Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.
Woodsetts, nr. Worksop,
Dear Gay News,
I have been going to write to you for some time but have kept putting it off through laziness. What has at last impelled me to shake off my torpor is the appalling and scandalous action of Mr Martin Stafford as reported in Gay News no 11.
As a fellow member of CHE’s Executive Committee, I am well aware of the petulant and selfish attitude that he adopts. But I am horrified that even he could go to the lengths that you have reported. To disagree with your policy of publishing contact ads is one thing; but to go over to the enemy in this way is something that ought not even be considered by someone holding any official position in an organisation such as CHE. I am absolutely sure that the overwhelming majority of CHE members will join with me in condemning such action in the strongest possible terms. I must congratulate Gay News for its objective (even kindly) reporting of the episode. It is time that CHE took some firm action to put Mr Stafford in his place as the squalid little nuisance that he is.
On the same subject, more or less, I find it very sad that so many of our brother and sister homosexuals, while looking for and expecting sympathy and understanding for their own problems find it so difficult to be sympathetic and understanding of those of others. Typical is the letter of VJM of Dublin in GN 11. What is so awful about camping it up in female clothes that a repressed pederast finds so hard to accept?
In the meantime, it’s an ill wind … etc. I have at last got round to telling you what a good job you are doing and sending you the small donation and the cigarette coupons that I have been meaning to do for some time.
With congratulations and all good wisnes tor continued success.
H. E. (Ike) Cowan
Good News, Bad News
Dear Friends and Lovers,
Congratulations on what must be the very best issue of Gay News yet (No. 11). What with one of my very favourite people on the cover and that splendid interview with Shuff, I sat transfixed in the laundromat long after my knickers had finished tumbling dry. Mrs Shufflewick is certainly the best drag artist working today, a comedian of genius. The interview proved that the success of such articles (which only come off now and then) lies in asking the right question at the right stage in the conversation. So congratulations to Shuff’s interrogators.
Now the bad news. I felt that Peter Homes’ report of the German gay movie at the NFT was inadequate and rather silly. The event was not, I agree, as important as all that. But it was interesting and both the film and the audience’s reaction had messages for us that deserved a rather more serious discussion than that offered.
Finally, your reporter with a cold who couldn’t stay on for CHE’s evening show after the fair has embarrassed me considerably. I certainly did not conceive the one-act musical that was put on, nor did I take part in it. In fact my only contribution to the evening was to appear in a five-minute sketch. Credit where credit’s due, etc — so thank Rex, Michael, Marie and Gavin for the show.
Lots of love,
Forced to be Free
National Federation of Homophile Organisations,
65 Shoot-up Hill, London, NW2 3PS
I don’t consider myself to be “Britain’s number one homosexual”; I simply told the London Medical Group audience that I had publicly been referred to in that way at another recent meeting, so I had no objection whatever to telling them that I was gay. This was in response to a “come out” challenge to the panel by a gay visitor in the audience. I added that the Chairman had set us an impossible task by asking for a “dispassionate and objective” account of homosexuality, because everybody in the world speaks from his or her own personal subjective sexual viewpoint, and I was no exception. But I hoped that having told them I was gay myself would not preclude my hearers from accepting that what I had to say was the result of knowledge gained through ten years’ professional work and responsible experience of running the Albany Trust. We have to scotch the absurd notion that only the “straight” can speak authoritatively about the “gay” (or vice versa).
This little episode did, however, cause me to reflect about “coming out”. It is good to be able to: but not everyone yet can without running considerable social and professional risks. Isn’t it somewhat unfair for those who are in a more fortunate situation not to recognise this? To taunt a panel of three professional people, only one of whom (myself) was able to publicly lay homosexuality on the line without almost inevitable and immediately damaging repercussions in their own sphere of work, strikes me as oppressive. It’s utterly wrong, of course, that such repercussions should still happen, but until we have all done much more to put society right in this respect, each one of us must surely be left to decide how far, and in what ways, we can come out. I have fought as hard as anyone for gay liberation and other civil rights causes; but I would resent being “forced to be free” a la Rousseau.
What those who still feel bound to remain “in the closet” can do, however, is to make the work of those of us in the various homophile groups and publications more effective by seeing to it that we aren’t starved out of existence. The entire homophile movement is in a state of chronic financial crisis that threatens its continued life. I hope all your readers will carefully consider the urgent needs of the Albany Trust, the NFHO and its member organisations, GLF, Gay News, and the various other homophile publications and see to it that if they can’t yet come out of their closets, they do dig deeper into their pockets so that we can all do more to make 1973 a year that is safer for gay people to come out in.
Love and Peace,
Dearest Darling Gay News.
Much though I love your newspaper, I have just one teensy-weensy complaint. I refer of course dears, to our little friend Julian Denys Grinspoon. Really, I don’t know why he bothers! He doesn’t give anything worth having; and what a pseud name!
Well really, loves, who wants to know what films are on at our dear old Bio? No one ever goes there for the films, do they? One gets enough carnal knowledge from just sitting there; and as for active participation, well I don’t think I need tell you old queens anything about that! Jules makes such a fuss just because some silly duchess at the cinema wouldn’t give him what he wants. Then he makes a big thing about telling us about all the people he eventually got it from (the programme of course). As if we want to know about his private life anyway.
The double-entendres are just too much personally I don’t like that sort of thing. He’s always doing things behind people’s backs just to get his own way. That sort of thing was illegal you know! So, why do all you lovelies at Gay News waste your space (and time) on him? Anyway, loves, he’s so camp and that’s one thing I cannot stand!
Thanks for your mag.
Lots of love,
A straight reader and friend,
Call to All Gay Sisters
Dear Gay News,
This is really a call to all lady gays. I fervently agree with the letter from Sappho (GN10) and I sing in chorus “where have all the ladies gone?”
I’m sure I am not the only female reading this wonderful newspaper. But the guys rule the waves once again, don’t let them hog all the paper. I know lots about them and have seen plenty of their arses. How about giving me a little of what I want. Let’s have a few of our lady friends saying something about themselves. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a sexy little ladie’s page if we tried hard enough. But there is only you who can bring that about, so write in and say something – anything! Like, where a few of you lovely ladies hang out! I’m a fresher to London and am still looking for lots of friends and a tour around the gay places. So don’t keep your info to yourselves, let’s all know about it. I’m looking for an opening – don’t keep me waiting! Write and tell me, and lots like me I’m sure, where we can meet some of you lovely ladies.
Love to you all,
ED: Please get in touch with us Lynne, you forgot to put your name and address on your letter. Without your address we cannot forward any letters to you.
No GLF At CHE
May I bring this information to the attention of your readers. Going down to the CHE London Information Centre to do my lunchtime stint on the rota on Monday, November 6, I was told by the office manager that on the previous Sunday a decision was taken by the London Management Committee of CHE to remove all GLF literature in LIC.
The reason given was that LIC had too much of a left-wing flavour, and that GLF literature was too much in evidence. I observed that other gay literature including one of full frontal nudes was untouched by this censorship.
LIC exists surely to provide first information, on CHE, then information on all other gay organisations regardless of any political, religious or any other basis. I certainly was not aware that GLF dominated the diplay, nor was I conscious of the left-wing flavour of LIC — whatever sinister spectre that term conjures in certain narrow minds. It is sad to see this rage over gay-red-under-the-bed getting the better of some of our brothers and sisters, or is there some deeper motive behind this first move? Whatever the reason I am sure this decision is a bad one and must be resolutely opposed. Group Chairmen, please note.
Dear Gay News,
The article in a recent Gay News about so-called pederasty prompted me to get my thoughts on the subject in order and write this.
Basically I’m bisexual. At the moment I’m more heterosexually than homosexually inclined, but this is more because of ‘supply’ than ‘demand’. As far as the homosexual side of my sexual make-up goes I could be defined as a pederast, because I’m chiefly attracted to guys in an age-range of about 15—22. I doubt whether I could get it on with anyone older than this. I’ve thought about the reasons for my choice, and they’re something like this.
Physically and mentally, I’m a pretty fair balance between masculine and feminine. I’m also 19 (so that makes half my sexual make-up illegal but I don’t care, it’s the law that’s wrong), and I’m attracted to similar people. Maybe this is truer homosexuality than that seen in many couples where the butch/bitch syndrome is their basis. Anyway, there’s an elusive blend of masculine hardness and slimness with feminine softness which really turns me on. Quite a lot of guys in this age-group have it, and so do some women; the only trouble is, all the guys are straight! So I do the next best thing and go with women…
I’ve written mainly about physical characteristics; but before anyone writes a nasty reply, I do take mental characteristics into account, indeed very much so. however I can’t get it on with a guy or chick unless I fancy them. What a hangup!
Letterette Of The Month
… Thanks a lot … great reading … love the ads … love it all … Happiness is egg shaped … and so am I.
46, Cavan Drive, St Albans, Herts.
Dear Gay News,
I am in the process of finishing a gay film ‘Love Of My Own’ and I would like to hear from interested parties, in getting it on celluloid. Script-writers, film-directors with experience, actors, non-actors, and people with finance. This film calls for actresses (not in drag). I would like any gay director of a company to give permission to use the board room, and also anyone with a large house with swimming pool, so come on, let’s really make this film for 1973.
Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.
4, Hamilton Close, London NW8
Just to let you know, as calmly and sweetly as the situation permits, that the beautiful back photo on p7 of GN 10 is by me, repeat me. It is nothing to do with the journal called GAY TIMES, to which it is acknowledged, except insofar as they have printed it once, without bothering to acknowledge it at all.
The model, being well over 21, when this picture was taken, will no doubt be having the last laugh when he sees it used as an illustration on this particular subject!
Feminism is a Drag
Co Dublin, Ireland.
Please find enclosed my renewed subscription to Gay News.
I think it is a super production, but I sometimes get very depressed when I read all about the persecutions, prosecutions and the drag scene. The latter is stupidly too feminine for my liking and spoils the true concept of a homosexual.
In GN8 you had a short article on pederasts. Well, I’m afraid I’m one and as someone said in your paper, I must have a very sick mind. Maybe I have, but I have never approached or molested a child in my life, nor do I intend to. It’s far too dangerous to do and would spoil that child’s future. I reckon my mind isn’t as sick as those that dress up as women and those that act and address each other in female terms. They just cannot appreciate the male form.
For some years now I have adored, from a distance. boys of the ages 12 to 16 years. I think their faces, in most cases, are the prettiest of any human, their build just perfect. To me the body of a man is revolting and I would rather die than share a bed with one and likewise the thought of buggery is nauseating. My dream would be in the position of being able to kiss a boy from head to toe and no more.
I have never met a homosexual person in my life. Maybe because I don’t look for one. I have read many books and magazines which I often find revolting, but sometimes get satisfaction in seeing magazines of nude boys. I have never seen a real live body of a nude boy since I was a kid myself. I would really give anything, and I mean this, to see one and be with one. I have often felt like advertising, but realised it would be stupid because of the law.
It is terribly frustrating to look at a boy and not be able to touch him even though you don’t intend him any harm…
It is the first time I have ever written to a paper or a magazine. Gay News is the most advanced paper I have come across and I sincerely wish you continued success and safety.
Beware Of Longford
Dear Gay News,
I was so enraged to see that letter in GN9 by HRA (whoever the hell he is) condemning the picture of Longford and Cliff Richard that I felt compelled to write. I reject any notion that it was in “appalling bad taste”. I found it was very funny, and it made my day. Thank God someone has got a sense of humour.
I must admit that Lord Longford has always been a source of amusement to me, but that hit the bull. If it was mocking, then it was justified. If HRA is offended by the sight of a prick, then I feel sorry for him, he’s missing out on a hell of a lot!
Going back to Lord Longford as a person, it must be admitted that he indeed has a social conscience, but his idea of ‘helping’ is ludicrous, and even frightening. All that he believes in centres around sex, pornography etc; he seems to have it on the brain (which sounds bloody uncomfortable to me). People associate him with pornography, because every time we hear about him he rattles on about it. True, he might ‘help’ drop-outs, but then I could give you a list as long as your… no, longer, of people who devote their whole life to helping in the true sense of the word.
In case anybody did not realise, Lord Longford is officially a nothing. Despite the title and the fact that he can gas away in the House of Lords, he is only one person, and represents nobody – as an MP does. He is a member of a chamber that is not elected, therefore undemocratic, and unrepresentative. He is one of the many one-time officials that are put out to grass in the Lords. He has the advantage of assuming importance so that the Government could well take notice of his monstrous report.
For anyone who knows what freedom of expression is, beware, because if Longford gets his way, you’ll lose what you’re just getting.
Although it is only one little aspect of the subject, if Oz offends someone, don’t read it. If Oh! Calcutta! depraves, don’t look at it. And if the children are going to be corrupted, the goddamn parents can make sure that they only see what’s OK till they’re old enough to judge. After all, nothing will survive unless there is the demand.
Sorry this letter is so long and rambling, but let me end on a serious note. Well done to all the collective, you’re doing a great job. I’d send some money, but I’m out of a job and I’m broke; never mind, it’s the thought that counts.
How To Sell More GN
Dear Gay News,
One way to encourage more people to read GN (re: editorial in GN9) is for regular readers never to throw away a copy. Every copy can be left in a public place, trains and buses being the most convenient, rather than the dustbin.
Now that the paper is well-established, borough librarians could be expected to consider requests for the paper in public libraries; or is that asking too much?
ED: The best way to get Gay News into public libraries is for GN readers to demand that their librarians order it and put it on display.
CHE And Tight Foreskins
Dear Gay News,
I have recently been reading your paper which I find very interesting. There are two points from recent issues about which I would like to comment:
Firstly, someone seems to think that membership of CHE is limited to those over 21. This is not the case, though a particular local group may, if it so wishes, restrict its membership in this way. (Leeds does NOT).
Secondly, the tight foreskin problem. As an (ex) fellow sufferer, I read about this with real feeling. I suggest that unless the problem is quite exceptional the easiest and most natural method is best (I detest surgery). The method is to use a dropper with olive oil on it, drop into the problem area and very gently ease it to and fro. If this is done two or three times a week, for a month or so, you will soon find it can be pushed right back, washed, and the hood slid back with just a touch of oil for lubrication. The worst is then over, an occasional working to and fro and all will be fine (it was with me anyhow). This method was recommended by a doctor.
All good wishes.
Henry Giles Leeds Chairman, CHE
David Lutyens’s review of my book One In Twenty in GN8 is incompetent and absurd; he cannot have actually read the book at all. He says I deplore the fact that there are no serious homosexuals. But I do no such thing – on the contrary in Chapter Four I devote a whole page to listing homosexuals of genius, including nearly all those Mr Lutyens mentions himself, plus a great many more. In fact all that he fulminates against me for not mentioning, I do, and discuss at length: that every woman has a masculine side and every man a feminine side; that homosexuality is found in primitive as well as advanced cultures and so on.
He does not tell your readers who publishes the book (Seeker and Warburg), nor how much it costs (£1.50). He discusses it as if it were a new book, when in fact it was published six years ago, when homosexual acts between adult males were still crimes and the whole social atmosphere surrounding the subject was quite different from today. He misspells my name throughout the review. In fact, he gets everything wrong. What a shoddy performance!
ED: If any other reader would care to review One In Twenty, we will gladly print it.
“I’m going to the Grand Ball at the Porchester Hall,” he said.
“Oh,” said I, being in the rag trade (ooh! you used that word), “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!”
“OK,” says he. “I want to go, take me!”
Well, knowing this was no invitation in the literal sense, I agreed.
Thus, I found myself at the Porchester Hall, a delightful creature on each arm, wondering just what was in store for me at my first ever drag ball.
The foyer was a mass of seething humanity and inhumanity. Every shop within 20 miles radius must have sold right out of sequins and chiffon, although gold lame and feathers held their own (if you know what I mean); and, speaking as a fairly frequent visitor to the Coleherne, it was a pleasant change to see socks and hankies used to supplement a different part of the male anatomy. I never know by what criteria one should judge drag: does one look for originality, outrageousness, subtlety, femininity or what?
Jean Fredericks, the organiser of the ball whom one must credit as being something of an expert on this question told me he thinks of Drag as an art, the art of looking like a woman.
If this is the criterion we are to take, then the evening had its quota of dismal failures, and, to be scrupulously fair, also some stunning successes.
Jean himself, although no sylph as he would be the first to admit, succeeded in looking all woman in a series of fascinating gowns and wigs.
In a fair number of cases, the sex of the assembled company was pretty obvious; the five-o’clock shadow, the muscled arms, the protruding adam’s apple, and butch gait, were often dead give-aways. The outfits ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The themes for the evening were: The Virgin, The Witch and The Tart, and I felt it was a pity that more of the guests had not made an effort to fit into those categories rather than chasing that elusive quality, glamour.
However I did meet at least one interesting attempt at each class, the oh-so-lovely ‘Christine’ was the Virgin, floating in and frequently tripping over, clouds of pastel chiffon. She assured me that her left nostril was completely unsullied – unless you count the bird of paradise.
The Witch was a monument of personal endeavour having spent two months making an exquisite full-length creation in dark blue and green patterned Lurex, with a much befringed bust, sequin-coated shoes, and an imposing head dress. Come winter and the power cuts, his outfit, with the aid
the power cuts, his outfit, with the aid of a single candle has enough refracting power to illuminate a whole street.
The Tart was Big Sylvia, sporting that, by now, well-known stand-by, the simple little black dress, worn with pearls at her throat and in her hair. Her two main accessories were a feather boa, which to regular visitors to the now defunct “Your Father’s Moustache” must look very familiar, and piece de resistance, two very interesting sailors, Chris and Peter, who are welcome to dock at my place (I said dock) any time they like.
But for me. the most fascinating person at the ball was Freddie in a froth of white, originally designed, he told me, for the Great Waltz. Freddie is, in his own words, “no chicken” but he looked great. He’s always at the balls, so look out for him at the next one — (on December 6) he’s a real character.
There are many people I haven’t mentioned but shortage of space makes it inevitable, sorry, girls.
I made a point of chatting to as many “straights” as I could, including the staff at the hall, and there was a singular lack of criticism about the place, the people or the event, so it looks as if Jean and his team are doing a great public relations job for this facet of gay life. Keep it up, Jean, and may your balls get bigger every year.
Rex Jamieson (Mrs Shufflewick) talks to David Seligman, Martin Corbett and Suki J. Pitcher
After settling ourselves comfortably, with all essentials to hand (tape, cigarettes and whisky), David opened the show.
DAVID: What made you go on the stage?
SHUFF: Nobody made me. As a matter of fact, I went into the air force when I was nineteen, I was conscripted. I was in the air force for about 18 months and then we had a Gang Show come to our station, Ralph Reader’s mob, and I was on the backstage staff, and one of these fellas said “Why don’t you apply to the Air Ministry for a posting to the Gang Show – saves you carrying a gun about all bleeding day.” And that’s what I did. I went up and had an audition, and I was taken on.
I wasn’t doing drag then, I was doing a vicar act, a comedy parson. I was in that for about 2 years, and then I was demobbed and I thought “Well, this is marvellous, this life, getting pissed all the time, not having to work, or get up in the morning”, and I went into show business when I came out.
GAY NEWS: What was your first professional job?
SHUFF: OOOH, I can’t remember now! It was variety. I starved for about eight years. Then I got a TV audition which I was very lucky with, so I went into a show with Ralph and we did about three months – every fortnight on television. I worked with Norman Evans in another TV show, then I went to Moss Empires, Stoll Theatres, which of course aren’t any more now, I was on that circuit for about 10 years; so it’s gone on…
GN: You were touring a lot round the country?
SHUFF: All the time. Every bloody week of the year. I had to go on my knees to get a week off. I had this contract which was 42 weeks of the year guaranteed money, but they saw bloody well I worked 52! I did summer seasons at Blackpool, I did one at Margate, and one at Great Yarmouth. I’ve been Shufflewick for 24 years now.
GN: What started her off?
SHUFF: Well, as a matter of fact, not many people know this, I haven’t told everyone – I had an aunt who was exactly like Mrs Shufflewick. She used to walk like that, a great character, and that’s where I got the idea from to do it.
GN: Were you in fact the first drag act to appear on TV?
SHUFF: I think I must have been, if not the first, one of the first. I don’t remember anyone else who was doing it at the time.
GN: Danny la Rue hadn’t been heard of…
SHUFF: No, he was still in the chorus.
GN: When Shuff really got going, did she develop a lot, with reactions from other people? She can’t be exactly like your aunt.
SHUFF: No, of course not. You’ve got to broaden it a great deal, but I knew what I wanted out of it. I should say the aunt business was a sort of stepping-off ground. It evolved itself after that.
GN: You work a lot with your audience, don’t you? You get a lot back from them.
SHUFF: Especially in radio, more than television. I find it much easier to work in a radio studio where there’s an audience than in a TV studio. I think a television audience is sort of ready-made – they’ll laugh at anything, whereas in a radio thing you’ve got to bloody work to get laughs.
GN: What radio series did you do?
SHUFF: Oh, I did Midday Music Hall, London Lights, an awful lot of Music Halls when they used to be on a Saturday night, and Variety Bandbox, Variety Playhouse, all of those.
GN: I can remember a couple of times when I was a kid – I might have been about 5 or 6…
SHUFF: Thank you!
GN: …at the Met, Edgeware Road. I remember seeing Max Miller.
SHUFF: Yes! We did the Last Night at the Met. Max was on that bill.
GN: Do you regret the passing of Music Halls?
SHUFF: I do, very much.
GN: I think the Old Time Music Hall is very popular on TV.
SHUFF: I’m not mad about Old Time Music Hall as such. No, the Old Time Music Hall they put on nowadays is a sort of cock-up of the Victorian Music Hall – I mean, if they put on shows as we knew it, with people like Max Miller and modem people…
GN: I think, now, music hall is split up – any night at the Black Cap, that’s Music Hall.
SHUFF: Well, it is the modern equivalent, really.
GN: Do you find that you get the same atmosphere in the Black Cap as you did when you were in the theatre?
SHUFF: Oh, yes, definitely.
GN: Have you ever worked on the club circuit in the north, which is supposed to be the replacement of Music Hall?
SHUFF: (in a Shufflewick voice) Oooh, yes. I’ve done that – I’ve done that.
GN: And it’s hard work?
SHUFF: It is up there. You get places like Sheffield, Doncaster, and up that way – you’ve really got to get your knickers in a twist to get a laugh up there. I think they’re more, what’s the word, critical than down here. You get them down here – once they’ve got a couple of pints down them they’ll take anything – but up there…
GN: You must have had some good times up there?
SHUFF: I have… there was this landlady I had once, she took me up to the room, there was no paper on one wall, just the bare brick, and a light in the middle of the room with no shade on it. I said “Do you think I could have a shade for the lamp please?” She said What?” I said “The lamp – it’s very bright, could I have a shade?” “We don’t have them!” she said.
Then, in the morning I came down to breakfast, and there was my bacon and eggs on the table, moving. Moving on the plate – floating in fat! I sat down, and she stood in front of the fire like this (Shuff demonstrates a formidable stance, fag in mouth and eyes screwed up). She said “Did yer hear us laffing last night?” “No.” I said, “I was tired, I went straight off to sleep.” “Laffing fit to bust we were.” “Oh really?” “Our bitch is on heat, you see, and we had the dog in to her – right on that table where you’re sitting now!”
Oh, I’ve always had good times up there! I’ve never had anything untoward happen to me, I don’t think.
GN: Do you get any local humour into your act up there?
SHUFF: No. Never. That’s fatal, to do that. Because they know jolly well you’re not northern, if you start doing that they get a bit – antagonistic about it.
GN: Your act’s become very popular nationally and in the London pubs especially, in the last few years, and you see more drag shows in the pubs all the time. Why do you think it’s suddenly become popular?
SHUFF: I couldn’t tell you, because I think – well, really I shouldn’t say this – but I think it’s going to play itself out. There’s quite a lot of good acts going around, but on the other hand there’s a lot of bad acts who are going to mess it up.
GN: Do you include the people who do mime in that group?
SHUFF: Yes. Miming acts, to my mind, they’re not clever. I may be prejudiced, but if you mime to someone else’s work, to me that’s not clever at all.
GN: When you’re miming, you can’t ever get audience feed-back.
SHUFF: Well, you can’t stop! You’ve got to plod on. I’ve never done it, but I should imagine that’s it.
GN: Do you think that since Danny la Rue and TV, drag has become more ‘respectable’?
SHUFF: As I said, it has become accepted – as long as someone doesn’t fuck it up, and I think they will.
GN: When you first started, were you considered very daring because you went on stage in drag? What reaction did you get in the very beginning?
SHUFF: Not really daring, because in those days it wasn’t called drag, people were ‘dame comedians’ – people like George Lacey, he was marvellous. In those days, they did dames in pantomime, and if anyone did anything in drag on the music halls they called it ‘dame comedian’, you see. It wasn’t camp at all – I mean, some of these ones you see now, they’re outrageous aren’t they? They would never have put up with that on the halls.
GN: Because they’d have called them ‘queer’?
SHUFF: Then, you see, it was a man dressed as a woman, and that was it. They didn’t do all this pretty-pretty bit. Half of them now, you can’t tell if they’re men or women or what, can you? Have you seen Perry St Claire? I’m not saying anything, because I think he’s very good. Lovely voice, very good figure, and he’s a good artiste, but he wouldn’t have gone down in the old days. And of course, he’s got what I call a ‘pro’s’ sense of humour, but the ordinary peasants don’t know what he’s talking about.
GN: What do you thing about people who run pubs which put on shows? Do you think they are like the people who used to run the theatres?
SHUFF: No, not at all. They’re doing it for money, if they didn’t make the money they make and get the houses they get in there, they’d throw it out tomorrow night.
