‘It’s a Sin’ is dramatic art as redress— it tells our story and gives a voice to those who didn’t make it

04/02/2021

‘The houses are all gone under the sea. The dancers are all gone under the hill.’ East Coker, The four quartetT 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 […]
The epidemic is a shitstorm — I don’t need the daily news to know it’s there

17/12/2020

“I’ve asked so many people if they know anyone who has had Covid. Hardly anyone. Two people knew someone (not close) who’d died. Without daily news would we even know there was an epidemic?” I don’t know which world Allison Pearson inhabits. I’m sure, once upon a time, it collided with mine as the viewer […]
When plagues meet: if we can learn from the past we can change the future

01/12/2020

“I guess the last lesson I’ve learned as an AIDS activist and the hardest one to learn, is that fights are never won. They just go on and on. They are. And yet they must be fought. They must, must, still, continually, and forever, be fought. Over and over and over, they must be fought.” […]
There are reasons to be cheerful…but only for a moment

09/11/2020

Half a lifetime ago, on a bright, crisp December day in Harrogate, I was reunited with an old friend. We had first met 12 years before at university — as politics students, fellow Labour Club members and union hacks. Tragedy had brought us together again — the premature death of a mutual friend who had […]
The Pope may be late to the party, but make no mistake — he’s a star guest

21/10/2020

“Go for a long hard run, take a cold shower, and avoid the occasion of sin.” My dad’s closing words in a letter he wrote to me 40 years ago. And the first that came to me as I read this afternoon that Pope Francis has said he thinks same-sex couples should be afforded legal […]
Mayflies — a homage to the enduring power of friendship in all our lives

17/10/2020

I have only ever met Andrew O’Hagan across a signing table. Such meetings are odd, often full of anticipation for the reader, sometimes mild exhaustion on the part of the author. Occasionally they are memorable too. The signing may be no more than the briefest of exchanges to confirm who you’d like the book dedicated […]
A call to action for Edinburgh which every one of us must heed

30/09/2020

‘This is not a set of recommendations, it’s a call to action’, said Jim McCormick introducing the final report of Edinburgh Poverty Commission’s report today. With characteristic calm candour, McCormick, the commission’s chair, levelled with us. That call to action is not merely for officialdom. It is for all of us — the citizens of […]
Cummings must go – but whatever happens trust is the real casualty

24/05/2020

The Prime Minister has bottled it. Astonishingly to even the most disinterested observer, he has argued that Dominic Cummings acted responsibly, legally and with integrity. But his defence won’t stem the tide of calls for Cummings to go. Quite the reverse. The case for Cummings’ departure was made with characteristic brilliance by the commentator, Alex […]