19 October 2023
Another part of our theatrical history was being reclaimed and celebrated. Not Homo Promos, but its predecessor, Consenting Adults in Public, in its role as community activism champion and supporter of good causes.
One for the Books is a documentary about the 28-hour marathon reading of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City books in 1985, in aid of the Gay's The Word Defence Campaign. Customs and Excise had seized 2,000 books, with the clear object of driving our one community bookshop out of business.
The Defence Campaign was funded by literally hundreds of local events. The Maupin Marathon raised £2,500 (£7,500 in today's money) and was the largest single contribution to the Campaign.
The film was made by acclaimed director Rose Collis, and has already won three awards. Rose took part in the reading, along with organiser Peter Scott-Presland (then Eric Presland), Fi Craig (CAIP member) and Linda Semple (then assistant manager at Gay's The Word).
In total, thirteen performers played over 300 characters between them. Peter, Fi and Linda are all interviewed in the film, which also draws extensively on Rose's unique archive, and puts the readings in the context of the Customs and Excise attack and the wider fightback against it.
The event took place at the The Cinema Museum, London.