Mind Games

A PERSONAL ANTHOLOGY. Written and edited by Jorge Luis Borges. Published by Picador at 45p.

There is no writer who amazes, baffles and intrigues me more than Borges – Argentina’s leading man of letters.

This is the selection of work on which he’d like his reputation to rest. I don’t think it’s his best work. But at least most of it hasn’t been printed in this country before – Penguin’s ‘Labyrinths’ selection draws heavily from the ‘Ficciones’ anthology.

Borges is a writer whose pure logic takes him and your thoughts along straight lines over the edge of the world and back to where you started. If you have grown out of Cosmo’s novelettes and like to think now and again, Borges is your man. This is a good selection of his lunatic-mathematical stories. It’s a pity I can’t like his poetry.

Peter Holmes

Law Triumphs, Justice Doesn’t

The Magician by Sol Stein. Published by New English Library. Paperback, 40p.

One of the most upsetting and at the same time most outstanding novels I have read recently is ‘The Magician’ by Sol Stein. The point of the book is to show that the law doesn’t necessarily equal justice, in fact the two can quite often be used for different ends.

Briefly, the plot is about a vicious assault on a sixteen year old schoolboy and the legal consequences. Much of the story is concerned with the ensuing court case or else in studying the characters of those principally involved — the culprit responsible for the seemingly pointless attack, the parents of the victim and the aggressor, and Ed Japhet, the schoolboy. The novel also comments on the state of American society – not the seamy, junk-neon, spectacular country that is usually over-glamourised, but middle America with its institutions and on-the-surface respectability and tranquility, hiding its inner turmoil.

Sol Stein’s style is both convincing and literate, without ever becoming boring. And the final twist is startling, although not altogether unexpected. A feature film is soon to be made of ‘The Magician’ and if the script is sensibly handled, and without the essence of the story being lost, it should prove to be a major event in cinema.

‘The Magician’ is an important book that has something significant to say. At the same time it is a very captivating book.

Denis Lemon

A Bold Study of Abnormal Sex: World Famous Best Seller

They Live In The Shadows

‘Syphilis’ is no longer a shocking, or even an impolite word. Everywhere, people talk about venereal disease as unfortunate, but natural… and curable.

We’re more broad minded today but not about every thing. Two things – HOMOSEXUALITY AND PROSTITUTION – are still considered by the majority of the population as the lowermost depths of depravity, or subjects for bawdy humour.

As it happens, homosexuals and prostitutes are real people – with very real problems.

Here, for the first time, is a book about what they are like, and what their problems are.

From the blurb, you’d expect the book to be at least controversial. Find out for yourselves. It’s presently being remaindered at only lOp, at several book shops in London, anyway. And you’d hardly guess it was the dear old Wolfenden Report. Dressed in sheep’s clothing?

Bona Bargain Basement

Editorial

19721001-02Despite continuing financial, distribution and organisational problems, here we are again with issue No. 8. At least no-one can say that we are just a ‘seven-issue wonder’. And although the problems pertaining to the paper’s existence still continue, we of the collective are coming to terms with how much work and commitment is needed to carry on bringing out a regular fortnightly newspaper. It’s also becoming much more fun for us to be involved with such a project; even the rows and unpleasant situations we have recently found ourselves taking part in have not stopped us from realising that an aura of happiness from each member of the editorial collective is an important factor in getting out each edition of Gay News. We don’t want to bore you with the long hours etc. bit, but you really can do just about anything if you keep smiling.

Our money and distribution problems are closely tied together. You have no doubt noticed that under the credits and contents section on this page, we claim that distribution is done by ‘Us, You and A Prayer Book’. Well, strictly speaking that’s true. We do have three or four small distribution companies helping us, but the majority of copies you see in the limited number of shops that stock the paper are there because we supplied them. The shops have them either because they responded to a letter we wrote to them; because the shops got fed up with being asked for the paper by their customers, or because one of you wrote or telephoned us giving details of outlets you thought were worth us following up. (Thanks a lot, and keep it up). Also, as many of you will know, we regularly sell the paper in the major gay pubs in London, and we believe that copies are available in a few pubs and clubs around the country.

