Your Letters

19720901-02Dear Brothers and Sisters,

WHY I AM OPPOSED TO WEARING FROCKS AS A POLITICAL ACT

The argument used by the “Frock Brigade” for wearing drag is that it challenges male privilege and is therefore aiding the liberation of women in our society. I wonder what privileges they are referring to? Neither men nor women in general have any privileges. The majority of “privileged” men have to work hard at monotonous jobs for low pay and have generally unsatisfying existences. It is not by men that women are oppressed, but by the System which oppresses both men and women. Men are often the unwitting agents of women’s oppression. The working man dissatisfied with the conditions of his work will vent his frustration on his wife When he comes home.

Hence it is a question of changing the system by which women are oppressed, that is by being given the opportunity to explore ways of relating other than the restrictive monogamous heterosexual relationships based on mutual tolerance rather than mutual love.

As a political act within GLF it is very damaging as the majority of gay people do not, cannot, and do not wish to identify with men wearing frocks. If a man WANTS to wear drag, that is a perfectly valid reason for wearing it, but it is folly to think of it as a POLITICAL act. It re inforces a stereotype image of gay people which can have a shattering effect on gay people who still feel ashamed or guilty about being homosexual, making it more difficult for them to accept themselves. The Frock Brigade (I do not use the term Radical Feminist as they are neither radical nor feminist.) should realise the amount of harm they are doing to the gay movement and, more importantly, how much unhappiness they must be causing to thousands of gays who become alienated by their tactics.

Apparently, as the Spare Rib incident would indicate, the Frock Brigade will only accept women’s liberation on their terms i.e. on men’s terms. If that isn’t patronising, I wonder what is. How can these men (even though they pretend they are not men) be aware of what being a woman is like, of producing and caring for children and of being brought up from infancy as a woman.

As a LIBERATION movement, let us not forget that liberation is about people. Let us not forget the people we’re trying to liberate.

P Waldschmidt.


WARNING
Brixton Hill
London

Dear Gay News,

Piggery alas at yet another cottage. On August 16 at Strawberry Vale cottage, Finchley, on the North Circular Road near the A 1000 intersection. I arrived to find a cute looking fuzz in fetchingly butch mufti – leather jacket and lovely black hair and moustache – taking down the particulars of several gay brothers whilst a colleague with an alsation dog looked on.

In early May the same cottage was invaded by-two Security Express guards, again complete with alsations. Whether the London Borough of Barnet had hired them for this purpose or they decided just to have a little go at any fucking poufs they might find whilst passing I can’t say, but clearly this is a terrifying precedent.

Love and strength, Jim Scott
Upper Richmond Road,

Putney Sw15


Dear Editor,

The negative comments in your column about Biograph Review are somewhat misleading.

Reviewing in national dailies has become a specialised art, obscurity is deliberate, and the writing seems purposely directed towards the comprehension of an elite few, not the total readership.

Biograph Review is informative without being stuffy. It is written in an extremely individual style. No profession lends itself to individuality more than journalism.

It is youthful. There is a two-fold place in modern journalism for youthfulness: first; to atone for past prejudice against young writers as “immature” second; because, as even the establishment has come to realise – youth has something to say.

The art of the critic is not easily attained.

George Copeland’s letter (Gay News No. 4) illustrates that. Especially if one aspires to the ponderous, overwritten, heavy material so often enountered.

Julian Grinspoon’s column easily achieves what it proposes – communication. It radiates friendship.

At his trial, Oscar Wilde was asked if the conversation of one of his young men friends was “literary”?

“No. On the contrary,” replied Mr. Wilde, “quite simple and easily understood.”

Fred G. Green
ex: Arts Committee
Gay Activists Alliance-New York

This is a letter sent to OZ magazine in reply to Felix Dennis’s criticisms of the Biograph Review. Julian says “right on and all that sort of thing” to Fred, and “hard sucks” to Felix.


Barons Court W 14

Dear Collective,

Notwithstanding the paranoia with which Bob Mellors consistently gives ‘sisters’ priority over ‘brothers’, there is much in his letter (GN no 4) to commend. At one point he might almost have been quoting me. I have always longed to be regarded as a sex object. Even when I was a pretty young chick (and I can substantiate that claim with documentary evidence) I was singularly lacking in that animal magnetism which attracts other gay guys into bed. Admittedly, over the years, this has been compensated for by a series of prolonged and searching relationships culminating in an ecstatic and richly rewarding love affair I had with a young man I met through the columns of IT (vide my “Sunday Times” letter reprinted in GN 3), but this doesn’t alter the fact that I am, and always have been, welcomed with something less than warmth on the sex conveyor belt that your eighteen-year-old writes about with such (feigned?) boredom.

