Here We Are Again

In GN15 we said that there had been a decline in the amount of correspondence we were receiving from you. This is no longer the case, as your letters are once again coming in fast and furious. Keep them rolling in. We consider the Your Letters column to be a particularly important part of the paper, as it gives you a chance to air your opinions and communicate your ideas to the paper’s readership — the largest of any gay paper or magazine currently publishing in this country.

Safety In Anonymity

Whilst on the subject of letters, we cannot help but notice how only a minority of you are willing to have your names published with your correspondence. It is of course up to you whether or not your name appears in print, but we see the reason why a large majority of you prefer to remain anonymous, apart from just Christian names, or to use a pseudonym as a good example of the pressures homosexuals are still subjected to or subject themselves to. And remember, the 1967 Sexual Offences Act supposedly removed the threat of blackmail and the unjustifiable harrassment of homosexuals.

Many gays claim that there is no discrimination or prejudice against them, but if that is true, why are so many people reluctant to have their names appear at the bottom of their letters. It is not up to us to preach or moralise about whether you should or not, but we do have opinions like anyone else, and the impression we get is that people are still generally wary of the society they are part of, and as a result choose to hide behind a safe but passive cloak of anonymity.

Isn’t one answer to this problem to work hard for a Sexual Discrimination Bill to be introduced into Parliament, similar to the Race Relations Act. We would very much like to hear from you on these last two points, as the former affects you far more than us.

A Voice From The Right

In our last issue a reader suggested in the letters column that we should give Martin Stafford (the notorious reactionary executive committee member of CHE) a chance to express his right wing views.

We welcome this suggestion, as the pages of GN will always be open to all forms of opinion, whether they be right, left, liberal or otherwise. We believe it is the only fair way of allowing everyone to have their say, without one particular viewpoint dominating our pages. It is likely we will often disagree with what contributors are saying, but it is not up to us to suppress ideas and convictions, even unpopular ones. The readers of GN will make up their own minds, from the arguments presented to them.

As Mr Stafford’s action concerning Gay News has been of a rather negative nature in the past, we hope that this may stir him to put pen to paper and communicate on a more positive level, which, incidentally, we feel he is capable of if given the chance. The ball is in your court, Mr Stafford.

Trouble In The South

We apologise to readers in the Portsmouth/ Southampton area who may be experiencing some difficulty in obtaining our recent issues. A number of outlets are no longer willing to handle the paper, and are not prepared to say why, despite the fact that most of them sold all the copies of GN delivered to them.

On information received from usually reliable sources, we have learnt that pressure has been put on these retail outlets by a person well known in that area, who has considerable interests in a gay advertising pamphlet that is circulated around the country. It is depressing to find out that someone whose only concern is the exploitation of the ‘gay market’ feels it necessary to interfere with the distribution of a newspaper whose primary interest is not a commercial one and whose aim is to try and be a valuable contribution to society.

For legal reasons we cannot at this stage name the party involved, but we warn them that GN will not tolerate their recent actions, nor, we believe, will our readership, especially as the only thought of that party is to fatten their bank balance at the expense of the gay community. Wilful exploitation of gays by the worst forms of commercialism, must become a thing of the past, and if it will help to expose shoddy enterprises for what they are, we will do so.

If you are one of the people who now find it a problem to buy gay News, please support us by taking out a subscription or else insisting to the managers/owners of places that used to handle GN that they recommence stocking it.

Bad Debtors

Exploitation of gays has been with us for some time, and the situation we have just mentioned is one example. Another form this takes, which we are personally experiencing, is the way in which certain people are willing to sell Gay News, but are reluctant to pay us for copies they have sold. A one-time prominent London member of the largest gay organisation in Britain, is at this time witholding payment. And he is not alone. If those people cannot meet their responsibilities very soon we shall have no alternative but to publish a list of bad debtors. As many of you know the future of the paper has been on shaky ground during the past few weeks, when the gathering of funds has been of prime importance. Is it right then that a few individuals should make a personal profit by abusing the trust placed in them. A difficult problem but one which must be solved for the good of all of us.

A New Location

If all goes well in the next month, we should be moving to new premises, which are considerably larger than our present ‘home’. It will be sad to leave Paddington, but, as we have said many times before, we have more than outgrown our present location to the extent that it is badly interfering with our efficiency and expansion. At the time of writing we are still unsure of exactly what our new address will be, although it almost certainly will be in West London. So please carry on phoning and mailing to London Street until we inform you otherwise.

Office Equipment

When we do finally move, we will be much in need of office equipment such as desks, chairs, shelving, filing cabinets, etc. If any of you have anything you think may be of use, please get in touch immediately, so we can effectively plan ahead.

A New Voice On The Phone

Our advertisement in GN15, and an ad in Time Out, effectively provided us with a much needed Office Manager. The new voice on the phone is Mike Mason, who is already proving to be an indispensible member of the team that brings you Gay News every fortnight.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the other applicants, and hope that there is no ill feeling. You were all very fine people but as it turned out Mike’s qualifications and organisational ability brought him out on top.

Mail Order

As a response to the many requests from you, we have decided that within the next few editions we will be offering you the chance to take advantage of our Mail Order service. We intend to provide a prompt, efficient and inexpensive way of purchasing gay literature, etc, that you may have difficulty in obtaining elsewhere. The leading publishers in Great Britain, and eventually those in other countries, will be helping us to make this the most comprehensive and reliable way of getting important and much sought after books and magazines quickly to you, without charging the earth for the service. Further announcements about this new venture will appear in the paper soon.

Egg-less

Hope you are finding our ‘egg-less’ front covers acceptable. It gives our designer far more scope to work in, and it also means our covers will become progressively more eye-catching and exciting. Further design changes will be taking place soon, all of which should contribute to a greatly improved and far more readable GN.

Thanks to you we seem to be selling more copies of the paper with each new edition that comes out. We still have not reached the circulation figures which will keep our heads well above water, but if our rate of growth continues it won’t be too long. We just need your continued support.

Hope you are getting along alright with this copy of Gay News. The next edition, No 18, will be published on and available from 7th March. Deadlines for that issue are Friday 23rd February for copy, letters etc, and the morning of Tuesday 27th February for advertisements.

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.

Your Letters

Worthy of our Cause

London NW5

Dear Gay News,

At last a publication worthy of our cause! Today I purchased my first copy from a news-vendor outside Tottenham Court Road underground station.

I’m both surprised and delighted. Surprised at your very high standard and delighted with the format. Since you’re gonna need all the support you can get I’m not gonna proffer any criticism. That’ll come later – when you’re solvent!

Keep up the good work. I should like to contribute an occasional feature. Without payment of course. I’m a freelance journalist and my work has been published in a variety of magazines.

Please accept my very sincere wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Jack Jacobs

Valuable To The Young

Norwich

Dear Gay News,

I am enclosing a donation to help buttress your collapsing financial structure – and prevent the contents of that egg running out of control.

I for one am most grateful for the birth and continued existence of GN. Most gay publications — the Lunch Togethers, Jeffrey Comes and CHE Ballotins of this world – leave me feeling bloody furious, for one reason or another – usually many. Not so GN. It is handsome to look at, attractive to handle, interesting in content — just like its editorial collective, no doubt. I should be very sad and disillusioned with the gay community (assuming it exists) if GN were allowed to flounder.

My chief concern is that you should remain available especially for the young reader. I often think how valuable a publication of yours would have been to me, twenty-five years ago, when I was a confused and lonely teenager. There was nothing to help/reassure then – there isn’t that much of real value now — for their sake you must go on.