But unfortunately these distribution outlets are still not enough to support our continued existence. We must sell more copies to carry on, and we hope that as a result of a lot more effort on your part, and help from you whenever you can supply it, that we will be able to sell more of each edition, both in London and, more importantly, in the rest of the country.

There are so many areas of the country we never reach and then there are places where the amount sent is, in our opinion, ridiculously small. One such place is Manchester, where it is left to one or two people to try to get the paper to the whole of the gay population of that city. It’s crazy that we should sell almost double the quantity we sell in Manchester in Brighton. Even Reading sells almost as many as the major city of the north of England. And it’s not just Manchester that has such poor distribution. Liverpool, at present, has less copies sent to it than Bath.

Of course, we are not trying to put down the people who already do as much as they possibly can in those places where our circulation is so disastrous, but we appeal to all gay people who live in places where the paper is rarely seen to help alter this situation. There are a number of ways you can do this for us. Firstly, you can sell them for us, whether in your local gay pubs or clubs, or just to your circle of friends and acquaintances.

Hachette
Group of Companies U.K.    4 Regent Place London
                           W1R 6BH
Mr. A. MacDougall,
Collective Editorial
"GAY NEWS"
19, London Street,
LONDON W2 1HL              6th September, 1972

Dear Mr. MacDougall,

                    Your letter of August 10th, concerning your publication "GAY NEWS" and addressed to Hachette Gotch Limited, has been passed to us, as we are the subsidiary of Hachette dealing with the distribution of periodicals in this country.

                    Unfortunately, we are unable to accept distribution of this publication, as we do not feel it would fit in with our existing range.

                    Nevertheless we wish you success in your new venture.

                    Yours sincerely,

                   Lynette Holland (Mrs.)
               Secretary to the Managing Director

Secondly, if you are not into selling copies yourself, perhaps you know of someone who might, or maybe you could approach gay pubs and clubs in your area to sell them for us. Thirdly, you can send us the names and addresses of any newsagents and bookshops you think may be interested in stocking us. It would be better still if you could approach them for us. Fourthly, please send us details of newspaper wholesalers and small distributors that operate in your part of the country. Lastly, you could take out a subscription and let all your friends see the paper after you have read it, and then encourage them to also take out a subscription. And, as a last thought, you could send us the names and addresses of any people you know who, in your opinion, would like to see Gay News, and would like us to send them a sample copy of a back number so that they can see what we are up to, and all being well, they might decide that they want to see the paper regularly, especially if they live in a more isolated part of the country.

We feel that it is important that Gay News reaches as many places and people as possible. It wasn’t so long ago that nearly all of us had to live ‘double lives’, but times have changed and although the situation is still far from ideal, at least not as many of us have to live in dread and in isolation for being what we naturally are. So it is essential that Gay News takes its place alongside of all the other newspapers and periodicals at newsagents, street vendors pitches and bookshops. Gay News has ‘come out’ and must stay out in the open and not be relegated to just a few sympathetic retailers and pom shops. In time we hope that we will be joined by other gay publications, and not just the ones that are out to exploit you.

It looks now that distribution will always be our responsibility (with a little help from our friends and you). In past issues we have shown you the ‘polite’ and ‘understanding’ but unco-operative letters from major distributors who have refused to handle us. In the columns of this editorial we reproduce two more such letters. The addresses of these firms should be legible, so may we suggest that you write to these companies and tell them that wide distribution is necessary for the paper, and also let them know about the difficulties you have encountered in obtaining copies.

And anything else you may care to add. We suggest you do this as soon as possible; it just might make someone at Seymours or one of the other organisations such as W.H.Smiths wake up to the reality that it is not just us that want Gay News to be as widely available as possible.

We dislike to be continually appealing for your help, but if we are to survive, we must have your support. This is your paper, don’t forget, and there are no nameless, faceless people trying to make a fortune out of you. Nor is it the aim of Gay News to subvert you with one particular political viewpoint. Your political opinions are your affairs, just as the ones we individually hold are ours. There is a need though for a change in the existing legislation that affects gay people, but one does not have to subscribe to just one political party or organisation to attempt to obtain these much needed alterations to the statute books.

