Here We Are Again

During its short existence, Gay News has come across many barriers — barriers of intolerance, ignorance and blind prejudice. It’s likely that many of you reading this have too. Hardly surprising, when one considers the amount of real information about homosexuals available to the average member of the public.

We cannot expect all to be well though until gayness is openly and freely discussed by the media (ie newspapers, television, etc), in schools and colleges, and anywhere else where knowledge and factual information should be available. All too often, the media, the medical profession, the church and all the rest, rely on age-old myths and suspect conclusions for their facts.

Subsequently it’s no wonder that the general public continues to be so much in the dark about the subject of homosexuality. Those of you who have come out to any degree will probably remember the shock and amazement of friends and relatives, when they discovered that someone they actually knew and/or loved, was one. Adding to the impact of your revelation was no doubt the confusion in their minds when they realised that the queer in their midst was completely unlike the stereo-typed caricature of a human being they had always expected a homosexual to be.

One of the reasons Gay News came into existence was so there would be an impartial mouth piece for the gay community, that would not only be accepted by the people it was named after, but hopefully to be also read by those who might decide it was time to enlighten themselves a little about one of the largest minorities in this country.

But even the best of ideals and intentions did not help us to easily overcome the social barriers of intolerance and the type of aggressive, unthinking prejudice known only too well by Oscar Wilde, or the man who recently went to prison for six months because of a furtive feel in a park with another consenting adult.

We at GN had to struggle and fight back, for we had a newspaper to regularly produce and after an initial period of suspicion etc, we found that people began to think a little more about their preconceived attitudes. Within a short time the many non-gay people we had to deal with started treating us exactly the same as anybody else.

That, unfortunately, was only part of the battle. W H Smith’s provided a means of ensuring that our early readership would be small, by imposing their hypocritical and old-fashioned moral standards on a newspaper that came into being in an age when men walked on the moon, doctors performed complex transplant operations and the whole world could possibly be destroyed by the pushing of a single button. They effectively blocked our chances of reaching a wide audience by refusing the handle any part of our distribution. This form of censorship is something that dear old Private Eye has been waffling about, in exaggerated accents, for some time.

We had no alternative but to set up our own distribution network, and while it is still somewhat limited, it is at least allowing us to reach five times as many people as we did with the first issue of Gay News.

The police have attempted to interfere with the news reporting of GN. Their action over one of our reporters taking photographs demonstrated the general maliciousness shown towards homosexuals. Our photographer was arrested and charged with obstruction, whilst he was trying to gather evidence about alleged police harrassment. This minor example of their hostile attitudes proved to be the first of many such incidents. Luckily for us, we now have the support of a number of people in the legal profession, as well as that of friendly Members of Parliament, who will come to our aid whenever we need them.

Another barrier set up to limit the potential and usefulness of Gay News was the almost total press silence about the paper. We didn’t kid ourselves that The Daily Telegraph, for instance, would run a two-page feature on us, but we did expect the supposedly free and impartial press to realise the significance of our publication. But hardly a word has appeared. Also, paid advertisements of ours have been refused by other newspapers and even ads quoting the opinions of Gay News have been declined, as we have reported in an earlier edition.

What the last few hundred words have been leading up to is that whilst the press and the majority of those working for it (and its supposed freedom) have frequently, if not totally, refused to report or comment on our existence, there have been a few brave and aware journalists who have not been afraid to do so. Many of them going beyond just that and advocating an end to the discrimination and intolerance usually displayed towards gay men and women.

One enlightened journalist is Alan Brien, who writes the Alan Brien’s Diary in the Sunday Times. Alan is not gay, or wasn’t the last time we met him, but he is aware of the present position of homosexuals in society and the many injustices they have to suffer. (To any reader thinking that he or she has never suffered as a result of being gay, we believe that it wouldn’t be difficult for you to find someone who has.)

From Alan’s column on Sunday 21 January, we reprint the following. We do this for a number of reasons. Firstly, to demonstrate that we are not alone in our struggle for social and legal equality.

Secondly, to show any heterosexual reader that it isn’t just gays who shout about discrimination etc. Thirdly, because we believe that it will give hope and encouragement to many gays who think that those demanding equality are fighting a losing battle. Fourthly, to prick the consciences of the many homosexuals who are journalists. And lastly, to express our thanks to Alan Brien, who has shown that he has the guts to express his convictions and opinions despite the social taboos and stigmas attached to the sexuality known to us as gay ness.

‘Wednesday: I thought Andy Warhol’s Trash was one of the best films I saw last year. But I thought most of his paintings and imitations of paintings were trashy, though they received glowing reviews from the posh critics. It is partly because of ambiguity in his achievement, the poppy-Cocteau effect of the charlatan genius, that I looked forward to seeing David Bailey’s portrait of him last night.