Ray

Penetrating Dark Corners

JCR, University of Southampton

Dear Gay News,

I don’t imagine that you get many letters from ‘straight’ people in appreciation of your entirely gay paper. Nevertheless I think that you are doing a great job in providing this interesting, usually well written, and good humoured magazine for your regular readers. I picked up number 10 by chance in a common room here and once over the shock of seeing what it was, started to read it. Learnt a lot — which perhaps is what a lot of other ‘normal’ people should do — I certainly feel I understand a little more about the gay way of life than I did.

I hope your News will penetrate even darker corners of the heterosexual bigotry — keep up the good work.

From a surprised reader,

S. C. Loder

P.S. Hope I got the terminology right — your jargon is worse than James Burke’s!

Sensationalism or Controversy?

In your comment on the Body Politic affair you rather pompously say: ‘Investigation must be unbiased, rational, and thorough’. In a Utopian society, maybe it would be — but in ours, alas, anything that smacks of sensationalism is seized on and used as the press consider will most impress their readership. Surely the solution is simply not to publish articles like ‘Of Men And █████ Boys’ and indeed not to publish pictures of pretty █████ nude boys like you did in GN14, (any straight person seeing the front cover could only have one opinion about the tastes and desires of gay people).

My other objection was the lack of any reply to the article itself. Whilst I do not deny that an affair with an older male would probably do a boy no harm, and might even do him some good, there are two things worth remembering. Firstly if the affair is discovered and there is an almighty hoo-ha and investigation (which often happens) the experience might well leave a mark on the boy’s mind which would never be erased. Secondly, relations between men and boys can only lead, as far as the man is concerned, to frustration, anxiety, fear, self-doubt, and the danger of punishment. The only sensible advice one could give to a man who loves 14 year old boys etc is to cultivate a liking for older teenagers and men in their twenties. I believe in most cases it can be done.

As to that balls about it enriching both parties and producing tomorrow’s revolutionaries – well!

A boy of 13 who is seduced is just as likely to become a member of the Monday Club, I’d have thought. Must we always make such wild assertions without any evidence?

Yours, looking forward to an Editorial comment on the Body Politic’ affair and perhaps a slightly more balanced article on the subject of boys and men.

TS

ED: The ‘Body Politic Affair’ was controversial, admittedly, to the point of offending certain people, but part of Gay News’ function is to throw open new ideas for discussion and thought.

Tremendously Illegal

Dear Gay News.

Recently you have been talking a lot about pederasty. Well, I’m not sure if I come under that classification, but here are my problems.

I am 17 and I’m normally attracted to boys of roughly 8-18, so therefore any type of sex for me is tremendously illegal. It is very hard for boys and chics like me to make contact. We are always scared of the consequences and are often put in a predicament when older people, understandably, make passes at us. This creates feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration and fear.

Let me state a personal incident: Some people I knew were squatting in a pre-fab due to be pulled down for a by-pass. One day myself and Sue (a Danish guy chick) were there with a █-████-███ boy who visited the pre-fab often.

The boy told us that he wanted to go to bed with me. After a little questioning we discovered that he knew what he was saying. Sue advised me that I should. But the other squatters came in so all was quiet. While people were there the boy sat in the chairs with me, with his arms around me. He did this for several days and kissed me upon entering and leaving and wanted to hold hands with me in the street (this I banned). I did not have any sex with him because the others promised some nasty happenings if I “Come the queer with any of the kids” this not only upset me but scared me terribly. They all knew I was gay yet this ‘proof’ was too much for them. Later they had the gall to say it was for my own good. They didn’t want to see me in jail.

There must be lots of boys like me who have had and are having similar problems.

This letter may not be much but I hope you’ll think about it.

Anonymous

Tricky Situation

Herts

Dear Gay News,

As a student librarian, I was interested to read your report (GN11) that Newcastle City Library had agreed to subscribe to Gay News, and similarly that Bath Municipal Libraries have refused it (GN 14).

Public Libraries have an essential role to play as agents of communication, and should act, in such a situation, as a counter to the restrictive monopolies of large organisations such as W H Smith.

On these grounds alone there is a strong argument for libraries to stock Gay News (and Sappho) since these are non-party-political, non-religious, and likely to be of help to many people.

The public librarian, however, is in a tricky situation, since he is responsible to a committee of elected councillors, who may shy away from risking complaints from the public which may endanger their political position. (This, I imagine, accounts for the ‘vetting by a senior librarian’ in Newcastle, which no doubt includes censoring the full-frontals which quite frequently appear, often unnecessarily I might add).

The image and aims of libraries are changing, slowly but surely; but we are still a long way behind the USA whose American Library Association now has a ‘Gay Liberation Group’. There is no professional contact between gay librarians in Britain at all.

I would like to hear the views of other gay librarians on these matters.

Stuart Woollard

The Support it Deserves?

Liverpool

Dear Collective,

In GN 14 the matter of money was raised no less than three times — in your Editorial, Peter Jackson’s letter, and Make or Break by Antony Grey.

Your commitment to the homosexual cause is greatly to be admired. Which of us would chuck up better paid jobs to work (very hard I’m sure) for £15 a week and with very little hope of a rise in the foreseeable future?

The financial contribution of the gay world is just not good enough. “Gay News is not out to make a profit, but cannot continue at all without adequate support.” Nice letters aren’t enough, tangible help is needed. I call upon all those that appreciate what Gay News is doing, here and now, to give it the support it deserves.

READERS: Show your appreciation by a little modest self sacrifice. Give 50% of what you spend in a week on smokes and drinks (or equivalent indulgences) to “Gay News”. Send it NOW.

To the collective I say: Put up the price forthwith to 25p — the same as Lunch charges. Quorum is twice that, so it would not be out of the way. Those who made an act of faith by making a years subscription might be asked to pay half the difference on their remaining numbers. I don’t think this would break anyone, and it should not only relieve you of the worry of not knowing where the money for the next edition is coming from, but also ensures that there IS a next edition!

I am sure that readers do not realise the urgency of your (or, one might say, OUR problems) and I write this in the hope, as an ordinary reader only,

I can emphasise the gravity of the situation.

I hope this will result in a flood of contributions!

I enclose my own, based on the above recommendation. Best wishes and good luck.

Joe Scouseland

Not Just Survive

Friend
Broadley Terrace
London W1
01-402 6345

Dear Gay News,

Talking with a group of straight social workers the other day (several of whom were middle-aged) I spoke about the problem of isolation for gay people. The older ones particularly asked how gay people can make contact let alone establish social or love relationships. We then spoke about GN, Lunch and the gay magazines. Their response was “but how do gay people know about them unless they’re already on the scene?” Their reaction was not just curiosity but meant to express sincere concern. I explained the reluctance of booksellers and newsagents to stock gay publications — unless they are purveyors of lucrative hard porn.

It is the isolated and lonely who need contact most and yet it is they whom we are least successful in reaching. That is why GN must not just survive but be much more widely available. Thus I am personally glad that you have decided to ‘tone down’ the contact ads. Though all minorities, however bizarre their tastes may seem to some of us, do need some means of meeting one another, in the present fraught legal situation there seems little alternative but to choose between catering for all needs and just some.

I have, privately to you, expressed my misgivings and concern that GN may be prosecuted for its ads, and thereby deprive gay people everywhere of a vital lifeline. I feel that I should now, publicly, add support to your decision (which will be unpopular in some quarters) and commend its wisdom and farsightedness. Here’s to a circulation of 100,000 in 1973!

