three pairs of lovers with space



The following is from English journalist and boy-lover Michael Davidson (1897-1976)’s account of his time in Cyprus in Chapter 18 of his autobiography, The World, the Flesh and Myself (1962),

Davidson was in Cyprus from October 1954 to August 1957. He went there to help start and serve as Deputy Editor of The Times of Cyprus, a newspaper founded to draw attention to the folly of the British’s administration’s uncompromising resistance to Cypriot aspirations for independence. Soon there was armed insurgency, to which the British responded with emergency regulations and harsh suppression.  Davidson’s reporting of this unsurprisingly drew the ire of the authorities and led to his past being investigated, showing that the suspicions of this he expressed below were well-founded.[1]


The World, the Flesh and Myself

The photo in Davidson's collection and reproduced in the 1997 edition of The World, of Nikos Sampson, who worked with him in Cyprus before becoming a hunted EOKA insurgent, and who was briefly in July 1974 to be President of Cyprus

Towards the end of July I met one evening Victor Bodker, until recently editor of the Cyprus Mail, in John Odgers' bar—nice, rotund, sardonic John Odgers: the perfect publican—even his name was right. 'In the Nicosia Club just now,' said Victor, 'they were saying the C.I.D. were looking for charges to bring against you—of course, I know nothing about it; but that's what they were saying.' He finished his drink and stumped out. Kind old Victor: professionally we'd been at daggers drawn; but personally always on good drinking terms. This was news that set me thinking: if they could have found charges under the Emergency Regulations they'd have jumped at the chance long ago. But what other charges? My private life had for long been immaculate; there was no evidence there. And then once more the spectre of the 'previous' appeared: what if the Field-Marshal and the Attorney-General's office had secured from Scotland Yard my 'record'? In Cyprus the police could easily have hired a couple of young Turks and framed an accusation against me, comfortably supported by my 'previous'—that's the way my thinking went. Probably I was wrong; I'm sure the Field-Marshal wouldn't have countenanced such a thing; though the police, once they knew I'd been convicted, might certainly have so acted on their own. I dare say I was cowardly: I felt I was too vulnerable to face the possibility of such a case; I decided it was time I left Cyprus. Foley was generous; so too were Byron Pavlides and above all dear Gubby. In the first week of August I secured an 'exit permit' and slipped away; I didn't feel secure until I was aboard the Italian ship at Larnaca.

One friendship I haven't put in its context and do not identify here:[2] it could be embarrassing to the friend. He was with me for nearly three years: from his schooldays until he was nearly 18, when I helped him into a career in England in which he immediately did brilliantly. Each morning, while we were together, I sent him to school on his bicycle; I did the shopping, and had a hot lunch ready cooked by the time he came back. On Sundays, while he was at Mass, I'd have a chicken in the oven. I think I was a good mother. He wrote regularly after he left; in a letter written after he was grown up he said: 'You will always be the best friend I had. . . . When you are old and I am married, you shall make your home with me and my wife.'


[1] The Security Services were maintaining a personal file on him as a suspected communist, which included information about his imprisonment in 1936 for “a homosexual offence” (a sexual liaison with a boy in London, though this detail was not in the file) and were making further enquiries, apparently suspecting he was giving information on Cyprus  to the Daily Worker, a British newspaper and otherwise getting involved in Cypriot politics (National Archives KV 2/2976). The same document incidentally records that Davidson arrived in Cyprus on 24 October 1954, not November as he stated.

[2] In an author's footnote released in the 1985 edition, he is revealed as “Joseph Anthony, a Maronite Cypriot”. Davidson was in Cyprus from October 1954 to August 1957, so this friendship must have covered almost all his time there.  Possibly it was not sexual, in view of what he said earlier about his “immaculate” private life in Cyprus, but that seems odd for such a warm relationship with a boy, especially considering he was still sexually active afterwards, for example in Naples in 1958.