Janis Hetherington – Part 5: "Meeting Biscuit!"


Lottie, Biscuit’s ed-in-chief, hobnobs with Janis and her publishers at the London Book Fair

Janis Hetherington was the first UK woman in an openly same-sex couple to be artificially inseminated… In this, the fifth part of her exclusive autobiographical series for Biscuit, Janis meets Biscuit!

Those who are reading our articles with bated breath… bate no more. Here we are: Biscuit’s wonderful Lottie and myself in the heart of Londinium with my publishers Mira and my USA and Canadian distributors Silvermine.

Well wot a weekend. With Lottie stuck up a mountain in Padua with a goat licking her mobile and poor old Rob in Londinium fielding furious ripostes and threatened legal actions after my last lickle article. Hellfire… We are only a few weeks into my disclosures with Biscuit and already we are threatened with THE TOWER! My darling son, Nick (of whom you will have seen heart-melting photos) came like a champion to the fore and protected his lickle Mama with courage and support.

So on to the cut and thrust of why we were meeting with John Atkin, President of Silvermine and Mira, my publishers, at Stand E575 in that famous enclave where in my heyday Aussies roamed with their didgeridoos and I recruited gals for my brothel from a weird club that I think ran under the north entrance to the tube station. There were certainly throbs and mumblings reminiscent of  noisy transport. But I digress.

Censorship, dear-hearts, was why this ancient writer had to wait until her dotage before even a paragraph of her infamous past could hit the book stands.

“Whaaaat?” I hear you say. There are zillions of column inches about you. Endless broadcasts. For goodness sake, YOU were featured on the sedate Beeb’s iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll Years. Yes indeedy, so very true but not a line,word or syllable about my S/M Madame Whiplash past.

When finally I found Mira, the publishers who would take a chance on me, I had by then written five updates over  a  period of 35 years. Watched my son (yes you remember I was the first lesbian to be inseminated in the UK) grow into a man, been involved in a kidnap plot that freed a prominent Palestinian from Yasser Arafat’s enclave in Gaza, run a safe house for Kuwaiti Women during the first Gulf War, (take a pause), engineered a successful prostate cancer campaign for the late father (Major Ron) of the Duchess of Yorky and bedded half the world and her wives. The correct recipe for my sadomasochistic capabilities and one that could applaud both sides of my moon.

So now we come to the nub… No one ever wanted to encompass THE DARK SIDE and muddy the waters of feminism and for the dirt peddlars, I couldn’t name names. Mira appeared  shortly after my last appearance at the book fair three years ago  when I was guest speaker at a prestigious book launch, paid for by the Kuwaiti government to prove how brave they were during the Resistance.

In fact read my booky and a chapter in the late Major Ron’s account from the “Galloping Major” and you will see  the British and Kuwaiti Women’s Support Group were boycotted by the Ruling Sabah family after we exposed them in a film I arranged for cutting edge World in Action. Uncensored we told how Women in the Middle East but especially in Kuwait needed the vote. It was they sacrificed so very much in the Resistance inside Kuwait.

Signed by a leading female cardiologist who was in the forefront of the Resistance

Signed by a leading female cardiologist who was in the forefront of the Resistance

For some reason my speech was applauded by the rulers (who were filming the event) because I had said “Remember Gulf Polo day (they refused to contribute to it and Prince Charley-boy demanded a £50,000 trophy for to shuffle about on his pony) and the pledges you made for women’s franchise!” They assumed that by declaring there were five female members of parliament (mostly related to the princes) I was endorsing them.

Oh! Well thick as camel shit might well apply. Must be. Tony (walk on water) Blair seems to sup from their copious oil wells .

Which again brings me on to censorship. What a wonderful way to run a country with Rupert Murdoch at the helm. YES I CAN SAY THAT NOW. But think in terms of 1967 when pirate radio stations were fighting for a license and Tony Benn (buried I assume with a Tetley Tea bag) thwarted their desires and promoted BBC pop and lick. A very disgruntled Murdochio changed his left wing affiliations overnight and became the scourge of poor old Auntie Beeb.

So, turning full circle, the flutterings of threats and writs that greeted Mira when news of my booky’s publication broke on BBC Northants in the summer of 2012 were like confetti at a gay wedding.  When John Atkin put my book on Kindle a year later I was humbled by his guts in pushing the boundaries of freedom and inspired to write even more.

Do keep up. This is simples. Most of the personages named in my booky of the era 1966-68 and then in the epilogue were involved in the infamous Payola trials of 1973/4. Trials which were pushed in Murdoch papers to discredit the BBC and its pop monopoly.But remember that all the DJs and record companies named in the orgies I helped organise had their origins on the pirate ships or the record industry and the simple commercial edict “PAY and we PLAY”. As for the limited media coverage it was fuck or you suck. So to speak.

Which encapsulates the last delightful moments Biscuit and I downed the dregs of our wine glasses and vowed that anyone who watched The Boat That Rocked and didn’t know it was a Murdoch conspiracy to plaster over sending many to the pokey and having the plod licking botties should be denied the vote and sent out to serfdom and should certainly never ever threaten to sue Biscuit.

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Janis Hetherington

Outrageously, rebelliously outspoken. Sexually incontinent. Avid supporter of lost causes: ever hopeful they will be transformed, ever fearful that once they are they will become the monsters that trampled them. Janis is the author of "Love Lies Bleeding: Memoirs of a Sexual Revolutionary".

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