Love to you all,

Michael Launder (National Organiser, Friend)

PS: Is your ‘1HL’ postal coding a subtly significant reference by the GPO?

More letters on page 10.

Letters Continued

Freedom From Abuse

London W11

Dear Ed,

First about myself: I am a London sociologist and university lecturer. I am also a homosexual with an affair which last October celebrated its tenth anniversary (we met as provincial working-class students: he is now 27 and I am 34). I’m thus no longer young. However I bridge in my person more than the gap between two generations, that also between the working and middle classes, and more significantly in this context, between the latter and the homosexual community. I throw in the biography, not I hope to boost further my already highly developed ego, but in order to venture the suggestion that my prejudices and attitudes are likely to reflect not only those of the ‘Gay World’ but of a wider spectrum of the community.

First of all the bouquet. I greatly approve of the whole, rather breath-taking panorama of organisations of homosexuals which have mushroomed, almost overnight, particularly outside the metropolis where the need is greater. I welcome also the appearance of Gay News because it represents the first attempts of homosexuals to communicate openly with each other as human beings and not merely as sex objects. Mr Stafford is, in my view, wrong to wish to suppress this or other forms of homosexual oppression on the grounds of their present (undoubted) crudity, and patches of abrasive immaturity. The nappy-wetting and turbulent infant grows up, in the fullness of time, into the maturity and strength of manhood. So it can be with Gay News and the rest. The signs are there already (see for example the excellent final section in your Christmas number editorial, and the wise decision to feature items of general interest).

There is however, one matter which causes me a measure of disquiet and true sorrow. This is the treatment of Mr Stafford in your columns. However wrong-headed and obnoxious his views may be to me and the young activists who dominate the metropolitan homosexual organisations, it must be recognised that he has an important point of view (representative of a very large body of homosexuals, apart from the rest of the community). We must all bear in mind that there is a much worse crime then being wrong, and that is to be convinced that one has a monopoly of what is right.

Mr Stafford’s presence on the executive committee of CHE far from being deplored, should be strongly welcomed, and his important viewpoint treated with the respect it deserves of mature people symbolised in a reasoned dialogue, free from personal abuse.

Finally if I were asked for just one suggestion as to hew your readership, innate strength and standing with the community at large might be enhanced dramatically and at a single stroke, it would be this: take a leaf out of the London right-wing press in their treatment of Richard Neville and offer Mr Stafford a regular column and a free hand in your newspaper.

After all, true tolerance, like charity, starts at home! I wish you a prosperous New Year in which your paper continues to grow in those virtues so ardently sought by us all (and even Martin Stafford, don’t forget).

Mike, D Phil (Dr Mike, Shrewesbury)

ED: Mr Martin Stafford is, of course, entitled to his opinions and particular viewpoint, but was it necessary for him to attempt to close down Gay News because he personally did not approve of one item in the paper? With regard to your suggestion that Mr Stafford be invited to write us a regular column, he is most welcome to, as are all people who wish to communicate their ideas and comments to our readership.

Radical Free Library

London SW9

Dear Gay News,

For some time now you have been running a request from me on information page) regarding the building up of a collection of radical gay pepers and magazines, as part of an alternative library.

We are all quite aware of how difficult it is to get books about homosexuality from a public library, very often they simply do not have them available/will not buy them/do not wish to buy them. The situation is probably more uptight over radical gay publications. As part of a wider move to collect, to make freely available, radical/underground publications an alternative library has been formed.

Quite probably under the aegis of Librarians for Social Change quite a lot of material will be microfilmed to be more freely available.

The point is we have no resources at all except what people donate. So can I appeal to everybody reading Gay News to please let me have any old back issues of gay publications, political rather than ‘pin-up’, instead of throwing them away. We would really be grateful if back issues of publications ‘Come Together’, especially issues 1 to 7 could be sent to us.

Geoffrey Leight

Here We Are Again

The occasional difficulty we have with the Here We Are Again column is how to begin it. There’s always lots of things to tell you about though, if you’re interested in how your paper is getting along. If there are ever any aspects of the paper you particularly would like to know about and see in print and we don’t cover here, all you have to do is drop us a line, addressing it to Here We Are Again. By the way, the problem getting into this piece seems to have been overcome.

Letters

Mentioned in the previous paragraph is a line about writing to us if there’s anything you want to find out about. Whilst on the subject of letters, we at GN have noticed that there has been a general falling off in the amount of correspondence you have been sending us for publication. Maybe the Christmas period had something to do with it. Remember though, the success of the letter page depends entirely on you, our readers. So if you have any comments, criticisms, complaints, information or whatever, you think should appear, don’t hesitate to write to us, stating of course if the letter is for publication or not.

W. H. Smith & Sons

The other Wednesday on BBC 2’s late-night Edition programme, a representative of W. H. Smith & Sons, the well known monopoly newsagents, distributors and moral censors, was defending the companies actions of restricting the amount of papers, magazines and books they allow the public to read. The Smith’s spokesman wriggled and avoided most of the questions put to him quite well and left viewers with no doubt as to why they don’t stock certain publications etc. The reasons obviously being that this firm have set themselves up as censors, thus deciding the amount of information, entertainment and awareness they think the British public should be able to get its hands on. Another gentleman on the programme, who squirmed delightfully and passively to the tune of Big Brother W. H. Smiths, ended the discussion with a most historically ludicrous comment — straight out of the Dark Ages – for he remarked that people in the provinces did not want or require the papers, magazines, et al that Smith’s won’t handle. What absolute rubbish. As Colin Wilson said in his recent book Order Of Assassins, ‘creative evolution’ is a must for a progressing and expanding society, and what better way is there of helping people to evolve and reach new levels of awareness than by supplying them with all available information and telling them of new ideas and theories that are currently being developed.

No News, Maybe?

Whilst a large number of our readers, and organisations, send us details and news of what is happening in their areas, there are far too many cities, towns and counties that we never receive anything from. Possibly the reason for this is that they have not yet heard of Gay News, or have been unable to get hold of copies (thanks to well known distributors who will remain anonymous). But this doesn’t explain away all the places where apparently nothing every happens. So come on people, let’s hear what’s going on in your part of the country, if you are not already keeping us informed. We are a newspaper, aren’t we? Please help us keep on being so.

Just so you don’t have to do all the work yourselves, Gay News is taking advantage of the news clippping services of Romeike & Curtice. But even they won’t be able to clear away all the gaps that appear in our news and information coverage. The rest is up to you.

Still Only 10p

Many of you when buying GN directly from a Gay News collective member remark, “Still the same price?” Cheerfully we allways chirp back, “Of course”. In this day and age, prices do not often stay static for very long, but we consider 10p to be a fair and reasonable price for GN and try and keep it the same for as long as we are able. That should be for some time we hope, even though we are intending to increase the number of pages in the not too distant future.

Personal Ads

As we said on the cover of GN14, that edition contained more personal ads than we have ever printed before. We take it to mean that you are finding the ads to be useful and judging by the amount of box number replies we send off, the ads are certainly being seen by more people than ever before. That’s great with us, but please don’t forget, if you have to be too explicit in your wording of an ad, we unfortunately will have to tone it down. The vast majority of ads are perfectly acceptable, so to the few people who can’t save certain things until answering the letters of those who reply to their ads, please don’t get too annoyed with us. As we see it, it’s better to have — for the time being at any rate – a slightly inexcessive personal ads service than to invite prosecution, which could well result in there being no paper at all.

