Jerry Lee marries for 7th time

Wedding kiss, Jerry Lee and Judith, the 7th Mrs Lewis

He’s still very unlikely to match his sister Linda Gail who has married 8 times (but only to 7 husbands as she married one twice.) He’s now married the ex-sister-in-law of Myra, the second cousin who was only 13 when he married her back in 1957. That wasn’t unusual in Louisiana or in Jerry’s family – younger sister Linda Gail first married at 14 and older sister Frankie Jean married at the tender age of 12. Loretta Lynn, the Country singer, was also married at 13, and Elvis was dating Priscilla when she was only 14.

Now some people are confused because Judith Coghlan Brown who he married earlier this month is his and Myra’s daughter Phoebe’s aunt. Someone on one of the Lewis forums remarked: ‘What? He’s now married his sister?’ No, he’s married his cousin’s ex-wife. The cousin, Rusty Brown, is Myra’s brother, so he’s Phoebe’s uncle and Judith is her aunt by marriage, or was, now she’s also her step-mother I guess. Gets complicated doesn’t it?

Added to which cousin Jimmy Swaggart, the evangelist, is a double first cousin of Jerry’s. Keeping it in the family seems to be a trend in the extended Lewis family. The other famous first cousin is Country singer Mickey Gilley who launched the whole New Country thing with the John Travolta film ‘Urban Cowboy’ filmed at Gilley’s former niteclub in Pasadena, Houston, Texas, complete with the famous Gilley’s mechanical bull. Mickey appeared in the movie singing and playing, and has actually had more #1 Country hits than Jerry Lee himself, though The Killer, as he is known, has had quite a few himself.

Jerry Lee’s personal life has tended to overshadow The Killer’s successful and very long musical career which started in the 1950s and continues today. Many people think he only had one or two hits in the 1950s, but in actual fact he’s had, by my reckoning based on research, no less than 70 Top Twenty singles and albums in one or more of the main charts, which include the British Pop charts, and American Billboard/Cashbox Pop, Rock, Country and Indie charts. This includes 14 which reached the #1 spot in at least one of these charts, and 10 Gold disks. The latest #1 and Gold disk was for the album ‘Last Man Standing’ recorded with guest artists and released in 2006 to become the biggest selling album of his career. Since then ‘Mean Old Man’, another album with guest artists, was released and shot straight to #10 in the Billboard Rock charts.

His touring has declined a lot in recent years, and the shows reverted to a standard length of about 45-50 minutes (in the 1950s/1960s he did mainly 30 minute shows). The only time he regularly did shows of over an hour, apart from specials like the Memphis birthday parties in the 1990s/early 00’s, was when he was having loads of Country hits in America and included a lot of slow Country songs in his live performances. Unfortunately many of the rockers in Europe didn’t appreciate the slower material, and heckled for more rock’n’roll.

Lewis, being the cantankerous person he his, tended to do Country to ‘wind-up’ his rock’n’roll audiences of Teddy boys and rockers, saying things like: ‘If you don’t like it you can learn to like it’, or alternatively, ‘If you don’t like it that door swings both ways’ pointing to the entrance/exit. He’d then appear at the Wembley Country Music Festivals and rile the Country fans by singing mainly uptempo rock’n’roll while they walked out in droves.

Always people have had to accept The Killer as he is. He was always uncontrollable, which is why he wrecked his career in 1958 by bringing his 13-year old bride to England and then making things even worse by saying he hadn’t married her bigamously because his bigamous marriage to his second wife, Jane, was never legal and he had long ago divorced his first wife, Dorothy. To the British press this meant Jerry Lee was a double bigamist who incestuously married his cousin who, being only 13, made him a pedophile as well. In actual fact marrying even first cousins is perfectly legal even in England (though discouraged), and whatever you think of the laws/customs of the Southern States at the time, marrying at 13 was not uncommon and was encouraged by the local fundamentalist churches to prevent fornication, i.e. any sexual relations outside of wedlock. An unmarried girl of 15 or 16 without a ‘beau’ in tow was regarded as a social outcast in these rural communities, definitely looked upon as a weirdo and probably a lesbian. Even having a boyfriend would be suspicious in case they were having sex outside of wedlock, so they were encouraged to get married. In short, every girl reaching puberty was expected to find a man and get married at the earliest opportunity, or risk going straight to Hell for either having straight sex out of wedlock or for being a lesbian. So in Jerry’s eyes he was making an honest woman of Myra and saving her from eternal fire and brimstone.

