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The Taking Out of Videx     
 
      

In 1983 I was the managing director of a limited company Videx Ltd, situated in Wimbledon, Surrey which was also a good catchment area for the successful film-making company we were, selling our own productions. I was also a member of BAFTA and the Institute of Directors.

Our company had just returned from the Mipcom Exhibition in Cannes, France with orders worth several million. I had received hostile publicity in the British press (Robin Stringer / Telegraph) saying that I had been funded by tricking the Board of Trade and had received a two thousand pound grant from the taxpayer under false pretences. Indeed after a successful British Trade mission all exhibitors at Cannes Mipcom were refunded half the fee of exhibiting that in my case was £4000.

Thatcher was in power and I was bringing gold back! Pornography was legal everywhere else in Europe except this country or Ireland.

I had loads of cash to spend on productions and I indulged myself making films like Lady Victoria's Training starring posh sexual revolutionary Tuppy Owens. The establishment hated it, satire that is, about the rich and powerful especially the upper classes

Most people didn't see the satire because they were too busy looking at the sex. It was what the workers always thought that the rich got up to anyway!

Some of the characters  in The Officer’s Ladies series spoke with public school accents and indeed they were the genuine article, people like Bill Wright (Frank Thring) and Kent Boulton, who once stood as the  labour MP for the Isle of Wight.

Bill Wright, then acting in Chekov's Cherry Tree, wore a colonel of the Grenadier Guards full dress uniform. He spouted a long monologue from Henry 1V (I think it was) quoting "and  if you don't wear your crown I will tear it down." There was a scene were Tuppy Owens tramples all over the colonel before urinating in his mouth. Those above saw the symbolism of it all he knew that I was an artist. But instead of allowing my freedom of expression the establishment chose to take me out.

I met the David Sullivan, The Slug, in a disused pub in Brewer St Soho. He wanted all my films in his shops. It was “an offer I could not refuse,” he told me. He was small stature and flanked by several big hard looking guys. I hated gangsters and I said no and walked out.

My house in Surrey was raided by the porn squad in 1982. After the raid I was drawn aside by two detectives and blatantly asked for cash. I told them to fuck off. I had paid before and received a life sentence for killing a gangster hitman in the Sixties.  I refused saying "it will be legalised soon" and was told, "it will never be legalised you mug because there is too much money in it" As they drove angrily away I was full of trepidation. My liberty was in serious jeopardy again.

(MURDER 1969

 About the murder conviction in 1969: I killed a well known Soho thug Gerald Hawley after he attacked me in my own home and threatened to kill my wife and children. I have no doubt that he would have killed.

 After a big campaign about me being an evil pornographer the News of the World and a fantastic story about me selling the secrets of the Vulcan V Bombers (I had an RAF pilot and his wife in a film) I was convicted.

I was a company director of a small independent film company and he was a notorious Soho gangster with convictions for violence. The truth was never heard at the trial because of corruption at high levels. I was paying the head of the Porn Squad at the time.

The Old Grey Fox as he liked to be known, Det Inspector Albert Wickstead the arresting officer pleaded with me to inform on corrupt Porn Squad officers at Scotland Yard but I stayed silent.)and he blackmailed his way into Scotland Yard with this information later rising to the rank of Commander. His rise to fame was accompanied by a series of articles penned mainly by himself that appeared in the News of the World. He was selling stories, tapping phones and was completely corrupt and when he retired he became Chief Security Officer for the N.O.W!

After the 1981 raid on my home raid equipment shooting rig, lights etc worth £20,000 were loaded up into a police van and driven away on the pretext of doing tests. I knew that it was an effort to take me out without a trial.

The next day I purchased the latest U-matic High Band shooting equipment. (I was the first film-maker to originate feature films on video.) Detective Inspector Shepherd had asked me to keep a low profile but I knew that as my liberty was not going to last much longer I might as well go out with a bang. I took as much advertising as I could in all the video magazines.

