Sunday, 8 June 2008

129: Tom Driberg 1

in "Private Eye" 20 August 1976

Amidst all the typical puns and boys’ humour about homosexuals are a few facts:
The first that most people knew about Driberg’s homosexuality was when he had the unusual honour of being outed in his “Times” obituary.
The vigorously socialist Driberg had been made a peer, becoming Baron Bradwell of Bradwell-juxta-Mare in 1976.
There is some associational punning in “Gladwell” since Tom Robinson’s song “Glad to Be Gay” had hit the charts earlier in the year.
Much Gay Lib and Campaign for Homosexual Equality propaganda at this time was about how homosexuals were just like everybody else.

Driberg had a long association with “Private Eye”, being one of the elderly mischief-makers of previous generations that its editors liked to collect in its early years. Driberg liked to spread salacious gossip but he was too unreliable to be truly trusted, though he tried to tip them off to Jeremy Thorpe’s inclinations. As “Tiresias” Driberg contributed to “Private Eye” one of the most difficult yet obscene crosswords ever attempted: “Seamen mop up anal infusions (6)” = ENEMAS; “Stiff enough to transmit electricity" (8) = ERECTION; “Sounds as if you must look behind for this lubricant" (5) = SEBUM.
One piece of gossip, is that Richard Ingrams as editor of “Private Eye” forbad any member of his staff to travel alone with Driberg for fear they would succumb to his sexual predations.

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