HIM 68, April 1984

Gossip columnists obviously have a hard time filling their columns. Much of their material is weak in the extreme and their ‘wit’ for the most part embarrassing. And nowadays it seems only homosexuality is scandalous enough to raise eyebrows. There are few other subjects ‘gossips’ can sneer at and get away with it.

They’ve had a field day with poor old Elton John. But then, Elton does seem to ask for it. Not happy with just quietly getting married he has to give journalists all the ammunition they need to shoot him down. [Note: Elton John married German recording engineer Renate Blauel on 14 February 1984].

“Straight talking John Smith” in The Sunday People started his item with the hilariously witty and original “Oh my goodness, what a gay day”, and to prove what a wag he is he included the phrase “good on yer, yer pommy poofter”.

William Hickey in THE DAILY EXPRESS headed his tribute “Elton and The Boys He Leaves Behind-which managed to avoid the libelous while leaving little of Elton’s past gay life unexplored.

From other sections of the papers the overwhelming message to Elton was: “We knew you were really one of us all the time. Nice to know you’re normal.”

When, er, I mean if,the marriage ends, Elton is going to reap a nasty harvest from the sick publicity machine he is courting.


Another favourite target for the columnists is Peter Tatchell. Described in THE DAILY MIRROR by the execrable Peter Tory as “an admitted homosexual”.

Tatchell found himself in the limelight again because it is exactly a year since his notorious Bermondsey debacle.

That’s enough for the papers to rake it all over again and throw any residual mud at Tony Benn. Peter Tory, the MIRROR’s ‘gossip’ seemed positively gleeful in reporting that Tatchell had almost been shoved under a bus and threatened with several kinds of death.


Meanwhile, William Hickey again, this time reporting that Gay News has taken a poll in gay circles and found Neil Kinnock to be “man of the year” (a fact which the publisher of GN, raving right-winger Nigel Ostrer wasn’t pleased about). [Note: Nigel Ostrer bought the title Gay News from Denis Lemon after the original folded, but the new version did not last long and the title was sold on to Millivres and was incorporated into Gay Times].

According to Hickey, Neil Kinnock’s reaction on hearing the news was “That’s all I need right now”. There is evidence to suggest that Kinnock is a homophobe — but I still resent Hickey trying to use homosexuality as a chisel to chip away at the Labour leader’s reputation. It seems to be an increasing habit in the press — associate your worst enemy with homosexuality (however vaguely) and hope that his popularity will plummet. The evidence seems to suggest that it doesn’t work anyway.


One person who can’t be caught in that particular trap is Christopher Isherwood. THE STANDARD Diary reports that Isherwood recently met Bob Fosse, the man who turned the book Goodbye to Berlin into the film Cabaret.

Isherwood hated the film because it suggested that there was more to his relationship with the singer Sally Bowles than mere friendship. The irate Isherwood said: “I never slept with a woman in my life.” Hard for THE STANDARD to make innuendo out of anything as plain as that.


THE SUNDAY EXPRESS gossip column, however, carried a cleverly-worded piece about Rock Hudson and his manager Tom Clarke.

Although nothing was said directly, there was enough suggestion and insinuation to get the message over loud and clear.


THE DAILY MIRROR and THE SUN carried the story of the lesbian couple who had been allocated a flat by Hereford Council. THE MIRROR said: “the women are jumping the queue because they are being treated as a married couple.”

But as lesbians can’t get married, there would be no hope of them ever being housed if the MIRROR’s criterion were applied. Never mind, I thought, the councillors in Hereford have their hearts in the right place, and the women have their flat in which to live happily ever after.

But then THE GUARDIAN reported that there was to be a “rethink”. The publicity has been so hysterical that the anti-gay feeling in the Council (orchestrated by a Coun. Bert Evans) resulted in the women being “hounded remorselessly”.

Mr Evans said: “If this goes through we could see an invasion of sexual deviants which would mean that normal people would never get rehoused.”

If Mr Evans thinks Hereford is about to become another San Francisco he can rest in peace. Not many gay people would want to breathe the same air as such a bigoted burgher as he.


LIKE a lot of gay people, I have a great affection for Kenneth Williams. In the closeted sixties, his outrageous Julian and Sandy sketches in Round the Horne were like a lifeline to those of us isolated and alone. We seemed to share with Williams a naughty secret joke that straights could never hope to understand.

You can imagine my horror, therefore, on picking up the NEWS OF THE WORLD colour magazine and seeing our Kenny quoted as saying: “Man is made for woman and anybody who pretends that two men can live together happily like man and wife is talking a load of rubbish. Let’s not kid ourselves, there would no life in that kind of relationship.”

At the beginning of the interview, Mr Williams proclaims: “I am a cult” although I’m not sure he’s spelt it right


And like a vision from heaven to prove Kenneth Williams wrong, Sir Angus Wilson and Tony Garrett, his lover of 32 years, put their relationship in front of the TV cameras in THE OTHER HALF (BBC1). It turned out to be a loving, giving partnership with lots of humour and a good deal of quiet contentment.

The other nice thing about this programme was that it explored the texture and workings of a gay relationship rather than presenting another heavy tract on the nature and tragedy of homosexuality.

Sir Angus said he didn’t feel the need to wear a badge saying “I’m homosexual.”

He went one better and declared it on prime time television. In doing so he rendered a great service to the gay community.


In Mary Kenny’s attempted hatchet job on The National Council for Civil Liberties [Note: Now called simply “Liberty”] in THE DAIL MAIL she said the NCCL had been greeted on its 50th birthday by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and other “frankly lunatic causes”. She contended that by Mrs Thatcher declining to give her support it must be proof (if any were needed as far as MAIL readers go) that the NCCL is just another group of left-wing, gay-loving maniacs. Ms Kenny says she will believe in the NCCL when it “champions, everybody’s rights”.

This apparently, includes The National Front, Ku Klux Klan and others with murder in their hearts. Ms Kenny wants freedom for “racists to be racists” — as long as they are peaceful. Yes, the National Front is noted for its peacefulness, isn’t it?

The NCCL has consistently championed gay rights and maintained a justified watch on the police. It is an essential organisation in these times of rapidly diminishing personal liberty.


Peter Adamson, ex-Len Fairclough of Coronation Street, wrote a series of exposés in THE NEWS OF THE WORLD telling earth-shattering “secrets” of life backstage at Granada. There was an awful lot of schoolboy-type sniggering about tits, bums, lavatories and rather childish horseplay.

His memories of Peter Dudley, who played Bert Tilsley, were hardly surprising. He reveals that Peter was a “cottager” and a “harmless homosexual.”

A more tawdry set of memoirs would be difficult to imagine.

HIM 69, May 1984

THE OBSERVER reports on the Earls Court ‘pretty police’, those power-crazed morons who go to sinister lengths in their efforts to destroy the lives of innocent people.

The police officers involved wear provocative clothes, hang about well-known gay pubs, make the first move, talk dirty, and when their victim responds, arrest him.

At one of the notorious trials earlier this year, the judge said that it was clear that someone was lying. The counsel representing the police naturally said it was the defendant and that if it were to be the policemen who were telling porkies, then “they shouldn’t be police officers, put should be in prison.”

The juries found the defendants not guilty in five of the six cases. It follows that either the juries were extremely stupid or that the police were lying.

So why aren’t these police officers in prison? Do they have immunity from the laws of perjury?

Scotland Yard told THE OBSERVER that there was to be no enquiry and no disciplinary action against the oath-breaking officers.

Listen, whenever gay people complain to the Press Council about the insulting things Fleet Street say about us, the Council invariably replies “Newspapers have a right to express their opinions forcefully.”

Alright — my opinion is that the West London police officers involved in these scandalous cases are liars, cheats and a menace to decent people. Is that forceful enough?


THE SUNDAY PEOPLE advise us that “like any loving mum, Mrs Katherine Jackson has sprung to the defence of her ‘little boy’ Michael, the hottest name in pop. “People say he’s gay, but he isn’t. It’s against religion, against God and the Bible speaks against it.”

Listen Mrs Jackson, if your little boy with his pill-popping, hormone-injecting, face-lifting, ageing juvenile lifestyle is “normal”, I thank Christ I ain’t.


One of the most frightening things I’ve read this month was in London’s listing magazine TIME OUT. During an investigation into the effects of ‘video nasties’ on young people, the TO reporter asked a pair of lads what they had found most disturbing about their viewing of videos.

After describing various disembowellings, torture and rape, they eventually said that the only thing that had turned their stomach had been the “gay wedding where two men kissed each other.”

A chilling prospect for the future of gay rights. Or could this youthful homophobia be just a phase that this upcoming generation will grow out of?


THE SUN says that Radio One’s newest DJ Dixie Peach will be featuring record requests and dedications from gay people. Rapidly assuring us that “he’s not gay himself”, Dixie say rather patronisingly, “I’ll have a small spot for lovers of dedications on my new programme and I’d like response from gay people because they are very much part of our society.”

So come on, you gay lovers, put Dixie to the test.


Is William Hickey going gay? I’m sure this is a question that has been exercising your mind over the last couple of months (unless, of course, you had something more important to do — cutting your toenails, perhaps?)

Anyway, the DAILY EXPRESS gossip columnist has been deluging his readers with a torrent of gay news recently. Did you know, for instance, that all four TV channels turned down the opportunity to screen a tribute to Noel Coward? “The Establishment has always been slightly shifty about acknowledging Cowards’ talent because of his homosexuality,” Hickey says.

He then informs us that that well-known fag-hag the Queen Mother will be unveiling a plaque to Coward in Westminster Abbey and the Drury Lane tribute will star Sirs Gielgud, Attenborough and Mills. Hardly what you’d call an “alternative” event.

In the following day’s paper, Mr Hickey returned to one of his favourite topics: Peter Tatchell. Apparently, Peter has been seen emerging from The Hippodrome nightclub on its Monday gay night. “The idea of two men on the dance-floor together — will you lead or shall I? — isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But Tatchell stands firm, even when anti-gays push him off his bike and threaten him with worse,” writes Sweet William.

You know, Mr Hickey. I’m getting worried about you. One of these days. You’ll turn up in John St Clair’s column and what would Nigel Dempster make of that? [Note: John St Clair was HIM’s own gossip columnist.]


THE OBSERVER gives frightening statistics from America about the increasing incidence of AIDS in San Francisco. “On the campus at Stanford University a group of statues has been damaged by a man with a hammer. The figures show two men together and two women, also together, in affectionate poses.” It is rumoured that the vandal is a gay AIDS victim who was “demonstrating his despair”.


Ames Murray, TV editor of THE DAILY EXPRESS wrote a piece about the Channel Four series Jesus: The Evidence. There are assertions by experts, he says, that “Christ, if he existed, may have engaged in secret rituals attended by homosexuals.”

Wow and double-wow! And then, with incredible arrogance, he says: “Christ blessed thieves and prostitutes — so what’s so surprising that homosexuals might have been present?”

The stupid naivity seems to know no bounds. Does Mr Murray imagine for one moment that all those camp old twats who dress up in frocks and jewels to revel in rituals and ceremonies in the Church are all 100% heterosexual?

Believe me, outside a Busby Berkeley musical there isn’t anywhere except the church where queens can camp it up so outrageously.