How do we survive a plague? Together


For those of us who found ourselves at the heart of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, COVID-19 incites old emotions which have never been far from the surface in the intervening decades. In myriad ways, the world of 2020 is one we couldn’t have imagined back then — not least the digital connectivity we […]
How do we survive a plague? Only connect!


Picture it. Edinburgh, the Meadows. It’s late March. Dusk. The evenings have only just lightened up again. A group of runners assembling for our Thursday session. Sidling up in dribs and drabs. Chit-chatting. Waiting for coach Alex to call us to order. ‘Thanks for rocking up’, is how he’s always started. Accompanied by knowing grins […]
Stay at home, save lives – nothing else matters now


We’re locked down. We knew it was coming and yet when the moment came it was still deeply shocking. It made for an evening none of us who live through this crisis will ever forget. And for the vast majority of us, like none other we’ve experienced before. Or ever thought we would. If living […]
‘Waiting for the world to begin again’ – a letter from a plague


I know it’s been a while since my last letter. But we agreed, didn’t we, a few months before you died when I broke down in the hospital, that I’d get on with life? The thing is, 25 years after you left us, we’re in the middle of another plague. I had to let you […]
When plagues meet – a lesson from history about bad blood


Here we go again. New plague. Same stigma. Gay and bisexual men have been told they cannot donate their plasma to a trial hoping to provide a treatment for COVID-19. To be clear this is not about access to treatment. It merely reinforces a discriminatory provision already in place for blood donation. Men who have […]
When plagues meet: if we can learn from the past we can change the future


“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.” […]
The epidemic is a shitstorm — I don’t need the daily news to know it’s there


“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 […]
Plagues don’t end unless we care enough to stop them — but we knew that didn’t we?


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 […]