Our ‘Gay’ Printers

F.I. Litho, our beloved printers, seem to be becoming the largest producers of gay publications. And good luck to them, they try their best for us. Originally they just printed Lunch*, then along came Gay News, and now Jeffrey* has joined the flock. We’re sure downtown Pentonville Road has never been so ‘gay’.

Legal Advisers

Whilst we are not allowed to mention them by name, it is against some sort of professional regulation, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our solicitors. The legal advice they give us is extremely helpful – many times giving us their time and ideas without us having to ask. And they always find time to listen to, and advise on, anything that is worrying us, no matter how trivial. Thanks a lot, we appreciate it.

Changes

In the next few issues of Gay News, we are planning to change and improve the basic design of the paper. We’ll let you know more about these alterations when we finalise our plans.

New Offices

Although there is a strong possibility that we will be moving to larger premises soon, until things are definitely fixed, please let us know of any offices you may know or hear about in Central London. We really have outgrown our present ‘home’ and are beginning to get a little desperate.

As usual, hope you find this issue up to our usual standard. Thanks for supporting us by buying it. Gay News No 16 will be published on and available from 7th February. See you then.

* Lunch is a monthly magazine, featuring articles, comment and interviews. It is associated with the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, although having strong independent editorial policies. Price 20p.

* Jeffrey is a commercial gay men’s entertainment magazine and is also published monthly. Price 25p.

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Quiet and Concealed

Natal, South Africa,

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on launching your paper. It’s pretty good too!!

It’s great to be in touch with what is happening in the UK. Here in 19th-century South Africa one can feel terribly isolated from all the activity that one feels sure is going on elsewhere: a copy of Gay News seems to bridge the gap somewhat.

Some brief notes on South Africa: we have a largish gay community (among the Whites) organised in each of Durban, Cape Town and especially Johannesburg. In each of these cities there is an exclusively gay night-club and sometimes a bar (non-exclusive). Johannesburg has about three clubs and at least an equal number of bars.

Gay attitudes being essentially S. African attitudes, there is very little racial mixing, any contact is frowned upon. I do not know anything about gay communities (if these exist as such) among any of the black population groups. I have heard that the Indians have a gay club in Natal, but apart from this one could easily believe there to be no black homosexuals in S. Africa!

Gay Liberation — none so far as I know, except for a small group in Durban started recently by a couple of friends and me. So far we’ve had little success. There is too much apathy and fear of coming out, even on the campus.

Police action – although homosexual acts are illegal, the police turn a blind eye on the clubs, at the moment. They don’t like Gay Lib though!

Generally speaking, the South African scene is quiet and concealed. Everyone minds their own business and lives in their own closets. As long as you conform more or less, you’re OK.

Richard Wallace-Tarry

Appalling Bad Taste

London SE15.

Dear Sirs,

I must say I find your picture of Lord Longford and Cliff Richard in the current issue of Gay News in appalling bad taste. Lord Longford is one of the few really good men in public life today, spending much of his time helping drop-outs in all walks of life. Because you disapprove of his investigation into pornography, it is no excuse for slandering him in this way.

The thing that worries me about pornography is the effect on youth. I am not a father but I don’t wish my young nephews to see lurid paperbacks when purchasing their sweets and comics. Nor when answering an ad in your magazine, do I wish to be invited to ‘cum in my pants’ while watching young boys having sex on film. Don’t you think it is wicked that children should be exploited in this way? What sort of lives are they going to lead? Anything that Lord Longford can do to clean up pornography as it affects children is long overdue.

There are many good things in your magazine and also some offensive. With so many representations of the male organ in the current issue I should think even more retailers will refuse to handle it, and I don’t blame them.

H.R.A.

Thanks to Gay News…?

York.

Dear Gay News,

Thank you for your paper — it’s saved me from going completely insane. My boyfriend and I have lived together for three years, during which time I found out he was gay.

Together we dragged ourselves off to various doctors and psychiatrists, after which time we were both taking anti-depressants for some time. Phil began to think he was a raving pervert, and I believed it was gay people who were perverting him.

Then Gay News emerged into our lives, and slowly the gap between us narrowed and we began to live again. Only through understanding and respect of each other as people have we managed to denounce the roles that society has given us.

At last Phil can be as gay as he likes, and I’m proud of him for it. After reading some of your articles in GN I’ve cried with guilt to think that a year ago I might have thought like those cops.

With the help of GN and a change of attitudes we now have an extremely happy relationship, sexually and otherwise.

Maybe your paper ought to do an article on bisexuality. One doctor we went to see told us there was no such thing! During one visit, when Phil wasn’t there, he told me that I should find myself a nice straight guy so that I could have children, as that what my aim in life should be, and what was a nice girl like me getting mixed up with a ‘queer’ for.

Well, it’s shit to the lot of them because we’ve proved them wrong, we’re happy. I’d much rather stay with Phil as he’s a beautiful person, than go forth and multiply with any Tom, Dick or Harry for the sake of keeping up with the attitudes of society, ie that gays and straights are two different kinds of species.

Lots of love from a converted straight,

Joan

Safety in the Suburbs

Dearest Pooftahs,

What with all the carry-on, hasslings, arrests, righteous indignation and wrongful suspicions of stolen cameras that has been happening around and about the dear old Coleherne lately, isn’t it about time that someone (could it be me?) tried to bring some little perspective into the matter.

So all right, the pigs persecute us gays on every possible occasion, and most of us have known about it for quite a time. But aren’t we playing rather too obviously into their hands in this particular case.

How many times have you visited the Coleherne at closing time, not merely as a witness to the bullying pig tactics which quite obviously go on, but as an observer of how one particular part of a minority group (ie the gays who use the Coleherne) behave late at night in a high-density living area. OK, I know 11pm isn’t late for some, but some of us are early risers by economic necessity, and the cruising and camping, bitchy fights and lingering farewells often do carry on until much later.

Perhaps if a few of our people were less shrill in their manner and more abstemious with their gin and tonics, the pigs wouldn’t even have an excuse.

Anyway, right on. Gay News, you’re just beginning to let it all hang out!

Love.

J. Porter.

ED. Bring up any little thing you like J.P. and play into anyone’s hand you can get into, but some of us have been frequenting the Coleherne regularly for up to ten years, as customers, and we know the scene. Earls Court is generally a noisy late-living area, especially the Old Brompton Road itself, it’s the police who push people into the back streets, and who are we, or you, to dictate drinking habits to anyone.

Any Offers

Cheshire,

Dear Sir,

I am writing to see if you may be able to help me with my problem.

Since 1940 I have been a confirmed S/M, and my first wife was also, and therefore I had no occasion to look elsewhere to have my bottom smacked or caned or whipped to give me complete sexual satisfaction. But in 1960 I lost my first wife with cancer. In the 18 months which followed I met three men, one a homosexual, in Manchester and he got pleasure out of smacking my bottom for an hour at a time until it was bleeding, and this relationship lasted for three weeks then he disappeared. I found two more but they were only one night stands. Then I remarried and tried to introduce this way to my second wife and found she wouldn’t and couldn’t respond to it, and I have tried to find someone, unknown to my wife, of course, who would smack my bottom but I’ve had no success and I’m very frustrated now. I don’t mind which sex, colour, or nationality as long as I can meet someone, or as many people as possible because I like plenty of it.

So if you could help me at all I would be very grateful. Or course this is all unknown to my wife and there would be hell to pay if she found out, but if I make contact with someone first, arrangements could be made later.

R.B.

ED. If anyone wishes to write to our friend we will pass all letters on to him. Stamped envelope please.

