Jeremy, The Magazine for Modern Young Men, 1969

Jeremy-vol1-no1.jpg

Jeremy, vol. 1, no. 1.

To note the 50th anniversary this month of the (partial) decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales I thought I’d write something about Jeremy magazine, a short-lived publication launched in the UK in 1969. The magazine is notable not for the quality of its contents, which seem slight considering the high cover price of six shillings, but for being the first British magazine aimed at an audience of gay men that wasn’t either porn, a dating mag or a political tract. I had planned to write something about Jeremy at least two years ago when the blog was still a daily thing but detailed information about the magazine’s history is hard to find. This is frustrating but not too surprising. The anniversary of the change in the law has prompted a number of exhibitions and events devoted to Britain’s gay history but little of that history ever seems to travel beyond academic circles unless a notable life story—Quentin Crisp or Alan Turing, say—is involved. As with so many aspects of British culture, the conversation is dominated by America: the main campaigning organisation in the UK, Stonewall, is named after an American riot; the LGBT initialism is an American invention, as is the rainbow flag (the latter, as I’ve said before, being fine as a flag but—with its multiple colours—hopeless as a symbol). More Britons will know the name Harvey Milk than they do Edward Carpenter (1844–1929) or Allan Horsfall (1927–2012) even though Carpenter and Horsfall devoted years of their lives campaigning for gay men to be treated equally under the law in the Britain. Horsfall’s Campaign for Homosexual Equality pioneered the push for gay rights in Britain, the first official meeting taking place in Manchester in 1964. The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 seemed in later years like a poor compromise but when the alternative being offered was celibacy or the risk of a prison sentence it was a start. (Scotland, however, had to wait until 1980 for the same change in the law while in Northern Ireland sex between men was illegal until 1982.) Two years after decriminalisation, not only was Jeremy being launched but OZ magazine devoted a portion of its 23rd issue (September, 1969) to gay material. Jeremy advertised its early issues in OZ and IT (see below).

Jeremy-vol1-no2.jpg

Jeremy, vol. 1, no. 2.

Jeremy‘s status as the first gay magazine in Britain might be more acknowledged if its origins weren’t so obscure. The magazine is mentioned in books such as British Queer History (edited by Brian Lewis) and The Culture of Queers by Richard Dyer but never in any detail. Dyer refers to the title as a bisexual magazine which it may have appeared to be from the covers but this is contradicted by the ads. Peter Burton, editor of the later issues, claimed that everyone involved knew that gay men were the primary audience. Using bisexuality as a kind of fig leaf was less a case of cold feet than a means by which the magazine might be smuggled under the radar of those who would otherwise object to its existence. Britain may have been slightly ahead of the US in its tolerance of gay men but the lack of a written constitution meant that publishers, especially those regarded as subversive or disreputable, needed to tread carefully in the 1960s and 70s as OZ and Nasty Tales discovered.

Jeremy-vol1-no3.jpg

Jeremy, vol. 1, no. 3.

The precarious legal position means that Jeremy‘s visuals are relatively innocuous, with sporadic nudity but nothing that might be regarded as pornography. The magazine’s features were also relatively innocuous although the novelty of publishing anything overtly gay meant that a piece about entertaining at home would carry a frisson that would be absent in other magazines. Later issues included encounters with minor celebrities including an early interview with David Bowie which has at least preserved the magazine’s name in Bowie histories. Bowie had the opportunity to be open about his sexuality but wisely waited until his profile had risen and he could make a declaration to a larger audience.

Jeremy-vol1-no5.jpg

Jeremy, vol. 1, no. 5.

A few more covers and some interior pages follow. As usual, if anyone has further information to contribute then please leave a comment. My thanks to Rex for sending the information about Peter Burton’s editorship of the magazine.

Continue reading “Jeremy, The Magazine for Modern Young Men, 1969”

23 Skidoo

1: A slang phrase

skidoo1.jpg

Postcard via.

skidoo, v. N. Amer. slang. (ski’du:) Also skiddoo. [Orig. uncertain, perh. f. skedaddle v.]