GN: And put on whatever would get the money.
SHUFF: Yes – a discotheque or something.
GN: So the people who put on the shows are making a lot of money out of it?
SHUFF: Well, you’ve only got to walk in the Black Cap any night, haven’t you, to see that.
GN: They have a lot of good people there; Jean Fredericks –
SHUFF: On Thursdays.
GN: But Jean doesn’t do a lot of comedy –
SHUFF: Well, he tries to tell stories.
GN: When you’re not writing or performing, what do you like doing? What are your interests outside show business?
SHUFF: Don’t think I’ve got any. Oooh, 1 like the cinema, I go there an awful lot.
GN: What do you think about the trend of cinema today?
SHUFF: Well. I think there’s far too much sex and violence and all that. I’m sorry to sound like a Mary Whitehouse, but you don’t seem to get any comedies, or very few, these days. I like to go and see a film and have a damn good laugh. I’m talking about when I was very young when there used to be those sophisticated Hollywood films, comedies — with people like Adolphe Menjou – and they were lovely, you could enjoy yourself. But nowadays it’s all sex and shooting and striking, and…
GN: And even the comedies aren’t always funny now. I think the Carry-On films are funny, but the others seem to be rather poor copies.
SHUFF: Those Carry-On films are funny, and they’re such old gags, aren’t they –
GN: But that’s part of the fun isn’t it, and all the people in them know the gags –
SHUFF: And everyone that’s watching knows them as well!
GN: What do you think Mary Whitehouse’s reaction would be if she came into the Black Cap and saw your act?
SHUFF: (thoughtfully) I don’t know … quite honestly.
GN: But you’d think of something to say to her –
SHUFF: Mark Fleming would! That’s his scene, isn’t it, sending people up –
GN: But it’s not yours?
SHUFF: No. I just tell jokes – if they laugh, they laugh, if they don’t they don’t, that’s it. I don’t want to make any lasting friendships, or any enemies.
GN: Do you find you get a regular audience, people who are always standing near the front?
SHUFF: You get a few. That always upsets me because – it rather frightens me if you see the same people every time you’re on. I think they must know what I’m going to say. I’ve got about five acts that I do, I know these people who come in every time, they know the gags backwards – they still laugh, but I’d rather have people that haven’t seen me before.
GN: You’ve made a record, haven’t you?
SHUFF: For Decca, but I don’t think you can get it now, it’s out of print or whatever they call it. We did it at the Waterman’s Arms, when Dan Farson had it. We did a show at the Comedy Theatre, which folded after three weeks. It was called ‘Nights at the Comedy’ which was a good idea – Dan got a couple of backers, and a very good producer, but it didn’t run.
GN: What do you think of the theatre – do you go at all?
SHUFF: What is there to see? … The last one I went to see was ‘Move Over Mrs Markham’, with Cicely Courtneidge. I hadn’t been for such a long time, and I thought it was rather stilted. I suppose being used to variety, when you go and see a straight play it seems a bit slow.
GN: Do you get many tourists coming to see you?
SHUFF: You get an awful lot of people from Denmark and Sweden down at the Black Cap.
GN: Do they enjoy the show?
SHUFF: Well, they laugh, so I suppose they must do – I don’t know if they know what you’re talking about.
GN: Shuff, you come from London originally. Have you got a show business background?
SHUFF: No, not at all. I think my father was a waiter — I don’t know what he was waiting for … and mother was a whore, in Southend.
GN: Were you very stage-struck as a child?
SHUFF: No, as I say, before I went into the Gang Show, and that was only to get out of doing drill and all that. I’d no ambitions about going into show-biz at all. It was only that I thought it was a good way of not getting up in the morning.
GN: Have you any family?
SHUFF: No, none at all.
SHUFF: I have been. When I was twenty-four. It lasted for three years – then I went back to fellas again.
GN: When you were doing variety, with Moss Empires and so on, you must have appeared with a lot of people we’ve all heard of?
SHUFF: I did. I was very amazed, because all these people that I’d always heard of, and looked up to, and admired from afar – when you actually meet them, they’re quite ordinary and down-to-earth, and much nicer than a lot of these bumped up little bastards you meet in this day and age. They helped me a lot – I mean, in as much as being charming and nice to me, you know. Any sort of help I wanted in the way of asking how to time gags or anything like that, or scripts and that, they couldn’t have been more helpful.
GN: You were at the Windmill for a while?
SHUFF: I was there for about three years – five shows a day.
GN: It’s amazing the number of comedians who’ve come from the Air Force —
SHUFF: Yes, like Reg Dixon – Reg Dixon was in the Gang Show at the time, and Dick Emery, he was in the Gang Show.
GN: Doing the same sort of thing he does now?
SHUFF: No, he wasn’t doing drag then. I saw him the other night on the television doing that thing “Oooh, you are awful”, but when I knew him in the Gang Show, he used to do some butch things then. He’s very clever, he’s another very nice person.
GN: Have you got any burning ambitions?
SHUFF: Ambition? To meet a rich, lonely millionaire! No, I’ve no ambitions at all.
GN: What do you really dislike?
SHUFF: Empty glasses! Don’t think I dislike I anything really.
GN: What about critics? Did that show at the Comedy fold because of bad reviews from the critics?
SHUFF: No it folded because of lack of money, Daniel Farson wasn’t exactly – oh, dear – Dan was very happy-go-lucky, you know, not terribly business-wise.
GN: Was he more of a performer himself?
SHUFF: Dan? What could he do? Oh, he was a brilliant interviewer, when he was on top of his form, he really was. Then he used to get pissed every night and that was that.
GN: What do you think of organisations like the GLF? People get very uptight sometimes when they demonstrate outside pubs or try to…
SHUFF: Who’s GLF?
GN: Gay Liberation Front.
SHUFF: Well, I think, if I may say so, it’s the wrong thing to do, because I don’t think you get people to join you if you do things like that. I might be wrong – I’ve only seen it once, that was outside the Black Cap about three months ago. They were going to do a thing at Kentish Town, and they came up outside the Black Cap with leaflets and all that. I think there must be a better way to do it.
GN: To communicate with people?
GN: I think perhaps the Campaign for Homosexual Equality may be doing that. They’re more, for want of a better word, conventional.
SHUFF: You’re bound to get a lot of people who aren’t going to have anything to do with GLF at all, because they don’t understand it, and they are the people who are going to run you into the ground. I mean, if their job’s going to depend on it, they’re not going to scream the place down, are they?
GN: But it’s sad that they hide what they are.
SHUFF: Of course, but that’s the point of the whole thing, isn’t it?
GN (Suki): Of course, a lot of people don’t like drag –
GN (Martin): A lot of them do like drag, but they won’t admit it in GLF, because they’re afraid of getting screamed at –
SHUFF: That’s another point. You see, there’s a lot of fellas who would dearly love to go with a chicken, but they won’t in case the people next door or up the street and all that…
GN: But how do the people next door get to know there’s nothing wrong?
SHUFF: I don’t know – they do think it’s wrong, though, don’t they? I mean, no-one bothers about a fella picking up a woman and going off, but they pick up a young boy or something, ooh, that’s terrible.
GN: One thing, that’s so awful about being gay, is that gay people always seem to be much lonelier than other people. If you go to some of the gay pubs you see an awful lot of people standing around, not talking to people. Do you think that’s something particular to the gay world, or do you find it’s like that in all pubs?
SHUFF: I suppose it applies to ordinary people as well, I mean you get fellas who are probably terribly lonely and frightened to go up to a woman in a pub and have a chat, and vice versa.
GN: Show business is supposed to be very friendly –
SHUFF: Oh, yes it is – until you want to borrow some money! I’ve always found show business very friendly in every way.
GN: You said earlier that you thought perhaps drag as a popular form of entertainment might pass on – what do you think might take its place?
SHUFF: I couldn’t tell you that, if you gave me a thousand pounds. I still think you’ll have the top ones — plus self, of course – no, what I’m trying to say is that the bad acts will go to the bottom of the barrel.
GN: What’s the real skill of drag then – communicating with your audience?
SHUFF: Yes. I suppose I could do my act dressed as a man really – if it came to the point, suppose drag was suddenly banned, I think I could still go on and retain an audience
GN: So what does being Mrs Shufflewick add to it?
SHUFF: It makes it more comical, but I suppose I could dress up like a funny fella; if we got one of these silly bastards in the government saying “We’ll have no more gentlemen dressing up as ladies”, I would get myself a funny suit, a pair of glasses and a funny face, and still do the same gags.
GN: Do you enjoy dragging up?
GN: Do you get a lot of pleasure out of appearing on a stage and talking to an audience?
