Editorial

Hi, here we are again with Issue No. 9. This time slightly more on time than No. 8 which was held up for reasons beyond our control. Even beyond the printer’s control, or so he tells us. We apologise to any people who received their copies of the last edition a few days late. Our printer has been duly told off but we suppose even he cannot control exploding machinery and snapping wires. Seriously though, it was just one of those things. At least we haven’t had a strike yet!

No doubt some of you will think we are blowing our own trumpets, but we were rather pleased with GN8. The worth of the content was up to you to judge and pass comment on, but as far as design and presentation went, all credit to our designer and his assistants. And we hope to improve even more, for as we see things, no one can ever stop improving and trying just that little bit harder.

GN8 was ‘16 sexy pages’ and this issue is the same size. We hope to continually produce this number of pages, for we find that we can cover that much more, whether it be articles, news, reviews and the other gayness-essities. But please don’t feel too angry with us if we occasionally drop back to 12 pages. As you might have guessed, now comes the plug for asking for more contributions and suggestions from you. We have enough ideas at present for main features, but news and featurette material is incredibly valuable to us. So keep on sending your ideas and articles in, and not forgetting your letters which are so important to us and interesting to all our readers.

Gay Ads

We are pleased to see that many of you find our personal ad section useful. That’s what it’s supposed to be, as much as anything else. Incidentally, it has come to our notice that Time Out had to reject an ad on the advice of their solicitor and the ‘forceful’ suggestion of W.H. Smiths. The ad offered a flat for ‘two gay mates’. Very obscene and corrupting, don’t you think? We sympathise with Time Out for being so vulnerable to the ‘moral’ whims and bellyaches of a major distributor and wholesaler. At least that publication (even though more expensive than us) has tried to make its ad section available to all, no matter what their sexual preferences. Gay News will of course always accept such ads, no matter what judges, Lords and moral bigots may decide, and that goes too for any possible future distributors.

In the near future we hope to run a feature on exactly what you think about gay ads, contact or otherwise, which we publish despite the ‘illegality’ of our actions. You don’t have to be a radical or a militant to end hypocrisy and sexual discrimination.

Women

The amount of content relating to women readers in Gay News is still pitifully small. If anything, we consider this to be still one of the major faults of the paper. It would be chauvinistic of us to just put into the paper what we men thought should go in for women, and a ‘women’s page’ is most certainly not the solution. So please, sisters, let us have your articles and points of view, and help us to make this paper truly for both sexes. If you are distrustful of our motivations, come and talk to us first or give us a ring.

Transport

Having to distribute Gay News ourselves is at times quite a task and a worry, and there may be one or two of you who could help us out. We desperately need some transport (car, van lorry) once every two weeks. So maybe you have a vehicle you could lend to us. Either you could drive it yourself or lend it to us for a day. We in turn will take the utmost care of your car etc, and will pay for petrol and/or expenses incurred. Alternatively, if any friendly millionaire or equivalent, in a moment of madness, wants to donate a vehicle to Gay News, we certainly won’t say no.

Subscriptions

We sincerely hope you all still find the paper interesting, informative, and dare we hope, amusing and entertaining. To those of you who originally took out a 10 issue subscription, could we remind you that it is almost time to renew your faith in us. Please don’t leave it to the last moment, for it helps keep the paper work down, and, need we say it, we need your continued support and money.

Provincial News

To return to the subject of you supplying us with news and information; you may find that we are somewhat lacking in news content in this issue. More so than some previous editions. A certain amount of news stories, usually the more obvious ones, are gathered by us. But we really need you to send us in anything you hear about, especially from those of you living out of London. At least send us any stories relating to gayness appearing in your local and provincial newspapers.

Please enjoy and be critical of this, our ninth edition. And remember, Gay News is as good as you help make it.

Many thanks to the customer of the Coleherne who gave us a donation on Saturday 7th October. Such acts mean a lot to us.

Mae ‘GAY NEWS’ yn croesawu tanwsgrifwyr cymreig ac y mae ar werth yng nghwmry.
By courtesy of the Welsh Office.

Editorial

19721001-02Despite continuing financial, distribution and organisational problems, here we are again with issue No. 8. At least no-one can say that we are just a ‘seven-issue wonder’. And although the problems pertaining to the paper’s existence still continue, we of the collective are coming to terms with how much work and commitment is needed to carry on bringing out a regular fortnightly newspaper. It’s also becoming much more fun for us to be involved with such a project; even the rows and unpleasant situations we have recently found ourselves taking part in have not stopped us from realising that an aura of happiness from each member of the editorial collective is an important factor in getting out each edition of Gay News. We don’t want to bore you with the long hours etc. bit, but you really can do just about anything if you keep smiling.

