Amiable Warriors: A history of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and its times. Volume One: A Space to Breathe
By Peter Scott-Presland
With Foreword by Paul O’Grady
The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) was the largest LGBT organisation ever in the UK. It had over 5,000 members and 150 local groups, from St. Ives to Sunderland, from Swansea to Norwich. For twenty years (1970–1990) it campaigned ceaselessly for the human rights of LGBT people. It provided a social network, support, counselling and encouragement to ‘come out’ for tens of thousands of LGBT people all over the country. For people living in smaller towns it was often the only form of support and socialising that was available.
The story of CHE is the story of courage in small things, as ordinary lesbians and gays battled to get their voices heard in their communities. It’s also a story of humour and anger, ruckus and rumpy-pumpy, told with wit, elegance and style by a journalist [Peter Scott-Presland] who has interviewed many of those involved, and knew many more. A monument to a generation of activists which is also a thundering good read.
ISBN: 978-1-904585 -75-6
Hardback, 640 pages, £35
Published: February, 2015
Read more at www.amiable-warriors.uk
Diverse Performances: Masculinities and the Victorian Stage
David Haldane Lawrence
Edited by Ross Burgess
With a Foreword by Jeremy Kingston
The rich tapestry of life in and around London theatres in the Victorian age. Oscar Wilde and his first-night supporters with their green carnations, soon to be dispersed when disaster struck; ‘Fanny and Stella’ parading in full drag, and their triumph in court; Sir Henry Irving and his close male friendships. Plus the many ways that the theatre impacted the lives of men, as actors, musicians, dramatists, and men behind the scenes and in the audience.
Diverse Performances is a comprehensive survey of the role of men in the Victorian theatre, with insights into the behaviour of ‘swells’ in the audience, the unhealthy conditions backstage, the techniques of lighting as gas jets were replaced by limelight and then by electricity, the struggle of playwrights to earn a decent living, the portrayal of soldiers sailors, and working men in popular melodrama, and the struggle for actors to be considered ‘respectable’.
David Haldane Lawrence was working on this book, an expansion of his PhD thesis, up to his untimely death in 2009. Ross Burgess has thoroughly revised it, combining what appeared to be the best sections of David’s various drafts, and prepared it for publication by Paradise Press.
Read more about Diverse Performances here
384 pages, with 59 illustrations, full references and select bibliography. Price £11.95.
Cover design by David Tilbury.
Gay Life, Straight Work
Donald West, psychiatrist and criminologist, published a book arguing for tolerance at a time when gays in the UK were social pariahs and legally criminals.
Now, over fifty years later, he can write openly as a gay man describing his simultaneous pursuit of a secret, fraught love-life and a precarious professional career. In investigations of the paranormal, researches into the roots of delinquency, studies of sexual crime and of society’s response to sexual abuse, he advances some unpopular ideas. Although influenced by his life among a sexual minority, he tries to reach his objective, evidence-based conclusions. His stories of forced secrecy and threatened exposure reflect difficulties of the past that have not completely disappeared in supposedly more enlightened times.
ISBN: 978 1 904585 23 7, Paperback, £9.99
A Life’s Tales
A Life’s Tales is the story of a life lived in a vanished age; a life lived with compassion, insight, ambition and an adventurous spirit; a life fighting against discrimination against gays, and a constant search for self improvement.
Starting in 1935, when the author was six, these intimate, sensitively written, and engrossing memoirs span 77 years of social change, ranging from the poverty of a northern industrial childhood – shared with eight siblings – through the war years, to an adolescent awakening of homosexuality, followed by conscription into the Army, progression through the Woolworth company until its meltdown and into a period of creativity and ongoing self discovery.
Told with wry philosophic humour, the story is episodic and follows a revealing journey through family life and struggle, homosexual experiences, the challenge of leading a double life, to ‘coming out’ as a gay man and the eternal search for a loving relationship.
‘A fascinating account of Joe Hucknall’s upbringing in working class Barrow, and his struggles as a gay man in post-war Britain. Very enjoyable and highly readable. It’s a pity Hucknall took so long to pursue his teenage ambition to become a writer.’ – Michael Crick, Biographer & Political Correspondent Channel Four News.
‘A revelation and a thoroughly enjoyable read.’ – Mick Hucknall, Singer & Songwriter.
ISBN: 978 1 904585 49 7, Paperback, 240 pages, £7.99, Published: February, 2013
The journey of self-discovery is seldom simple. Frequently the most unexpected things can reveal themselves. Two Lives tells of Andrew’s journey through gender confusion and his wish to be a woman. A chance tea-time conversation leads to an exploration of reincarnation and the resolution of his dilemma. Includes 16 pages of photographs, some in colour.
ISBN: 978-1-904585-88-6, Paperback, 96 pages, £6.95, Published: December, 2017