TBP/PTP Inventory Intro /
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TBP's first regular columnist
from # 2, Jan / Feb 1972
Page 23 / Inventory Series 15
Columns -- pieces appearing on a regular basis and distinguished in print by a continuing
name -- were often the product of a given person's willingness to write regularly (and, of
course, for free).
Many columns were identified with individual writers, some of them dealing consistently
with thematically related material, others reflecting on a broader range of issues. Among
those writers and their columns:
John Forbes (as "Twilight Rose"): Twilight Trails, 1972-1973, "a column
which endeavours to bring a sense of 'tastefullness' to the revolution."
Ian Young: The Ivory Tunnel, 1975-1985, TBP's longest-running column,
covering the works of gay men's small presses.
Michael Riordon: Flaunting It, 1976-1979 (from which the 1982 anthology
took its name).
Judith Crewe: Tapestries, 1977-1978, covering lesbian and women's small
Ken Popert: Between the Lines, 1978-1981, analyzing political and community
Jane Rule: So's Your Grandmother, 1979-1985, being radically sane.
Andy Fabo: Fabo on the Scene (also flagged Fab Blabs), 1981,
cutting up on Queen West (but only for two issues).
Joy Parks: Shared Ground, 1982-1987, continuing the theme of Tapestries.
David MacLean: The Third Text, 1985-1986, taking over the gay small press
beat from Ian Young.
Most of these people also wrote features, reviews and essays for TBP, before, during and
after their term as columnists.
Some story-header "flags" appeared often enough in Canadian and International News
to become regularly expected features, almost columns in themselves. Among them were
Around Toronto (later Toronto Beat, small bits often written by Ed
Jackson, 1982-84); Growing (short stories on new gay / lesbian groups);
Bawdy Politics (on bawdy house laws); Once Upon a Time (looking
back five and 10 years) -- and the inevitable Discrimination,
Censorship, Police and In Court.
Equally inevitable was AIDS, a regular flag from mid-1983 and, as AIDS
Update, often a full news page from mid-1986 (though most major AIDS coverage,
from Oct 1981, appeared as feature articles).
More formal columns -- usually given a half- or full-page space and a special note on the
contents page -- were also set up to ensure coverage of certain issues and constituencies, or
to allow space for various kinds of reflection. Such a column might not run in every issue
and was not always written by the same person. But the intended themes (or styles) were
relatively constant. Among them, in order of their first appearance:
Dykes, 1975-1978. Lesbian issues, often written by Chris Bearchell.
Trash, 1976-1978. Small items gleaned from other media and worthy of the title,
often written by Michael Lynch.
Lost and Found, 1977-1978. Lesbian and gay history.
Monitor, 1977-1980. Media analysis, often written by Ottawa Citizen
columnist Richard Labonté.
Aesthetera, 1978-1986. Brief cultural bits, often noting items received for review;
diligently complied by John Allec in the early to mid-'80s, later by Thomas Andrew Keith.
The New Age, 1978-1979. Gay youth issues; frequent writers: Tim Guest, Billy
Sutherland and Glenn Schellenberg.
Tribal Rites, 1978-1979; sporadically to 1985. Reflections, sometimes funny, on
gay and lesbian life.
The Real Dirt, 1978-1979. Historic censorship cases (as TBP was facing its own).
Out in the City, 1978-1981. A column on urban living -- not to be confused with the
Out in the City Toronto listings section, begun with the Apr 1981 issue.
Bar None, 1979-1980. Legal advice, sometimes by collective member (and later lawyer) Paul Trollope.
Everywoman, 1979. Supplanting Dykes; "an explicitly and emphatically feminist
1000 Lesbians, 1979. Short-lived promo for the May 1979 Bi-national Lesbian
Deliberations, 1980-1986. Political and theoretical analysis.
Upfront, 1980-1985. Celebrations of special people, inspired and first written by
Prison Letters, 1982-1983; 1984. Letter from "Mac," a prison inmate. 
This Ain't Ann Landers, 1983. Practical advice in answer to reader letters; this ran
only a few times.
Copwatch, 1984. Police issues, often written by Glenn Wheeler. This had begun as
a 1981-82 news flag.
Combat Zone, 1984. Chris Bearchell on pornography, prostitution and the feminist
Document, 1985-1986. Deconstruction of official maps, forms, ads, etc (an idea
lifted from Harper's magazine).
Letter from (various places in Canada and around the world), 1985-1986
Archeologies, 1986. Moments of life captured in photos and described.
One column was named for its place -- The Back Page, launched with the Nov
1979 issue. It was meant to ensure some editorial substance at the back of the mag (which
had usually petered out in classified ads) and, as Michael Lynch said introducing it, "for a
variety of pieces that grapple with quandariness."
The Back Page was sometimes reflective,
often funny (especially in the hands of Stephen Stuckey and John Allec, who liked doing
parodies there), and ended its days with TBP itself: Gerald Hannon used that last page of
the last issue to ponder the passing of The Body Politic.
Columns were the editorial responsibility of individual collective members until the late
'70s, by when most had come under the stewardship of one of the editorial working
groups. More material on columns may be found in papers under Series 13: News and Series 14: Features and reviews than in the few listings noted
83-010 / 12
- Correspondence and manuscripts, 1971-1980.
86-003 / 06
- This Ain't Ann Landers, 1983-1984.
It took some doing to get official permission for a prisoner to write regularly for TBP. See
extensive documentation reprinted as an article: "Battling the bureaucracy," TBP # 85 (Jul /
Aug 1982), pp 18-19. The column was interrupted for a time: "Mac" had escaped.
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