The response was huge and Videx went from strength to strength. One day we had a phone call from Rumbelows soon after that the British Videogram Association (BVA) gave its members a ten per cent discount on Videx videos. Soon more trade orders were coming in. At the time before the VRA 1984 video was not an article under the OPA 1969 and considered to be a domestic viewing medium free from censorship. We had Roy Jenkin's Obscene Publications Acts to hold back "the tide of filth", predicted by the censorship groups. However one day video was brought under the Obscene Publications Act.

It was a put up job: A Soho sex shop owner told reporters after being acquitted under the obscenity laws. "If this filth were on film rather than video I would go to prison. Stupid in’nit."  The Soho masonry wanted to keep their little earner and so did those who they were paying off. Corruption reached the highest levels and the law was changed.  Explicit sexual imagery on video could now be prosecuted. I still carried on with Videx Ltd, paying my taxes and so on. But I was still producing films containing explicit sexual imagery and refusing to censor them.

A year after the raid on my Surrey home I was still at liberty. I had been told by Bill Wright that the raid on my home had been engineered by the Slug and he had paid someone to make a complaint about one of my films acting as a a member of of the public. My ads said "hardcore guarantee" but the complanee said that he had been shocked and horrified by what he saw in the film Sexslave!  The newspapers had been giving me a lot of good publicity and the Slug bad. However the fear of another OPS raid haunted me. I had moved into another house now in Banstead a beautiful part of Surrey with the Downs at the end of my garden. It had six bedrooms and I was excited at the prospect of using it, and the Surrey Downs as a location.

There was a letter from David Offenbach the company solicitor in the mail. I kept the appointment in Bond Street. he was on the phone to someone in the Home Office. It seemed all they wanted me to do was to take the "homo stuff" of the market.

"You are a rich young man and you can continue just as before" his words echoed in my head .

How did I come to make What a Gay Day and Dial a Guy anyway. I remember Paula Meadows suggesting it to me. I asked why. She said, "Solidarity with the Gay Liberation Front" and I agreed. It was so romantic and I believed in the cause anyway.

At the Videx Office in Wimbledon picked up the phone a started to increase my advertising. Since starting to sell the gay films business expanded by 40% over night. I now lived in fear of the raid that was sure to come. The Officer’s Ladies series became more satirical, anarchic and sado-masochistic. The Colonel, one of the main characters in the series, started to whip the call girls he was hiring to come to his Mayfair apartment. SM it seemed was very controversial as well. The Colonel tries to persuade his gay son to have "proper sex" in one of the scenes. At the height of my notoriety a question was asked in parliament. "Who is this Freeman?" It is recorded in Hansard.

The publicity was good and the cash was rolling into the Videx coffers. Many artists had been accused of being pornographers in the past. What was wrong with pornography anyway? I knew that the corrupt state and religious groups hated it and that they were very powerful, if corrupt. I had made up my mind to fight censorship when studying for a degree in Fine Arts in prison and I could not break my vow. I thought if porn had been legal then I would never have come to prison.

I started to be more provocative and produced a Videx Video Show which among SM scenes, a nude beauty contest of people of all ages and a nude dancer Carla, there was also a comedy called Bent Coppers right at the end to get the jury laughing! If you saw it then you would have to admit that I deliberately provoked the state and censorship brigade. Soon after that the Porn Squad smashed their way into the Videx Offices with a warrant under the Obscene Publications Act. I was charged as the managing Director of Videx Ltd, that I published an obscene film called the Videx Video Show.

The Wimbledon magistrate refused me bail. Before leaving for Brixton Prison I asked David Offenbach what the gaggle of, embarrassed, middle class males were doing at the back of the court. He said that they were all charged with indecently assaulting young girls at the Wimbledon tennis tournaments. Evidently they had a special “groper squad” down there! In spite of my predicament I knew that the gods were smiling on me, or was it at me?

 Nubile girls were highly sexually attractive to the male of the species and that’s how Nature intended it to be and why authoritarian governments controlled the sexual libido of the people and thus gained control over their bodies.