Our money and distribution problems are closely tied together. You have no doubt noticed that under the credits and contents section on this page, we claim that distribution is done by ‘Us, You and A Prayer Book’. Well, strictly speaking that’s true. We do have three or four small distribution companies helping us, but the majority of copies you see in the limited number of shops that stock the paper are there because we supplied them. The shops have them either because they responded to a letter we wrote to them; because the shops got fed up with being asked for the paper by their customers, or because one of you wrote or telephoned us giving details of outlets you thought were worth us following up. (Thanks a lot, and keep it up). Also, as many of you will know, we regularly sell the paper in the major gay pubs in London, and we believe that copies are available in a few pubs and clubs around the country.

But unfortunately these distribution outlets are still not enough to support our continued existence. We must sell more copies to carry on, and we hope that as a result of a lot more effort on your part, and help from you whenever you can supply it, that we will be able to sell more of each edition, both in London and, more importantly, in the rest of the country.

There are so many areas of the country we never reach and then there are places where the amount sent is, in our opinion, ridiculously small. One such place is Manchester, where it is left to one or two people to try to get the paper to the whole of the gay population of that city. It’s crazy that we should sell almost double the quantity we sell in Manchester in Brighton. Even Reading sells almost as many as the major city of the north of England. And it’s not just Manchester that has such poor distribution. Liverpool, at present, has less copies sent to it than Bath.

Of course, we are not trying to put down the people who already do as much as they possibly can in those places where our circulation is so disastrous, but we appeal to all gay people who live in places where the paper is rarely seen to help alter this situation. There are a number of ways you can do this for us. Firstly, you can sell them for us, whether in your local gay pubs or clubs, or just to your circle of friends and acquaintances.

Hachette
Group of Companies U.K.    4 Regent Place London
                           W1R 6BH
Mr. A. MacDougall,
Collective Editorial
"GAY NEWS"
19, London Street,
LONDON W2 1HL              6th September, 1972

Dear Mr. MacDougall,

                    Your letter of August 10th, concerning your publication "GAY NEWS" and addressed to Hachette Gotch Limited, has been passed to us, as we are the subsidiary of Hachette dealing with the distribution of periodicals in this country.

                    Unfortunately, we are unable to accept distribution of this publication, as we do not feel it would fit in with our existing range.

                    Nevertheless we wish you success in your new venture.

                    Yours sincerely,

                   Lynette Holland (Mrs.)
               Secretary to the Managing Director

Secondly, if you are not into selling copies yourself, perhaps you know of someone who might, or maybe you could approach gay pubs and clubs in your area to sell them for us. Thirdly, you can send us the names and addresses of any newsagents and bookshops you think may be interested in stocking us. It would be better still if you could approach them for us. Fourthly, please send us details of newspaper wholesalers and small distributors that operate in your part of the country. Lastly, you could take out a subscription and let all your friends see the paper after you have read it, and then encourage them to also take out a subscription. And, as a last thought, you could send us the names and addresses of any people you know who, in your opinion, would like to see Gay News, and would like us to send them a sample copy of a back number so that they can see what we are up to, and all being well, they might decide that they want to see the paper regularly, especially if they live in a more isolated part of the country.

We feel that it is important that Gay News reaches as many places and people as possible. It wasn’t so long ago that nearly all of us had to live ‘double lives’, but times have changed and although the situation is still far from ideal, at least not as many of us have to live in dread and in isolation for being what we naturally are. So it is essential that Gay News takes its place alongside of all the other newspapers and periodicals at newsagents, street vendors pitches and bookshops. Gay News has ‘come out’ and must stay out in the open and not be relegated to just a few sympathetic retailers and pom shops. In time we hope that we will be joined by other gay publications, and not just the ones that are out to exploit you.

It looks now that distribution will always be our responsibility (with a little help from our friends and you). In past issues we have shown you the ‘polite’ and ‘understanding’ but unco-operative letters from major distributors who have refused to handle us. In the columns of this editorial we reproduce two more such letters. The addresses of these firms should be legible, so may we suggest that you write to these companies and tell them that wide distribution is necessary for the paper, and also let them know about the difficulties you have encountered in obtaining copies.

And anything else you may care to add. We suggest you do this as soon as possible; it just might make someone at Seymours or one of the other organisations such as W.H.Smiths wake up to the reality that it is not just us that want Gay News to be as widely available as possible.