SHUFF: When I go well, I do – but there’s no pleasure when I die a death.
GN: What do you say then? You don’t say “I’ll give it up tomorrow”, do you?
GN: I remember one Sunday evening, it was early and the place was nearly empty. There were two people in the audience with whom you had a fifteen minute conversation.
SHUFF: I did?
GN: Yes, and it was hilarious, it was the funniest thing, because these people were answering you back, and sending you up in all sorts of ways.
SHUFF: I don’t remember that, but if you’ve had the background of music hall – I don’t want to sound big-headed or anything – over the years, then you can cope with things like that. I’ve worked some… I remember years ago, when I first started, I worked places like Middlesborough, and –
SHUFF: I’ve done Scunthorpe! I did Wigan, I did the Coventry Theatre for six weeks with Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe, and it was marvellous. I was only, you know, the wines and spirits, I was the second turn on, but they were a marvellous audience, and then I was booked at Wigan Hippodrome, for the week following, and I was top of the bill. I got to Wigan, and they’d got “Mrs Shuttlewick”, with two ‘t’s … I went through from Monday to Saturday, twice nightly, without a titter. Not one laugh – they didn’t know what the bloody hell I was talking about, this was before television, and being a Londoner, they didn’t know what I was talking about. So I have, er, gone through the mill.
GN: They were still polite enough to sit there?
SHUFF: They couldn’t do much else –
GN: They wanted to get their money’s worth!
SHUFF: Oh, I had a horrible week. I was practically putting my head in the oven.
GN: But I’m sure you’ve had some good weeks as well –
SHUFF: Ooh, I’ve had some marvellous weeks.
GN: Is there any town you particularly enjoy?
SHUFF: I think London mostly. There’s so much to do, you can go to museums, you can go to Regents Park or Hyde Park, there’s so many theatres and cinemas, you’re never at a loss to know what to do.
GN: Have you appeared outside this country?
SHUFF: Only with the Gang Show when we used to go over to Africa and Egypt and Cyprus, and all round there. That was playing the Air Force camps. I really enjoyed the Gang Shows, you see it was my first thing in show business, so I couldn’t have not enjoyed it.
GN: You all work together in the Gang Show, don’t you, you do your own act, then you were in all the joint numbers –
SHUFF: Oh, there’s all the sketches and things as well, but you don’t get that in variety.
GN: You do a double act with Mark Fleming, don’t you?
SHUFF: Every Sunday. I like working with Mark. There’s not many people I could work with, I must say that. Not because I didn’t like them, because you’ve got to have the same sort of mental thing. You see, I can get up with Mark, and without any rehearsal we can do a quarter of an hour of comedy, just playing off the cuff, backwards and forwards to each other. Like someone playing tennis – I couldn’t do that with everybody.
GN: Have you any dreams of becoming a straight actor –
GN: A lot of people like Frankie Howerd have tried Shakespeare –
SHUFF: I did a season of straight plays, ooh, hundreds of years ago, at the Harrow Coliseum, do you remember that? Remember when that chap used to have it, Alfred Denville, his son was the head chap there? I was in a show in Blackpool, and I had a message, or a telegram or something, to go and see Alfred Denville, so 1 went to see him and he said (actor-laddie voice) “Ah, I’d like you to appeah in my plaihs”, and I said “I’m not an actor”, and he said “I’ve heard about you, that your timing is good” and all this balls. So suddenly a script, about forty thousand pages, arrived – I think we did ‘Smilin’ Thru’ to start with, and then I did about four different plays, and I hated every minute of it. A straight play – there was no comedy in it.
GN: There’s something particularly rewarding about it, isn’t there, about making people laugh?
SHUFF: There is, if you can make them laugh. I did Greenwich Theatre – take this down! – the year before last. Marvellous place, no microphones, a round stage, no curtains or anything, and I said to him, can I have a microphone please, and he said “You won’t need a microphone” and I said I can’t shout, and he said “You’ve no need to shout, just talk in your normal voice.” — and he was right! The acoustics are so marvellous there, you’ve only got to whisper and they can hear you in the back of the gallery.
GN: What kind of people do you think come to the pubs – the same people who would have gone to the music halls?
SHUFF: I suppose you could say that.
GN: Do you think TV will remain the dominant thing, or will people get fed up with it?
SHUFF: I think they’re fed up with it now, quite honestly.
GN: You don’t like it, I mean, you don’t have a set?
SHUFF: Well, let’s face it, what do you see these days? The occasional thing worth looking at, the only thing I like watching are the old films. These modern things, they’re ridiculous, these bloody documentaries, they’re so boring – and it’s very much a closed shop, in variety – the same people on all the time, Max Bygraves and people like that, you know.
GN: What do you think about radio?
SHUFF: I think radio’s gone to cock quite honestly – you either get records, or sports results, all things like that. You very rarely get a decent play on, or decent variety – well, there’s no variety –
GN: And yet if they brought it back, people would like it.
SHUFF: I should imagine they would.
GN: What do you think about the radio comedy series, things like The Navy Lark, and Does The Team Think?
SHUFF: Well, they’ve been going for so long now that they’ve got the same gags all the time.
GN: Are there any really new gags, though?
SHUFF: Well, there aren’t really, you’ve got to tart up the old ones.
GN: I think it’s Ted Ray who always says there are only three jokes, on which all other jokes are based —
SHUFF: Actually, there’s only seven! Seven basic themes, and all the rest are sort of cobbled round them.
GN: Can you define the seven?
SHUFF: Ooh, yes, well, I don’t know if I can after all this whisky – you’ve got husband and wife jokes, you’ve got the queer-boy jokes, you’ve got the man in the street jokes, and things like that, and they’re all connotations of each other.
I had a lovely – did I tell you this gag? There’s this Irishman in a bar, he’s got this bit of paper with all these numbers and figures and things on, and this Englishman is stood next to him. He says “You look very studious” and he says “Aaah, well, Oi’ll tell yer what, Oi’m goin’ ter be the foirst Oirishman to go ter the sun. The fockin’ Americans have been to the moon, and the fockin’ Russians are goin’ to Mars, Oi’m goin’ to the sun.”
So the English fella said “Well, you’re a bit daft, ’cos you’ll be burnt to a cinder the moment you get there”, and he said “Aah, Oi’ve thought o’ that – Oi’m goin’ at night.” COLLAPSE OF WHOLE PARTY OVER THE SCOTCH GLASSES!
SHUFF: Have you finished now?
GN: Tell us what you think of Gay News.
SHUFF: It’s worth doing, but I’m afraid, very much afraid that you won’t be recognised. People, they’re frightened to accept it. I wish to God they would… I could be wrong. At least they can’t do anything to you police-wise can they?
GN: They can, all our small ads are illegal. According to the Attorney General, a gay ad is exactly the same as a prostitute’s ad.
SHUFF: What about all those cards in the shop windows? In the West End?
GN: What about all the computer dating, and all the hetero ads?
SHUFF: Don’t they do them for that?
GN: No, and they’re very obvious. I mean, they’re looking for cock, or cunt.
SHUFF: I’ve seen some of those in Archer Street, you know, you’ve got ‘Lady wishes to meet gentleman with leather gear’ and all that balls, well there’s only one answer to that, and they don’t get done. I think you’re very brave to run the contact ads – I really mean that.
ROYAL VAUXHALL TAVERN
372 Kennigton Lane. SE 11 (Vauxhall)
Regular Compere Pat Kelly with The Keltones
Thurs (Alt) Mr Tammy or Honey
Friday Mr Tammy Monday. Bow
Saturday Lee Pans Wednesday Lee Par.s
Sunday (Lunch) Bow New Act Starting Soon
Sunday (Night) Mr Tammy
ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road. W6 (Hammersmith) Drag every night Regular artistes include Jean Fredericks
ELEPHANT & CASTLE. South Lambeth Place, SW8 (Vauxhall) Drag every night except Tuesday. Regular Compere Jackie. Recommended by Gay News for happy and friendly atmosphere
SKINNERS ARMS Camberwell New Road Tuesday Nights Only — “LA DUBARRY”
OXFORD TAVERN 256 Kentish Town Road. NW5 (Kentish Town) Drag on Tues. Wed and Thurs Resident host Pern St Clair. Partly gay on these nights
THE NEW BLACK CAP, 171 Camden High Street, NW1. (Camden Town Tube.
Drag every night with Tony Page.
Mon. – Thurs. – Sat. with Marc Fleming.
Tues. with Sandy Graham.
Wed. with New Dumbelles.
Fri. with Nicky Young.
Sunday (lunch) with Marc Fleming & Mrs Shufflewick.
Sunday (evening) with Perri St Clare or Sandy Graham
Alan McGorrin is Gay News’s super salesman at The Black Cap. Be nice to him, he works very hard.