This brings up the whole question of sex-appeal and psycho-sexual empathy in the gay world. Even in maturity, if I might euphemise middle-age as such, I am not a bad proposition. My teeth and legs are good, my sexual appetite voracious, and I give as good as I get. My IQ is not quite up to Bobby Fischer’s but my field of reference is much wider and I am not a nonentity having a certain recognition in my own field. My kinks are such that they give as much pleasure,to their recipient as they do to me. Above all, I am interested in the people I go to bed with. Yet all my life, these desperate months between affairs have been spent fruitlessly in pursuit of sex partners, whilst other people with no overt sexual appeal that I can recognise, seem to exert an effortless attraction for other gays. It is definitely not, as Bob suggests, a question of youth and beauty.

It is a much more elusive quality that I find impossible to analyse, or even to detect. How I envy those guys who wearily, and quite sincerely, sigh “Jesus, I must have a night off, for once.” This constant rejection has a debilitating effect on one’s psychological resilience and one’s sexual competence, which in turn are mutually demoralising.

I sometimes wonder what I am doing, helping the gay reform movement, be it in the press, on the box, or simply in my everyday affairs. It is many years since I gave up my hang ups about my homosexuality and my friends and associates accept me on my own terms, and I do not differentiate between my straight and gay friends. Nor have I cultivated, nor been able to cultivate, an exclusively gay circle. Perhaps the reason for my exclusion is my lack of exclusivity. I find bilateral society attitudes are still, and regrettably, very much the norm in gay circles. How often is one asked to parties with the qualification that one must not camp because it will be ‘straight’ or ‘mixed’ or introduced to someone with a whispered warning that ‘he is not queer?’ I have never subscribed to these partisan attitudes. Does this make me undesirable? Or is there some intuitively perceived aspect of my sexual quirks that people find distasteful? Or is it simply my profile?

Is there anyone else as gorgeous as me who is equally underdesired? If so, could we between us, discover what the psycho-sexual barriers are? Failing that could we not by-pass the A & B jet set, the Coleherne Miss World contest, the GLF chauvinists, the CHE mums, the Holland Walk perambulating circumnavigators, and get on with the fucking?

Sororally yours (if I might redress Bob’s balance)

James Stevens

P.S. I Love Grinspoon.


Julie Andrews
Monday Market St
Devizes
Wilts

Dear Gay News,

I am donating £1 to your Good Gay News magazine. I hope that many many people will come to read it and that many of us Gay lonely people may find that they have many friends.

Love and Peace
to all Gay Brothers and Sisters

Julie


Rosary Gdns.,
South Kensington,
London S.W.7.

Dear ALL,

I am writing to tell you, how I enjoy your paper, or should I say our paper, I got the first issue from the Colherne, and really enjoyed it, I then tried to get the second copy by doing a rather unsuccessful tour of the newsagents, W.H. Smiths, Menzies, etc. Although I had little joy in obtaining a copy, it was compensated for by seeing the faces of some of the newsagents when asked for it. And when they said ‘no’, the mouthful they got from me, it was very amusing, I heard one ‘straight’ remark as I left the shop – “Fucking Poof” – I haven’t been called that in ages, I felt quite nostalgic.

Anyway I got number two in the end from Virgin Records, long may their ‘Y’ fronts not hamper them.

My third copy was obtained from the ‘Boltons’ (outside — I’m not too keen on the interior) whilst mincing along one night.

I am pleased to say issue no. 3 is great, I really enjoyed reading it in bed the other night, although my old man wasn’t so happy, he had other plans for the night. I think no. 2 was a low, keep on having highs like no. 3, power to your elbows duckies.

Why not a column on make-up and beauty and clothes. Heaven knows there is so much crap on the market we need a good guide to colourful make-up and good bright clothes.

Please print my little ad as I can’t afford the rent for much longer. If you do print this letter, then anyone is welcome to my place for a chat and a little wine.

Will send you a subscription when I get someone to share my place.

Andy


WATCH OUT

Dear Gay News,

Readers who use the contacting facilities of Clapham Common may care to note the following experience of mine.

Recently I went to the Common and there met a seemingly rather pleasant man and agreed to return to his flat. On leaving the Common I saw it was very late, so decided to defer the pleasure to a weekend. Whereupon my companion became threatening, demanding money and my wristwatch. Largely to avoid drawing attention I got rid of him by giving him a small amount of money I had with me.

Next day I took legal advice, which was that the police, though they might prosecute me, most certainly would take no steps whatever to pursue my assailant – my best course was to try to raise a stink.

So I wrote to that noble custodian of the British liberal conscience, ‘The Observer’, then running a service of leading articles on public confidence in the police. Back came the reply that the matter was of interest to only a minority of readers (this from a paper that purports to care about minorities), that to criticise the police on the basis of a solicitor’s experience was ‘unfair’, and that although ‘The Observer’ had (of course) no sympathy with queer bashing, anyone trolling Clapham Common really 2 was asking for it.

