Monday, 26 November 2007

10 - Private Eye

“How to Spot a Homo” in ‘Private Eye, 17 May 1963

This one dates from the very height of the hysteria about the Vassall Spy case (of which much, much more in next week’s Big Gay Spy Theme Week).
I’m about 95% certain that the illustrations are by Roger Law. Law would go on to much greater fame and fortune doing things in latex with Peter Fluck in the 70s, then in the 80s and 90s as the artistic side of “Spitting Image”.
This is notable for an English use of the word “homo”. English people tend to speak of “hom-o-sexuals” while Americans pronounce it “hoe-mo-sexual”. This is apparently because of classical purists in the BBC, who set the rules on pronunciation. It’s much more natural, therefore, for Americans to use the word “homo”, although the English do occasionally use it. Those two plodding syllables were flung around with depressing frequency during my adolescence in New York – not much at me, just at everything and everyone.
The piece is based upon a real article by Lionel Crane in the ‘Sunday Mirror’, 28 April, 1963.
So it’s somewhat mocking of panic about gays and gay stereotypes, while also indulging in them at the same. Nice, if you have it both ways.
The aged man in the bottom left corner is the Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan. I think the chap in the centre is a young David Hockney.

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