Your nearest Bottle of Librium

01-197205XX 2The B.B.C.’s Religious Broadcasts Department are proud of their forum-cum-chat show, “Speakeasy” broadcast on Radio 1 on Sunday afternoons. They make pretty sure their audience knows it too, making a point of announcing that Speakeasy is the only show of its kind in the world, where the ordinary-man-in-the-street can come in and voice his opinions on any topic which happens to be discussed at the time. Jimmy Saville, who chairs the show, encourages the assembled audience to speak our and participate (via the roving microphones), since the show is (to paraphrase both the producer, Roy Trevivian, and Jimmy Saville in the warm-up period) 80% yours, to do as you like – the panel of experts here are purely for technical guidance and know-how.

Needless to say, after all this is said, the audience, sometimes gets a word in edgeways.

On the Friday that “Speakeasy” recorded a discussion on sports and subsidies, Jimmy Saville closed the show by saying something that provoked a stifled, embarrassed laughter – if you had heard it, it would have sent you grasping for your nearest bottle of librium. He told the audience that, unfortunately, they wouldn’t hold the next show at its usual home, the Paris studio, not because it was going on the road, but because they were dealing with a rather controversial and sensitive subject, to which you probably wouldn’t come anyway – that of homosexuality. Thus contradicting their own publicity blurb about Free Speech and Man in the Street. It obviously stirred a lot of interest amongst the Gay Brothers who either happened to be there, or heard of it through the grapevine.

Subsequently our gay friends made furtive enquiries to Rev. Roy Trevivian the producer and in each case reached his secretary, who then, in turn, handed the phone to the researcher, Pat Honey.

When asked why Gay Liberation or Gay News hadn’t been invited to send representatives, and where the programme was being recorded, and why it was being done secretly, without being open to interested parties, she gave a reply to the effect that: The programme was being held in a small room before an already selected audience, which couldn’t be enlarged upon “for obvious reasons”.
No further questions or comments were put to Miss Honey, and she volunteered no information herself, except that the might ring up Gay News to see what they have to say.

(G.L.F. source) 18/5/72

“Over there Mr. Roving Mike”

01-197205XX 3Over the airwaves came this sane, rational, slightly wary programme, busy with being reasonable, a little tinged with nervousness and heavily colourwashed with a genteel shade of apologia. But the programme as she is spoke was a little different.

You couldn’t see the paraphenalia of speakers and microphones, the small group of hard chairs in a room fit to hold at least twenty more. And a good many chairs were empty. You didn’t have to sit through the build-up from the producer and Jimmy… about how they hated to edit the programme, so no cussin’ and so on. About the number of listeners, to remind us of our responsibility. About who we were, anywhere we came from and again the confusion of Gay News with Gay Lib came up. And then some wise child asked the producer if he was gay and was told, “In inverted commas, ‘no’, otherwise yes.”

Radio suffers from being non-visual, as well as deriving certain advantages from it. When someone began talking about bleached hair, we all laughed because Jimmy Saville has bleached hair. When Jimmy talked about the number of people there, he was able to imply the existence of a fair sized gathering, when in fact there were fewer than a hundred, probably as low as fifty. When he said we all looked sober and businesslike, you couldn’t see me in the front row with me blue velvet jacket and bright silver boots (among other things, I hasten to add).

But more important than the little white lies radio allows you to tell is the greater one – that this was a free programme of people being given a fair chance to have their say. Let me explain the set-up. Jimmy was on a little stage with the group. On the floor of the room they were using as a studio, one at each side, were rather sober and not-unheavy gentlemen, each carrying a microphone attached to many yards of wire. You got your chance to speak when Jimmy allowed it – and since he obviously thought we were going to be troublesom, and the running order to which he frequently referred did not include any discussion of radical gayness, it took him a long while to send it our way. Often I found that the discussion had taken a sidetrack and by the time he waved a mike to me, my point was irrelevant. Other times the subject was changed altogether. How far this was influenced by the voice of the producers in Jimmy’s earpiece, I cannot say. Yet when the programme began to change character, and started to pursue any topic in depth, it seemed to be the exact moment for another piece of music. In short, it was in no sense of the word a discussion programme.