‘What disturbed me even more than the ban (I am certain we will see David Bailey’s programme eventually, probably mid-afternoon next Boxing Day, without a single protest being lodged) was the use of language describing it. I am accustomed to Lord Longford’s pottiness on pornography, But for the prisoner’s friend, the outlaw’s inlaw, who asks for Christian charity for murderers and torturers to object that here was a film which he understood, contained “reference to or sight of homosexuals and such like” is really shocking. And on the BBC Night Extra, the interviewer of Ross McWhirter lumped in “lesbians” with “obscenities” as if both would be equally likely to “offend against good taste or decency.”

‘Can people who use such terms of automatic abuse have ever knowingly seen a lesbian? Do they imagine she has hair on her chest, a brand on her forehead, and her knickers in her hand? Some of the best lesbians are my friends, and as pretty and feminine a lot of girls you wouldn’t expect to see in the Miss World contest. How can these objectors be sure they are not married to lesbians, or parents to them?

‘Once it was Communists whose appearance on our screen was banned because the sight would be so horrible that nice people would not want to invite them, even electronically, into their homes. But when Jimmy Reid actually appeared, without horns and a tail, he became a telly star overnight. If this is an example of Christian concern for the dignity of all God’s children, then I think I’ll apply for an injunction against Stars on Sunday.

‘Thursday: Access (the principle not the card) is one of the rights Mr Heath promised the public. TV has gone some ways so far to pussyfoot across this dangerous ground by permitting pre-selected outsiders to voice their opinions via the phone-in, or to appear in equally hand-picked groups and shout each other down in front of the cameras.

‘But a much more important restriction on the expression of unpopular views can be found in the newspaper business. Many papers refuse, even when paid for each line, to mention underground or dissenting publications. Gay News, the homosexual fortnightly, and Lunch, the Campaign For Homosexual Equality monthly, both find their ads refused. Are editors who pride themselves on the freedom of the Press aware of this?’

Tiptoe Through The Filing Cabinets

To change the subject completely, we have yet another appeal to make. Recently we acquired our first filing cabinet, but within a week possessing it, we find that it is inadequate to cope with our immediate requirements. And as the buying of office equipment is an event that rarely happens, owing to our limited budget, we appeal to anyone with one that is in good working order and is serving no useful purpose, to transfer it to the GN office. Incidentally, at the time of writing, we still have been unable to discover suitable premises to replace our present tiny office. So if you know of anything that is just waiting to be occupied by us, that has at least two rooms and is in Central London, please contact us immediately.

Next Issue

Gay News No 17 will be published and available from February 21. Till then, we hope this issue proves to be interesting, informative, entertaining and, dare we hope, controversial.

Gay News Editorial Collective

Late News From The Here We Are Again Dept.

Just in case it has escaped your notice, the egg on the front cover has now finally been scrambled. The logo that saw Gay News from issue one to issue 15 has gone to make room for more picture space on the front of the paper. Egg-lovers will be delighted to know that Gay News can supply back-dates of the paper, complete with the old logo. Just write and send us the cash.

And, whilst we’ll go on without egg on our face, the familiar Gay News lettering logo will stay the same. We hope you think it’s an improvement.

Court Bans “Homosexuals And Such Like”

LONDON: Britain’s self-appointed arbiters of morals, the Festival of Light, has won an albeit temporary victory against the fair presentation of gay sex on television when Ross McWhirter, better known for compiling the Guinness Book Of Records and meddling in comprehensive education, managed to con the Court of Appeal into stopping ITV’s planned screening of a documentary by photographer David Bailey on Any Warhol, without bothering to see it.

McWhirter, perhaps in an attempt to win a record for stupidity, could not claim any greater knowledge of the programme’s content. He, too, had not seen the documentary made for the Midlands ITV company, ATV, before spending a day getting the law to rush through its due processes with undue, and almost obscene, haste.

He started with Mr Justice Forbes, sitting in private. Judge Forbes dismissed McWhirter’s objection to the programme. Within hours – not the months any mere mortal would have to wait – McWhirter was in the Court of Appeal conning three judges into passing an opinion on the programme none of them had seen.

Lord Justice Cairns said that he didn’t think the court had any right to stop the screening of the programme. But all the same he didn’t think it was the type of thing people should be allowed to see. The other two judges, Denning and Lawton, thought they could judge the programme and meddle in ITV’s schedules.

The trouble started when Lord Longford, whose self-appointed commission into pornography tried to silence sexual liberty, and other Festival of Light trouble-seekers decided they didn’t like the idea of a programme about the American movie-maker and artist that didn’t put him down.

Longford lashed out with his first broadside safe in the knowledge that he knew enough about porn to be able to criticise Bailey’s work on Warhol without moving his ass and bothering to see the film.