Lindsay Honey asked why I did not forget politics and just get on with making horny films. He used to take the piss out of me for talking about "the enemy". But I just referred him to a letter I had written in the Guardian about the Beast of Censorship.

They put me on trial for the films involved in the first raid in 1981 two years ago.

The jury was geriatric and looking at me as if I was the devil incarnate-I was guilty already. I pleaded with my counsel that this was all bent. He smiled and nodded his head. I knew the two gay films would be there.  The judge read out a letter from Sir Lawrence Gowing , the artist, who said that I was a genius of a painter but that he could not say the same about my films! I was sketching the Judge Underhill at the time and I held his gaze resolutely. Then a QC asked me for a sketch. Don't forget to sign it, he said. The jury went out to consider their verdicts. They came out the jury room enraged. I got 15 months. I see that you were convicted of murder in 1969, said Underhill. We won’t be considering the matter of your licence as it is not relevant. I woke up the next morning and met a legless man, swinging on crutches to slop out. The stench of urine and faeces in my nostrils.

The judge will only give you fifteen months. Ted assured me as long as you put Videx into voluntary liquidation. If you don't it will be four years.

I heard later that the Porn Squad were sending all the cheques back, cancelling advertising, not paying 28 day invoices and nicking any cash. They built a debit of £7000. I had been taken out lock stock and barrel.

I still had to go up to the Old Bailey on the 1983 raid when the OPS came on a warrant naming the Videx Video Show and perverting the course of public justice...

I finished ten months of the 15 month sentence with five months remission for good behaviour. David Offenbach went to a Judge in Chambers asking that I be bailed on a £25.000 bail. Dr Mike Perring, a friend of mine, stood bail for me. I had not been recalled and was released from the Scrubs on bail. Sarah Hope-Walker and Sara my girlfriend met me at the gate. We all were entwined together. As I walked out the gates I had my hands on both girls’ bums, the tight arses wriggling under short skirts. The screws could see it in the CCTV monitors. We had a threesome back at the flat in Earls Court.

On meeting my QC he suggested that I split the two charges, the obscenity charges from the perverting the course of justice because the porn trial may be prejudiced by the fact you destroyed films during the raid. Actually I had not destroyed any Videx productions all of which bore my name on the credits but film companies in the trade notably from Italy with whom I was planning to co-produce films and the few entries I had from those amateur filmmakers who entered my competition to discover erotic filmmakers. I agree to separate the trials but my instinct told me that I should not and that it was a trick. I agreed not seeming to have any free will in what proved to be a fateful decision. 

I told the QC that I would be calling famous witnesses. Derek Malcolm, the film critic, Tuppy Owens the author...

“Not with me representing you, you won’t,” answered the QC.

“Why? I have studied previous trials and that is how they got off” I said.

“We have come to a private agreement among the judiciary not to allow the circus anymore. emphasising the word the “circus.”  Perhaps you had better represent yourself,” he said .

“Ok you are dismissed then I will conduct my own case I said.” I had made up my mind and nothing would dissuade me from now on.

I started studying law in predation for my forthcoming trial at the Old Bailey on producing an obscene film The Videx Video Show, the Protection of Children’s Act, the legal definition of an indecent photograph of a child the and perverting the course of justice knowing that it had been done.

I got a letter saying that I was requested to attend a special session at the Old Bailey. I had never heard of such a thing but I guessed that it was something to do with me representing myself. Finding myself inside that ancient building with Sara, sitting beside me. Suddenly trumpets started blaring out and a name was announced his Lordship had arrived.

“Isn't this wonderful” Sara said her large black eyes shining with excitement.

“His Lordship” bewigged, dressed like a medieval lord in ermine robes seated on his throne  brought his gaze to bear upon me looking over his bifocals.

“You may think that you know how to defend yourself better than anyone else. In my opinion it is a foolish mistake that you have made. You can change your mind he said, warming to his subject. You are entitled to Queens Counsel and indeed, have been awarded a very learned and able fellow to defend you. What do you say?”

“No, I thank your Lordship for his kind offer but I must decline...” I replied.