Father Red Cap. 319 Camberwell Hoad.SE5. (Camberwell Green).
PALACE OF DRAG – Drag every night. The following artistes are proud to announce they are appearing at the Father Red Cap; Lee Paris, Tammy, Colin Cordell, Alvis & Odell, Lee Tracy and Len Morton.
THE CRICKETERS presents a dance and drag show at Battersea Town Hall on Monday 20th November. Admission 50p from the Chricketers or compere.
IN AID OF LOCAL O.A.P.’s.
THE CRICKETERS Battersea Park Road.SWII (BR Battersea Park).
Sun The Trollettes. Fri. Various Artistes
Tues Steel Band. Sat. Singalong & Dancing
Wed Various Artistes Compere/Organist
Thurs. Talent Night. Kenneth Mancell.
309 Harrow Road.W9 (Westbouroe Park)
Drag on Wednesday and Sunday (Lunch & Eve)
This is a list of some of the pubs in London that regularly have Drag Acts. Information of out of London pubs featuring drag will be added to this list as we receive it. So if your local has something good happening at it., let us know, and that goes for you landlords as well.
Saturday night at the London Hilton Hotel, the end of September and “Drag’s Biggest night” — or was it? Initially advertised as “the season’s most glittering occasion” the ‘Theatre Arts Ball’ was meant to pick ‘Miss United Kingdom (Drag) 1972’. However, we found this exotic title had been altered to ‘Miss Female Impersonator (International) 1972’ (our condolences to the organisers for the lack of foreign entrants!)
Mr Jean Fredericks, as always, supplied a good evening’s entertainment. Jean must be well known to most of London’s gay crowd as being the organiser of most of London’s drag balls held at the Porchester Hall. Now Mr Fredericks has taken us up a step in the world to the world renowned Hilton ballroom, and has worked very hard with his friends to provide us with what should have been (definitely) a “night of nights”. So what went wrong?
Well, on arriving at the Reception Hall outside the main Ballroom, with three friends, I endeavoured to present my tickets. The reception table was lost in a large group of well dressed and exotically perfumed young ladies(?!). In order to find my table number for dinner, I approached the well known Mr Steve Francis, whom I found to be trying hard to cope with an impossible situation. Small things like lack of tickets and seating arrangements to name but a few. Full marks, Steve, for coping in what should not have been any problem in the first place. The staff and management of the Hilton could have been more co-operative.
Tickets settled, we then swept into the bar for that longed for first drink. Prices of the drinks were reasonable for the said establishment. Full marks again!
Trumpets heralded dinner. And then continued, as we were ushered in, two by two, and announced into the main ballroom. Chaos commenced. Standing, wide-eyed at all around us, we were then left to find our own way among some 500 guests to our own tables, while waiters, dressed in black and looking like vultures, waited to descend on us. The problem was that they didn’t! — or at least until such a time as one had quite forgotten what they were there for. The only thing worth mentioning about the meal was the lamb (or carré d’agneau rôti). Delicious!
Our wine waiter, such a sweet man, was completely lost by being surrounded by such abandoned beauty. Until he was in such a state that the poor fellow ended up addressing all the gentlemen as ‘Madam’ and the ‘ladies'(?!) as ‘Sir’. Still, I am sure that the mind does boggle. Following the meal came the awaited moment, possibly a little too early — as the meals were only just finishing.
Our glamorous hostess, (with the mostest) Mr Jean Fredericks, took the floor to announce that all those who were to take part in the Beauty competition should vacate the hall and collect their entrance numbers. Only about fifty actually did — very disappointing as some beautiful costumes could still be seen sitting around the hall, while the usual collection of entrants could be seen lining up in expectation
The walk on, up, over and off the stage was judged by none other than Mr Lee Sutton, world famous impersonator. Also actress Jean Hampton and Mr Vuron Brewer. From these fifty odd competitors (you can read that how you like) eighteen were chosen for the semi-final stages of the competition.
At this point I would like to mention the efforts of some of the contestants in the hard work they had in producing their elaborate designs.
Princess Tinsel was “glittering” and well photographed by ‘Sunday Mirror’ and other papers. Barry — the cheeky chef with the dream topping – as described in the Sunday Mirror (one edition — lucky Barry — nice photo) paid £200 for a stunning two-tone wig. John, from Ruislip, was seen in two stunning creations which Miss Shirley Bassey would have been proud of — (or green with jealousy, as the resemblance was effective.)
Helping to keep things equal we had two colourful Arab costumes, plus Ali Baba, minus forty thieves — and, fresh from the museum, came Tutankhamun looking his age. My own young lady was none other than ‘Chelsea’ from Los Angeles, known to London as Simon of My Father’s Moustache Restaurant. She was wearing a two piece trouser suit in gold lamé, with hair style, rings and jewellery to match, the general effect being such that even Richard Burton could have been excused for mistaking her for we all know whom. And Dominic — or ‘Natasha’ (she certainly looked the part) was dressed in clothes from the Victorian era, and styled her looks to match.
So let us now turn to the Main Event — the final line-up of the “contest of the year” – judged in a fair and objective manner by representatives of the British Theatre, including Mr Richard Jackson, Miss Vicki Richards, Miss Dulcie Gray and Mr Michael Denison.
Miss Fredericks was pleased to announce as winner Mr Leslie Porter, who now reigns as the first Miss Female Impersonator (International), wearing a simple and elegant black dress. Leslie’s natural ease and poise carried her easily into the much coveted position. For Leslie, the winning prize of £100 in cash, and a further £100 worth of prizes.
The second prize was carried away by two contestants – who shared second place. The first wearing an ultra-feminine pink ensemble with matching ostrich feathers and a ‘Twiggy’ hair-do – quite charming — and the second of the duo wore a vampish outfit of see-through black, strongly contrasting with her blond hair. Striking – if nothing else. However it was suggested that had they teamed up before the contest, they might have carried off the first prize as ‘Beauty and the Beast’. In third place came Mark Cardel, looking as appealing as ever in a rather sophisticated costume in classical black and gold.
Once the contest was over we were all entertained by Mr Lawrence Daury of Paris — or somewhere, who sang “No Regrets”. I wish we could have all said the same. Mr Jean Fredericks entertained in her own cabaret, as usual.
In general people enjoyed the evening, and most people seemed to consider the price of £6.60 a ticket as money well spent. Mr Barry Scott, an international professional female impersonator, was quoted as saying that the evening was well thought out by Mr Fredericks, who, in his opinion, is a great artiste, but that unfortunately due to a lack of organisation, much of the evening was spoiled. Of Leslie Porter, the winner of the competition, he said: “Leslie really deserved to win.”
Summing up the evening, Mr Scott said, “A nice time, but I definitely won’t come again.” On reflection, neither shall I.
Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.
First Class Male
Dear Gay News,
I am writing this short note to gay brothers and sisters everywhere, with small hope of change.
I am simply fucking fed up with being classed as a screaming queen. First of all, let me explain the cause of this letter. It is simply to say the queens who prance about, drag up, and fucking let down the gay side of life when they go to those stupid GLF marches ought to be shot. If only they would stop to think what a bloody fool they are making of themselves it might change their attitude.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am gay and jolly well proud of it. I am, needless to say, the normal gay. Get that folks, normals I dress normal, go to gay pubs and clubs etc, but I feel so ashamed when I see some of the pranks those queens get up to. So come on all you normal gays, there must be thousands around, put ink to paper and write to Gay News.
Isn’t there some sort of club or organisation we could all join apart from GLF etc. I do apologise if I have caused any ill feelings, but once again I got fed up with being classed as the queens who attend marches!!
PS These GLF marches etc are the only side of the gay life the public sees and we’ve got to be bloody well classed with them. Bloody cheek, if you ask me!!
PPS Gay News is great. Keep up the great work.
‘Go On Boys, Don’t Mind Me’
Michael Kaye’s little piece on ‘Coming Out’ (GN No 6) reminds me of an experience about ten years ago, when I was still a good little civil servant, I got into the Cheltenham train at Paddington one evening and found an empty compartment, in which I was joined by two railwaymen, evidently just off duty and still in their working gear. They were both nice-looking well-built chaps in their thirties, and I was struck by their rather pre-occupied manner. As the train neared Reading I became aware of the extreme intensity of the silence in our compartment and glanced up from my newspaper to see that they were both leaning forward with their knees wide apart, their elbows resting on their knees, and their hands clasped in front of them. (They were sitting side by side and I was sitting directly opposite them.) The right knee of the one was very firmly laid against the other’s left.
I was immediately paralysed with embarrassment.
