LONDON: It’s hardly surprising that the majority of libraries in Great Britain refuse to carry gay newspapers or magazines when you consider the sort of bigoted attitude that emerged in a letter to the Librarians’ Association Record in the latter part of last year.
John Noyce, who writes a column on magazines librarians might be interested in, for another paper, the Assistant Librarian, innocently said: “As usual, the British alternative press papers seem to be following their American counterparts. The general papers are in difficulties – Seven Days and Ink gone, Frendz and IT are in financial troubles – but the sectional papers grow ever more numerous.”
Then he listed Spare Rib, and Gay News, along with GIN, Lunch, SMG News, Arena Three and Sappho.
Little did he know there was something pretty vicious waiting in the non-fiction section. A librarian wrote in to say: “In the August issue of Assistant Librarian, a contributor lists for our special benefit or enlightenment (I’m nor sure which) an extraordinary catalogue of recent outlandish periodicals, the very latest from the front line of the sexual revolution, suitable, perhaps, for educated perverts and emancipated Bohemians, as well as Lesbian librarians with doubts about their masculinity, and, of course, any pouffes-in-boots and beyond-the-fringe eccentrics floating around the outer reaches of cosmopolitan professional librarianship, but to the membership at large, of no use, one would have thought, whatsoever, unless, in the present phase of cultural pollution, we are to be credited with the same tastes.” And so he goes on. And on. Quoting George Bernard Shaw and T S Eliot. He’s read them!
With a wonderful old-fashioned hatred like that, a man could get a job with the Festival of Light.
There were fifteen of us gay revolutionaries, and fifteen hundred of them, on that grey September Sunday in Trafalgar Square, that Sunday showground of political ping pong. Both sides wore their badges avidly and made regular appropriate sounds: – “Gay is good,” “Jesus is great”. There were religious pop songs and recitals from J. Christ’s holy scribblings, but Messrs. Longford, Richard, Muggeridge and Whitehouse were nowhere in evidence at this Nuremberg Rally 1972. Perhaps they were too busy riding round the Circle Line, planning how they could give Edwina the Jesus Christ image.
Outnumbered us gay liberationists may have been, but we certainly made ourselves heard. The famous Maurice Tasker, bastion of the London GLF office suffers from a sore throat to this day, and as for that Martin Corbett, Gay News’ butch queen and beer gut, he was going around asking every pretty male Festival of Lighter, when they last had it. There were certainly some red faces, and later on in the evening after the rally, there were some red ends too. Myself, I treated the occasion very seriously and had several discussions with Jesus freaks, who all said exactly the same thing, as instructed by headquarters. I am a sinner according to the Bible; I’m as good as dead because I don’t love Jesus. That sounds rather monotonous and I tried to say that religion was and still is one of the greatest oppressive forces, especially for gay people, since it preaches encouragement of the family structure. If Jesus loves us why is half the world starving, and why is the Pope telling women not to take the Pill, thus aggravating the population explosion. None of them seemed to take much notice of me though, so it was quite a relief when four radical feminists arrived. They really put the whole afternoon in perspective as they sauntered into the square, looking like opera singers, wearing beautiful togs by “Bona Lallies” of Colville Terrace. The afternoon was beautifully rounded off by some rather pretty festival of lighters throwing lumps of stale J. Lyons white bread at everyone in sight. Silly me, I ate it and was constipated for three whole days, after which I started shitting plastic crosses.