Street Boy Conspiracy

At a Defence of Literature and the Arts Society meeting on 19 February, Mr Jeffrey Simmons, Managing Director of W H Allen and Co, the publishers, said he had just been told that conspiracy charges had been brought against the publisher of an autobiographical novel about a bisexual male prostitute, “Street Boy, Swinging London” by Richard Green, and that the publisher, Mr David John Miller had been kept in custody overnight at City Road Police Station before being charged.

According to the Guardian (20 and 21 Feb) Mr Miller visited the police station on 29 January after hearing that the Serious Crimes Squad had visited his offices. “The policemen were reading this book and said it was pornographic. I was then put in a stinking cell and was left there for 18 hours.” The next morning he was charged not only with offences against Section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 but also with conspiring together with persons unknown to produce an obscene article. He was remanded on bail of £4,000.

The National Council for Civil Liberties has expressed alarm about the bringing of a conspiracy charge in these circumstances. Under Section 2 of the Act the only question at issue is whether the article is obscene in the opinion of the jury and motive is irrelevant. But with a common law conspiracy charge having been introduced, the prosecution could introduce evidence of the accused’s intentions and beliefs if they desired to do so.

The subject of the book may be significant, and Mr Simmons who has read it, thinks this is so, “the subject of male prostitution is obviously taboo” he commented. It is indeed notable that in both the recent major “conspiracy to corrupt public morals” trials – those of IT and OZ – the prosecution relied heavily upon the homosexual content of the material to bolster their case. Your reporter, who has also read the book, found it explicit in its sexual description but non-arousing (perusal failed to bring about a single erection) and moralistic in its tone – the “hero” is throughout anxiously careful to distinguish between those “healthy” mortals such as himself, who indulge in homosexual acts (whether for payment or not) for pleasure or out of a sense of comradeship without detracting from their heterosexual desires and performance, and the unfortunate “queers” who actually fall in love with other men and whom he despises for this. In spite of such an inadequate approach to the subject, it would be unfair to dismiss “Street Boy, Swinging London” as merely pornographic; it has a story line and contains some characterisation and descriptive passages which lift it out of the “mere smut” class. “A minor male Fanny Hill” would not be an unfair verdict.

In an excellent article in the current “New Law Journal” (22 Feb) a barrister, Mr Gordon H Scott, pertinently questions the efficacy or social usefulness of the current spate of obscenity prosecutions. It is high time, he says, that prosecutors and police stopped to ask themselves a series of questions before bringing such cases. These are:

(1) Is the prosecution necessary in the public interest?
(2) Has any substantial harm been done to an individual or to the public at large?
(3) Will the public be harmed if proceedings are not brought?
(4) What (if anything) will be achieved by commencing proceedings?
(5) Will the costs of this prosecution be out of all proportion to the offence?

It will be of interest to see how the authorities answer these questions with respect to “Street Boy, Swinging London”. Meanwhile Mr Miller has been charged and the Defence of Literature and the Arts Society is appealing for funds to support his defence. Contributions should be sent to DLAS, 18 Brewer Street, London W1.

Non-Coincidences

‘David Holbrook wrote in the Guardian:

“It is not a coincidence for example, that one of the most obscene sketches in ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ was written by Joe Orton, who was brutally murdered by his boyfriend…” That set me thinking about non-coincidences.

‘It is not a coincidence, for example, that President Nixon likes cottage cheese with ketchup or that Aeschylus was killed by an eagle dropping a tortoise which landed on his head.

‘Once you start thinking that way, it’s hard to think of anything which is a coincidence.’

Reprinted from an article written by Adrian Mitchell, which appeared in The Guardian. Thanks and love to both Adrian and the paper.

The 1967 Confidence Trick (2)

02-197206XX 3(from page 3)

into doubt all the good work achieved by people who have no connection with obscene publications, but whose first desire is to create a caring and happy society. Fresh legislation is now imperative in the light of this recent development. – I am etc.
IAN C. DUNN, Chairman,
Scottish Minorities Group.

From The Evening Standard, 26th June, 1972.

 

NOW – A GAY PRIDE DEMO

Sir: Milton Shulman’s article ‘Dockers and Homosexuals’ accurately portrays the effects of the recent Appeals decision. Any ordinary person who has been involved in a trial cannot fail to be astounded at how out of touch with present reality most judges seem to be.

What the I.T. decision does is to put many persons, including myself, in peril of arrest, trial and umprisonment. On July 1, there will be a GayPride Demo in Trafalgar Square. The purpose of this clearly is to advocate homosexual practice for homosexuals and to protest against the continued oppression of homosexuals in our society, the 1967 Act notwithstanding. I, and other gay people will continue to defy this absurd law. To be arrested for advocating legal activity is something only a judge would appear not to find ludicrous. Let Parliament speedily remedy the situation or vote money to house a rapidly expanding prison population.

Warren Hague (address supplied)

 

The Guardian, 19th June, 1972

HOMOSEXUALS IN ISOLATION

Sir,
The law acknowledges the right of homosexuals to make love. By rejecting IT’s appeal, the House of Lords continues to support the law’s illogical refusal to allow homosexuals to meet. There an no circumstances under which they can meet. Not in the streets, which is importuning; not in properly conducted social clubs because none is allowed to exist.

Such repression encourages recourse to a few dubious pubs and furtive drinking clubs that cater for homosexuals; it encourages desperate efforts to make contact in public with the consequent risk of police prosecution. It encourages the growth of increasingly militant homosexual organisation. It throws and is throwing, an increasingly large burden on the Samaritans and other social service groups – the only people that the isolated homosexual knows he can turn to.

To use the Ladies Directory case (a list, I understand, of prostitutes) as a precedent for dealing with ordinary homosexual people is appalling enough. But their Lordships decision represents a major piece of discrimination against a section of the community that i,. numerically, larger than our coloured population. The House of Lords was dealing with one underground newspaper; their decision affects the very real needs of isolated people all over the country.
Yours faithfully,
ROGER BAKER
Flat F. 23 Great James Street
London WC1.

 

THE EVENING STANDARD
20th June, 1972.

GAY ADVERTISING

With regard to your news story (June 14) Lords in Clash on Gay Advert, I and the members of the Gay News, would like to point out that we will be carrying personal advertisements for gays of all sexes. We consider it the right of homosexuals to advertise in this way if they so wish, and can see no earthly reason why gays should not be able to do the same as heterosexuals. Hopefully, one day it will not be necessary for any people, no matter what their sexual preference, to advertise in this way. Until gays an free from the isolation imposed on them by society and people in general are released from the misguided taboos that surround sex and sexuality. Gay News will carry personal ads, no matter what the penalty.

Gay News is a national fortnightly paper for gay men and women and will he available this week. – DENNIS LEMON, Gay News, 19 London Street, W.2.