I longed to say, ‘Go on boys, don’t mind me!’ but couldn’t have spoken to save my life. I thought of myself as they must have seen me, a very proper Establishment figure in my trilby and city overcoat, looming over them. I thought of moving to the other end of the compartment, to give them more privacy, but I felt I couldn’t do so without their interpreting my action as one of disgust. Instead, I buried my head in my newspaper, hoping that if I could be out of sight to them, I might also become out of mind. This lasted till Swindon, where they got out. As they stood up, one of them looked down at me over the top of my paper with an expression of mingled grief and hatred that I have never forgotten. Perhaps this was the first and last time in their lives that they could be together, and by my presence I had spoilt it for them.
Well now, boys and girls, the moral of this little anecdote is as follows: that respectable citizen who seem momentarily such a blot on you and your lover’s landscape — give him the benefit of the doubt. He may be really on your side. He may be rejoicing in your mutual happiness and anxious to encourage you, but too shy to say so, too scared of seeming intrusive.
LONDON: Drag gays arrested at Notting Hill Gate’s Champion pub are wrong to accuse the manager of bullying his customers, he told Gay News.
Terry Mahon, who’s managed the pub for a year said. “One reason why I don’t like the drag lads drinking in the pub is because it upsets the rest of my customers. My regular customers just don’t want the drag people in the pub.
“And it’s my job to give the customer what he wants.” The licensee of any pub has the right to refuse permission to serve anyone who he doesn’t want to serve. So Mr Mahon’s alright there.
Before taking over the Champion, Mr Mahon did a three-month relief managership at the Boltons in Earls Court. Now he has asked Bass Charrington, the brewery that owns both pubs, to let him stay at the Champion for another two years after his two-year managership runs out.
He told Gay News: “I’ve got nothing against gay people. In fact I’ve made some good friends among them. That’s why I want to stay on longer than the brewery normally lets its managers stay at a pub.
“This pub just isn’t the sort of place where drag is welcomed by the customers. When I first moved in I suggested we should have one drag night a week – a night when all the customers wore drag. And the customers were so indignant I dropped the idea right away.”
Mr Mahon’s answer came after accusations that he bullied his customers from some of 20 drag gays who were refused service in the pub – as reported in GN7.
In a scuffle at the pub following this incident five of the gays were arrested and charged with a number of charges including obstructing the footpath, using threatening words and using threatening behaviour.
They appeared the next day – a Saturday – at Marylebone magistrates court and were remanded on bail until October 24.
Richard Chappel, Douglas McDougal, Peter Bourne, Peter Reed and Andrew Lumsden were the five gays arrested. They were held by the police from 10.30pm until about 2 am, when after being stripped, searched and questioned they were released.
They charge the police with insulting them, pulling their hair and refusing to allow them to use the telephone.
Mr Mahon told his side of the story to Gay News: “I told them I wasn’t going to serve them, then they sat down and I asked them to move out. So I called the police.
“I don’t think these GLF lads who come in realise my customers don’t want them around If I served them regularly I’d lose half my customers.
“The other night, after they had been thrown out by the police, when I came back I had about a dozen drinks bought for me and people walked up and shook me by the hand.
“They say I bully my customers, but how can one man bully 300 people at the same time? It’s ridiculous.”
In GN7 it was said that the five gays arrested at the Champion, Notting Hill Gate, would appear at Marlborough Street magistrates court, whereas, in fact, they were remanded to appear at Marylebone magistrates.
We regret this error, which was caused by incorrect information being given to the newspaper by Scotland Yard early on the morning following the arrests.
This corner is really a long list – of places, people you might like to know about or one day need. We can only, of course, publish the information that comes to us.
OPPIDAN – ADVISES AND BEFRIENDS
the lonely gay needing help. Oppidan’s accommodation service has started, but it needs MORE OFFERS of rooms, beds or other accommodation such as flat share, etc.. Write to Box 99. do Gay News, or ring: 769-7965.
OFFERS of rooms, beds or other accommodation such as flat share, etc.. Write to Box 99. do Gay News, or ring: 769-7965.
‘CHALLENGE’ is a London based homosexual group with branches at Marble Arch, Ealing and Hampstead. We meet each week for a drink and a chat – why don’t you join us? Ring Martin at 427 8175
Sappho meets every first Monday m the month, at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm, upstairs room. Great Russell Street. London WC1. All women are welcome. Sappho magazine is available at 30p inc. postage for single copies. (Subs rates are unchanged) from Sappho Publications Ltd., BCM/Petrel. London WC1
CHE. An All London Political Action Group is in the process of formation. Will anyone who wants further information on this campaigning group write to: Derek Brookfield, 7 Britton Grove, Crouch End, London N8 9EX.
Campaign for Homosexual Equality London Information Centre, 22 Great Windmill Street, London W1. Tel: 01-437 6117/8. Until the last week of September the office will only be manned 12noon to 6pm, seven days a week.
HOMOSEXUAL GROUP, meeting Fridays in NW London, with fairly serious interests (and a sense of humour) discusses sex. people, religion, politics; listens to good music; hears poets and playwrights read their own work – and that of others; makes a genuine attempt to befriend and help the lonely from the teenager to the senior citizen. For further details and a friendly chat ring either: 769-7965 or 450-4318
GAY CAMBRIDGE — all Freshers at University go to Stall at Corn Exchange October 3 to 5. Contact Pat Jones, 611 Kings College First.
Putney/Wimbledon/Richmond CHE group forming. Men AND Women. We plan to meet at least once a month. Write: Fred Green, 368 Upper Richmond Road. Putney SW15 2TU.
Gay Unity, Harrow. For details phone Jamie at 863 1184 or Alex at 422 7890 Meets on Mondays.
“Gay Cambridge”, a joint CHE/GLF group covering both the town and university. Meets every fortnight, wekkly in university term. Contact Bernard Greaves, 29 John Street, Cambridge, phone Cambridge 52661 or Pat Jones, 48 Milton Road, Cambridge, phone 55772.
YOUNG GAYS meet regularly in London. The C.H.E. Youth Group meets fortnightly around Central London. Details from Mike or Jim at 01 -385 7246.
READING GAY ALLIANCE: regular discos and socials, counselling, quiet meetings, public meetings, and action. Town and university. SAE for Newssheet: Room 7, 30 London Rd, READING
GAYSOC: For homosexual men and women in any college or school of London University. Social, political, campaigning; a means for gay students to get together the sort of campus scene hets enjoy, and to tackle the illiberalism of beer-swilling undergrads. Watch college newspapers,, “Sennet”, “Octopus”, “What’s On”, “Gay News”, for details, or write: ULU, Malet Street, WC1. (All letters treated with absolute confidentiality).
FRIEND is the advisory and befriending service of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality Call (Monday and Friday 7.30 to 9.30 pm) or write to Friend, Centre. Broadley Terrace. London NW1.
CAMPAIGN FOR HOMOSEXUAL EQUALITY
South Essex (Basildon)
South Herts (Watford
East Kent (Canterbury)
Wolverhampton & District
Many local group organisers are wary of having their names and addresses publicised, so for the time being please contact all CHE groups via the national office: 28 KENNEDY STREET. MANCHESTER 2. Telephone 061-228 1985
GAY LIBERATION FRONT
The addresses of these groups may be obtained from the G.L.F. Office at 5 Caledonian Road. London N1. Tube Kings Cross. Tel: 01 -837 7174. Also contact here for other G.L.F. information.
Religious Gay Lib Group, meets various Sundays at 2.30 pm. Phone 278 1701 for details.
Bath Gay Awareness Group has moved again. Meetings Thursdays, contact John, Bath 63168 or Hugh Bath 4738 for further information.
Reading Gay Alliance, Room 7, 30 London Road, Reading.
Sussex GLF meets Tuesdays at 8.15pm upstairs/back bar Stanford Arms. Preston Circus Brighton. Contact Doug Coupe, 40 Ashford Road, Brighton, or phone Ray at 686939.
Gay Women’s Lib. (North London)
Meet at The Crown and Woolpak, 397 St Johns St. EC1. (Angel Tube) 8pm on Mondays.
West London G.L.F. meets in the Committee Room of Fulham Town Hall, Fulham Broadway on Thursdays at 8pm.
SCOTTISH MINORITIES GROUP
EDINBURGH from 7.45 to 9.00pm on Mondays in the basement of 23 George Square. Saturdays from 9.30pm coffee/food/dance at the same address. There is also a Womens Group. Check with Mike Coulson 031-225 4395 between 1pm and 10pm any day.
GLASGOW from 8pm on Tuesdays at Bruce Briggs. 8 Duncan Street, Glasgow C4 and Third Friday of every month at 214 Clyde Street (Library of Community House) with invited speakers from 8pm. There is also a Womens Group. Check with John Breslin 041-771 7600.