In Jerry’s eyes, using his strange logic, he was free as a bird to marry Myra since his second marriage was invalid. It was a ‘shotgun marriage’ forced on him by Jane Mitcham’s brothers, and he didn’t dare tell them he was still legally married to his first wife Dorothy. As his sister Frankie Jean once put it: ‘Jerry gets confused. He marries people but sometimes forgets to divorce them.’ In fact he did divorce them, but apparently got confused by the requirement to wait for the ‘decree absolute’ before getting hitched again.

Jerry has reportedly recorded quite a lot of material in recent years which has yet to be released. His stage shows have not only become more infrequent, and subject to last-minute cancelation due to health issues, but they’ve also become much less animated and also more predictable. At one time not so long ago Jerry’s stage-act was very wild, jumping up on pianos even in the late 1980s when he was in his 50s and perhaps should have known better than to stomp over beautful Steinways in his cowboy boots. He never worked to a set-list and every show was different. Now he tends to stick to the same repertoire with just a few variations.

It has to be said, however, that Jerry always did and still does stick mainly to singing and playing on stage, without any of the time-wasting antics used by some other performers like Little Richard and Chuck Berry. The latter have appeared on several ‘Legends of Rock’n’Roll’ shows with Jerry Lee in the past 20 years and have won over audiences who are under the false impression they were better than Jerry Lee and performed for much longer, doing an hour or hour and a half to Jerry’s 30 minutes or so. However what they did, in fact, was interact with the audience more and waste time. If you took a stopwatch and timed how long the three original 1950s stars actually sang and played their instruments while on stage I bet you wouldn’t find much difference between the three of them. Chuck Berry, who wastes a lot of time picking an out-of-tune guitar and who gets some of his self-penned lyrics wrong, once stood and recited poetry for 10 minutes so he was on stage for as long as Little Richard, who had spent much of the time encouraging the audience to sing instead of himself, doing a striptease act or telling people that religious tracts would be given to them as a gift from the singer on their way out. Jerry, however, all but ignores the audience and just sings and plays solidly for all the time he’s on stage.

The seventh marriage may have raised eyebrows and, as his sister Linda Gail remarked on stage at a Weekender last week, caused another scandal, but whatever other people may think about it Jerry Lee seems happy. The new wife, Judith, was his carer, and this seems to be her main function now, as well as his companion. This is more than many of us can hope for in our old age – a carer and companion, so good luck to Jerry and Judith, and let’s hope his health holds out so he can continue to perform and record.


Favorite skyscrapers

I love skyscrapers, but mostly the old ones which incorporated gothic and other architecture rather than the glass boxes, gherkins and pyramids built in later decades.

I include some of my favorites below, not in any particular order. New York City (Manhattan), Moscow and Chicago probably come out on top for me, for the sheer abundance of great skyscrapers. Stalin based the design for seven Moscow skyscrapers, and one in Warsaw, on the New York gothic ones of the 1930s.

London has few pre-war skycrapers, but I include two here – Senate House and Shell Mex House. Also the Shell building from the post-war period. All these, I feel, capture the essence of good design.

I include the Kuala Lumpur skyline because of the innotive new designs, and also two Pyongyang skyscrapers from the North Korean capital which I believe have some merit. The pyramid shaped one I include because it does have some attempt at a slightly more interesting design than The Shard in London and other pyramid shaped skyscrapers around the world.

My idea of an ideal apartment would be on the 108th floor of a gothic-style skyscraper surrounded by similar buildings. A balcony would be a nice addition where I could have a mini-garden in the sky. The nearest I’ve got to this is the 18th/19th floor (depending on whether you count the ground floor) of a block in Battersea, London, but alas it had no balcony and looked over the Southwestern suburbs rather than east towards the city center, which would have been a much more interesting and dramatic view.

It is not the height of new buildings which concern me, but their overall design. Square glass boxes of two or three stories are just as boring as skyscrapers which look like a glass matchbox standing on end. Shards, gherkins and other unusual shapes (all designs for London skyscrapers) are all very well, but they are no substitute for more interesting architecture in my opinion.