Kiddettes

London WC1

Dear Gay News,

Even if Councillor Kidd appears to be developing an obsession with homosexuals there is no reason why we in turn (as seems to be the case) should develop an obsession with him. There are few people in Scotland who would treat his views with the seriousness of Gay News 7, and still fewer who would go to the trouble of seeking them out — with the possible exception of BBC Scotland looking for a lighter item for its News. Councillor Kidd has been a laughing-stock throughout at least the Lowlands for years; the very mention of his name provokes derision. Homosexuality is only the latest in a very long list of subjects on which he has pronounced with unfailing unintelligence. He is an isolated eccentric even in true-blue Edinburgh: have you thought about how much practical effect his exhortations to the police have had?

You would do better to think more about the support for us that does exist outside the gay community (and finds regular practical expression — witness the Iona Community’s help to SMG) than to build up bogeymen for us to shudder over in private. Do for goodness’ sake cheer up: much of your last issue reads as if it were produced in an office full of inconsolable depressives.

Good wishes anyway.

Graeme Woolaston.

Sickening Treatment

London NW3

Dear Sir,

I was interested to read your Stop Press item on the trouble it the ‘Champion’ on 16th September. As an onlooker that evening, I was sickened by the way the Landlord and police treated the GLF boys who were not in my opinion in ‘drag’. I feel that this word must be defined more precisely before the law is allowed to come down upon it.

I was also shocked by the lack of support from other gays in the bar and I left shortly after the events, determined not to support that pub again. Until the Landlord drew attention to himself and the police arrived I was not even aware of our persecuted comrades.

I am not accustomed to wearing drag but I did not find the clothing in the least offensive and they behaved admirably in the circumstances.

If gay people allow this sort of discrimination without protest, where will it end?

A Teacher

No Chips Please

Birmingham

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, thanks for a newspaper that looks towards the future and not the usual propoganda we read and hear so much about, as though we have a chip on our shoulders about being gay.

We are all human beings with the same feelings towards life as everyone, homosexual or heterosexual and not at all odd, so there is no need for anyone to feel guilty about being gay.

I would like this paper, given time, to be read by heterosexual as well as homosexual. We will eventually get accepted by the general public if we don’t segregate ourselves as though we are different and as if we are all the time hitting out upon the public as though they are always against us. It works both ways, and the sooner we realise this the better our chances for an equal acceptance!

Every Success for your good work,

P. Arthur Miles
Gwen Browne

Twelve Inches of Pleasure

All the Young Dudes — Mott the Hoople CBS 65184

Following the success of their recent single, Mott The Hoople have released a new album, their first for CBS. Having had four LP’s issued by Island, they now have changed not only their record label, but also their image. This is considerably helped by having David Bowie as their producer, who replaces Guy Stevens. And what they have come up with is their best recording to date.

Mott The Hoople, whilst suffering from poor record sales in the past, have always been a fine band to see live. Now some of this live appeal comes across on the record. Their hit single, which is also the title track of the album, All The Young Dudes, has moved them up a few rungs on the group status ladder to stardom, and this is apparently the sort of image they now want to project, that of budding little superstars. Young Dudes was written by Bowie, as is obvious by the way Ian Hunter delivers the vocal, and is up to the standard of the best material being produced by darling David.

Bowie’s influence is felt throughout the record, especially in the eclectic choice of minor rip-offs from the other groups – on Young Dudes for instance there is a Lennon/McCartney chorus melody line that Bowie is so fond of using. Also, knowing of Bowie’s present involvement with Lou Reed, the inclusion of his song, Sweet Jane, comes as no surprise.

The Mott’s playing has improved since their last release. Their sound is a lot less cluttered than before, and Mick Ralphs’ guitar playing is far more effective and precise. For instance, Ralph’s break on Jerkin’ Crocus is a superb.

The Mott’s lyrics are very sexually orientated, more than enough to upset Lord Porn, and liable to send Mrs Whitehouse screaming to the Director of Public Prosecutions. But luckily no reasonable person takes much notice of these bringers of ‘fire and brimstone’. Lines which sound suspiciously like: “My baby calls me when she wanna play” (or is it I “lay”), and another line: “You can smoke my cigar all night” from a song called Sucker, make their intentions and meaning crystal clear. On the beautifully titled Jerkin’ Crocus with Ian Hunter doing a full Mick Jagger, he delivers this memorable phrase: “I know what she wants. Just a lick of your ice cream cone”. Tasty, so is Ready For Love on side two.

Whether Mott The Hoople is going to make it big at long last remains to be seen. If they disappear to America, we will know that they have. But this time round they have brought out an album that is at times stunning and they have certainly rewarded their fans who have been waiting quite a while for a recording as good as this.

Particularly recommended for hearing on headphones if you’re lucky enough to own a pair, or two – so your boyfriend or girlfriend can share the same experience.


Letters — Jim Webb Reprise K44173

Jim Webb, creator of the classic MacArthur Park, has a new LP of his own released. And whereas his past outings have been very much an artist’s artist trip, this offering communicates a lot more to the average listener.

Webb’s songs have always been about love, and its pain, and moments of supreme happiness. He writes with a sincerity, obviously from personal experience, which is the main power of his songs. And this time round, Jim is as explicit as possible about his feelings and observations, and also shows a fine sense of comedy and self-parody.

The most humorous track is Once In The Morning, which also advises “and once at night”, and “once in the afternoon and once at twilight, once for the money and again ’bout midnight”. The song tells of a few adventures such as meeting with Jan the Fan Dancer’ who says: “You play with this son and I’ll play with that”. Also a man he meets in London tells him: “And I like some of yours if you’ll please take some of mine”.

In a slightly more serious vein Webb comments on air play censorship: “If you want me to I’ll sing about fuckin’ – Sing about it fast and sing about it slow – Wanna hear it on the radio tho’ …” And why not, it’s a pleasure and a unity we all share.

Most of the other songs tell the usual tales of love and its ups and downs. He includes his very beautiful Galveston, that was a big success when recorded by Glen Campbell.

This record is much more of a rock record than his past releases, as well as being without the sometimes confusing dynamic orchestrations.

In conclusion the album is a warm, tender and aware contribution to popular music. Its explicitness will shock a few, but most people who hear it will be moved by the ‘letters’ and thoughts Jim Webb shares with us.


Nervous on the Road — Brinsley Schwarz – United Artists UAS 29374

After being completely converted to the Brinsleys after their last album, Silver Pistol, I’m afraid that I find this latest effort a little disappointing.

I still love the relaxing images the group create and the, more than ever, togetherness of their playing which shows up a lot of other groups. But somehow this just misses being anything else except competent. The happiness and feeling of ‘good times’ that come across so strongly on their last release, a more country influenced collection of-songs, is not as obvious as before. This record has far more of a rock feel to it.

Tne Brinsley’s have always produced albums that needed a little time to get into, and as I listen to this record more often, a few of the tracks start to stand I out more than they did to begin with. Surrender To The Rhythm for example, is a fine rocker, and the title track, Nervous on the Road (But Can’t Stay Home) displays a good degree of wit. as well as moving along at a pleasing pace.

Their version of Chris Kenner’s I Like It Like That on side two, showcases the group’s affection for old rock ‘n’ roll classics, which are now very much a part of their live performances. Their treatment of this classic rocker shows an understanding ot the essence of good rock. It’s a shame that they didn’t include one of the Sam & Dave numbers they are also so fond of.

The organ and piano playing of Bob Andrews is one of the consistent pleasures of Brinsley music and heightens the effect of most of the numbers they are working with at present.