What he didn’t like about the movie he hadn’t seen was that he’d heard that the hadn’t seen was that he’d heard the movie Bailey had made for ATV’s documentary spot on the ITV network contained references to and the sight of “homosexuals, lesbians, transvestites” and such like.

“And on the strength of that it ought not to be shown.”

To make matters worse, David Bailey, who appears seemingly nude in bed with Warhol, who remains fully clothed, included footage from Andy Warhol factory movies. During this characters used the word ‘fuck’ four times, Lord Longford had heard. ‘Fuck’ is a word heard more than four times in the average AA-movie in the commercial cinema.

Just as the Festival of Lighters were sitting down eager to be shocked and disgusted by ATV’s cavorting around the New York movie factory the news came that the judges of the Appeal Court had come to the unprecedented decision of letting the Lighters have their way in getting the Warhol documentary banned.

The Independent Broadcasting Authority, the ITA as was, the authority that has the responsibility of making sure that all ITV output is ‘up to standard’, held out longer against the attacks from the Festival of Light than the BBC has of late in its brushes with the Festival and Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ Association, but in the end it was outmanoeuvred by the self-righteous moral guardians who managed to get the programme banned.

Where Longford and the Festival of Light with their usual under-the-counter tactics – usually so effective on Lord Hill and the BBC – failed, Ross McWhirter succeeded.

McWhirter is new to the business of being a clean-up television campaigner, and could be said to have done much to encourage violence by working for the BBC as a rugby commentator. In the past he has battled to get comprehensive school plans scrapped for Enfield where he lives waiting to be discovered for Parliament.

The position at the time of going to press was that the IBA was appealing against the Appeal Court’s ban. At this hearing the judge may actually see the programme instead of dispensing justice blindfold.

Critics in Fleet Street are unhappy about the ban, which they feel smacks of dictatorial censorship.

They are even unhappier that McWhirter got the injunction stopping the screening of the Warhol movie partly through his claims that television critics who’d seen the movie were shocked by it.

John Howkins of Time Out, Tom Hutchinson of the Evening Standard and Elkan Allan of The Sunday Times issued a statement dissociating themselves from McWhirter’s protest.

Tom Hutchinson wrote, in a remarkable front-page attack on the ban in the Standard: ‘Some of the objected-to words are in fact contained within clips from Warhol’s own films which the cinema-going public has already been granted the privilege of seeing or not.

‘Of course, now my appreciation of the film has accelerated. Bailey’s point has been substantiated beyond my first reaction. For it seems very true now, that as Bailey suggests, Warhol is what you make him and what you think he is – even without seeing him’.

When the programme was cancelled, Thames TV, the London week-day television station, was besieged with telephone calls. All of its 84 ones were blocked for 90 minutes, the IBA reported a bigger-than-ever response to any of the programmes the ITV companies had been allowed to show. All the callers were complaining that the documentary had been shelved. Mr McWhirter may claim to represent the silent majority, but the majority, in this case, were against his under-hand, old-school-tie censorship tactics.

Thames compounded the silliness, which Anglia TV had already added to by individually refusing to show the programme, when London viewers were told that there had been a programme change – just that – with no reference to the court battle that had forced the chanage.

During the safe replacement documentary on a Nottingham craft centre – a programme which had been shown before – the BBC had The Old Gray Whistle Test on BBC2, including David Bowie’s Andy Warhol track, from the Hunky Dory album – played in sympathy?

QUOTES: Andy Warhol (in New York): “How quaint. How old-fashioned. Maybe they should see my movies.”

Jimmy Vaughan, Warhol’s European agent: “This is a terrible blow – it is censorship of the worst kind. Surely people have a right to decide what they watch.”

The National Council for Civil Liberties: “While a minority has a right to persuade, it does not have the right to impose its views with the blunt weapon of censorship. The NCCL urges the IBA to show this film at the earliest opportunity and let the viewing public decide on its merits or deficencies.”

Peter Thompson, secretary of the Festival of Light: “Thank God for men like Mr McWhirter.”

David Bailey: “I am amazed that the judges can make the order stopping the film without having seen it. Hitler used to burn books he hadn’t read.”

Manchester Star Transfer Shock

With Apologies to Private Eye

The story that has been buzzing around the gay world for the last few weeks took a dramatic turn today with the news that Martin (“Whiz Kid”) Stafford had been transferred from Manchester CHE to London’s Nationwide Festival of Light. The fee involved is reported to be a sum not in excess of £5 (to cover the train fare), and I have it on good authority that Manchester CHE were more than willing to pay this amount.

Doing His Own Thing

Stafford’s manager at Manchester, Frank Ofarim, who was featured so much in the news recently, commented: “This boy should go a long way, already.” Other members of the Executive Council of the Manchester Club seemed to be in agreement. “I have lost count of the number of times,” confided one EC member, Glenys (Gay) Parry, “when Martin has taken leave of his senses during meetings of the team and gone off on his own. This move is in the best interests of the club as well as of Martin himself.”