Woolworth Building, New York City, USA

Empire State Building, New York City, USA

Flatiron Building, New York City, USA (one of the first skyscrapers)

Chrysler Building, New York City, USA


Kuala Lumpur skyscrapers (Malaysia)

Ukraine Hotel, Moscow, Russia

Moscow University, Moscow, Russia

Pyonyang skyscraper, Pyongyang, North Korea

Pyongyang skyscraper, Pyongyang, North Korea

Senate House, London University, London, England

Shell Building, South Bank, London, England

Shell Mex House, London, England

Palace of Culture, Warsaw, Poland

Chicago skyscrapers, Chicago, USA

Help for Heroes? Or for Murderers?

The U.S. soldier who went on the rampage in Afghanistan, killing in cold blood 16 civilians, including 9 children  was laughing as he did it, and even made other family members watch, according to reports.

Yet we are asked to support ‘Help for Heroes’ – in your fuckin’ dreams! Heroes? I never asked them to go over to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and murder people. They have no bloody business being there. And as for this latest atrocity (how many more have been covered up?), it is exactly what to expect when you train men to kill, put guns in their hands and tell them the ‘enemy’ is sub-human. Apparently the village where the massacre occurred is said to be a Taliban stronghold, yet these were innocent civilians, certainly the children. No doubt the crazed soldier saw them all as ‘potential’ Taliban. These sorts of atrocities occur all the time in war time, and rarely do we get to hear about them.

The troops, British and American and those of all other Western nations interfering in the Middle East, should be brought home immediately. They are not doing a useful job, just making everything so much worse. There is now bound to be a backlash and more revenge killings/bombings because of this latest American atrocity.

It really is appalling, and I can hardly believe how sadistic and horrible this crime was. But as I say, put guns into largely ignorent men’s hands and train them to kill an enemy they are told is ‘inhuman’ or ‘sub-human’, and this is the sort of thing that happens. Maybe some of the soldiers’ comrades had recently been killed in the war, but that does not excuse this kind of atrocity. The soldiers shouldn’t be there in the first place.

I suppose the only thing people have to  be thankful for is that thus crazed, drunken soldier didn’t have access to the strategic nuclear button or tactical nuclear weapons. Still, one wonders who does have this access, and if the so-called ‘safeguards’ would actually work or could be circumvented. And if world leaders say it’s fine to be prepared to kill millions of innocent men, women and children with nuclear weapons, then is it any wonder a soldier thinks it’s fine to kill a few personally? What’s the bloody difference?

This atrocity alone will recruit thousands, maybe millions, into the Taliban. War solves nothing!

The Great Debate

This refers to the current debate among Spiritualists, prominent in their publications, about Christian trappings and terminology which, it is felt by many, are inappropriate in this day and age. Quite apart from being incompatible with Spiritualism, Christianity is on the decline as evidenced by the dwindling congretations in churches, and this has spilled over to Spiritualist centers calling themselves ‘Christian Spiritualist churches’, some complete with ministers, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, singing hymns, and celebrating Christian festivals like Christmas and Easter. All this is very off-putting to people of other religions, to humanists, atheists and agnostics. In fact it is off-putting to all genuine Spiritualists and Survivalists who seek empirical evidence of an afterlife and are not interested in ancient creeds and dogmas or in religious texts written by goodness knows who, tampered with through the ages, and designed basically to control a subservient population.

Of course Christianity adopted pagan festivals as its own, the virgin birth of a deity on December 25th being but one of these pagan myths, and the Spring renewal of Easter and the resurrection being also borrowed from pagan myths. In the past century or so Spiritualism has done the same thing – adopted Christian myths, terminology and festivals in order to try to win converts from that religion.

First of all, Spiritualism is not a religion. It is a scientific movement which is based not on faith or ancient religious texts, but on empirical evidence and experimentation. We seek proof of an afterlife, not vague promises of ‘pie-in-the-sky when we die’.

While all religions may well have a basis of truth, none have the whole truth, and there are many distortions. For instance, taking Christianity as an example, Spiritualists and Survivalists do not believe there is any evidence of a Heaven or a Hell, of a Devil/Satan nor do we believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, physically resurrected from the dead, was the Son of God and died to redeem our ‘sins’. How, then, can Spiritualist centers call themselves ‘Christian Spiritualist’?

Spiritualists know that we are all responsible for our own actions, will have to face a life review on transition to Spirit, feel all the consequences of our actions (good and bad) on others, and that the law of cause and effect or karma applies. ‘No saviors from on high deliver’ says the atheistic Socialist anthem ‘The Internationale’, and this line could well be incorporated into songs sung at Spiritualist/Survivalist meetings and seances.