A lot of my friends are raving about this album, so I suggest you give it a listen and draw your own conclusions. It’s superior rock but the total of the rewards on hearing it are in your head.


Soulful Tapestry — Honey Cone – Hot Wax SHW 5005

Honey Cone is an American soul vocal group, comprising three black girls. And this album contains two of their biggest hits to date, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show and Want Ads. Although the group have not met with much success in this country so far, they are firm favourites in discotheques and with soul fanatics.

Their sound is very commercial but with a few dashes of originality that put them above a lot of other groups working in this musical area. The arrangements are slightly reminiscent of Tamla Motown ones, but without the over-production now often associated with that company. And their style is less earthy than that of companies such as Stax and Atlantic.

The songs move along at a good pace and are ideal dance music. My only complaint would be that after one listens to both sides of the album, they become a little mechanical and predictable. Basically they are a ‘singles’ group and to keep one’s interest throughout a whole album is quite a task. But with slightly more inventiveness in the arrangements and a choice of stronger material, they should put matters right on future LP releases.

Soulful Tapestry is a must for soul enthusiasts and for those of you who want to hear something a little different to what more established soul music companies are churning out.

Incidentally, Honey Cone’s Want Ads is one of Gay News’ theme songs. I surely don’t need to explain why do I? Just turn to the next to last page of the paper.


Portrait of Donny — Donny Osmond — MGM 2315108

Much to my surprise I found that Donny Osmond’s first solo album is an absolute delight. The choice of material is ideal for Donny’s voice, and the arrangements are nicely spectacular and especially suitable to the emotional elements in the songs.

Included on the album is Puppy Love, the ‘teen’ hit of the year. This song is largely responsible for bringing the praise and success that Donny now enjoys. In this country he even outsells that other idol of kid culture, David Cassidy. Written and originally recorded by Paul Anka (Donny’s equivalent of the late-fifties), Puppy Love contains a degree of protest about adult non-understanding and intolerance that young people can identify with. Also the sentiments expressed in all the songs not only touch this particular section of the record buying public, but also reach a wider audience with their simple sincerity. The Goffin/King number Hey Girl works on the same level, as does All I have to do is Dream and This Guy’s in Love With You.

Eddie Holman’s sadly underrated Hey There, Lonely Girl is another good choice by Donny, whilst the dynamics of Love Me make it hard to believe that the song is being sung by a twelve-year-old.

All in all, Donny has produced an immensely enjoyable album, that is far more than one might at first have thought possible.


Super Fly — Curtis Mayfield – Buddah 2318065

Curtis Mayfield’s new album is his first entry into Isaac Hayes territory, for it is the soundtrack of a new ‘black’ movie called Super Fly.

Although I don’t know much about the film I gather from the lyrics that it is about drug addiction and ‘pushing’ in a black ghetto. The film is directed by Gordon Parks Jr, who was responsible for the Shaft movies.

Those of you who are into Mayfield and what he has been doing since he left the Impressions will find this record as good as his recent releases. If you aren’t into his brand of funky/city soul yet you will probably turn on to it if you hear a track from the album at a discotheque. But otherwise I think it is a success and a must, only for those already converted to this type of sophisticated soul music.


Fables — England Dan & John Ford Coley — A & M AMLS 64350

Fables is the second album to be released by England Dan & John Ford Coley. This duo sing and play melodic, thoughtful, full-of-love songs and music. Their material ranges from graceful to medium-heavy rock, but without ever being excessive. Much of the time they are very beautiful. Dan and John’s approach is simple but direct. Something like the old Simon & Garfunkel sound.

Some of the best ‘stories’ told on this record are Simone (their latest single) and Casey, whilst What I’m Doing, which closes side one, is a minor anthem of love and the bewilderment it can cause.

Unfortunately a lot of records similar to Dan and John’s are being released. This will probably be unheard and unnoticed like so many others. It’s very much a disc you like immediately and play a lot, or dismiss completely. Personally Fables makes me feel good whenever I listen to it, could possibly do the same to some of you. Play it if you come across it.

Denis Lemon


Walter Carlos’ Clockwork Orange – CBS73059

Inevitably many copy versions of the music featured in ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ are now beginning to appear on the market, most of these only having the orchestral passages. CBS has released Walter Carlos’ entire synthesised score for and about this book/film.

Many of the pieces, of course, were composed before the film was made, but Carlos has inserted some original works. Thankfully, we now have the full “Timesteps” music, of which we were only given a tantalising portion on the soundtrack. What a pity Carlos wasn’t invited to write the score for Kubrick’s previous film ‘2001; A Space Odyssey’. This piece shows what Carlos is capable of doing. Along with ‘Timesteps’ the album contains two other Carlos compositions, ‘Theme from A Clockwork Orange (Beethoviana) and ‘Country Lane’ – two exciting pieces, the latter not heard in the film, but an evocative interpretation. A deeply moving piece.

The choreographed ‘Ultra-violence’ scenes were accompanied by the orchestral passage of Rossini’s ‘The Thieving Magpie’. Here Carlos has included the electronic version. Marvellous in stereo. Also this album has several other synthesised classical works as featured on the soundtrack.

In comparison I find this album far more satisfying than the actual soundtrack. For a reminder of the film buy the soundtrack – for an experience, buy this record. Real horror-show.

Anthony Godden.

Your Letters

ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.

04-197208XX 02Epsom,
Surrey

Dear Gay News,

Thanks for the first two issues of G.N., they were more professional-looking than I expected. Inevitably as a ‘straight gay type’ I find the extensive coverage given to the Rad. Femmes rather tedious but I daresay I’m in a minority there anyway.

I’m enclosing a cheque to help things along, hope plenty of other people are doing the same! Looking forward to bigger and better issues – keep it up (I meant the paper).

A.F.T…


Leeds Gay Liberation Front,
Liberation office,
153 Woodhouse Lane,
Leeds. Tel. 39071

Dear Gay News,

May we comment on the various articles concerning the Rad. Femme faction in London GLF? There are things happening in the Capital which give us cause for great concern. Most of all we are extremely worried at the prospect of GLF (or even our GLF group) being ‘captured’ by any faction whatsoever. GLF is a movement not an organisation – an organic entity rather than a closed structure with a unified ideology. In our present state of affairs that is, to say the least, a point of some tactical worth. We are aware that within one movement there are various political viewpoints — Liberal, Marxist, Radical, Feminist, Situationist – being expressed. We welcome this. We believe that a consideration of all our revolutionary theories and the establishment of a dialogue between the various points of view is of great service to our growth as people and as a movement. All this demands that we guard against a takeover (either practical or ideological) by any faction within the movement. If the London Rad. Femmes are attempting such a takeover they can be assured of our undying opposition.

We might add that the behaviour displayed to the sisters working on ‘Spare Rib’ shows a monstrous lack of solidarity. Surely we should not publicly criticise actions in other areas of struggle? Surely this sort of thing tends to suggest that the various people’s struggles are not linked to each other, when what we ought to be suggesting is that they are?

We are hoping that the alarms are exaggerated. If they are not we shall fight every attempt to wreck the gay movement, whoever it be made by.

Power to the People
Leeds GLF XXX


The Albany Trust,
32 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London W1V 8EP.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for asking me to tell you what I thought of your first two issues. It’s nice to be billed as a “Special Friend”, and I hope I’ll go on being that even if I’m a candid one as well! So here goes.