Actually talking into the mike was intimidating, too. Since I was sitting right in Front of Jimmy, the man holding the mike stood between us (then was room to one side). Consequently I had to either talk to the mike itself, or try to see how Jimmy was reacting via this large gentleman’s armpit – but it didn’t seem to matter most of the time, as Jimmy was usually looking at the other roving mike, and positioning it so he could cut in swiftly when I or anyone else paused for breath. The major occasion when we actually talked to one another was in arguing about drag, transvestites, and so-called effeminate behaviour, which he and everyone else had bundled up into one package labelled bad. It is not easy, in a few sentences, and in these surroundings, to separate the three and defend them, also separately. Especially as Jimmy was more interested in making the point written down on his order sheet (which presumably said ‘homosexuals are not like that’, where it ought to have said ‘not all… etc.’). And so he tried to steer me up the garden path and strand me, because I wasn’t in drag. I could have been a mite less honest than I was, and said that there was no point when the audience were listeners, not watchers – but in an already rather dishonest programme I did not wish to compound the felony.

As far as I could tell, both from the way the talk was steered and the reception of some of the statements, the plan of the programme was to present gays as nice, safe, normal, unremarkable people just like everyone else, valiantly fitting in where they are plainly meant not to go (since the law still treats us as perverts and a danger, and so do most people). It said nothing about gay people who believe, as I do, that we are different and in some respects better, and that we are capable of evolving a lifestyle of our own which would be perfectly compatible with every other possible sexual and ethnic group (something which predominantly heterosexual societies have never managed to do). Of course, taken as a whole we are no better or worse than anyone else, but we will not become anything like compete as individuals whilst we play pretend marriage and domesticity, which are plainly not, and never will be, the ways in which two or more men can build a life together. Only legal and financial lies, coupled with societal pressure of belief, make sure that heterosexual marriages continue at all. And this is what is meant, at basis, by being acceptable – it means behaving like a certain group of people who are plainly different in a fundamental respect from ourselves, and in a way which they themselves find near impossible.

But what the programme did do was to reach a number of people who have never met another gay person in their lives before, who have lived in loneliness and fear, and now find that they are not alone. In the couple of weeks following the programme the Albany Test alone had over a hundred letters of this kind. And it must have given courage to many others. It will have helped to case the tensions in a home such as mine, in which I live with my parents and only recently faced them with the fact that I am gay. It will have helped the painful process of dispelling all the history of prejudice and censure that we have faced and still do. Above all, it slated loud and clear the one fact that must be said again and again – that gayness is about love, that it is no different in any way from heterosexuality, that both are as good, as fulfilling, and as human as each other. The only perversion is their persecution of our freedom as though we were less than human.

As with so many other things, the control of the producer is the crucial factor, deciding as it does the image of a particular person or group of people which is communicated to the audience. When the audience is as large as 5 or 6 million, as it is with Speakeasy, then the producer of that programme has an enormous responsibility to the group he is portraying – in this case, gay people. Yet there was little preparation for the programme and it only lasted one hour, and so time was precious, an attempt was made to exclude certain sections of the gay community, who do have something to say, whether or not you agree with it. Those organisations which were represented did not cover anything like a wide range, being for the most part composed of people who seemed not a million miles from the self-pitying legions of the unfortunate living out their twisted lives – ‘but it wasn’t our fault’. So much more consultation should have taken place, so much more time spent before and during the programme. The only way we can be at all sure that a fair image of us goes out to those who don’t know is to do the job ourselves. It will be, I am sure, a very interesting exercise for both the producer and the participants.


 

c/o The Albany Trust
32 Shaftsbury Avenue
London W.C.1.
22nd May 1972

“Gay News”
19 London Street
London W.2

Dear Peter and David,

Anthony Grey tells me that I am in the dog house as far as Gay News is concerned. I also seem to be pig-in-the-middle over the BBC Speakeasy programme. I am sorry that it has been construed that I was indulging in jiggery pokery. It’ll teach me in future not to be lumbered with other people’s chores. The BBC rang and asked me to find thirty gay people as representatives of as many organisations and groups as I know, excepting Gay Lib. They also talked about something called “Challenge”, which I assumed was a Gay Liberation Front venture. There seems to be have been some misunderstanding and a right cock-up in the arrangements for the programme. I am sorry if I have hurt anybody’s feelings or made them feel that there was dirty work afoot I am glad everybody represented in the programme seemed to take a full park in the discussion and the Gay Liberation Front more than held its own.