2. In catch-phrases. a. Used as an exclamation of disrespect (for a person). Esp. in nonsense association with twenty-three. (temporary.)

1906 J. F. Kelly Man with Grip (ed. 2) 99 As for Belmont and Ryan and the rest of that bunch, Skidoo for that crowd when we pass. Ibid. 118 ‘I can see a reason for ‘skidoo’,’ said one, ‘and for ‘23’ also. Skidoo from skids and ‘23’ from 23rd Street that has ferries and depots for 80 per cent. of the railroads leaving New York.’ 1911 Maclean’s Mag. Oct. 348/1 Surrounded by this conglomerate procession as I went on my way, the urchins would yell ‘Skidoo,’ ‘23 for you!’

b. spec. as twenty-three skidoo: formerly, an exclamation of uncertain meaning; later used imp., go away, ‘scram’.

1926 C. T. Ryan in Amer. Speech II. 92/1, I really do not recall which appeared first in my vocabulary, the use of ‘some’ for emphasis or that effective but horrible ‘23-Skiddoo’—perhaps they were simultaneous. 1929 Amer. Speech IV. 430 Among the terms which the daily press credits Mr. Dorgan with inventing are:…twenty-three skiddoo (go away). 1957 W. Faulkner Town iii. 56 Almost any time now Father would walk in rubbing his hands and saying ‘oh you kid’ or ‘twenty-three skidoo’. 1978 D. Bagley Flyaway xi. 80 This elderly, profane woman…used an antique American slang… I expected her to come out with ‘twenty-three, skidoo’.

From the Oxford English Dictionary

2: An esoteric poem by Aleister Crowley

23

SKIDOO

What man is at ease in his Inn?
Get out.
Wide is the world and cold.
Get out.
Thou hast become an in-itiate.
Get out.
But thou canst not get out by the way thou camest in. The Way out is THE WAY.
Get out.
For OUT is Love and Wisdom and Power.
Get OUT.
If thou hast T already, first get UT.
Then get O.
And so at last get OUT.

From The Book of Lies (1912/13)

3: A film by Julian Biggs

biggs.jpg

23 Skidoo (1964).

If you erase the people of downtown America, the effect is bizarre, not to say disturbing. That is what this film does. It shows the familiar urban scene without a soul in sight: streets empty, buildings empty, yet everywhere there is evidence of recent life and activity. At the end of the film we learn what has happened.

4: 23 Skidoo Eristic Elite by William Burroughs

skidoo2.jpg

International Times, issue 18, Aug 31–Sept 13, 1967.

From Burroughs proceed to Illuminatus! (1975) by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, and many subsequent derivations.

Continue reading “23 Skidoo”

Weekend links 234

dezso.jpg

The Devil in the Green Coat by Andrea Dezsö, an illustration for a new, uncensored edition of the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales.

• That { feuilleton } object of cult attention, Penda’s Fen, a 1974 television film by David Rudkin directed by Alan Clarke, continues its long journey out of the shadows. To coincide with a screening in London of a 16mm print, Sukhdev Sandhu looks back at a unique drama, and examines its connections to other British films of the period. There’s still no sign of a DVD release although rumours persist. Related: Penda’s Fen at A Year In The Country.

• “One of the reasons I’m sure I found the horror genre congenial is that it’s almost always focused on the body. The body is the center of all horror films.” David Cronenberg talking to Calum Marsh about his novel, Consumed.

• Mix of the week: Antony Hegarty’s Future Feminist Playlist, and Secret Thirteen Mix 134 by James Ginzburg & Yair Elazar Glotman. Related: Nimbes by Joaniele Mercier & James Ginzburg.

• Another week, another Kickstarter: Suzanne Ciani: A Life in Waves is a planned feature-length documentary about the American synthesist and composer.

• “[Marjorie] Cameron’s connections to Scientology and powerful men once drew headlines, but now her art is getting its due,” says Tanja M. Laden.