Well, I think your “egg” symbol just about sums it up – as the curate said, good in parts. Mostly very good. It looks good, feels good (full marks to your choice of paper, type and layout design) and a lot of it reads good; though I agree with your correspondent who pleads for a more wideawake proof-reader. You’ve elevated gay journalism head and shoulders above your oh-so-trivial predecessors and have given us, for the first time, a sincere, serious minded yet lively and entertaining newspaper by gay people.

I nearly added “for gay people”, but stopped short, saying to myself; “I hope not”. At least, I hope not just for gay people. For if Gay News is to fulfil its most sorely needed function, it will not only tell us more about ourselves but (and more importantly for the betterment of things) also really increase understanding of us in the non-gay world. What this movement needs most of all – and most urgently in Britain — is improved communications; amongst ourselves, yes, but primarily the initiation of a meaningful dialogue with the wider community, too many of whom view us through the distorting mirrors of myth, stereotype, ignorance and prejudice.

That’s why I very much hope you’ll keep your powder dry and not squander talent, energy, strength and hard-won bread tilting prematurely at windmills. For instance, I believe it’s more vitally important, for the sake of many thousands of gay people who don’t even know yet that you exist, to consolidate Gay News and ensure its regular publication and wide circulation, than to get caught up in a fruitless hassle with the more antiquated elements of the British establishment over such relative trivia as small ads.

Not that I think the recent ludicrous IT judgment can be allowed to stand – indeed it must be strenuously fought, and will be – but I want you to be around providing battle reports, not clobbered into silence.

Your wise philosophy of not forgetting that we’re all. whether gay or straight, people confronted with many of the same rather lousy human predicaments in our living and loving, I like. Your concept of Gay News belonging to all its readers, and not just to its regular writers, I like too – creeping censorship is the occupational disease of even the most conscientiously fair minded editors. Certainly I and, I hope, my friends and colleagues in Albany Trust, NFHO and elsewhere, will try to keep Gay News readers informed about what’s going on around our scenes. You’ve already shown quite a flair for lively reporting and trenchant comment. It’s clear that some of us won’t always be pleased at what we read, but where we disagree or feel mistranslated, I’m sure your columns will be impartially open to all coherent viewpoints.

Times change. Much of your VD article originally appeared a few years back as an Albany Trust pamphlet, and became a constant best seller. Yet an influential well-wisher criticised it as a great blunder because he thought it would spread the idea around that most homosexuals were promiscuous and probably disease-ridden. I said I hoped that any who were the former wouldn’t necessarily also be the latter, which was why the pamphlet was written. Thank goodness we can be more matter of fact now.

Two noticeable gaps. So far the world scene hasn’t featured except for the rather pointless piece about cottaging in Canada. Surely that’s not the most significant aspect of gay life there or anywhere else. It exists and needs reporting, I agree, but there’s so much else you haven’t yet touched upon which could have been featured first. Most of your readers won’t be aware at all of the existence of an influential homophile movement in North America and some European countries which has chalked up some really significant achievements in civil rights progress for gay people during the past 25 years. (The notion that campaigning for homophile recognition is something that didn’t exist until about a couple of years ago is just plain wrong.) Second, I hope there’ll be lots of discussion in Gay News, as time goes by, not only about what gay people are doing, but about what they could be doing but aren’t (such as treating one another with more consideration than is often the case; and not talking about “love” when they only mean “sex”).

That’s enough from me for now. Keep right on!

Love and peace,

Antony Grey.


GAYINTERNATIONAL,
Raamgracht 13,
Amsterdam Centrum,

Gay News,

A group of friends, living in Amsterdam, have formed a group called GAYINTERNATIONAL. We are working at presenting opportunities to gays in England to find contacts in Amsterdam – and the rest of the Continent, in fact — and vice versa. This is being done by sending a newsletter to those interested. We feel that Amsterdam is an ideal centre to operate from, because of the relaxed and informal attitude here, and, at the same time, circumventing the harassment and persecution that such an organisation will find, if it were based in England.

Through this service, Englishmen may in fact safely establish local contacts!

If any of your readers are interested in the group, they should write to us, including an International Reply Coupon for postage, and we will gladly send them information.

D. James.


Park Avenue,
George Street,
BIRMINGHAM B12 9RU

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I was interested to read the various articles about the Radical Feminists in GAY NEWS Number Two.

I knew nothing about the Spare Rib incident, and it’s good to have a newspaper which brings such events to our notice. But I’m a bit worried all the same that you may not be as much in danger of creating sectarian rifts as you say the Radical Feminists are.

Some of your criticisms are perfectly valid. The Radical Feminists – at least, those who presumably belong in some measure to this group and were at the Birmingham come-together – can be very aggressive in their manner, ready to put down disagreements or even nervous questionings in a manner that is male chauvinist. There certainly is a danger — a right-wing danger – in a pre-occupation with individual change which ignores the necessity of changing circumstances and of reaching out to oppressed sisters and brothers less well placed to explore and liberate themselves than all but a minority. In so far as the Radical Feminists think that everyone in GLF should do what they do, there is an element of the fascist freakiness that we all know so well — “do your own thing, so long as it’s my thing”.

But it does not help any to put down the Radical Feminists in precisely the terms that validate their anger. Your correspondent Simon Manson as well as featured writer Doug Pollard and rather more obliquely Denis Lemon all got at the Radical Feminists because they wore frocks, put on garish make-up and were generally a bit of a sight. That is precisely the language of male chauvinism that the Radical Feminists object to and are put down by. Of course the Radical Feminists don’t look ‘normal’; of course they are going to affront all those who cling to rigid definitions of the sex role with their appearance. It is very important indeed to see that this is an absolutely crucial aspect of gay politics. It is not a question of tolerating the Radical Feminists, but of realising two crucial things — one, that we must learn from them, their difficulties and, in fact, remarkable successes m thinking through and acting out what it means to overthrow sex roles; and two, we must see that the affront they are to straight society is a political action in which we are all implicated and from which in the last analysis we shall all benefit.

The GAY NEWS put-downs of the Radical Feminists are all the more inopportune in that the article by the Radical Feminists themselves (-and why call them a faction so glibly?) implies the degree to which they do put alternatives to violence and chauvinist aggression into their thinking, how they intend not to be drawn into situations where ‘male egos oppose each other’, how they are prepared to go deeper than the make-up and dresses that GAY NEWS so gleefully jibes at.

As I say, there are important arguments to be made about the Radical Feminists, about the role of individual liberation and radical action, about the way in which sex roles are to be broken down. But the arguments are not at the level of attacking the life style of the Radical Feminists from which we have a lot to learn and which is working for us in its impact on the political scene. The argument is more about the need to be generous towards those who have never come out. those who haunt the ghettoes. those who lead double lives, and the need to find ways of living with each other in a movement that is emotional sexual and political. Above all. we’ve still got to learn to love being gay. to love other gay people, and to think of ourselves as we gay people, not isolated individuals who happen to be gay.

Richard Dyer.


Nottingham Street,
London W1.

Dear All,

I have issue No. 2 in front of me — and frankly I’m rather sad.

I don’t quite see, for instance, the point of what I consider a rather revolting picture on the front of the newspaper. I am opened-minded, and am not in any way a ‘prude’, but I do feel that it was in rather bad taste.

In fact, to be quite honest, the whole newspaper spells ‘G.L.F.’ — an organisation that appears to have one great big chip on its shoulder. The Biograph Review, does it have to be written in such a school-boyish way? Or is it a school fourth-former that actually does write it?

I am all for a gay newspaper, as all gay people seem to be. But we do want one with a pretty high standard of journalism. Gay News is very young — and it will improve – at least I hope it will. This can’t be done without the help of others – that means us – so perhaps it you do print this, it will spur up some enthusiasm.