May I wish Gay News every success. If at any time you feel I could contribute anything useful, let me know.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Butler

Come Dancing Together

01-197205XX 3A town hall somewhere in West London. GLF, and the gay world outside come together with two groups, disco, light-show and a bar, charging higher prices for drinks than most gay pubs. There are about 400 people and most of them seem to be enjoying themselves, dancing drinking, chatting; but there are lonely isolated people, perhaps the ones who are not pretty or trendy, who sit in corners on their own. GLF is supposed to be trying to break down this awful sexist custom where we only talk to people, dance with them, if we fancy them and want to go to bed with them. Then surely the whole point of dances run by GLF should be to start relating to the many non-GLF people who attend them, the non-politically motivated who are content to remain in their gay pub/club ghettoes, the meat markets. How can we do this? We should have group dancing; GLF literature should be available where you buy your ticket. It isn’t!

Ironically, the attendance by GLF members at these dances is falling off. They are held more and more frequently and always have the same formula – disco, lightshow and two heavy rock groups. Not everyone digs heavy rock music or dancing. Why not one group and a drag artist, or one group and a film?

At the last dance held at Kensington Town Hall about ten people started jeering and attempting to make one of the groups leave the stage as its lead singer was girating in a very sexual way. They shouted, “Sexist, Sexist, get off, get off,” and finally violently mounted the stage and tried to push the group off, ignoring the majority who either saw nothing wrong and wished the group to continue or else wanted to talk about the situation, not scream and kick; this frightened the non-GLF people who should feel relaxed while beginning to experience the true GLF ideology and its love which still exists, though distantly.

Gay Pride Week

01-197205XX 5On a late June night in 1969, police attempted a routine search at the Stonewall, a gay bar in Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village. This time, however, they met with resistence. The patrons of the bar pushed them out into the street. Greenwich Village is the largest gay ghetto in the world, and the police soon found themselves confronted by hundreds of angry homosexuals who streamed out of the surrounding apartments. What developed was a minor rebellion, complete with bricks and bottles: a spontaneous explosion of years of pent-up anger and frustration.

This was the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement in America, A year later it was to appear and grow in London. Every year in New York a carnival is held to celebrate the event and to demonstrate the movements feeling of Gay Pride. Last years celebrations were held throughout North America, and this year will also be celebrated in London and the major cities of Europe.

The London Gay Liberation Front is planning a week-long series of events as part of this years celebration of Gay Pride. Theme of the activities will be both an assertion of Gay Pride and and two concrete demands: repealing of all anti-gay laws and full civil rights for gay people.

The weeks events are:

  • FRIDAY JUNE 23rd: West London Gay Dance – Fulham Town Hall, 8pm – 12pm.
  • SATURDAY JUNE 24th: Various events, including mass leafleting of the gay areas.
  • SUNDAY JUNE 25th: Gay Days at both Battersea Park and Waterlow Park, Highgate. Meet at both parks at 12 noon.
  • MONDAY JUNE 26th: Disco at the Kings Arms, Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street. 8pm.
  • TUESDAY JUNE 27th: Street events around London: ring GLF number below for further information. Amongst other activities the will be GLF vigil outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, against the continuing war in Vietnam. 12am – 1pm.
  • WEDNESDAY JUNE 28th: West London Gay Disco at: White Lion Pub, Putney. 8pm.
  • THURSDAY JUNE 29th: The same events etc. (excepting US Embassy vigil) as Tuesday. Extra events are expected to come from local GLF groups.
  • FRIDAY JUNE 30th: GAY PRIDE DANCE: Fulham Town Hall, 8pm – 12pm. Featuring rock groups, light-shows, disco, bar, and much togetherness.
  • SATURDAY JULY 1st: GAY PRIDE CARNIVAL, meet at Trafalgar Square 2pm. March from there at 3pm. to Hyde Park through the streets of London. From 4pm. at Hyde Park there will be music, food, fun and surprises. On Saturday evening there will be a Disco at the Northern Polytechnic, Holloway Road. 8pm – 12pm. Music, lights, beer and even more surprises.
  • SUNDAY JULY 2nd: Gay Day at Primrose Hill from 2pm.

There will be more events and celebrations as they come together, for further information about Gay Pride Week contact:

Gay Liberation Front, 5 Caledonian Road, London N.1.
Telephone 01-837-7174.

Gay News is in no way involved in the organisation of Gay Pride Week, but we fully support the idea and motives behind this week of proposed gay celebrations. We wish than concerned much success in this venture and hope you, like us of the Gay News Collective, will endeavour to attend and participate in as many of these scheduled events as possible. Gay News, of course, will bc reporting and examining in depth the events of this week.

Snippets

01-197205XX 11From the Observer……”Writing biographies of Edward Heath is becoming a cottage industry.”

