Lawrence (left) and me, Le Marche, Italy, 1992

I’ve been thinking of writing again for a while. I said I might, didn’t I? I even said I’d let you know how this plague ends. But that looks hopelessly naive now. The way things are going, if I wait until then you could be hanging on a long time. And tonight, it’ll be 26 years to the day since you left us. So now seems as good a time as any to put pen to paper again.

I’ll come back to the present plague in a minute. Some other news first…

I’m writing from Scotland, the East Neuk of…


Harry Macqueen’s new film Supernova portrays the love between two middle-aged gay men. But it is not about sexuality. The word gay is never uttered.

When I was asked to review the film for BBC Radio Scotland, I knew little about it except that it starred Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as a gay couple. I had to dig a bit further to find out that it tells the story of what happens when Tucci’s character, Tusker, is diagnosed with dementia.

Supernova is aesthetically exquisite — both its musical score and stunning cinematography. Its sweeping landscape shots of the English…


Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I didn’t know Jo Cox. But I’ve met many MPs over the years and count a number of them, past and present, as personal friends. In the immediate aftermath of her tragic death, I felt the urge to contact those I know well to say that I was thinking of them. And I understand why people have taken to Twitter to publicly thank their MPs for the work they do.

We don’t know exactly what happened yet and it isn’t helpful or appropriate to speculate*. But what does seem clear is that Jo Cox was murdered because of the job…


The perfect place for a photo opportunity on our ‘honeymoon’

‘I’m still strangely excited about being married.’ Not my words, but those of one of my oldest friends who married his long-term partner just a few weeks ago. Theirs, he said, was not a wedding. Just a signing on the dotted line before they whisked each other away for a few days.

When my husband and I married a year ago, the same friend was there as my witness. Ours was a wedding, albeit not a big one. We made a day of it and what a day it was. The stars aligned, the sun shone. It was, everyone who…


In Angus Wilson’s 1964 novel, Late Call, Ray, the grandson of its hero, Sylvia Calvert, is a gay man. Wilson was one of Britain’s first openly gay writers. I was 14 when the novel was serialised on television in 1975.

One scene, in particular, left a lasting impression on me because it was so rare in those days. In it, Ray is dancing in the living room of the family home with another man. In my memory at least the room is dimly lit as if nobody should be looking. …


Stephen would call me at home in Hackney from a telephone box deep in west Wales in the mid-1980s. He had been given my number by London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for whom I’d agreed to be a referral point on employment issues.

Stephen worked in an abattoir. His colleagues had discovered he was gay and he was being bullied. Not the occasional taunt or a bit of teasing — though neither would have been acceptable — but serious mental and physical harassment. On a daily basis. …


Photo by Abel Y Costa on Unsplash

‘The season’s over now,’ said the flight attendant as we were about to board the Silver Line to Seaport Boulevard on our arrival in Boston in late September last year. ‘But if you want to party you should definitely try the Tea Dance at the Boatslip Beach Club’. We were heading to Provincetown, on Cape Cod, and we recognised him from the plane we’d just travelled on from London.

After checking which bus we should catch to the ferry terminal, we asked him where we might go while we were in Provincetown. He wasn’t short of suggestions, but they all…


Photo by Chris Flexen on Unsplash

I was in the gym when it happened, about 20k into a 35k ride on a Wattbike. Since my knees started playing havoc in 2018, I have had to make do with two wheels. Outdoors is okay but the indoor version is mind-numbing. I need all the distraction and inspiration I can muster.

Yesterday, it came, unusually, in the form of an election result. The brilliant, indefatigable Pam Duncan-Glancy had been elected to the Scottish Parliament on the Glasgow list for Labour. In doing so she became the first wheelchair user to be an MSP.

I had torn myself away…


Photo by Thomas Mills on Unsplash

‘A new dawn has broken, has it not?’ I remember that dawn and the speech — but I wasn’t there to hear it. I had left the Festival Hall shortly before Tony Blair arrived. As I said good morning to the night and headed away from the revelry, I had another new horizon on my mind. At the age of 36, I was going to meet my mother for the first time the very next day.

Looking back, it seems like an absurd clash of personal and political priorities. I had spent the previous month working 12-hour days at Walworth…


The houses are all gone under the sea. The dancers are all gone under the hill.’

East Coker, The Four Quartets. T S Eliot

In the beginning, I sobbed. At the denouement, I howled. I cry routinely at the telly. But this was different. These tears came not just from shallow, passing sentiment but deep, permanent scarring. A place beyond the space between remembering and forgetting. Not just of grief, but shame.

When my partner and our friends died, a part of me went with them. Under the sea, under the hill — to a place I thought was the…

Chris Creegan

Chair @SAMHtweets, Non Exec @socsecscot & runner @EdinburghAC, Views my own

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