We dislike to be continually appealing for your help, but if we are to survive, we must have your support. This is your paper, don’t forget, and there are no nameless, faceless people trying to make a fortune out of you. Nor is it the aim of Gay News to subvert you with one particular political viewpoint. Your political opinions are your affairs, just as the ones we individually hold are ours. There is a need though for a change in the existing legislation that affects gay people, but one does not have to subscribe to just one political party or organisation to attempt to obtain these much needed alterations to the statute books.

Eventually, through more efficient and wider distribution of the paper around the whole of the country we hope to alleviate most of our money problems. And add to this the increased advertising which we hope to attract, and maybe soon we will be in a more secure financial position. But at present we are very short of cash. And what national newspaper isn’t. But we feel that what we are attempting to provide through the news and information that appears in our pages is something that papers such as The Times, The Sun do not print, and they have no positive plans to include such items in their columns, no matter what the need. So if you feel that we are a valuable asset to the gay community, please help us to carry on, in any way that you are able.

Seymour Press Limited

Our Ref: RAW/CC             7th September 1972

Mr. Denis E. Lemon,
Gay News,
19 London Street,
LONDON W2 1HL

Dear Sir,

     Thank you for your letter dated 4th September and copies of GAY NEWS.

     We have considered carefully the possibility of distributing your publication, but feel that a really specialised operation is called for which could best be operated by yourselves.

                    Yours faithfully,
                    SEYMOUR PRESS LIMITED

                    R. A. WESTWOOD
                    Director.

Since the completion of GN No 7 and the appearance of this issue, we have gone through a number of changes in our organisational structure. At times this has led to some bitter quarrels and truth games amongst ourselves, but all is now resolved. The result is that we feel that Gay News will be a more effective and streamlined operation, which will mean both a more comprehensive and objective system for the gathering in of news and articles, as well as generally tightening up our office procedures. The last point being somewhat boring but necessary, although we hope to avoid all the bureaucracy that so many organisations fall foul of. The addition of new members to our editorial collective, who bring with them both experience and new ideas, will in time make it possible for us to boast a ‘new improved’ Gay News.

There is also a good possibility that we will be moving to larger offices next month (at no extra cost, we hope). Those of you who have braved 79 steps up to our present office will understand why it is necessary for this move, and will be relieved to hear that our new premises will be on basement level.

We apologise for not letting you know what happened to the Biograph Review in the last issue. We leave it to Julian D. to explain what has been going on in his column in this edition. Also Denis Lemon will be commenting on the recent legal proceedings he has unfortunately been involved in.

Some of you may have noticed a number of design errors in GN No 7. These were due to the fact that the collective had to get the paper together, for the first time, without the invaluable aid of our resident designer. Everything is back to ‘normal’ in this issue though, we are glad to say.

We hope you all find something interesting and informative in the pages of this issue. But please remember that it is basically up to you whether or not we succeed in being useful and entertaining, not forgetting too that we need all the help you can give us in just keeping the paper alive, well and ‘kicking’.

Take care of yourselves, write to us, and to misquote the words of a past Gay News ‘queen of the month’; ‘Come up and see us sometime’.

So many of you complained when we went back to 12 pages again last issue that we’ve relented and given you 16 again. Apart from anything else we couldn’t have fitted everything in otherwise. I only wish you were as eager to send in your spare cash as you are to moan when we try and do something better.

BEDFORD, PLYMOUTH, STOKE, DONCASTER, YORK, ABERDEEN, CARDIFF, BOURNEMOUTH

In some of these towns., Gay News is not as available as we would like. If you live in these towns and want to sell ‘Gay News’ in bulk (10 or more copies) at 7p each, write or phone GAY NEWS, 19 London Street, London W2. Tel. 01-402-7805

Editorial

19720901-02Paragraph one was going to be about our little bust and its implications for us and other small newspapers (news story, GN5). However, the matter is still being dealt with by the magistrates court, so any comment from us would be in contempt of court. When the case has been heard we’ll tell you all about it.

Paragraph two might have been about money again, but you’ve heard all that before . . .

So instead we’d like to congratulate the London Evening Standard News on using the word GAY in their headlines without apology, quotation marks or explanations when covering the bank robbery in the States (Wed Aug 3rd). No newsagent will ever be able to complain about displaying the word gay in his/her shop any more. And at last the ordinary media are using our own non-derogatory term to describe us instead of insulting words like “queer” or clinical chillers like “invert” or “homosexual”.

As to the incidents themselves – well, you can read our report in this issue. At the time of writing this, however, we have only the facts published in the straight press, but their treatment of them seems to have been clear and unbiased. One can only hope that the public will follow the lead of the press in not connecting the gunmen’s homosexuality with their gun-toting, except as incidental factors, though it does seem as if the story made so many front pages because the gunmen were gay – gay is apparently news these days.