And from somewhere a little nearer home……”Course, Teddy’s never had any trouble, ‘cept once, when he went with someone who wasn’t in the services.”

We also hear the Gay Liberation Front’s newspaper, ‘Come Together’, is now being referred to in certain rather structured gay circles as “Fall Apart.”

And while we’re in that corner of the world, may we express our condolences to the exalted gentleman who slipped his disc in a counselling session.

Finally, a sobering thought for all gay newshounds everywhere.
“Over and above everything else Jeremy was in love with himself: but he didn’t get on together.”

Or, as we were told the other night in the caff up the road………
“Toilet? It’s downstairs, it’s the ladies. We share everything here.”

Bye for now.

Information

01-197205XX 11

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 information that comes to us. There’s a limit to what we can find out for ourselves, and too many pubs, clubs, movement offices and so on for us to visit. So – if there’s something we should know about, then you should ALL know about it. If your favourite pub or local gay group isn’t mentioned, write and tell us where it is and so forth. You can see from the listings themselves the sort of thing we think is of use and interest. These aren’t ads – we print all information free. This page is all yours!

Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

A present there are CHE groups in operation in the following areas:

  • Birmingham.
  • Blackburn/Burnley.
  • Brighton.
  • Bristol.
  • Cambridge.
  • Chesham/Amersham.
  • Croydon.
  • Canterbury.
  • Guildford.
  • Halifax/Huddersfield.
  • Ilford.
  • Leeds.
  • Lewisham.
  • Liverpool.
  • London: Central – Kensington, Highbury/Islington, Ealing/Acton, and Kilburn.
  • Manchester.
  • Newport/Cardiff.
  • Northampton.
  • Norwich.
  • Nottingham.
  • Oxford.
  • Sheffield.
  • Basildon.
  • Watford/St.Albans.
  • Southampton/Bournemouth.
  • Swansea/Carmarthen.
  • Teeside.
  • Windsor/Reading.
  • Wirral.
  • Wolverhampton.
  • Shropshire.
  • Tunbridge Wells.
  • Tyneside.
  • Stoke on Trent.
  • PROPOSED GROUPS:
  • Devon.
  • Bath.
  • Cornwall.
  • Taunton.
  • Leicester.
  • York.
  • Bradford.
  • STUDENT GROUPS:
  • Liverpool.
  • Manchester.
  • London.
  • Oxford.
  • Reading.

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.

  • Bradford.

National Gay Liberation Front Groups.

