Rock svengalis faced inherent antisemitism and homophobia

WITHOUT svengalis such as Brian Epstein and Larry Parnes, there would have been no Beatles and no rock ‘n’ roll in this country.

These group of men, who were — mostly — Jewish, helped to change pop, politics and society for good in the post-war years of a still-insular Britain.

But as well as facing inherent antisemitism, men like Epstein, Parnes, Oliver! creator Lionel Bart and solicitor to the stars David Jacobs faced added prejudice for being gay.

It is something which fascinates author Darryl W Bullock, who has written The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran The Swinging Sixties (Omnibus Press).

“The idea came to me when I was writing my previous book, David Bowie Made Me Gay,” Darryl told me from his home in Bristol.

“I wanted to know more about the people on the other side of the music scene, those who worked for the record labels.

“I had also always wanted to write something about The Beatles, but needed an inroad because everything has already been written about them.

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