Behind Every Man

I did manage to speak to Stafford himself as he boarded the train, and I put it to him that his recent actions were largely intended for publicity. His behaviour in Bristol and Holborn had hit the headlines, and his controversial views about the morality of footballers and their need to uphold the good image of the game similarly caused quite a stir. The only comment I could catch was “Balls” and I assume that was a reference to the two practice footballs which he carries around with him wherever he goes.

Porn Free

There was an obvious delight in Stuffer’s face when I mentioned playing with his two new colleages in NFL – Lord Longford and Mary Whitehouse. “They’re both very clean players” he said, “and I’m sure I shall fit in very well. I have spoken to them both already and was very impressed.”

Finally I asked him how the other NFL players would react to the size of the transfer fee, and his 8 degrees in Philosophy. “It might take me a little time to settle down with the lads, but as long as they’re not too friendly I should be all right.”

All references to Martin Stafford are entirely coincidental.

J. Martin Stafford, BA Explains

The news that J. Martin Stafford, BA – member of CHE’s Executive Committee – had urged Lord Longford and the Director of Public Prosecutions to take private action against Gay News, naturally enough caused somewhat of a stir within CHE itself and in the gay community at large.

Mr Stafford felt it necessary, therefore, to give an explanation of his actions. His memorandum was circulated to local groups of CHE and to delegates of CHE’s National Council (which will be reported in Gay News 14).

The item that horrified him was “what purported to be a photograph of Lord Longford in a naked state”. J. Martin Stafford, BA, makes it clear that, though he mentioned his position within CHE in his letter to Lord Longford, he did not suggest that he was acting on CHE’s behalf.

He writes: “I am convinced that the Gay Liberation Front and all bodies and publications of a similar persuasion are a potent menace to the cause which I embrace and a hindrance to the realisation of ends which I – and no doubt most other people in CHE -esteem desirable. For let us be quite clear about this: GLF, by the outlandish appearance of many of its adherents, by the lunatic extravagance of its professed aims, and by the blatant indecency of its publications, makes social acceptance and further law-reform less probable, not more so; since almost everything which it does, says, and is – far from dispelling prejudice and assuaging potential sympathisers confirms all their gravest apprehensions that homosexuals are freakish perverts … etc etc etc”.

He continues: “… there is absolutely nothing in GLF or Gay News with which any person who held a position of responsibility or who had any concern to maintain his own good name and reputation would wish, or could afford, to be identified, however erroneously”.

Still linking GLF and Gay News together, he believes they give an impression of homosexuality as misleading as that offered by Dr Reubens. He urges CHE to “disassociate itself from all jargon-happy idiots and to renounce their theories as mistaken; their recommendations as impracticable.”

He writes: “I therefore took the view, by which I abide, that any lawful means of eliminating this menace was justified, and proceeded to conspire its ruin.”

After a further paragraph of attack on GLF and Gay News during which he suggests that in himself homosexuals will see they have “at least some spokesmen fit to plead their cause” and also that “some homosexuals have the sense to reject the idle pretentions of revolutionary fanaticism”, he concludes by asserting his intention of remaining on the Executive Committee of CHE “until 1975, or at least until it suits me to leave.” And ends: “The role I play can not, alas, be a very constructive one (sic) but perhaps a restraining influence is not altogether without value.”

At CHE’s National Council, delegates having read Mr Stafford’s hysterical memorandum (for those of us with less intelligence than that Mr Stafford claims to possess found the path from a cartoon of Lord Longford to the “idle pretensions of revolutionary fanaticism” a little difficult to follow), proceeded to give the little fellow a severe trouncing. He sat it out with his usual cool and it was only later in the day that he delighted his fans with one of his celebrated stamping performances.

Mr Stafford told the council that Gay News should be suppressed and “all its shallow and immature gestures eliminated” since it confirms all the worst impressions of homosexuals that people already possess.

A delegate from London (Kensington group) pointed out that Mr Stafford’s action was entirely antagonistic to all the law reforms CHE seeks because he represents himself as a spokesman who wishes to impose restrictions. “He has done everybody a grave disservice”, concluded Peter to loud applause.

The chairman of London’s Putney group remarked that for a homosexual to “recommend that heterosexuals should take legal action against homosexuals was utterly abhorrent”.

The chairman of the Brighton group, speaking with controlled anger, said that Mr Stafford’s action was outrageous in itself, but his “arrogant explanation has added fuel to the fire; the excuse that he is speaking only for himself is rubbish”, said John, “until now Martin Stafford has been a joke. But unless he is removed he will become a menace”.