There are no short-cuts to Spiritual progression. We all have to take personal responsibility for our actions, learn from our mistakes, and through the karmic process gradually evolve to higher levels.

As to the various religions and their leaders, many have good points, but also many bad ones. The Bible, for instance, is full of intolerance and murders, genocides and mass rapes, all apparently sanctioned by ‘God’. Many Spiritualists and Survivalists don’t even believe in ‘God’ as such. We talk of the Great Spirit or Source, and there are many other terms, but the idea of an all-wise deity handing out justice and taking vengeance on ‘sinners’ is not backed up by the evidence of Spiritualism/Survivalism.

On the contrary, all the evidence suggests we are all part of the creative energy and universal consciousness which is necessary for the material universes to exist. The evidence suggests that everything is evolving, and we are all part of this process.

Religious figures like Jesus, the Buddha, Hare Krishna and also more contemporary people like Mahatma Gandhi, the atheist and humanist Sir Bertrand Russell and even Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels can all be regarded as either setting an example of how to live a good life, or giving directions and advice as to how to create a better world. That some of their writings, particularly Marxism, has been distorted does not invalidate it. Much of Christ’s teaching has been distorted over the centuries, and it is certain he would never have endorsed the Crusades, the Inquisition, the notion of the ‘just war’ or the possession, let alone the use, of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons.

Spiritualists and Survivalists (the latter being basically humanists/agnostics/atheists adopting a very scientific, empirical approach to the evidence for the afterlife) can take inspiration from atheists like Sir Bertrand Russell who said ‘remember your humanity and forget the rest’. Or from Karl Marx who showed how humanity could be freed from exploitation and progress through Socialism to the ultimate utopia of Communism proper, or something akin to heaven on Earth.

The Spiritualist movement is also suffering dwindling congregations in its churches. This is hardly surprising since Christianity and religion is having less and less relevance in countries like Britain. I rarely go to Spiritualist churches as I don’t want Christian hymns, prayers, etc. shoved down my throat. More people attend demonstrations of clairvoyance in huge theaters, or watch it on TV. They seek proof of survival, not pseudo-religious services in churches.

In this modern age science is actually backing up and confirming the evidence coming from the afterlife. Quantum physics suggests strongly that consciousness is non-material, and is the primary force which actually creates and organizes matter. Without consciousness, in fact, nothing can exist. Spiritualists and Survivalists welcome this scientific backing for the theory that our conscious beings are eternal and non-material, rather than a biological and chemical product of our brains which ceases on death. This is now far more than a theory, it is being proven by all the evidence that consciousness is filtered by our brains, but originates outside the worlds of matter altogether. In fact reality is pure consciousness, everything else, all matter, is an elaborate illusion or virtual reality created by consciousness. A vast and complex thought, if you like, or a creation of thought.

There are, it is true, texts which Spiritualists and Survivalists often quote, but these are passed on from Spirit guides like White Feather and Silver Birch. They do not claim to be infallible, or to be the word of ‘God’. Spirits communicate from various levels according to how much they have evolved, and they therefore have different areas and different levels of knowledge. Certainly guides like the above come from high Spiritual levels, but even they do not know everything and interpret things differently.

For instance, the question of reincarnation. This causes much debate in Spiritualist/Survivalist circles since even high Spirit guides appear to disagree. It seems the subject is extremely complex since our Higher Selves on the Spiritual planes have many different facets, and we also belong to soul groups. These different facets and also the soul groups all share experiences and evolve together. It seems it is extremely doubtful that individuals ever reincarnate but their personality continues to exist indefinitely, at least until such time as they are ready to merge into a greater entity as they evolve to higher levels. Indeed spirits on the Other Side have actually met past ‘incarnations’ of themselves so that would indicate these incarnations are indeed different facets. We have been told by high Spirit guides that the conscious being we are aware of here on Earth is but a tip of the iceberg, our Higher Spiritual self is much, much bigger and more complicated, but to enable our mission here on Earth knowledge of this greater self and our life-plan is blocked or filtered out. A computer is programmed to do a particular task or set of tasks, and we are similar during our time on Earth. Only when we transit to Spirit and are reunited with our Higher selves do we see the full picture.

