Letters Continued

Discrimination in Earls Court

London W8

Dear Editorial Collective,

Readers of GN – more than a few of them — who live in or visit Earls Court may be interested to hear of an odd case of discrimination which I met with at the NSS Newsagents, a few yards to the left as one leaves the underground in Earls Court Road. I wanted to display one of the printed CHE publicity cards on the postcard boards of this always busy shop; many newcomers to London look at these boards, and I hoped that some of them would ask CHE for information and, perhaps, help. As the Manchester address of CHE is the only one on the card, I added the address, phone number and hours open of the London Information Centre.

I handed the card to a girl assistant (who isn’t to blame in all this) who charged me 50p for a week’s ‘showing’ and said the card would appear the next morning. When, late the next afternoon, it still wasn’t up, I asked the same assistant about it, and she said that the manager had refused to display it; the trend of her remarks was that he thought it not respectable and likely to give offence. ‘To whom?’ I wondered. There are usually ads at this shop of the type ‘3rd young man required for gay flat’, and while I entirely support gay flats, I don’t see why, if they can be advertised, a concerned and humane organisation such as CHE can’t. There are always ads of the type, ‘Lovely young model gives French tuition’, ‘Young man seeks part-time work; any position considered’. In other words, prostitutes — but not CHE – can advertise there!

I asked the assistant if I could see the manager. She went away, came back, and told me he was busy. So I said I’d wait. She saw him again and told me that he’d be busy for the next hour; I politely offered to call back in an hour’s time or to make an appointment to see him. This time I was told that he refused to see me at all. Naturally I wanted the manager himself to tell me why the ad was rejected. A male assistant said that the trouble seemed to be that ‘it comes right to the point’ – to which I made the obvious reply that surely this was a very good thing. I suppose ‘the point’ is that the word ‘homosexual’ is actually used: blush, blush.

The crowning absurdity was that, close to the copies of Playboy, Men Only, Mayfair, Cosmopolitan, etc, the shop (partly redeeming itself) was selling Lunch, the CHE-associated magazine. I took a copy from the rack and pointed to the magic words inside the cover.

I might not have written this letter if the manager had agreed to see me, might have tolerated the lack of understanding and the illogicality; but the plain rudeness of his refusal led me to say — very pleasantly – that I’d try to give the matter some publicity, and where better than in this independent paper?

When I asked to have the postcard returned, the staff couldn’t find it. I was given back my 50p, but wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t looked to see if the ad was displayed. (I hadn’t left my own address). I don’t wish to be unfair: I expect the manager would have sent the 50p to CHE at 22 Great Windmill Street.

This may be an embarrassing letter if the NSS Newsagents sell Gay News! However, I don’t think they do. I usually buy mine from the news-stands outside Kensington High Street tube and outside The Boltons — to encourage this kind of ‘outlet’; the service is friendly and courteous.

What worries me is that it’s just possible that an unhappy homosexual might have been helped by CHE, and now won’t hear about it.

Peter Rogers

ED: The manager of the NSS Newsagents at Earls Court has always refused to stock Gay News, despite the large amount of requests he receives for it. His manner has always been rude to indifferent to the person approching him. He also has shouted, on at least one occasion “Fucking poof” at a member of the public enquiring whether or not he stocked GN. Please pester him and the staff until the paper is regularly on sale there.


ED. Owing to the extreme shortage of space in this issue, we are unable to publish as many letters as we feel we should. We apologise to those people who have not had their correspondence printed. We will endeavour to include their letters in the next issue.

Dreams For Bike Boys

Picture has been edited as the age of the subject is not clear.A glittering showcase of hard steel and power greeted me on the last day of the Motor Cycle Show at Earls Court. Big uns and Little uns of every shape and size to suit every taste available if you happen to have a few hundred spare quid lying around in your bottom drawer.

Magical names like Triumph, Norton, Kawasaki, Honda evoking thoughts of speed and hot summer days but dear me! not a BMW in sight save my old R60 lying in a side street. Really ‘very tasty’ some of these machines were too, and the exhibitors actually encouraged people to get on the machines and feel them for themselves. (Good sales psychology that!)

The younger element were having a whale of a time doing just that – twisting throttles and jumping up and down on kick starts though there was little chance of them starting up minus batteries and petrol.

Pity that might have been rather fun. After two hours or so of this heady atmosphere arid looking at these beautiful machines, not to mention the beautiful boys your reporter staggered to the bar in search of a quick snorter but not until he had overheard this from a six year old to his dad. “Dad, can I have that Red one over there?” The Red one happened to be a 450cc Ducati priced at £460.80.

I guess that’s something one little boy won’t be getting in his stocking for Christmas.

Guess What

LONDON. A customer of Britain’s largest and best known gay pub, The Coleherne in Earl’s Court, who was recently arrested for ‘wilful obstruction’ in Wharfedale Street (which runs directly behind the pub) was agreeably surprised when his case was thrown out of Great Marlborough Street Magistrates’ Court.

The magistrate said that there was no charge to answer and the member(s) of Chelsea Police Force responsible for the arrest was rebuked for wasting the courts time.

Anyone caring to check the details of this belated report can do so by getting in touch with the magistrate’s court mentioned above.

Kinky Call-Boy

19721001-04Twenty-four year old Roy Davis was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and fined £45, on charges of possessing drugs, importuning and keeping a brothel.

He and another man were living in a flat in Nevern Square, Earls Court, which the police observed for a period of time. Clients were obtained through ‘male model’ advertisements, and test phone calls to the number given elicited an offer of ‘very kinky services’. The police, however, were content with observation.

Davis was alleged to have been operating as a call-boy himself. He admitted importuning, and being in breach of a two-year probation period imposed last December for unauthorised possession of 64 dexedrine tablets.

The magistrate advised him to get a job of work and become a normal and decent citizen.

Source: Kensington News and Post.

Funny, or How Very Queer

19720901-04Julie Frost, Gay News’s super salesman at The Boltons in Earl’s Court, had a rather strange story to tell after an evening of selling the paper recently.

On leaving his local tube station, Caledonian Road, a car drew up alongside of him and out popped three plain-clothes policemen. Julie was questioned about what he had been doing; his bag of unsold Gay News’s was searched, and a copy of the paper was scrutinised. After more questions and his, and the paper’s, name and address being taken he was allowed to finish his journey home.

A not too unusual occurrence, but wait. When Julie arrived home he noticed a dark blue unmarked police car, with its lights off, parked outside his home. Inside were two uniformed police officers. They were still there when Julie went to bed, and it was observed that they were still there much later that night.

We wonder what all that’s about?

Incidentally, Julie was the cover-model for Issue No. 5 of Gay News. This week Gay News, next week Vogue or Playboy?