It was a delegate from London (group 1) who rose to associate himself with Martin Stafford. In a peculiarly confused speech he insisted that he “strongly associated himself with Gay News and had even renewed his subscription. Yet when he saw the relevant cartoon “I was shocked, I thought it in gross bad taste”. Clearly the concept that merely being shocked by something is reason to try and get it prosecuted in the most punitive way, still exists.

Finally two resolutions were put before the Council. The first, from the Croydon delegate, said: “This council disassociates itself from the action of Martin Stafford over Gay News and deplores that a member of the Executive Committee should consider such an action”. Three people voted against this.

The second, put by Bernard Greaves of Cambridge said: “This Council welcomes Gay News‘s existence, applauds its editorial independence and thanks it for its contribution to the homophile cause while not necessarily agreeing with everything contained in it”. Again an overwhelming show of agreement with two votes against.

Martin Stafford embodies all the negative, depressive, death-dealing qualities of the acutely self-repressed homosexual. It is most unfortunate that he has acquired a position on the National Executive Committee of CHE. He admits he will not support his colleagues ard states he will always try to act as “a restraining influence.” His efforts at restraint have hitherto only been exercised within CHE and, while acutely disturbing, have had no relevance to the gay community at large. But in this case he has moved outside CHE to attack (in what is potentially the most vicious way) the efforts of another group of people (homosexual and heterosexual, unaligned to any organisation) to bring those much needed elements of contact, communication and information to both gay and straight communities.

Whenever Martin Stafford goes on one of his anti-life rampages, he falls back on the fact that he was elected to the Executive Committee of CHE this year with a majority. “Ten months ago the voting figures confirmed beyond all dispute that my views command considerable support; for after submitting myself to election on a question of confidence I was returned to the EC, not only at the top of the poll, but by a very impressive lead.”

This reads well. However it must be pointed out (as indeed the vice-chairman of CHE, Tony Ryde, did point out at the council) that Martin Stafford won 95 outright votes at the election, less than 10 votes ahead of his nearest rival. Out of a potential electorate of about 2,500 at this time, this is less than considerable, certainly not impressive. These facts, of course, only reflect on the inertia or lack of interest of CHE’s membership at large in electing their representatives. It also means that the other members of the Executive Committee are in the same position. However, it must be remembered that the other members of the EC are aware of this and only act after collective agreement and do not go off on individual rampages claiming a massive, but mythical, support.

Roger Baker

ED: We repeat again and again and again – Gay News is linked in no way whatsoever with any organisation.

No Ding-a-Ling For Mary

LONDON: The BBC has broken with tradition by ignoring a call from Mrs Mary Whitehouse who wants Chuck Berry’s hit record My Ding-a-Ling banned from radio and television.

When the BBC went on playing the record on Radio-1 and television’s Top of the Pops, Mrs Whitehouse packed her bags and set off to Washington to start cleaning up television in the USA.

Despite Mrs Whitehouse’s letters of protest to the BBC and Sir John Eden, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, the BBC went on playing Chuck’s record and a spokesman said: “We’ve still had no complaints.”

Mary Whitehouse wants the record banned because, she says, it is meant to encourage masturbation.

Phonogram, the record company that releases the Chuck Berry record in this country, described Mrs Whitehouse’s criticisms as “ridiculous” and added that there was a longer version of the song on Chuck’s LP which had been available since July.

The company said a cinema manager in the North of England had phoned to say how popular the record was at his Saturday morning childrens’ matinees. The children sang along with it and even made their own ding-a-lings.

To the children a ding-a-ling is a piece of string with a bell on the end. Only Mary Whitehouse had thought it had anything to do with masturbation.

And the BBC went on playing the record on Radio-1. When it came to Top of the Pops they played the record, but showed no film of Chuck performing. Instead there were a series of stills of Chuck Berry, drawings, and a dance by Pan’s People, the show’s resident gymnasts.

Within days Mrs Whitehouse, who is secretary of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association – which she formed herself – was off to take on the job of cleaning up the USA at the request of President Nixon’s adviser on pornography, Mr Charles Keeting.

As she left Heathrow Ariport, London, Mrs Whitehouse, who was clutching a copy of the report on pornography by Lord Longford’s self-appointed committee on the subject said: “We are hoping to co-operate with an American society with the same aims as our own to try to reach a better understanding of the way violence and sexual permissiveness can be reduced in broadcasting.”

Mrs Whitehouse will make a coast-to-coast tour of the United States looking for dirty meanings in television and radio shows.

Gay News Christmas Presents

The Gay News collective is a generous bunch, and we would love to give gorgeous Christmas presents to everyone. But we’re broke. If we had the money here are some of the presents we would give, and the people we would give them to.

To London Transport
– the stock of exhibits from the Transport Museum at Clapham to replace rolling stock on the Northern line.

To Danny La Rue
– Liberace

To Selfridges
– an instant boycott by all the gay staff and customers of the store, which might make the bookstall manager think twice before telling us there would be no call for Gay News there.

