No Secrets from The People

Would You Like To See Them Behind The Bar In Your Local? simpered the Sunday People, who ran the picture when the man on the left won a landlord of the year competition.

The Sunday People giggled on: “Which makes on wonder what is happening to the traditional English pub.”

For Ken Pilling, the landlord of the Merchants Hotel in Blackburn, Lancashire is gay and makes no secret of the fact. And the People giggled “some of his barmen are the same way.”

Ken told the newspaper: “I’ve always been completely frank about myself. Fellows out for a stag night come in and laugh at us. But my barmen have a quick answer for any joker, and these lads who come for laughs return as regulars.”

Ken started a pub football team and their opponents taunted: “We’re playing a bunch of fairies.” Ken’s lads thrashed them 16 to 2.

“There’s not a homosexual among them,” he says. “People thought everyone who came in here would be bent.”

The People snickered: “A lot of people would, no doubt, be put off by Ken’s scene. But certainly his sexually – normal regulars are full of praise.”

Before he took over the Merchant’s Hotel, Ken was an Army drill instructor and the pub was run down. Now its turnover is more than £1,000 a week.

The 500-pub Lion brewery, which owns the Merchants says Ken won the award as the “Licensee who made the most effort personally to improve his pub atmosphere, by way of added attractions, customer relationship and genuine desire for his customers’ welfare.”

Being all of that won Ken a weekend in Paris – “Gay Paree” to the People.

Still At It

LONDON: It was reported in GN13 that Chelsea police were using agent provocateur methods of entrapment in the vicinity of The Coleherne public house in London’s Earls Court district. We reported in that issue that Michael, a 34-year-old carpenter, had been fined £25 for mistakenly inviting a plainclothes police sergeant back to his home.

Unfortunately we have to tell you that the police are still at it.The latest victim of this widely condemned practise of using agents provocateurs, is Peter, a 26-year-old German student. For at Marlborough Street magistrate court recently, a police officer claimed that Peter had approached him and two other men in Coleherne Road and had extended invitations to go back to his flat.

Peter at first denied the offence, but later pleaded guilty and was conditionally discharged for twelve months. The German student, of excellent previous character, said in his defence that in Germany it was in no way illegal to extend such invitations in the street, and that he was not aware that the law was different in this country. He most certainly is now.

The Chelsea police must be using some very attractive guardians of the law to protect the public from these major crimes. So be extra careful about who you are friendly to in this particular area.

Further developments in this pitiful situation will appear in the paper.

Members Only At Dutch Bar

AMSTERDAM: The city’s main gay club De Schakel, the club operated until now by COC, the Dutch Society for the Integration of Homosexuality, has closed its doors to gays from other European countries who don’t join COC because COC found that reciprocal membership does not work.

There are now so many homosexual equality groups in Europe that do not have membership cards that it’s now impossible for the De Schakel, which has been transferred to Ingritas Ltd, to check that everyone coming in is a member of a gay organisation.

And even though De Schakel won’t be directly controlled by COC now, Ingritas Ltd gives free entrance to COC members and the Dutch organisation is offering temporary membership of COC to visitors to Amsterdam – for any time between 14 days and a year.

Ingritas Ltd hopes that De Schakel will develop into an integrated, alternative recreation possibility instead of the present stereotype-reinforcing nightclubs.

So, from the beginning of this year, members of foreign organisations and groups will not get free entrance to De Schakel. At the same time COC members are being told that they can’t expect to get in free to gay clubs in other countries.

Carry On Kidding

EDINBURGH: When Councillor Kidd speaks the Scottish press usually listens for he is always controversial copy.

Kidd, the working man’s Longford, has always been proud of his relationship with the police and the press.

The trinity, he assured our reporter, was responsible for cleaning up the Scottish capital’s pubs and clubs of go-go dancers and strippers.

“The situation was desperate,” Kidd states. “Housewives phoned me up seeking help, their husbands were in pubs where these strippers danced, some even dipped their breasts in pints. The housewives were alarmed at the effect these artists were having on their husbands.” With the help of the press, Kidd soon had the situation under control. Pubs and clubs were not his only target, the “Traverse Theatre Club has been behaving itself,” he assured us “in the last 12 months.”

What he didn’t mention was that the club now has a substantial council grant and this may have had a taming effect on that hotbed of liberal depravity.

However Councillor Kidd’s peace of mind didn’t last long, for on St Andrews night, in the capital itself, boobs and beer were once again united. “It’s disgusting,” he said. “I was astounded. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It’s unbelievable.”

To make matters worse, Kidd could not rely on the support of his old allies, the press. For the boobs and all the other accessories were being flashed in, of all places the Edinburgh press club at their annual St Andrews Day dinner/dance.

FOOTNOTE: Councillor Kidd is a versatile puritan, for he’s one of the most vociferous anti-gay activists in Scotland. See his amazing answers to GN interview in GN7.


GLASGOW: The city’s Black Box News Service, Scotland’s alternative news agency, which ran Spike, the country’s ‘other’ newspaper, until costs caught up with the organisation and the paper had to be folded, is being dragged through the courts by Daeha printers of Oxford, for not paying the print bill on Spike, Issue one.

Black Box say: “We refused to pay the full print bill because they made such an arse of the issue – wrong size, shit paper, and those duplicate ads. If you remember the issue you will see what we mean.”