On a lighter note, we’d like to take issue with the gentleman who said ‘the name Gay News is a con; there’s nothing really gay in it’. Well, dear, what were you expecting? Pull-out knitting patterns for your jazzy new tank-top? who do you think we are Cosmopollution?

The nub of the charge is that we review films, books, records and the like because we think they’re good (or bad) whether they’re specifically gay or not. And that we haven’t, to date, doled out any ‘dishy’ pin-ups or chatty columns on make-up or clothes. Or leathers and chains for that matter.

And the answer to that is that we are a paper rather than a magazine. That the whole role-playing bitch-versus-butch game seems to us to be rather a waste of time. That people are people – so there’s not too much need to concentrate on specifically gay things just because they’re gay, ignoring the quality and conditioning effect. And in any case, there are a number of new magazines appearing at the moment which cover the lighter side of things as their main concern.

The main function and concern of the paper is serious — though we hope to be fun as well (with ‘Biograph’, ‘2032’, ‘More than one Alice’, and more to come, including a possible gay horror story). But the point we do take from the comment is that we aren’t sexy enough. We aren’t.

Has anybody any ideas on how to make a paper sexy without falling into the traps of treating people as bed-fodder (or rather, wank-fodder) of perpetuating myths about ‘types’ and so on?

The other thing about us that takes other people some time to get used to is our totally informal way of working, with no specific jobs allocated to anyone apart from vaguely defined areas of responsibility. We all do a little bit of everything at some time or another, which is lots of fun when it works and awful when it doesn’t – hence the curious numbering of pages in our last issue!

But it does mean that questions such as ‘Can I speak to the person who deals with . . .” don’t mean all that much. Any of us could answer most of the queries you might bring up, though we do have specialists in a few areas. And it does seem as if we will get more job-orientated in future, if only because each of us is developing some pet-hate or pet-love jobs. Perhaps it will then be a little easier for other people to work with us.

We also have now got our First Phantom Phoner – he/she just phones in from a call box and then waits to be cut off as the pips run out. One day soon he/she will speak. Or something. We’ll keep you posted. Seriously, though! there’s no need to be shy.

Finally, to answer a few queries raised in the last issue’s letters. When replying to box numbers, it isn’t necessary to stamp each box reply because we collect replies for a week or so and send them off together in one large envelope. It would be nice if people placing ads would enclose one such large stamped, self-addressed envelope – it might speed up your replies.

We’re very sorry that the gentleman who thought we were a CHE publication has had to wait this long to realise what he’s missing in Battersea . . .

To Richard Webster in Durham . . . it is an economically impossible job!

To everyone else, thanks, keep it up, and good luck. Byee!


As you may have noticed, there are 16 pages in this issue. That won’t happen every time, but we got lots of luvverly advertising this time. And to make room for it and all the goodies we intended to print, we had to have more pages. On which we spent the extra cash from the ads. So – we’re still as broke as ever. Still, that’s life. Hope you like it. Wish we could do it more often . . .

Editorial

05-197208XX 1We said it once. We are saying it again. We are short of money, and we need more. Not to expand the paper. Not to improve it. Just to keep it in existence. And we wouldn’t need to say that if our shops paid us promptly.

Most news is pessimistic — which is pretty well inevitable in the present situation of gay people. We are, after all, a frightened, fighting, persecuted minority, especially at the moment.

But …. where is the optimism, the creative side of gay life? What are we doing that is positive and fun? Not much.

The collective has heard a lot in these past few weeks about why we ought not to have started a gay newspaper, about how we are singling out gay people and setting them apart from everyone else, about how we are publicising the elements of gay life that many of us would like to forget or pretend didn’t exist. We’ve also had favourable comment to far outweigh this. But we feel we ought to make it clear why we disagree with our detractors on this point.

Firstly, The business of creating gay groups, papers, and so forth, serves a very great need. If someone thinks they are the only homosexual in the world, publicly gay things show them that they are not, show them things they can be part of. If someone is in any kind of trouble because they are gay, then that affects all of us, because we are gay too, and “there but for the grace of god go I”. We must be in a position to help one another.

Secondly. The gay scene that does exist is largely created for gay people by non-gay people, who do not understand us and our way of life as well as we do. They are in it because they know that if a place is passable but also gay, it will make them money. Mind you, we are getting more discerning. The Hummabum Club only stayed open a short while – people realised that it was a rip-off operation and weren’t going to fall for it.