So you can call Spirtualism a religion if you like, but it is one based on scientific experimentation and gathering empirical evidence using many different methods including clairvoyance, other forms of mental mediumship, physical mediumship including Direct Voice, Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC), automatic writing, analyzing out-of-the-body and near-death experiences, studying ghosts and apparitions, etc. It is the sum total of all this evidence from various sources and the lessons learnt from Spiritual guides and teachers communicating through mediums that has resulted in the evolving science of Spiritualism and Survivalism. All backed up by scientific string-theory, Quantum Physics and new scientific ideas like the Pearsonian Big Breed Theory.

Some would turn Spiritualism into a religion, and rather than Christianity, many are creating a sort of New Age religion including all sorts of mystical things like crystals, angels, astrology, Tarot cards, etc. I and many others take the much more scientific approach.  The evidence for survival endorsed by scientists, inventors and medical people like Dr Peter Fenwick, Ron Pearson, Edison, Marconi, John Logie-Baird, Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, Alfred Russell Wallace and many, many others.

Christian Spiritualist churches are on their way out. In their place will be universal knowledge of survival and the afterlife, and eventually ITC will be perfected so we can communicate regularly with the Spirit realms via inter-dimensional videophones, thus eliminating the need for the human medium which is always prone to suspicion of fraud, and liable to misinterpret the messages from Spirit.

I give here one example. A man died falling off a ladder. With his wife in the audience at a Spiritualist meeting he managed to convey the image of a ladder to the medium. She told the man’s wife that she saw a ladder indicating success or good fortune. She added that last bit, completely distorting the true message. Had she just passed on what she received, the image of a ladder, the wife would have immediately known why – because her late husband fell to his death off of one. The man did eventually find another way of proving to his wife it was him contacting her through the medium, with reference to a ring she was wearing, but it would all have been so much easier thru a videophone where the man’s messages were not distorted by the interpretations and ideas of a human medium.


Whether this group are mainly MI5 agents or not, as many on the Left have suggested, it does seem a very strange outfit. I’m very attracted by their policies such as accepting the European Union as a fact and that it is an embryo United States of Europe. Also that this requires a EU-wide Socialist or Communist Party with the intention of creating a United Socialist States of Europe. I also welcome their endorsement, going back to the era of Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, of opposition parties to defeat the bureaucratic ruling clique and corruption. This was in ‘The Leninist’, precursor of their present publication, ‘The Weekly Worker’.

For these reasons, and also because their publication, especially the Letters Page, is so open to contributors from various factions on the Left and those belonging to none like myself, I feel this organization, small as it is, could well  be a truly progressive influence for all on the Left, putting forward and debating, as it does, new ideas or, at least, ideas not usually heard in Leftwing circles.

However their political pamphlets are pretty sparse, many first published nearly 20 years ago. ‘Jack Conrad’, the pseudonym under which they are written, seems to have developed a tongue-in-cheek attitude by 2004 when he wrote a pamphlet entitled ‘Remaking Europe’. Possibly an indication that so many had developed the theory that the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) were largely MI5 agents that they didn’t care anymore, and inserted subtle indications that the whole thing was something of a joke, but neverthless a useful open forum for the Left to discuss, debate and put forward new ideas. Useful for both the Left itself and  the British Establishment.

Some examples in this pamphlet include a whole chapter entitled ‘National Socialism’ which turns out not to be about Hitler-type ‘national socialism’ but rather about Socialists and Communists with a national agenda. Joseph Stalin would clearly fall into this category with his advocation of ‘Socialism in one country’ or at least in one unified federation of nation states, the former Soviet Union.  Since an alternative title for this chapter could easily have been used, such as Socialist nationalism for example, or indeed ‘Socialism in one country’, one wonders whether these little jokey things are intentional.

Then there is a reference to the former International Socialists mixing with other Leftists in organizations like the ‘Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament’. Surely not just a typo? There never was a formal campaign AGAINST nuclear Disarmament, and if there had been, the IS and other Leftists were unlikely to be part of it.

There is also a reference to Stalin’s ‘counter-revolutionary’ first Five Year Plan, which seems a strange expression to use whatever the Plan’s possible deficiencies. The pamphlet also lumps together various left-wing people, including the Socialist democrat Tony Benn, as being potential Kim Il-Sungs or Pol Pots, no justification being given to explain this extraordinary observation. Also some of the sentences are so badly constructed as to be quite unintelligible, almost as if ‘Jack Conrad’ had been instructed to write in some complete gobble-de-gook.