To Lord Harwood
– an LP of Leonard Bernstein’s opera Candide, hoping it would inspire him to put it on at the Coliseum instead of another Merry Widow.

To Alexander Walker (film critic of the Evening Standard)
– a secretary, so that he doesn’t crack his nails on a typewriter, thus giving away the fact that he’s a … journalist.

To Bass Charrington
– vast profits from owning the majority of gay pubs in London.

To All Gays
– a “Welcome” from Bass Charrington.

To GLF
– lilies – and thanks for the laughs.

To CHE
– carnations and a computerised membership files.

To CHE and GLF
– the capacity to love and understand (if not to agree) with each other.

To All MPs
– a copy of Gay News, so they can tune in to the realities of the situation.

To F.I. Litho
– yet another cheque for printing Gay News

To Anthony Newley
– a nice modern theatre where he can stage all his shows – in Formosa.

To The Governor of Holloway Prison
– a big bunch of flowers for allowing Myra Hindley half an hour of light and air.

To The Festival of Light
– a power cut.

To The National Theatre
– the collected plays of Oscar Wilde to remind them of what they have been ignoring these past nine years.

To The GPO
– a two year work study programme of interfering with and losing so much of our mail and for indecent relationships with our telephone.

To Mary Whitehouse
– a pair of ear plugs and a sleeping shade.

To the BBC
– the retirement of Mary Whitehouse.

To ITV and London Weekend Television
– programmes as good as the commercials.

To Sir Gerald Nabarro
– more lady chauffeurs like his last one.

To Lord Longford
– a halo.

To Malcolm Muggeridge
– an airport at the bottom of his garden.

To Edward Heath
– a cabinet made up of ex-grammar school boys.

To Harold Wilson
– a political party

To David Bowie
– an appearance at next year’s Royal Command Performance.

To Larry Grayson
– some original jokes and a black mark for telling fibs.

To Chris Welch (of Melody Maker)
– a record player and a job on the Financial Times.

To The Daily Telegraph
– a losing law suit with Private Eye.

To The Sunday Telegraph
– Richard Ingrams as editor.

To The Evening Standard
– an ad in Gay News

To Private Eye
– a bathchair on the cliffs at Hastings.

To Martin Stafford BA
– A ‘Glad To Be Gay’ badge and a lifelong subscription to Gay News.

To Chelsea Police
– a dictionary to look up the words ‘obstruction’ and ‘malicious’.

To Kensington Police
– a manual on ‘How To Care For Your Camera’

Your Letters

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

Whoops!

4, Hamilton Close,
London NW8

Dear Sir,

Just to let you know, as calmly and sweetly as the situation permits, that the beautiful back photo on p7 of GN 10 is by me, repeat me. It is nothing to do with the journal called GAY TIMES, to which it is acknowledged, except insofar as they have printed it once, without bothering to acknowledge it at all.

The model, being well over 21, when this picture was taken, will no doubt be having the last laugh when he sees it used as an illustration on this particular subject!

Yours faithfully,

Karry Knight

Feminism is a Drag

Co Dublin,
Ireland.

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed my renewed subscription to Gay News.

I think it is a super production, but I sometimes get very depressed when I read all about the persecutions, prosecutions and the drag scene. The latter is stupidly too feminine for my liking and spoils the true concept of a homosexual.

In GN8 you had a short article on pederasts. Well, I’m afraid I’m one and as someone said in your paper, I must have a very sick mind. Maybe I have, but I have never approached or molested a child in my life, nor do I intend to. It’s far too dangerous to do and would spoil that child’s future. I reckon my mind isn’t as sick as those that dress up as women and those that act and address each other in female terms. They just cannot appreciate the male form.

For some years now I have adored, from a distance. boys of the ages 12 to 16 years. I think their faces, in most cases, are the prettiest of any human, their build just perfect. To me the body of a man is revolting and I would rather die than share a bed with one and likewise the thought of buggery is nauseating. My dream would be in the position of being able to kiss a boy from head to toe and no more.

I have never met a homosexual person in my life. Maybe because I don’t look for one. I have read many books and magazines which I often find revolting, but sometimes get satisfaction in seeing magazines of nude boys. I have never seen a real live body of a nude boy since I was a kid myself. I would really give anything, and I mean this, to see one and be with one. I have often felt like advertising, but realised it would be stupid because of the law.

It is terribly frustrating to look at a boy and not be able to touch him even though you don’t intend him any harm…

It is the first time I have ever written to a paper or a magazine. Gay News is the most advanced paper I have come across and I sincerely wish you continued success and safety.

Yours sincerely,

VJM

Beware Of Longford

Dear Gay News,

I was so enraged to see that letter in GN9 by HRA (whoever the hell he is) condemning the picture of Longford and Cliff Richard that I felt compelled to write. I reject any notion that it was in “appalling bad taste”. I found it was very funny, and it made my day. Thank God someone has got a sense of humour.