But because the places for us to meet are few, and so many of us are isolated from one another because we do not feel able to be what we are openly at all times, we tend to be aggressively single-minded about getting someone home to bed when we do meet en masse. And this leads to the unthinking and inhuman treatment of other people as bed-fodder, judging them solely on the basis of their look and style, not as people.

We don’t like that attitude very much. It’s so much nicer going to bed with people you like, people you know, people you care about – in other words, to have friends you get to bed with now and again.

Thirdly. We believe in honesty. At all times, in all places. It’s incredibly hard. It hurts, especially if you’re not used to it. But it is really worth it. It really is worth the effort. So playing straight is not our game – indeed, we try not to play any games, or if we do, at least be aware of them.

So, at the moment, there is very little of value …. for the simple reason that anything gay people have has been granted or provided after much pressure by the very begrudging majority. A majority that is ignorant of us, doesn’t like us, and doesn’t want us. So we end up with what they think we deserve — and most of it is very dingy and expensive tat. If we really want anything of lasting value, we must create it ourselves; get together and do it. If that means staying an isolated minority for a while, that’s exactly what they want us to be. But it also means that we can show them, prove to them that we can do very well without them thank you, that we don’t need them. That we have every bit as much to offer to the human race as they have, and if they want it, they must come and get it. We here at Gay News don’t want two worlds, gay and non-gay. We want one world for everybody. For all that to happen, they must see us, know us, respect us, and actively want to be part of what we are doing as much as some of us want to be part of what they are doing (and that involves conventional society changing too – we don’t want to be part of it as it stands).

We made our beginning with a newspaper. Others do it in the various movements (though it would help if the movements stopped bitching one another and actually got together to do something). We would hope that the paper will stay out of those inter-movements politics, bridge some of the gaps, and perhaps become a nucleus for the more positive side of gay culture. At the moment we are preoccupied with trying to survive. But what we want to do …… to be really national, with regional offices, to have really much less cramped premises here, to start a counselling service for people in trouble, to run a club. We get letters, lots of them, that show how cut off, how lonely, how tired-of-things-as-they-are people are. We want to do something about it. All of us, all of you.

If we could all get together and do something like that, we could spawn a whole new beginning for straight society as well as for ourselves. It’s a dream. It’s a long way into the future. It could start now. But does anybody care?

Where Your Paper Goes From Here

02-197206XX 1This is the second issue of Gay News. There is still a long way to go. Gay women do not feature anywhere near enough. There are many areas of the country we do not reach. There is not sufficient money in the kitty to expand either the size of the distribution of the paper. All these things may be remedied in time, but with your involvement the paper will become what you want it to be much faster. We of the collective only ever intended to give you the paper and let you decide what it should become – by writing, subscribing, donating, working with us and eventually supplanting us. But before we go any further we must look at what could stop the paper happening.

The most obvious barrier to the continuance and expansion of the paper is the legal situation. Technically, anything which helps bring gay men into contact with one another can be construed as unlawful, however well-meant the attempt. Any publication which openly discusses sex and sexuality, especially when related to gay men and women, might be judged obscene. It is this which has forced us to abandon, for the time being, our plan to print the story “Shirley Temple Knows”, which we promised you for this issue. It is this which forces us to reiterate that, although we will continue to run a personal ads column, we retain the right to refuse or amend them as we see fit and according to our legal advice. Any ad which states specific sexual tastes is likely to attract unfavorable attention from the law, whilst those which seek only companionship, friendship, or someone to share a flat or holiday, may not. We will take all the precautions we can to ensure that our advertisers are protected.

The second major barrier is, of course, money. We aren’t going to put up our prices or rates unless rising costs force us to, and so it is unlikely that the paper will ever make any significant profit. This means that there will only ever be a limited amount of cash in the kitty with which we can begin to expand the paper and it’s availability. If you think that what the paper is trying to do (by its very existence) – that is, end our isolation from one another and defend our way of life – is worthwhile, then the paper needs to be available over a much wider area than it is now, and it needs a much larger number of pages. And in order to do this we need money, so that the paper can be planned well ahead instead of existing from issue to issue. So this is an appeal for donations, large and small, backers, advertisers, etc., and anything any of you can do to help us find them. We know you’ve been asked for your money thousands of times before – only this time it isn’t so somebody can do something they want to, it is so that you can do something for all of us, for yourselves, all over the country. And that isn’t just a semantic difference.

It would also be incredibly helpful if one of you (at least) would come and join us full-time in order to work almost wholly on getting the paper around the country. There isn’t much money in it worry the name, just enough for survival, so it would have to be a labour of love. Would any lady or gentleman like the job?

Afterthoughts Editorial