Apart from all this, many of the articles in the Weekly Worker, and the pamphlets, are written in such heavy style about often boring subjects that they are likely to put off any but the most avid Leftist. There is little discussion, for instance, in the paper about the details of how to start forming this ‘Communist Party of the European Union’ which is emblazoned as an objective under the title. Nor do there seem to be any attempts to reach out and link up with Leftist parties/organizations elsewhere in the EU.

The fact that CPGB (PCC) membership appears to have been stagnant for many years, and that they don’t seem to actually want any new members, strongly supports the theory that they are not a genuine Leftist organization at all, but merely a ‘front’ for something else. My membership application was kicked into the long-grass for over six months, and although they said it was accepted in principle, I never received a membership card, a subsequent second meeting with their leading comrade never happened nor did I receive an apology or explanation. When they published a letter from me in the Weekly Worker strongly hinting MI5 was behind the organization (in itself an indication they no longer care who suspects this) and that was why they didn’t seem to want new members but rather a sounding-board for ideas being bandied around on the Left, nobody from the organization contradicted me publicly or even contacted me privately to say I was wrong. Nor have I ever been told why promised meetings never took place or why my membership application was neither followed up nor rejected outright.

I still feel the organization and especially the Weekly Worker is useful in that it is like a breath of fresh air on the Left and provides an open platform for debate and new ideas. This is what is needed more than anything else. The old doctrinaire ideas still bandied about by various Leftwing sects are unhelpful in the 21st Century and risk repeating past mistakes. Also burying heads in the sand and hoping things like the EU will just go away and somehow Socialism will come about in Britain and hopefully spread around the world, rather than having a game plan of using the EU as a springboard for uniting Socialists across the Union, forming an EU-wide political party and aiming eventually to get a majority of MEPs in the EU Parliament to democratize the EU institutions and progress to a United Socialist States of Europe, backed up of course by workers’ solidarity and willingness to use withdrawal of labor and other methods when the parliamentary road is blocked. At least this is a strategy, which is more than most other leftist organizations seem to have.

For this reason, while not pursuing membership of an organization which clearly doesn’t want new members, I will continue to peruse and contribute ideas to the Weekly Worker as, MI5 dominated or not, it is a convenient organ for putting forward and debating ideas on the Left which other organizations can then hopefully take up.


The New Gay Man?

There have been so many changes in recent years as gay couples, both male and female, have become accepted by many more in society. With civil partnerships and gay marriages in many countries, nowadays in Britain nobody bats an eyelid on TV quiz shows when a gay man or woman introduces their partner or says they are ‘married’ or planning to get ‘married’.

This is all fine and well overdue. My partner and I, and all those gay couples of my generation, were not allowed to get married or have a civil partnership. This meant our relationship was not recognized officially, or even by family in many cases. A cousin drew up a family tree, and I complained because she’d omitted any reference to my life-partner. We were together 21 years but he died in 1991, long  before civil partnerships became possible. I am not recognized as his widow, and the only advantage I can think of in not being allowed a civil partnership was, because our relationship was not recognized, we were allocated a two-bedroom council apartment which I still have.  We always had a spare bedroom as we both shared the other one, but in those days two adults of the same sex sharing a council home were just regarded at joint tenants and had to be given separate bedrooms.

We would certainly have registered our partnership had it been possible as we were keen to put things on a legal footing. Now marriage is becoming unfashionable among heterosexuals, with many living together and having families without getting married, many of these couples probably don’t realize they have very few rights. Like gay men and women in the past in relationships outside marriage the partners have virtually no rights. If one dies without making a Will then their surviving partner has no right of inheritance, can be excluded from the funeral, thrown out of their home. If one partner ends up in intensive care the other can be refused visiting rights. For all these reasons we would certainly have had a civil partnership had it been possible back then.

Nowadays, however, with so many gay couples getting ‘married’ and so many heterosexual couples ‘living in sin’ as it used to be quaintly called, the whole pattern of society is changing.

What has happened in the last few decades is that children have increasingly become part of many gay relationships. This started before my life-partner died as we noticed on Gay Pride marches more and more lesbians were wheeling children in pushchairs. This seemed very strange to us, as children were never, ever part of the gay lifestyle.

Now, of course, many gay men are adopting children. They are anxious, it seems, to be accepted as a nuclear family. Contrast this with the attitude of gay men of my own generation (60 and above). I had a postcard from a gay couple of this generation this morning complaining about all the ‘squawkers’ at their holiday hotel on Gran Canaria. This word, of course, referred to screaming kids. My life-partner and myself referred to them as ‘brats’. We always seemed to end up near some screaming, ill-disciplined, spoiled brat on long journeys, and this gay couple in Gran Canaria often have the same complaint.