Eventually, through more efficient and wider distribution of the paper around the whole of the country we hope to alleviate most of our money problems. And add to this the increased advertising which we hope to attract, and maybe soon we will be in a more secure financial position. But at present we are very short of cash. And what national newspaper isn’t. But we feel that what we are attempting to provide through the news and information that appears in our pages is something that papers such as The Times, The Sun do not print, and they have no positive plans to include such items in their columns, no matter what the need. So if you feel that we are a valuable asset to the gay community, please help us to carry on, in any way that you are able.

Seymour Press Limited

Our Ref: RAW/CC             7th September 1972

Mr. Denis E. Lemon,
Gay News,
19 London Street,
LONDON W2 1HL

Dear Sir,

     Thank you for your letter dated 4th September and copies of GAY NEWS.

     We have considered carefully the possibility of distributing your publication, but feel that a really specialised operation is called for which could best be operated by yourselves.

                    Yours faithfully,
                    SEYMOUR PRESS LIMITED

                    R. A. WESTWOOD
                    Director.

Since the completion of GN No 7 and the appearance of this issue, we have gone through a number of changes in our organisational structure. At times this has led to some bitter quarrels and truth games amongst ourselves, but all is now resolved. The result is that we feel that Gay News will be a more effective and streamlined operation, which will mean both a more comprehensive and objective system for the gathering in of news and articles, as well as generally tightening up our office procedures. The last point being somewhat boring but necessary, although we hope to avoid all the bureaucracy that so many organisations fall foul of. The addition of new members to our editorial collective, who bring with them both experience and new ideas, will in time make it possible for us to boast a ‘new improved’ Gay News.

There is also a good possibility that we will be moving to larger offices next month (at no extra cost, we hope). Those of you who have braved 79 steps up to our present office will understand why it is necessary for this move, and will be relieved to hear that our new premises will be on basement level.

We apologise for not letting you know what happened to the Biograph Review in the last issue. We leave it to Julian D. to explain what has been going on in his column in this edition. Also Denis Lemon will be commenting on the recent legal proceedings he has unfortunately been involved in.

Some of you may have noticed a number of design errors in GN No 7. These were due to the fact that the collective had to get the paper together, for the first time, without the invaluable aid of our resident designer. Everything is back to ‘normal’ in this issue though, we are glad to say.

We hope you all find something interesting and informative in the pages of this issue. But please remember that it is basically up to you whether or not we succeed in being useful and entertaining, not forgetting too that we need all the help you can give us in just keeping the paper alive, well and ‘kicking’.

Take care of yourselves, write to us, and to misquote the words of a past Gay News ‘queen of the month’; ‘Come up and see us sometime’.

So many of you complained when we went back to 12 pages again last issue that we’ve relented and given you 16 again. Apart from anything else we couldn’t have fitted everything in otherwise. I only wish you were as eager to send in your spare cash as you are to moan when we try and do something better.

BEDFORD, PLYMOUTH, STOKE, DONCASTER, YORK, ABERDEEN, CARDIFF, BOURNEMOUTH

In some of these towns., Gay News is not as available as we would like. If you live in these towns and want to sell ‘Gay News’ in bulk (10 or more copies) at 7p each, write or phone GAY NEWS, 19 London Street, London W2. Tel. 01-402-7805

Policemen cannot lie

19720914-03One of the Gay News collective, Denis Lemon, was fined £5 when magistrate John Hooper decided to ignore his evidence at Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court.

Denis was charged with the wilful obstruction of the footpath behind the Colherne pub in Earls Court — as reported in GN 5.

Magistrate Hooper started hearing the case on August 22 when police constable David Ford (480) of Chelsea Police said he’d warned Denis to move along four times. But when lunchtime came Mr Hooper decided to adjourn the case for three weeks.

PC Ford said he’d nicked Denis in Wharfdale Street where Denis had been standing in the middle of the road holding up traffic.

When the case started again on September 13, PC Ford had had his say, and Denis’ solicitor Mr Anthony Burton called Denis to give evidence.

He said: “I took photographs of police activity because of the number of allegations we have received of police harassment-outside the pub.