DUNDEE from 10.30pm on Fridays at 1 Airlie Place, drinks and dance. Check with Len McIntosh 0382-452433 evenings.
ABERDEEN and SALTCOATS check with John Breslin 041-771 7600
GLF DANCE. October 6, Fulham Town Hall. 8.00pm-12.00 midnight. Admission 50p Grouos. disco, bar.
Reading Gay Alliance : Weekly Disco at Railway Tavern : 8pm.
BIRMINGHAM’S GAY SCENE
FREE Disco every fortnight (every other Friday Night). At the Shakespeare Inn, Summer Row. Birmingham 3. Drinks at bar prices.
GAY FAWKES & BIRTHDAY PARTY at Digbeth Civic Hall, Digbeth, Birmingham 5.
(5 mins from City Centre). Saturday 4th November. 8.00-12.00pm. Groups – Disco – Bar – Dancing – Wear what you want. Open House,
Father Red Cap. 319 Camberwell Road,SE5.
PALACE OF DRAG — Drag every night.
Upstairs Bar now open 7 nights a week — Tricky Dicky Boys Only Disco now on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Also mixed, Disco on Wednesday and Saturdays. Girls Only Disco on Friday. Gay intimate evening on Mondays. Free Admission Mondays and (for a limited period) Tuesday’s Boys Only Disco.
South London G.L.F. Disco every Monday except first Monday of the month. At The Crypt, St Matthews Church (opposite Town Hall, Brixton. BR/Tube. Buses 35, 37, 109.59,2,3, Admission 15p – Beer and snadwich bar. Love – Kisses – South London G.L.F.
West London G.L.F. presents a dance at Hampstead 0O|d Town Hall on December 22nd. Tickets 50p; Disco. Groups. Lightshow, and Bar.
Camden G.L.F. weekly disco in the discotheque next to the Bull and Gate Pub (200 yds Kentish Town Stn) every Wednesday from 8pm to 11pm.
DRAG MOBILE DISCOTEQUE
Tuesday Nights – ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road. London W6.
Wednesday Nights THE PONTEFRACT CASTLE 48 Chapel Street. Edgware Road Tube
Dancing Permitted, complete with Drag Show featuring Mr Jean Fredericks. Peter Martmdale & Diamond David
Sussex G.L.F. Disco every Friday 8-11pm at Stanford Arms, Preston Circus, Brighton. Only 15p.
Weekly GLF Disco starting shortly at BULL & GATE pub. Kentish Town Phone GLF Office at 01-837 7174 to check details.
DRAG MOBILE DISCOTEQUE
Tuesday Nights – ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road. London W6.
Wednesday Nights – THE PONTEFRACT CASTLE 48 Chapel Street, Edgware Road Tube.
Dancing Permitted, complete with Drag Show featuring Mr.Jean Fredericks. Peter Martindale & Diamond David.
KINGS ARMS, Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pindar Street)
Tube/BR Liverpool Street. Buses 8,8A,22,6, 47,97.
Tricky Dicky Show on Saturday Nights. 8.30-11 00. Admission Free. Saloon Bar Disco. Impersonations etc. Gay Atmosphere.
Gay News is on sale at all Tricky Dicky Disco’s.
KINGS ARMS. Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pinder Street) Tube/BR Liverpool Street.
Dicks Inn, Gay Disco every Monday
Compere Tricky Dicky.
THE ARABIAN. Cambridge Heath Road, London. (corner of Bishops Way) Tube Bethnal Green/Bus 277. Dicks Inn, Gay Disco – closed for the Summer. Re-opens early October.
Drag & Cabaret
ROYAL VAUXHALL TAVERN.
372 Kennington Lane, SE11. (Vauxhall).
Regular Compere – Pat Kelly – with The Keltones.
Thursday (Alt.) Mr.Tammy or Honey.
Saturday. Lee Paris.
Wednesday. Lee Paris.
Sunday. (Lunch) Bow.
New Act Starting Soon.
Sunday. (Night) Mr.Tammy.
ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road, W6 (Hammersmith). Drag every night. Regular artistes include Jean Fredericks.
ELEPHANT AND CASTLE. South Lambeth Place. SW8 (Vauxhall). Every night except Tuesday Regular Compere Jackie. Recommended by Gay News for happy and friendly atmosphere.
OXFORD TAVERN 256 Kentish Town Road. NW5 (Kentish Town) Drag on Tues. Wed. and Thurs. Resident host Perri St Clair. Partly gay on these night
THE NEW BLACK CAP 171 Camden High Street, NW1 (Camden Town Tube) Drag Every Night.
Featured Artists include Mark Fleming, Bow, Mrs Shufflewick, Jean Fredericks, New Dumbells, Sandy Graham, Chris Kay.
Alan McGorrinis Gay News’s super salesman at The Black Cap. Be nice to him, he works very hard for us.
THE CRICKETERS, Battersea Park Road, SW11.
(BR Battersea Park).
Sun. The Trollettes.
Fri. Various Artistes.
Tues. Steel Band.
Say. Singalong & Dancing.
Wed. Various Artistes.
Thurs. Talent Night.
THE DORSET ARMS, 124 Clapham Road, SW4 (Oval Tube)
Tuesdays. Michael and Bow.
Sundays. Michael and Bow.
309 Harrow Road,W9 (Westbourne Park)
Drag on Wednesday and Sunday (Lunch & Eve)
This is a list of some of the pubs in London that regularly have Drag Acts. Information of out of London pubs featuring drag will be added to this list as we receive it. So if your local has something good happening at it, let us know; and that goes for you landlords as well.
GAY NEWS will always be on sale at the following pubs:
MARSH HOTEL (Mike & Eileen) Canute Road, Southampton.
Semi Gay. Disco every Thursday night. Also:
THE ANCHOR (Pat & Geoff) East Street, Southampton. Gay girls and boys. Disco every Fri & Sat
THE PAVILION CLUB, 123 Shardlow Road, (A6), Shardlow, Derbys. Tel: Shardlow 581. Open Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun from 8.00pm.
Gay News, wishes to thank the management and staff at the Colherne and the Boltons (at Earl’s Court) and the Champion (at Notting Hill Gate) for their help in letting us sell Gay News in their establishments. Gay News will regularly be on sale in these three pubs in West London.
The DisKOtheque (D O K), 2a Lowndes Court, London W1 (off Carnaby Street) regularly has Gay News on sale. Thanks.
Gay News thanks Roddy and The Masquerade — the paper is always available at the door. Masquerade Club, 310 Earls Court Road, SW5
THE FATHER RED CAP Boys Only. Gins Only, and Mixed Disco’s
Gay News is always on sale at the Father Red Cap (upstairs disco).
Thanks to “LOS CHICOS”, 312 Old Brompton Ro< Earl's Court, for selling Gay News.
WILLIAM IV, Heath Street, Hampstead NW3. Hampstead Tube.
THE SALISBURY. St Martins Lane. Near to Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square tubes.
THE CHAMPION, Bayswater Road. Nearest tube is Nofting Hill Gate.
THE BOLTONS and THE COLEHERNE are opposite each other at the junction of Earl’s Court Road and Old Brompton, Earl’s Court Tube
On Friday 16th September, at approximately 10.30pm, five members of the Gay Liberation Front were arrested by Notting Hill police after 20 gays in drag tried to buy drinks in the Champion pub on Bayswater Road.
Richard Chappel, Douglas McDougal, Peter Bourn, Peter Reed and Andrew Lumsden were bailed by the police after being held in the cells for at least three hours. They claim they were not allowed to make any telephone calls while they were being held.
And they charge the police with using unnecessary violence and using insulting behaviour against them.
Gay News got the tip-off from Peter from Barnes, who was outside the pub with his boyfriend. Scotland Yard checked out the information he gave them and told him:
“Don’t quote me on this, but we hate these sort of problems.
“It’s up to the landlord of the pub to refuse to sell drinks to anyone, and to ask them to leave. If they won’t leave he can call the police. If they still won’t leave they can be charged with obstructing the police in the course of their duty.”
The drag gays are charged with a number of offences including one of obstructing the footpath, two of obstructing the police and two of threatening behaviour.
But they say the threatening behaviour was not just one-sided. Gay News was told:
“What was really terrifying was not just the fact that the police pulled our hair, which you can expect, But also, as well as getting all the ‘Yes, ducky’, ‘No, ducky’ remarks the arresting officer pulled Doug’s hair in the police van and said: ‘We’ll get you later’.”
Trouble broke out when the landlord decided not to serve the drag gays, who had had a social. Then, they sat down. The landlord called the police and three policemen entered the pub to clear the sit-down protesters. Outside there were two police vans, two panda cars and two squad cars.
The gays were released, after being stripped and questioned, at about 2am. They were bailed to appear at Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court the next day.