So Gay News readers, should any of you ever be tempted to take a late-night constitutional in Clapham’s perfumed groves, watch out, there’s a thug about. He’s about 35, 5’9″ and fairly stocky with medium length dark wiry hair, receding slightly over somewhat lined features. Scottish, probably from Dundee, but now believed to reside in Clapham. On first impression he is a decent working-class bloke. He’s not, and if you meet him, avoid him and tell your friends to do likewise.

Love and strength,

James J Scott

Would Charles G. Brown, who had a letter of his published in Gay News No. 5, please contact us. Thanks.

BIOGRAPH REVIEW

04-197208XX 09Hello all, it’s your Julian again. A rather cross Julian this issue I’m afraid. Now I know not all of you are interested in my reviews from the heart, but you don’t have to be nasty about them. If you knew the effort involved, and the expense. I know the Biograph isn’t the most expensive of cinemas, but with the amount of visits I pay it, the money soon mounts up. Not that it’s just a question of money, it really is hard work spending so many hours in that cinema. Which brings me back to why I’m a little peeved.

On Sunday 13 August the celebrated transvestite Tony Curtis performs in the explicitly titled Not With My Wife You Don’t. Wouldn’t want to dear, would you? Support is First to Fight with all-American boy Dean Jagger (no relations to the Queen of the pop world) in featured positions throughout the film.

Alan ‘Swoon’ Bates and the grand-daddy of the theatre Lawrence Olivier are the stars of Three Sisters on Monday 14 August I haven’t seen this before, and at the time of writing I can’t quite see why so many men are in a film with such a title. Maybe they are doing impersonations. Lex Barker is startling, to those who like that sort of thing, in the programme’s second feature, Wild Kurdistan, an epic from the East.

Hulk John Wayne and Forrest Tucker (star of many a memorable second feature horror movie) appear together in Chisum on Thursday 17 August. This is a notable failure, with everyone just trying to prove how butch they are. and we all know pear old John Wayne’s acting capabilities aren’t that good. What they are showing as support feature seems as if it will be much better, it’s another of those lovely motorcycle films by the sound of it. The film in question is Dirty Angels with Lino Capolicchio in a starring role.

The biggest treat of all in the next fortnight at the Bio is showing on Sunday 20 August. Liz Taylor and Richard Burton play happy families in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Even if you have seen this before I recommend you to see it again. Those of you with acid tongues can certainly pick up a few tips from Miss Taylor’s performance in this epic of domestic bliss.

Also showing is Seven Golden Men. That really sounds a goody, and it has also missed my attention in the past, even though it sounds just the type of film that I would like.

Monday 21 August has womaniser of note, Rod Taylor, gallantly supported by Carol White, together in The Man Who Had Power Over Women. It’s not just women that Mr. Taylor has power over, to judge audiences’ reactions at the Bio in the past. Ann-Margaret, the lady who tried to show Elvis Presley a thing or two till she realised that he wasn’t interested, is featured female lead in the second half of the programme, The Tiger and The Pussycat. She is ably supported by Vittoria Gassman from Battersea.

Future attractions include When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth and Rod Taylor in Hotel. What a super name he has, so straight to the point. And if one believes the rumours……

As you all know, a new paper just as this can do with all the mentions in the rest of the press that it it can get So when I heard that OZ had given us a little write up I was pleased to say the least. In fact I was going round to see their staff to give them all a big kiss of gratitude. But once I had read their piece I changed my mind. They certainly would get more than a kiss now. I believe a gentleman named Felix the Dennis was responsible for the piece they printed, and although he was full of praise for the rest of the newspaper, he had a little go at yours truly. Was I mad! Let me tell you Felix, my tongue is usually everywhere else except in my cheeks, and I don’t quite see how a useful guide to entertainment smacks of sad old magazines and coy innuendos. I just describe what I see and say what I think. I know I’m not (quite) another Alexander Walker but I try me best. If Julian manages to miss something because of his Biograph indulgences, well all I can say is that even I (after years of practice mind you) am not as perfect as I might like to be But I mustn’t go on about my grumbles. See you in the Bio Felix.

Hasn’t it been hot lately? Really not the sort of weather for the cinema some may say. Generally though one finds cinemas somewhat cooler than outside, unfortunately not at the Biograph. The temperature in that establishment always seems to be on the up.

Minor point. Dear Bio management, it’s nice to know that you care about your clientele. But is it really necessary to pop round so often with your little cans of air-freshener. Such an unsuitable fragrance too, better kept for the convenience I would have thought. It’s nice to know that you worry about us, but do please try aiming the cans in the air and not at the height our heads are at. Ruins ones ice or lolly.

August has some interesting films showing at the Bio. To start with on Thursday 10 August Brother John, with Sidney Poitier is on the screen, with Brotherhood of Satan as support. The latter stars L.W. Jones and Strother Martin in the leading roles. This black magic saga scared me half to death the first time I saw it.

For The Biograph programme see Classifieds Page 11.