movie took nine hours to shoot in a borrowed Hampstead flat and although enthusiasm began to wane under the hot lights and the intense concentration required, I think Bruce and Roy have a small winner in the can.

The film unit intends to go ahead making more gay movies, but future plans are not yet definite.

Life With The Louds

NEW YORK: America’s latest super media-wheeze, the televising of the agonies of real family life – as opposed to the homogenised cleanliness of David Cassidy et al – has caused something of a storm, possibly because young Lance Louds is a silver-haired gay.

The idea of the programme was to show the real life-style of the real American family. But during the filming of the family going about its everyday business, the main protagonists, Mr and Mrs Bill Loud discovered they couldn’t stand each other any longer. Their 20 year old marriage collapsed and they discovered that their son Lance was gay.

Dyed Hair

Apparently the idea had never crossed their minds, even when Lance dyed his hair silver when he was 14.

The film showed Mrs Loud going to the gay commune in a hotel in one of New York’s seedier districts and not even then grasping the full significance of what had happened.

Scenes like this has made the Loud family’s public agony bigger in television ratings than the Partridge family and that sort of thing, as people start wondering whether the malaise that’s affecting the Loud marriage might not apply to just that family.

No Idea

Creator of the series, Craig Gilbert, finds himself sitting on top of a hit. He claims that when they started the nine-month shooting programme last year, the television company didn’t realise that the Loud marriage was in such imminent danger of collapse or that Lance was gay.

What chance is there of seeing the programme here? It’d really get them going in Enfield.


Project note: the making of this series, An American Family, was turned into a fictionalised film in 2011 starring James Gandolfini and Tim Robbins called Cinema Verite.

Boy Was Experienced

LEICESTER: Two men were given suspended prison sentences by the Crown Court here be cause they had sex with a 15-year-old boy who was, according to their counsel, “experienced in these matters”.

Terence (40) and David (59), both of Leicester, pleaded guilty to buggery, attempted buggery and charges of ‘indecency’ with the boy.

Mr Michael Astill, appearing for both of them, said of the boy: “His corruption took place long before he met these men. He was experienced in these matters. Both men are adamant that it was the boy who was the instigator. The boy came back, and back again.”

Protection

Terence was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and David was jailed for 18 months. Both sentences were suspended for two years.

Judge W A Sime told them: “The law in its wisdom some time ago made it legal for persons to indulge in these kind of practices in private and with adults. But one of the points of that relaxation was that young boys should be protected.”

Back To Normal

READING: Reading Gay Alliance’s discos and socials hit by the end of the late drinking-and-music licence at the Railway Tavern are now getting back to normal.

The landlord of the Railway Tavern has got his licence back and the silent-and-dry social evenings have become fun again.

The new licence runs out in April, but before that the brewers Ind Coope, are replacing the present licencee with their own manager. Then anything could happen. Ind Coope has already told RGA not to mention the Railway Tavern by name in any of its advertisements.

The present landlord consistently let the room to RGA, at the expense of other groups already using it.

Meanwhile RGA has held its annual meeting, and, in the light of the recent licencing problems, the members agreed to make the social functions into members-only club functions.

Members of RGA from Reading town have been pressing for a club set-up for some time, but this has been opposed by members from Reading University, who wanted RGA to go on without bothering about membership cards.

NEWSETTES

Irish Help

DUBLIN: Gays who want to talk about ‘their problem’ in an informal, understanding and ‘constructive’ atmosphere are invited to contact the Legion of Mary in Dublin.

The legion which has been running its gay-help group for about five years, says the majority of those it’s helped have found it useful.

It stresses that the group is non-denominational and that all problems are treated in confidence.

The contact number for the Legion is (01) 776083, any evening between 8pm and 10pm.

Poison Ivy

MORECAMBE: The Morecambe Visitor, the weekly paper that’s biting its editorial fingernails and waiting for the CHE conference, ran an amazing letter from the Rev Frank Ockenden.

The Rev Frank quoth: “Homosexuality, like prostitution, is a moral disease, which society may at best only contain, but for its good must endeavour to prevent or cure.

“To condemn the practice does not necessarily imply the condemnation of its victims. Being Holy, God condemns all sin, and has said so, but being also Love, He has provided salvation from it in his Son Jesus Christ. This includes all homosexuals, and makes irrelevant any campaign for equality.”

Then in slammed the Corrs of Lancaster, lambasting the Rev Frank, who (incidentally) lives at Ivy Cottage, Arkhole, for would-be correspondents.

The Corrs – Bill and his wife Anna – blasted away in fine style: “Since the majority of people in this country are no longer practicing Christians the advice of the Rev Ockenden and his fellow minsters of religion would be heeded only by those who share their respective faiths.

“Homosexuality ought to rank equal in the eyes of the law with heterosexuality so far as age of consent, marriage and so on are concerned.

“At the moment homosexual men (the law does not recognise that female homosexuality exists, oddly enough) exist in a legal minefield.

“Naturally all that this would mean is that the gap between the law of the land and Mr Ockenden’s theology would be at liberty to denounce homosexuality as a sin to anyone prepared to pay any attention.”

The Rev Frank is a loner in the realms of backwoods revivalism. His Arkholme Evangelical Church broke away from the Lancaster Methodist Circuit about two years ago, because the Lancaster Methodists were having dealings with members of other churches.

Since then the Rev Frank has been wearing the top dog-collar at Arkholme and master-minding Munich style rallies of revivalist religion. Even the Rev Ian Paisley chickened out of one invite the Martin Luther of Poison Ivy Cottage sent him.

John Pointless Ross

LONDON: The Evening News’ man-for-all-occasions, John Pointer Ross, managed to get a swipe at gays into his January 19 column for the more boring of London’s evening papers.

Along with Ross’ ‘thoughts’ on crime and punishment, drug-addiction, a farm-worker from Brighton who has sired 17 children and the price of beef – Ross was never the first with an idea – we got this gem: “CHE, in case you didn’t know, stands for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

“They wanted to hold a conference for their members. The usual resorts where conferences are normally held have turned them down.

“The homosexuals seem surprised. Are you?”

But the Fleet Street hacks don’t all think the same way. Readers may remember Des Wilson as the man who cared about the homeless. Now he’s returned to his first love, journalism.

From his perch on top of his regular column in The Observer, Des Wilson observed: “Weymouth and other seaside towns (including, I gather, Morecambe) have certainly shown why a Campaign for Homosexual Equality is needed. The ignorance and prejudice reflected in some towns’ responses have been incredible.”

Normal Homosexuals

From the tons of newsprint produced every day we present this excerpt from the Evening Post (Luton):

Question: Can you be a homosexual and still be normal in other ways?

Answer: Most certainly. But that’s not to say that all homosexuals are otherwise normal.

The same applies, of course, to those who favour the opposite sex.

Chaplain Charged

LEEDS: The Church of England chaplain at Wakefield prison was released on bail by Leeds magistrates after he had appeared before them charged with ‘indecently assaulting’ a policeman in a public lavatory.

The Rev George who is said to have assaulted PC Gordon in a cottage in Marsh Lane, Leeds, was remanded on £25 bail. The police did not object.

He will appear before the magistrates again on March 6.