After their experience with Daeha, Black Box had Spike issue two printed at FI Litho, Gay News’ printers. Then costs killed Spike, the only alternative voice in Scotland.

Legal Discrimination

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has recently set up a Legal Standing Committee to coordinate efforts to fight discrimination in the implementation of the law by the Courts, the police and the prison service. The committee would like to ask you for your help in two ways, whether or not you are a member of CHE.

First, any offers of help with our task would be most welcome, particularly from anyone with special knowledge in the legal area and from those willing to undertake a definite job of work such as writing letters or articles, speaking to individuals and groups of people, assisting in the organisation of teach-ins, etc.

Secondly, despite several recent appeals for information concerning specific cases of discrimination, information of this type is still very scanty, although we are aware that many documented cases do exist. We should therefore like to ask anyone who knows of such a case to contact us as soon as possible since without this vital information we shall be severely handicapped in our work. Any information will of course be absolutely confidential unless specific permission to divulge it is given.

Would anyone who feels able to help in either of these respects, please contact the Committee at 17, Oxford Terrace, Gateshead, Co. Durham NE8 IRQ.

Victory In The West

BRISTOL: Gay author and playwright Jean Genet has given his permission for the first British production of his play The Screens, which deals with the Algerian war of Independence – in Bristol.

When it opened in Paris, it caused considerable political mayhem, as the scars caused by the loss of Genet’s native France losing its last and favourite colony had not yet healed.

Since then it has been staged in New York, but it has never been performed in this country. So winning the first performance rights is a considerable victory for the provincial theatre.

Vampire Postmen

LONDON: A gentle warning. In case you’re thinking of posting a letter or visiting a post office in PADDINGTON, DON’T because someone in the Paddington GPO is after your blood. The other morning I posted off some packets of back numbers to readers, and to make sure no Hets came loose in transit, I stapled the envelopes down. The following morning, no sooner had I left the erotica of the Bakerloo line, and entered that hovel we call an office, when a horrible man from the GPO rang up to tell me that I’d almost caused an actual strike at the local sorting office. Almost, well, you can’t succeeed in fulfilling your greatest desires all the time.

One of their nice postmen, while trying to prize open the staples, in order to steal whatever was inside our packets, had cut his lily white hand, and stained what the GPO’s spokesman termed as our “embarrassing packet” with streams of blood, and they weren’t going to sort any more of our post until we came round and removed every single, solitary staple. I collected the packets from the assistant postmaster, who peculiarly, was dressed in a long black cloak, with which he was attempting to consider his two front teeth which protruded terribly, and must have been all of eight inches long. And stranger still, there wasn’t the merest speck of blood to be seen on the packet. Just three large teeth marks and a GLF badge where the staples should have been.

So, Paddington GPO, Fangs for the memory.

Come Togethers

MANCHESTER: On Saturday January 27, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality is holding the first national meeting for gay and bisexual women.

Liz Stanley who’s been involved in the meeting’s organisation told Gay News: “Any woman is welcome to the meeting.”

After a general discussion about involving more women in CHE, people will split up into discussion groups.

These discussion groups will talk about subjects including the problems of married gay and bisexual women, and the children of gay parents; coming to terms with one’s homosexuality, relating to each other and to gay men as well as to heterosexual people; where gay women can go for help – and the specific problems of the help organisations; women’s liberation; radicial feminism and its relationship to the gay women’s struggle; the problems of isolated gay women in provincial towns.

After that they’ll get together again to discuss “Women In CHE – Where We Go From Here”.

After the conference there will be a mixed disco – although the conference itself is for women only.

LONDON: The Havelock Ellis Society will have its second annual lecture at the Royal Overseas League, London SW1 on Friday February 2.

This year’s subject is Sex Research and Social Changes. The lecturer will be Professor John Gagnon, professor of sociology at New York State University.

ED: Details of the women’s conference from Liz at CHE, Manchester – the address is on the back of the paper. More on the Havelock Ellis lecture from Edgar Wright, 121 Broadhurst Gardens, London NW3 3BJ.

LEEDS: A National Gay Liberation “THINK-IN” is to be held in Leeds over the weekend February 17th-18th. The hosts are Gay Lib Leeds and the venue: Leeds University Union.

All Gay Lib groups will be invited and any interested individuals are encouraged to come along.

This will be an important meeting for GLF in this country: at a stage of revolutionary change within the national group and the widely diverse regional groups.

On the Friday night groups will be expected to arrive.

A disco/party will be held. The first Get-together will be held on the Saturday at 10pm. The ‘think-in’ will last all day. A Grand Dance will be held on the Saturday night. A policy meeting and round-up of discussions will take place on the Sunday afternoon.

More news will be released as they get-it-together.

Sam Faces Spite On Coucil

DURHAM: The city’s councillors are being asked to buy Gay News for the Durham public libraries. But the application may be turned down by councillors who dislike the city’s Gay Lib councillor Sam Green.

Sam told Gay News that the Durham Librarian would have to refer any application for spending the municipal cash on Gay News to the Libraries Committee.

He said: “It might even be agreed to, as it is not the full council, on which I am, and where there is a lot of personal animosity towards me – but some of them might try and make political capital out of it.”

Sam became Durham’s first Liberal councillor last year after ousting the sitting councillor in Crossgate ward – after 18 years on the council. In his campaign he made a point of telling his electors he was gay (GN8).

He will be standing for the district and county elections this spring.