I must admit that Lord Longford has always been a source of amusement to me, but that hit the bull. If it was mocking, then it was justified. If HRA is offended by the sight of a prick, then I feel sorry for him, he’s missing out on a hell of a lot!

Going back to Lord Longford as a person, it must be admitted that he indeed has a social conscience, but his idea of ‘helping’ is ludicrous, and even frightening. All that he believes in centres around sex, pornography etc; he seems to have it on the brain (which sounds bloody uncomfortable to me). People associate him with pornography, because every time we hear about him he rattles on about it. True, he might ‘help’ drop-outs, but then I could give you a list as long as your… no, longer, of people who devote their whole life to helping in the true sense of the word.

In case anybody did not realise, Lord Longford is officially a nothing. Despite the title and the fact that he can gas away in the House of Lords, he is only one person, and represents nobody – as an MP does. He is a member of a chamber that is not elected, therefore undemocratic, and unrepresentative. He is one of the many one-time officials that are put out to grass in the Lords. He has the advantage of assuming importance so that the Government could well take notice of his monstrous report.

For anyone who knows what freedom of expression is, beware, because if Longford gets his way, you’ll lose what you’re just getting.

Although it is only one little aspect of the subject, if Oz offends someone, don’t read it. If Oh! Calcutta! depraves, don’t look at it. And if the children are going to be corrupted, the goddamn parents can make sure that they only see what’s OK till they’re old enough to judge. After all, nothing will survive unless there is the demand.

Sorry this letter is so long and rambling, but let me end on a serious note. Well done to all the collective, you’re doing a great job. I’d send some money, but I’m out of a job and I’m broke; never mind, it’s the thought that counts.

Adrian.

How To Sell More GN

Dear Gay News,

One way to encourage more people to read GN (re: editorial in GN9) is for regular readers never to throw away a copy. Every copy can be left in a public place, trains and buses being the most convenient, rather than the dustbin.

Now that the paper is well-established, borough librarians could be expected to consider requests for the paper in public libraries; or is that asking too much?

JE

ED: The best way to get Gay News into public libraries is for GN readers to demand that their librarians order it and put it on display.

CHE And Tight Foreskins

Leeds

Dear Gay News,

I have recently been reading your paper which I find very interesting. There are two points from recent issues about which I would like to comment:

Firstly, someone seems to think that membership of CHE is limited to those over 21. This is not the case, though a particular local group may, if it so wishes, restrict its membership in this way. (Leeds does NOT).

Secondly, the tight foreskin problem. As an (ex) fellow sufferer, I read about this with real feeling. I suggest that unless the problem is quite exceptional the easiest and most natural method is best (I detest surgery). The method is to use a dropper with olive oil on it, drop into the problem area and very gently ease it to and fro. If this is done two or three times a week, for a month or so, you will soon find it can be pushed right back, washed, and the hood slid back with just a touch of oil for lubrication. The worst is then over, an occasional working to and fro and all will be fine (it was with me anyhow). This method was recommended by a doctor.

All good wishes.

Henry Giles Leeds Chairman, CHE

Shoddy Performance

London W8

Dear Sir,

David Lutyens’s review of my book One In Twenty in GN8 is incompetent and absurd; he cannot have actually read the book at all. He says I deplore the fact that there are no serious homosexuals. But I do no such thing – on the contrary in Chapter Four I devote a whole page to listing homosexuals of genius, including nearly all those Mr Lutyens mentions himself, plus a great many more. In fact all that he fulminates against me for not mentioning, I do, and discuss at length: that every woman has a masculine side and every man a feminine side; that homosexuality is found in primitive as well as advanced cultures and so on.

He does not tell your readers who publishes the book (Seeker and Warburg), nor how much it costs (£1.50). He discusses it as if it were a new book, when in fact it was published six years ago, when homosexual acts between adult males were still crimes and the whole social atmosphere surrounding the subject was quite different from today. He misspells my name throughout the review. In fact, he gets everything wrong. What a shoddy performance!

Bryan Magee

ED: If any other reader would care to review One In Twenty, we will gladly print it.

Your Letters continued on page 6.

Quaking In Our Platform Boots

J. Martin Stafford B.A. — the Enoch Powell of CHE — has struck again, though whether his efforts will produce a resounding silence or a mighty reverberation remains to be seen. For J. Martin Stafford B.A., a member of the present Executive Committee of CHE has, we understand, sent a personal letter to Lord Longford and the Director of Public Prosecutions suggesting they initiate action against Gay News.