Why on Earth gay men should want to adopt children is hard for those in my generation to understand. As to whether it is a good thing or not, I am not at all sure. The interests of the child must come first, and I suppose if the alternative is life in an institution or an abusive heterosexual or one–parent family, then a gay couple, male or female, is preferable. Also if an older child, a teenager, is gay and wishes to be adopted by gay parents.

However I was brought up in a one-parent family, and even before the separation my father was largely absent and very hostile. This had a detrimental affect on me as I had no male role models. I didn’t even know what a urinal was on my first day at primary school, so kept trying to use the girls’ toilets rather than urinate against the wall, which is what the filthy boys, as I felt, seemed to be doing. I had no father to interest me in sport, DIY, etc. or to teach me the facts of life. Children need access to parents of both sexes if at all possible, which is part of the reason why heterosexual couples who split have to both have regular access to the children in most cases.

So gay couples who adopt children should, in my opinion, be required to insure that the children have regular access to an adult who is of the opposite sex to their adopted parents. This could be the biological mother or father in many cases.

There is also the stigma of having two mothers or two fathers when the child is at school, and likely to be bullied and teased because of this unusual family background.

Of course in the bad old days gay men tended to be very promiscuous. This was virtually forced on us by the fact that stable gay relationships were not only not recognized, they were illegal until the 1967 Sexual Offences Act was passed. Gay men were frequently arrested, and landlords often evicted them if they were known to be gay. This made living together in a stable partnership almost impossible unless you were discreet and rich enough to own your home, which was unusual for working-class people in those days. My life-partner and his friends, before I knew any of them and before the law was changed, were frequently evicted and having to live rough on the streets, forced into male prostitution because without a fixed abode you couldn’t qualify for ‘National Assistance’ as the benefits system was then called. My partner and nearly all his gay friends had been ‘on the game’. The idea of bringing children into this sort of lifestyle of fleeting sexual encounters, some for money, others for mutual gratification, was, of course, quite out of the question and would have been illegal.

So the new gay man is emerging, seeking a stable, monogamous relationship with adopted children. It seems very strange to us of the older generation, where even when we had a life-partner it was usually an open relationship. This was for many reasons – the way promiscuity was forced on us by society, the fact that stable gay relationships were difficult and not recognized (and illegal for years), and also because sexual roles were not obvious. Some gay partners were basically sexually incompatible, but had very strong emotional ties. With no marriage vows or pressures from society to be monogamous, when the sexual relationship between gay couples got stale or boring, it was all too easy to seek sexual gratification outside the relationship. Of all the gay couples I knew of my generation, not one were monogamous, including my own. Yet we remained together for 21 years till death parted us in our case, while our other gay friends had partnerships lasting 40 years or more, none of them monogamous but most very caring.

I am not an expert on lesbian relationships past and present, and lesbianism was never illegal in Britain, so the circumstances were different. Hence the title of this piece. I also imagine women being naturally maternal, having children of their own or, in more recent years, adopting them was not quite so strange for lesbians. For gay men to adopt children, or father them and then raise them with their gay partner, does seem very strange to gay men of my generation.

Why would any gay male couple want ‘screaming brats’ and ‘squawkers’ brought into their home? Are they seen as some sort of status symbol to prove they are a real family? Perhaps in some cases it is because, as my Greek-Cypriot father kept telling me, ‘you must have children to look after you in your old age’. Not that he ever looked after his parents, and he pissed off back to Cyprus in his old age so I and my brother certainly couldn’t look after him. He did, however, find himself a common-law wife to take care of him, and I am now carer for my mother who lives near me and is now 97.

I do sometimes wonder who will care for me if I reach anything approaching her advanced age. I suppose it will be a mainly heterosexual care home, which I could easily settle into as I mix with mainly heterosexuals and have done so for much of my life. For a gay friend of ours, however, it was very sad when he ended up in a heterosexual care home, living with people he had nothing at all in common with.

This is where the gay community still has a lot to learn. Looking after the elderly and disabled in their own community. I look forward to the first gay care homes, and organizations which provide practical care and help for gay and disabled people in their own homes. This should, in my opinion, be a priority over adopting children. Too often elderly and disabled gay men, and presumably lesbians, feel excluded and rejected by their own community.