“I took a photograph of two policemen coming towards me and the flash-cube accidentally fell off my camera. I stooped to pick it up, without stopping, and they cautioned me to move on. I walked about 30 or 40 yards up the road to take pictures of the activity outside a coffee bar up the road to help us build up a dossier.

“I crossed the road and took more photographs and then I crossed back again to outside the Colherne and I was standing on the pub’s steps to take more photos, and the police warned me again.

“I walked around the comer in Colherne Road to take more pictures, and then I moved into Wharfdale Street and began to talk to about four people who were standing there, about the police activity.

“I was standing between two parked cars by the kerb. I was standing on the roadway, but there was no traffic for me to hold up.”

PC Ford said that Denis was standing in the middle of the road holding up the traffic. But, when it came to the case, he had very few questions to ask about the traffic.

Doug Pollard, another of the editorial collective, was with Denis when he came out of the Colherne. He said: “I had just come out of the pub when Mr Lemon came out. It was just before 11pm and he gave me a bag he was carrying so he could use his camera.

“He took a picture of two policemen and the flash-cube fell off his camera. As they were passing him the two policemen said something I did not hear to Mr Lemon, and he moved on immediately.”

Wolfgang G. von Jurgen, an actor, told the court: “I was in Wharfdale Road with a few other people and Mr Lemon was standing between two cars parked by the pavement.” Questioned by PC Ford, Wolfgang said:

“Mr Lemon was never standing in the middle of the road, and there was no traffic for him to obstruct.”

Summing up, Anthony Burton said:

“This is really a case where you have to decide whose version of the story you are going to accept.

“If there is to be an obstruction in law, there must be an obstruction in fact, and Mr Lemon may have obstructed the road but it was not wilful.

“Have we come to the day when serious inroads are to be made into the freedom of a press man doing his job? If there was an obstruction it was accidental and trivial.’

Magistrate Hooper, who wears a ring on his small finger left hand, said: “There was a large crowd outside this public house and I am satisfied that the defendant was cautioned to move on four times.”

Denis had pleaded not guilty to obstruction on Wharfdale Street. PC Ford’s mate was too sick to be in court to supply the magistrate with evidence to corroborate the police case, but John Hooper made his decision on one man’s evidence against the three defence witnesses.

Denis left the court in a turquoise zipper, leather jacket with matching slacks and dark blue shoes. He was accompanied by Mr J. D. Grinspoon.

In GN 8 Denis will be commenting on the decision and going further into the implications of the case.

Gay News case delayed

19720901-03On Tuesday, 22nd August, 1972, Denis Lemon, a member of the Editorial collective of Gay News, appeared at Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court to answer a charge of “wilfully obstructing the passage of the footway of Wharfdale Street, SW10″. (see Gay News No. 5).

Denis was appearing after being remanded from an initial court appearance on 14th August.

Unfortunately the case was not heard until the end of the morning and after the reading of the charge, only the evidence of PC David Ford (480) of the Chelsea Division of the Metropolitan Police Force, was heard.

Denis was further remanded until Wednesday 13th September, where provision will be made for the length of time the case is likely to take. A number of witnesses for the defence will be called to give evidence.

Anthony Burton, the solicitor acting on Denis’s behalf, protested to the Magistrate, Mr John Hooper, at the further delay in hearing the case.

Denis is again remanded on £10 bail.

A full report of the outcome of the case will be in the next edition of Gay News.


The editorial collective of Gay News would like to further remind customers of The Colherne that they will only be taking photographs of the police and the surrounding area, and will try not to take recognisable shots of the pub patrons. Any photo that clearly shows the identity of either customers or the general public will have the faces blanked out if these pictures are used in Gay News or any other publication.

Who Was Obstructing Who?

No Photographs ~ No Evidence

05-197208XX 2At approximately 11.20 pm on Saturday 12th August, 1972, Denis Lemon, a member of the editorial collective of Gay News, was arrested for allegedly ‘wilfully obstructing the passage of the footway of Wharfdale Street, London SW10’. He was released on £10 bail later that night, and appeared at Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court on the morning of Monday 14th August. After pleading Not Guilty to the charge. Denis was remanded until Tuesday 22nd August. He applied for legal aid and was remanded on bail.