This information was received in the Gay News office with wonder and amazement. For a start everyone immediately put their clothes on again. The lusty Julian decided to cut the Biograph for the afternoon and to take his knitting into St James Park instead. Our David Bowie LPs were flown at half mast and we ensured that all Warhol movies being shown that evening were halted for two minutes of silence. “With friends like that who needs enemies?” simmered Timeless Maureen the resident rad fem and “Who is J. Martin Stafford B.A. anyway?” cried Denis, rapidly covering his tattoos with Max Factor foundation (peach).

J. Martin Stafford B.A., who has been 23, is one of the best-known leaders of the homophile community. He lives in a modest bachelor flat on Manchester’s less than smart periphery and his low standard of living is fully compensated for by his High Moral Tone. Mr Stafford’s greatest friend is the Scottish historian and philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) who has had a seminal effect on Mr Stafford, notably in his lavish use of commas, colons and semi-colons. Hume has also trained Mr Stafford to perfect a prose style of some grandeur and resonance and this 18th century pastiche quite often obscures the extreme poverty of thought and stunted imagination in the words themselves. Mr Hume was unavailable for comment when we rang him at his remote Scottish manse, but the housekeeper confirmed that Mr Stafford’s favourite meal consists of undercooked tea and overcooked omelettes.

It is J. Martin Stafford’s personal mission to impose his own moral views on every homosexual in the entire world. “I entertain a very marked preference for personal relationships of a relatively stable nature, in which the parties are activated by more than a desire to satisfy their sexual appetites”, he pontificates. “Some would have us believe that all moral values have been imposed on us by the artifice of unscrupulous priests and ruthless politicians”, adds the 2’6″ guru.

J. Martin Stafford has had an interesting career in CHE. He joined the organisation five years ago after being counselled by the Albany Trust, and overnight became Hon. Treasurer of the Committee. At first he was a ruthless opponent of any sort or democratisation of the organisation. People would travel miles to witness the little fellow stamping his feet and spitting at Committee meetings when the concept of a constitution came up. However, he changed his mind when he discovered that the growing organisation was not attracting the radical, political element he so fears.

He discovered that his reactionary views and High Moral Tone were finding favour with many members and he was promptly and properly elected onto the re-formed Executive Committee by a substantial majority.

“Philosophical training has rendered my position more reflective”, is the way in which he expresses his opportunism.

Nevertheless, mough now democratically elected to the EC, J. Martin Stafford B.A. made it his business to oppose every decision and, when out-voted, to try devious methods of bringing his colleagues into disrepute. On one celebrated occasion, furious that the EC had unanimously (apart from him) agreed to ask Kenneth Tynan to be a vice-president of CHE, J. Martin Stafford B.A. called a meeting of the existing vice-president himself in an attempt to persuade them to override this decision. He declined an invitation from the rest of the EC for his resignation, but ceased to be treasurer.

“My own experience,” he says, “leads me to conclude that most people are quite happy to accept homosexuals who subscribe to the same basic standards of public decency and personal responsibility as everyone else at least professes.”

One of his hobbies is writing letters to people in which he slanders his colleagues.

“Homosexuals whose public behaviour is offensive or whose private behaviour is irresponsible will always be regarded with aversion and disgust,” he writes. And the man who is trying to get Gay News prosecuted says: “It is not their homosexuality which renders them objectionable, but the grossness of their conduct and the inhumanity of their disposition.”

Bona News Service

NOTE: all the quotes in this article are taken from a paper called ‘Can CHE be morally neutral?’ by J. Martin Stafford B.A., with additional material by David Hume.

Longford Withdraws

LONDON: Lord Longford, the self-appointed arbiter of Britain’s morals and his publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, have issued a statement admitting that at least one section of the Longford Committee’s report on pornography was inaccurate.

Longford and Hodder Paperbacks had been challenged by Derek Hill, the founder of the controversial New Cinema Club, which has always tried to erode absurd obscenity laws, that a ‘quote’ from Mr Hill in the Longford report was a fabrication. Now they have admitted it.

The following statement was issued jointly by the Longford Study Group on Pornography and Hodder Paperbacks: “In the Longford Report published last month, Derek Hill was stated to have told the study group on pornography that to ,afford to show experimental minority interest films and to insist on the principle that cuts are unacceptable … he was forced to offset losses on an audience of, perhaps 50 to 150 people, by also putting on sexploitation films which would attract perhaps 5,000 and … most of the national critics.’

“In fact Mr Derek Hill has never described any films presented by the New Cinema Club as ‘sexploitation’ films, as Lord Longford on behalf of the Study Group and Hodder Paperbacks, the publishers of the report, are glad to acknowledge. They accept that the Club does not select films to offset losses and that Mr Derek Hill did not make the statement attributed to him.”

That may be just one small part of the report; but how much would Longford and Hodder have to withdraw if everyone misquoted by the official report were to take the same stand as Derek Hill? Makes you wonder who you can trust these days.

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