Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Lunch magazine- London gay disco 1972

Lunch magazine ran from 1971 to 1973, starting out as a newsletter put out by Campaign for Homosexual Equality members in London and expanding to become a well designed 'magazine for the new homosexual man and woman' reflecting the range of gay activist opinion at that time. As part of its great LGBTQ+ Archives, Bishopsgate Institute has scanned the entire print run and made it available online

It's a fascinating read, with news, debates and interviews (including David Hockney, Holly Woodlawn and George Melly)

Lunch, June 1973 - cover star Holly from Warhol's factory
('Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.. Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.')

I had a quick trawl through to look at what it tells us about nightlife in a transitional period when publicly advertised gay discos were taking place but the commercial gay club scene had not yet really taken off. Fulham Town Hall in west London was a venue for disco nights and balls organised by CHE and the Gay Liberation Front and where, as reported in Lunch, people were sometimes subject to violent attacks

'Grand Masked Ball' - CHE event at Fulham Town Hall (Lunch, December 1971)

'Full Moon Disco' in aid of Campaign for Homosexual Equality at Fulham Town Hall
(Lunch, April 1972)

GLF Notting Hill Group night at Fulham Town Hall wtih 'Disco-Lights-Freak Outs'
(Lunch, July 1972)

Violent mobs of hooligans are terrorising the "gay" people of West London. Members of the Gay Liberation Front claim they are being subjected to brutal, callous attacks by roving gangs of thugs every time the hold a dance at Fulham Old Town Hall' (West London Observer report, reproduced in Lunch, September 1972)

An account from June 1972 describes direct action against discrimination in a Notting Hill pub (wonder which one?): ''Not so long ago in Notting Hill Gate, GLF were being charged 20p per pint of beer, as against 14p for heterosexuals. We eventually staged a sit-in at the pub concerned, the police were called and said they could not eject us for wearing our badges. The landlord had to ask us all to leave one by one (300 of us) which, when we refused, the police carried us all out quite peacefully, accompanied by the strains of 'All things bright and beautiful' being sung by our brothers and sisters already removed, sitting outside the pub. Next week we were charged 14p per pint and allowed to come and go as we pleased, badges or not'.

'A Fancy Dress Rave... Drag or Casual' at Porchester Hall (Lunch, December 1972)

'Mike Winter, the non-stop disco-king of the East End, tells us there's another scene going now. It's at the Kings Arms - 213 Bishopsgate.... Meanwhile the already established disco at the Father Redcap, Camberwell Green recurs every Thursday and Sunday' (Lunch, March 1972)

David Hockney interview from Lunch, September 1972 'he looks like a wise blond owl' - Hockney mentions going to a couple of Gay Liberation Front meetings but finding them a bit boring.

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