George Copeland.

Your Letters

ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.

03-197207XX-02The ………. Club,
Malta
July 1st, 1972.

Dear Gay News

I and my fellow Gays here have read with interest the account of your new venture “Gay News” in Alan Brians Diary in the Sunday Times, of June 25th.

Here in Malta we have formed a Gay Circle consisting of seven Maltese three English and two Italians, ages between 18 and 69 (the latter one of our most active members).

It has long been our wish to contact visiting gays of any nationality and to give them hospitality. All of us have our own accommodation and can put up suitable visitors with similar tastes. We know how difficult it is for strangers in a strange land.

All of our circle are attractive especially the Maltese who are in the 18-24 year group. These boys are most appealing having beautiful eyes, sensuous and accommodating mouths, and beautifully experienced fingers. All are slim and most seductive. We are all two way operators and everything goes for us except whipping. That is the only thing we bar.

We understand that you cannot print gay lonely hearts ads in your magazine but we would be most grateful if you could pass the news of our existence in your circles.

We would like to subscribe to your magazine but police cencorship of magazines is so tough here it would be dangerous for us to receive it.

In any course we understand that all letters will be answered so who knows you may get us some contacts.

If any visiting gays want to contact our circle will they please contact me by letter first stating their likes and dislikes, their preferences or desires and I am sure they can be well accommodated.

Best wishes for the success of Gay News.

J.


Che Kent Youth Group
1, Trinity Road,
Folkestone,
Kent.
8th July, 1972

Dear Gay News,

I am very impressed with both issues so far, I think your format, articles and layout is just great, please keep it up and don’t for goodness sake fold up will you?!! Can you find a space somewhere just to ask if there’s anyone in Kent, especially S.E. Kent who reads Gay News and hasn’t joined either CHE or GLF and is willing to help me get things going in this “respectable” seaside resort. So far I am having to do all the leafletting, sticker sticking and campaigning work by myself which beside being time consuming can be rather disheartening too. So please all you young active gay guys and girls if you’re reading this and want to help drop us a line for heaven’s sake!

Love,
  Brian Hart.


Co. Derry,
N. Ireland.

Dear Gay News,

I do not usually write congratulatory letters so consider yourselves honoured.

The only sour note was the ‘Het of the Month’ bit – I’d call that a scandalous liberty, in the case of issue No.1. There is, I contend, no evidence whatever to suggest that Cliff Richard is heterosexual.

S.Fruizzell.


HANDS OFF !!!
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE
GENERAL POST OFFICE.

Dear GPO,

We feel flattered that members of the GPO are interested enough in Gay News to the extent that they wish to acquire copies. But please, could you buy them like everyone else. If you write to us we will tell you your nearest stockist, or alternatively, why don’t you take out a subscription?

It is very naughty to open up our parcels and pinch copies; it upsets the person receiving the parcel, not only because copies are missing but because the then tatty parcels don’t protect the rest of the papers very well. We get upset too because we lose money that is needed and it makes life hell for the person keeping the books.

Latest example of this petty pilfering reported to us is the strange disappearance of 4 copies from a parcel sent to Birmingham.

Please stop it!

Gay News collective.

Continues on Page 9

Your Letters

02-197206XX 8ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.


BCM/PETREL
London WC1.
24th June 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Yesterday I was able to by Gay News AT LAST. It was worth waiting for. The look of it is very professional and the content positive and provocative. Long may you continue and prosper.

Re your Speak-Easy spat. Sappho was invited too and I was the ‘wise child’ who asked the producer if he was gay. For someone who is forty plus I found this an excuse for an elegant ego-trip! We were under the impression as the recording was being held in the National Youth Clubs Centre we would have had the stimulating experience of discussing homosexuality with young people. To discover that the audience for the programme was also the tight little group of homosexuals representing various gay organisations was a big sell and the closet atmosphere of the ‘studio’ did not enhance the occasion. This was no jault of the gays present but the responsibility of those organising the programme. To segregate homosexuals from heterosexuals is absolutely against the aims and objects of Sappho. However we stayed because the opportunity for peak time programming for homosexuals is non-existant. Hearing the programme afterwards certainly made it worthwhile because we sounded like a large audience as well as sounding off. Sappho has made a large number of new contacts, who were despairing and isolated. I must take issue with Doug Pollard glossing over the GLF scene on the previous Speakeasy programme about homosexuality. GLF were totally disruptive – or I should say one or two individual members of GLF were – to the exclusion of other gays getting a word in. I admire so much that GLF does and contribute to many of their actions and am present at their demonstrations, but I despair of those individuals whos turn up at events organised by others than GLF is quite understandable and was caused by rogue members of GLF themselves.

Thank you for advertising Sappho on your back information page. May I point out that we are a magazine not a paper. We also hold meetings every first Monday in the month at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm Upstairs room, Great Russell Street, London WC1 and all women are welcome to hear speakers. discuss the magazine and air their own views. The price for individual copies has gone up to .25p plus postage, but the subscriptions remain the same, £1.50 for 6 months, £3.00 for 12 months including postage.

Love and peace
Jackie Forster
Editor of SAPPHO

 

Birmingham.
23rd June, 1972.

Dear Gay News Staff & Friends,
Your newspaper gave me delightful reading, as it was in good taste and good sense.

It is a welcome newspaper, as in todays society a needed source.

All the best of luck in the future.

Mis P.A…………

 

London N.W.3.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Thank you for the letter and please pass on my thanks to all the staff of Gay News. I bought a copy yesterday and read it through twice and enjoyed it immensely. I intend to send you my subscription at the end of the week, to make sure (in a little way) that Gay News carries on.

It is very good that Gay People, like myself, have now got their own paper. Cheers.

Love Nick C…………

P.S. Liked the ads.

 

London W.2.
20th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I have frequently wondered about Gay News, because as a ‘local’ I often pass 19 London St. and now the Evening Standard has confirmed my suspicions. I am delighted! I should be pleased to hear about your activities and I should also like to become an immediate subscriber to Gay News.

Ian M…………

 

Middlesex.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I was rather touched by your letter to the editor of the ‘Evening Standard’, in which you aptly referred to ‘Lords in Clash on Gay Advert’, and wish to take out a personal advertisement in Gay News, but I am rather haunted and terrified if possible blackmail, Is there any way to eliminate the risk if blackmail in this respect?

Also, I would very much like to obtain a copy of your latest edition of Gay News, and would be very grateful for any help you may render in this respect.

S.A…………

 

Sussex.
23rd June, 1972

Dear All at G.N.,
Have just received my first copy of Gay News. I found it very interesting with varied reading for all.

How about a monthly crossword? And might I suggest that you write to all or some of the County Councils and see if they will take out subscriptions for their library reading rooms, and so put G.N. along-side the national papers etc.? I will be contacting my local council to see if we can put it in our library, and will send you their reply.

Look forward to number two, keep up the GOOD work. Will also send you a donation in due course.

Norman R………………

 

There was no address,
and we couldn’t read
the postmark.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Boys,
I am very disappointed with Gay News, and before you can expect to build up a ‘readership’ you’ll have to not only improve your articles, but also employ an on-the-ball proof reader.

The quality of the paper is good, and I have no doubt that everyone worked extremely hard – but such co-operation and talent (?) you must be capable of doing better.

Look forward to issue no.2 before subscribing.

Yours etc.
Paul X.

P.S. Incidentally – should any of your readers be holidaying in Marbella (Spain) there are two bars worth visiting – Cozzi’s International and El Boccacio.