Jay Babcock found a Hawkwind Tarot spread in International Times for 1971. Is this an overlooked Barney Bubbles design?

• “Tempered in the flames of hell”: Helen Grant on the precursors of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Bottle Imp.

Hawthonn: Phil and Layla Legard (and others) remember John Balance with a special musical project.

Derek Jarman Super 8 by James Mackay, a book of stills from Derek Jarman’s Super 8 films.

• “Coltrane’s free jazz wasn’t just ‘a lot of noise’,” says Richard Brody.

This might be the world’s first book on colour palettes.

Paris 1971 (1971) by Suzanne Ciani | The Fifth Wave: Water Lullaby (1982) by Suzanne Ciani | Blue Amiga (2014) by NeoTantrik & Suzanne Ciani

Weekend links 206

komoda.jpg

Nova Express (2014) by Paul Komoda.

• Last week it was Kraftwerk, this week it’s Can in another astonishing 70-minute TV performance from 1970. For those who know where to look in the torrent world there are copies of these recordings circulating there.

JG Ballard: five years on. Extracts from introductions by John Gray, Hari Kunzru, Robert Macfarlane, Deborah Levy, James Lever, China Miéville and Michel Faber for a new series of Ballard editions.

• Mix of the week: Needle Exchange 147 by Inventions. Also at Self-Titled Mag: Suzanne Ciani on her Buchla beginnings, talking dishwashers, and why no one got electronic music in the ’70s.

• At Dangerous Minds: It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down, a Granada TV documentary from 1967 featuring Paul McCartney, Allen Ginsberg, International Times, Pink Floyd et al.

The Wonderful World of Witches: Portraits of English Pagans. A photo-special from the 1960s at LIFE. Related: From 1974, the US TV ad for Man, Myth and Magic.

• Suspicious Minds: Adam Curtis on Stephen Knight, Jack the Ripper, squatters, heists, From Hell, and why people no longer trust those in authority.

• Here be men with beards and syntezators: Andy Votel‘s Top 10 Early Patch-Bay Polymaths From Eastern Europe.

The New York Public Library has made 20,000 maps available as free, high-res downloads.

• An oscilloscope video by Vincent Oliver & Steve Bliss for Riff Through The Fog by Clark.

Anne Billson interviewed Alejandro Jodorowsky in 1990.

• At BLDGBLOG: When Hills Hide Arches.

Do gay people still need gay bars?

Pixelord Dreams

I’m So Green (1972) by Can | Nova Feedback (1978) by Chrome | Gay Bar (2003) by Electric Six

Ptooff!

ptoof1.jpg

There’s a sub-genre of the psychedelic album cover in which florid, unfocused and vividly polychrome doodles by friends of the band are used as the principal artwork. (The cover of The Parable Of Arable Land [1967] by The Red Crayola is a typical example.) The art which decorates the fold-out sleeve of Ptooff! (1967), the debut album by British group The Deviants, isn’t quite in the doodle league but it treads a narrow divide between drug-addled scribbles and American comic-strip art à la Jack Kirby. Someone named “Kipps” receives the art credit. Viewed today the swirls and explosions on the sleeve’s outer panels also seem to predict the graffiti art which would flourish a decade later.

ptoof2.jpg

The Deviants were the first musical vehicle for writer and singer Mick Farren who died last week. At the time Farren was known as a journalist for International Times which explains the disembodied head of Theda Bara (from the paper’s logo) floating in the top right-hand corner of the front cover. The lysergic wildness continues inside with an incoherent scene and the promise that “APSARAS—is an Epic forthcoming—a marvel of the Universe—an illustrated saga of a Godwoman. On sale soon.” John Peel provided some sleeve notes. See the artwork at larger size here.

ptoof3.jpg

Charles Shaar Murray penned a memorial note for Mick Farren last week. My favourite track from Ptooff! is opening song I’m Coming Home, a song which demonstrates the group’s ability to combine humour with hard-rock freakout.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
International Times archive