Tuesday, 23 December 2008

210: Christmas 3

from "Punch”, 15 December 1976

From a series of Christmas-themed parodies of assorted minority and specialist journals. “Gay Times”, a minority publication if ever there was one to parody, had recently made the mainstream news because of Mary Whitehall’s case against the “Gay Times” for blasphemy, which would come to trial in 1977. Never having seen a copy of “Gay News”, I still doubt that this is an accurate parody, since most of the many gay magazines I’ve seen from this period are torn between the need for leftish politics and positive representations. The public’s idea of gay frivolity, as exemplified by Mr Humphries, has little to do with the actual gay world of the time. This is a rather detailed piece, which besides obvious gay clichés and puns (queen, mince, faggots, fairy, etc), probably provides some sort of measure as to how much the generally-informed public could recall about homosexuals.

Quentin Crisp was a minor cult personality at this time, conspicuous for his homosexuality and his contrarian nature. John Hurt had performed as Crisp in the ITV drama “The Naked Civil servant” in 1975. About this time, Crisp was writing occasional reviews and essays for “Punch”.
Proust and Wilde (and an allusion to Reading Gaol) are there as homosexuals whom even the most clueless public will identify.
Casement Diary of course refers to the infamous Black diary of Roger Casement which revealed the Irish politician to have been a promiscuous homosexual.
St Sebastian gets several mentions since Derek Jarman’s film “Sebastian” had been released in 1976.
“British Guards” with phone numbers, refers to the fact that Guards used often to be commonly rumoured to be readily available for cash for a little light nocturnal adult pleasuring.
Several references show that the idea of butch has now extended into actual s&m, to contrast against prissy, effeminated style-obsessed gay clichés.
“Noel” probably is to suggest Noel Coward.
“British Home Stores”, a once popular British chain store becomes “Homo Stores”.

No comments: