Here We Are Again

You probably have read in your papers of the dancing in the streets and the happy merry-making in the vicinity of London Street, Paddington, once the editorial collective of Gay News finally managed to secure larger premises. If you somehow missed hearing about this major event, here are the up-to-date details.

Earls Court Here We Come

After months of searching, inquiring and appealing, we found suitable accommodation in London’s fashionable Earls Court district. The new offices consist of two large rooms, each at least three times the size of our present location at Paddington. There is also a garden, which will no doubt be put to such good use as growing green carnations. One of the offices also incorporates a small kitchen unit. The new address and telephone number of GN will appear in bold type at the end of this piece.

From now on, please send all correspondence, information, articles, box number replies and enquiries to our new address. Our old telephone number will still be operating for a while but we suggest that you ring the new number. We intend to keep the original office, even if we haven’t yet decided to what use we are going to put it. Any of you intending to visit GN should come along to our new address, where you will always be most welcome, although we can’t guarantee how much attention we can give you.

Incidentally, the new premises and the retaining of the Paddington office, are just inside the budget we have allowed ourselves.

Discrimination?

The acquiring of our new offices has been a somewhat exhausting and depressing experience. Admittedly our bank were helpful within certain limits. Also, the offer from a friendly individual to provide a guarantee for a bank loan we needed to obtain premises we were at one time considering taking, was most generous and greatly encouraging. But that particular place eventually proved to be way beyond the amount budgeted for accommodation.

More often than not we have come up against hostility and discrimination when we have approached estate agents and landlords of vacant property. In the few days preceeding the acquisition of the Earls Court offices, we had lost the opportunity of two ideal locations, purely and simply because we happened to be producing a newspaper that aimed at gay men and women. A comment from one of the people we saw concerning a certain property, delivered in a most agitated manner, was: “Gay News! You mean it’s for QUEERS?”

The other possible landlord, after what we supposed to be a re-thinking of the meaning of the words “gay news” took only a minute or two to come to the no-argument decision of “NO”, after demanding to see a copy of GN.

We have tried to be objective in interpreting the negative responses we have come across. Possible paranoia and over-reacting on our part to likely discriminatory situations have been taken into account, but the only general conclusions we can honestly come to, are that through being unwilling to conceal the true nature of GN and our own gayness, we have, in the majority of instances, come up against the same ignorant, insufferable prejudices and unfounded fears that gays of both sexes have had the misfortune to endure throughout recorded history.

Gay News intends to seriously investigate the problems gays may encounter in finding accommodation, including local council flats and houses, or in obtaining mortgages. More on this subject in future issues. For now, you could write to us, informing us of any discrimination you have encountered in relation to housing.

Departures

Number one David Bowie fan and GN news editor Peter Holmes has now left the paper. Peter has parted company with us for personal reasons.

In the past he has not only contributed to the growth of GN, but has also submitted news and features to Time Out and the new pop/movie magazine Screen ’n’ Heard.

We wish Peter much success in the future. GN won’t be quite the same without him.

In another part of this issue you will see an advertisement for someone to replace the large gap left in our news department by Peter’s departure.

Orange or Lemon

The last issue, for reasons yet to be explained by our printer, came out in two different colours, lemon and orange. The one that we wanted was the latter, but these things happen. Unfortunately we considered the lemon covers (no offence Denis) to be rather dull. It looks as if the occurence will be filed away in our insoluble problems department.

Dates

Issue no 19 of GN will be published and available from 21st March. Deadlines for that edition are Friday 9th March for copy, letters, etc and the morning of Tuesday 13th March for advertisements.

FOOTNOTE: Please note that our new address is Gay News, Basement, 34d Redcliffe Square, London SW10. The telephone number is 01-01-373 0586.

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.