  • Aberyswth GLF, c/o Polly Bluck, Room 80, Alexandra Hall Victoria Terrace, Aberyswth.
  • Bath Gay Awareness Group, c/o Bob and Teresa, Monks Retreat, Monkton Combe, Somerset. Tel Limpley Stoke 2568.
  • Bedfordshire GLF, (Bedford/Luton/Dunstable). Contact Nik Ferguson, ‘Northridge’, The Avenue, Ampthill, Beds. If in Bedford area. Pete Griffin, 27 Ashtree Road, Tythe Farm, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, Beds if in Luton or Dunstable.
  • Birmingham GLF, 18 Moor Street, Ringway, Birmingham. Tel:021-643 0996. Meets Thursdays 7.30pm at Peace Centre at the above address.
  • Brighton GLF, Flat 4, ‘Transmore’, London Road, Brighton. Tel:0273-509393
  • Belfast. Belfast GLF, c/o M.A.Oulton, 10 Lower Crescent, University Road, Belfast.
  • Bradford GLF, c/o Robert Harker, Bradford Regional College of Art, GT.Horton Road, Bradford 7. Tel: 32-777
  • Canterbury Gay Lib Society, Patrick Forrest, Rutherford College, University of Canterbury, Kent.
  • Chelmsford GLF, Contact Brian Barker, 55 St. Peter’s Avenue, Maldon, Essex. Tel: 0621-4274
  • Cheltenham GLF, c/o Jim, North Gloucestershire Technical College Students Union, The Park, Cheltenham or Joe (Sister), 15 Rodney Road, Cheltenham.
  • Essex University GLF, Contacts, Roger Shaw, Flat 1, Eddington Tower, University of Essex, Colchester, Telephone Colchester 5141 or Stephen Edwards, 93 Plumberoo Avenue, Hookly, Essex. Meets every second Tuesday at the University.
  • Derby GLF, Contact Lawrence Brady, 63 Lexington Road, Chaddesden, Derby. Tel: 0332-674194 after 6.00pm.
  • Edinburgh GLF, Contact Tony Hughes, 55 South Clark Street, Edinburgh 8. Tel: 031-667 3534. Meets Sundays 3pm.
  • Durham GLF, Contactm Chris Barratt, 1 Beech Crest, Durham City, County Durham.
  • Higham Ferrers GLF, Contact, Phil Taylor, 21 Kings Avenue, Higham Ferrers, Northants.
  • Hull GLF, Contact, Keith Hose, Sexual Liberation Society, Hull University Union.
  • Lancaster GLF, 35 West Road, Lancaster. Telephone Sue 0524-65201 Ex 4422.
  • Keele Gay Lib Society, Contact, Gay Lib Society, Students Union, Keele University, Staffordshire.
  • Leeds GLF, Liberation Office, 153 Wood-House Lane, Leeds 2. Tel: 0532-39071 Ex 57. Meets every Friday 7.30pm at O.S.A. Lounge, University Union, Ring Phil 0532-782270 for details.
  • L.S.E. GLF meets every Thursday or Friday at 5.00pm in Room 5067. Contact: Student’s Union.
  • Leicester GLF, Contact John Paye, 126 Nansen Road, Leicester.
  • Manchester GLF, Contacts, Sheila Cohen, 43 Brantingham Road, Manchester 16. Tel: 061-226 3849. Or, Steve Lath, 32 Atwood Road, Didsbury, Manchester. Tel:061-445 5318
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne GLF, Contact: Eric Wears, 302 Condercum Road, Benwell Grove, Newcastle Upon Tyne 4. Meets every Wednesday at the Liberal Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle.
  • Norwich GLF, Contact: Jenni Grace, Leister Nurses Home, Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, Norwich. Tel:0603-28377 Ex 232 evenings only. Ask for Norfolk and Norwich Ex 232. Additional number 0603-873596 (Tony). Weekly Meetings at Red Lion, Bishopsgate, Norwich on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.
  • Oxford GLF, Contact Amit Pandys, 2 Marlborough Road, Oxford.
  • Reading GLF, Contact: Martin Kaufman, Sibley Hall, Redhatch Drive, Reading, Berks.
  • Sheffield GLF, Contact Ian Everton, 82 Harcourt Road, Sheffield. 10.
  • Southend GLF, Contact: Stephen Edwards, 93 Plumberow Avenue, Hockley, Essex. Tel: 03704-5635
  • Swansea GLF, Pigeon Hole G, Student Pigeon Holes, Union House, University College Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea.

London Gay Liberation Groups.

  • Camden G.L.F. meets every Thursday at 7.30pm in the Forresters Hall, 5 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London NW5. Tube/BR. Kentish Town, Buses 27, 134, 214.
  • East London G.L.F. meets every Thursday at 8.00pm at Agitprop, 248 Bethnal Green Road, London E2. Tube/Br. Bethnal Green, Buses 8. Contact 739 1704
  • Gaysoc University of London Students Union meets Fridays at 7.30pm at Malet Street, W1. Tube Warren Street/Euston Square.
  • Kilburn G.L.F. meets on Sundays. Ring 837-7174 for details.
  • Notting Hall G.L.F. meets on Thursdays at 7.30pm in All Saints Vestry, Clydesdale Road, London W11. Tube Westbourne Park/Notting Hill Gate. Buses 7, 15 or 52.
  • South London G.L.F. meets every Thursday at 8.00pm in the Minet Library, Knatchbull Road, Brixton, SW9. Tube/BR Brixton. Buses 3, 95, 109, 133, 159 and 172.
  • West London G.L.F. meets every Thursday at 8.00pm upstairs at the “White Lion” pub, Putney High Street, just south of Putney Bridge. Tube Putney Bridge, Buses 14, 22, 30, 85, 85A, 93, 220 and Green Line 718. BR Putney. Disco there every Wednesday.
  • Harrow G.L.F. meets on Mondays. Ring Alex 422 7890 or Peter 864 1953.
  • G.L.F. Youth and Education Group meets on Mondays. Phone 837 7174 for details.
  • G.L.F. Day Group for shiftworkers. Meets Thursday afternoons. Ring 969 3173 for details.
  • Gay Women’s Liberation Group. Contact Gillian 837 4502. Meets Wednesdays 7.30pm.
  • G.L.F. Office is at 5 Caledonian Road, London N1. Tube Kings Cross. Tel: 01-837 7174. Further information concerning local G.L.F. groups available form here.