It is understood that Denis will be represented by a solicitor and will be calling a number of witnesses in his defence.

Wharfdale Street, SW10, is directly behind The Colherne public house in Old Brompton Road. After ‘closing time’ on the Saturday evening Denis had been acting in his official capacity as a Gay News reporter and had been taking a number of photographs of police action outside and in the nearby vicinity of the pub. After taking a number of photographs of the police directly outside The Colherne, he crossed to the opposite side of the road where he took a few more pictures, then moved to Wharfdale Street where he was arrested whilst trying to take a shot of a number of police officers ‘moving on’ a small group of people chatting in the im street.

Denis was active that evening as he was attempting to gather documented evidence of alleged ‘police harassment’ by members of the constabulary from the Chelsea Division of the Metropolitan Police Force.

Over the past few months it has become apparent to the Gay News editorial staff, from either information received at the paper’s office or personally witnessed by the members of the collective, that the level of police action outside The Colherne has been increasing. A number of people have been arrested on various occasions.

It has also been noticed that police dogs have been frequently used by the police whilst performing their duty outside the pub. This has seriously worried members of the general public as well as customers, and the use of particularly large groups of police, often exceeding 20 in number, has sometimes nearly led to unpleasant situations to say the least. Alleged too, by Colherne customers, is that unnecessary violence has been used by the police whilst performing this almost nightly ‘duty’.

Other, more serious allegations have also been made by people about this regular occurrence. Gay News is at present taking a number of statements from individuals, which in time will be handed over to the correct authorities.

Police officers who have been questioned about these activities at The Colherne have commented that they are in the area because of complaints from local residents and because of obstructions to the highway and footway. Parking on both sides of the busy road outside the pub in fact seems largely responsible for the highway being frequently congested. A report of the outcome of Denis’s hearing at the Magistrate’s Court will be in the next issue of Gay News. There will also be continuing reportage of future developments at The Colherne in Earl’s Court.


The editorial collective of Gay News would like to point out to the customers of The Colherne that they will only be taking photographs of the police and will try not to take recognisable shots of the pub’s patrons. Any photo that clearly shows the identity of either customers or the general public will have the faces blanked out if these pictures are used in Gay News or any other publication.

Back to School With Alice

03-197207XX-10“Schools Out” — Alice Cooper — Warner Brothers Records

Whilst riding high on a wave of near overexposure in the press, and following a sell-out, critically acclaimed London concert, out comes Alice Cooper’s new album “School’s out’’. And after four previous albums, this one really makes it.

Musically it is far superior to anything they have done in the past, whilst Alice’s own songs and vocals have become more spectacular. The title track “School’s Out” is a teeny-bopper celebration of the start of the summer vacation. It might sound pretty banal, but wait till you hear it. Alice with his words and bizarre scream/vocals turns it into the Armageddon of all school breakups.

The group’s last albums have each had one or two outstanding tracks, but very little else. However, this time they succeed in producing an album which keeps your attention for more than just the opening track.

The second track is “Looney Tunes”, a seemingly innocent pubescent rock song, until the story takes a nasty twist. White-coated men come to take the song’s hero away. He’s just cut his wrists with a stolen razor.

This is followed by “Gutter Cat versus The Jets” which parodies the plot of “West Side Story’’; in fact it ends up being a straight rip-off from it. This theme reappears on the second side of the album, it’s influence being most noticeable in the symphonic “Grand Finale’’, which ends the album.

The record comes packaged in a facsimile of an old school desk, and the disc is itself tastefully surrounded by a pair of white non-inflammable paper knickers (see Grinspoon for further comments),

“School’s Out” will become one of the pop classics of 1972. It will be hated and ignored by the older and more staid generations, but loved by kids and those who appreciate the essence of what good rock’n’roll is all about.

Doug and Denis.

A PAIR OF WHITE KNICKERS, OR, A GIFT

I was surprised to find that inside the copy of Alice Cooper’s latest long-playing record that the nice man at Kinney (WEA) had sent me, there was a pair of white knickers.

I don’t know how they knew, but they fitted perfectly. In all this hot weather we are having at the moment it’s nice to have something so refreshingly cool to put on.

Know what I mean loves.

Julian Denys Grinspoon.