Bookworm: ‘The Sparsholt Affair’ by Alan Hollinghurst



‘The Sparsholt Affair’ by Alan Hollinghurst is his first book since 2011’s ‘The Stranger’s Child’ and his sixth overall. Having won the Man Booker Prize for his masterpiece ‘The Line of Beauty ‘ in 2005 the expectations every time he releases a book are high. His books are about the lives of gay men, but such is the beauty and power of his writing, they transcend that limiting categorization, and get placed in the General Fiction section of the bookshop. Continue reading Bookworm: ‘The Sparsholt Affair’ by Alan Hollinghurst


Wastelands Pride


The rainbow flag fluttered proudly in the breeze as I approached the office. I entered the building. Someone had been busy overnight. The lobby was festooned with rainbow flags and balloons. Gay Pride had reached the Wastelands and my office was celebrating. Continue reading Wastelands Pride

‘Labels are for bottles, not for people’. Oh Vomit.


Happy Corporate Pride everyone. In the ever surreal landscape of life in the wastelands, my multinational employer is having a Pride day this week. I ought to be thankful that it is making an effort, but for some reason – despite my glued on smile – I find it quite bizarre. Thursday is ‘Rainbow’ day – a day where we are encouraged to wear our brightest clothes to ‘celebrate diversity’ and to ‘show our pride’. Hurrah. Yet I am not actually that celebratory. Such ungrateful behaviour on my part. Continue reading ‘Labels are for bottles, not for people’. Oh Vomit.

Theatrical: ‘The Snapper’ at the Gate


Currently in preview at the Gate Theatre is the stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s book ‘The Snapper’. The official opening is on Wednesday 20th June. Theatrical etiquette rules that reviewers don’t review plays until opening night. Preview shows are intended to allow the director and the cast to iron out any last minute issues with the play. I am going to ignore that rule – for the simple reason that I paid full whack for my preview ticket (no freebies for regular audience members). As the show I saw, was the fourth preview performance, if they are not about 99% stage ready by this point then they never will be. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘The Snapper’ at the Gate

Showbiz trooper


Friday evening was spent at the theatre – the final evening show for ‘25/The Decriminalisation Monologues’ at Outhouse.  Having written one of the monologues – ‘The Number’ –  I had found it very difficult to watch my own piece initially. I was feeling a touch self-conscious and insecure about it. Not by Friday however. I had gotten over my nerves and was able to sit back and enjoy the entire show. It was a privilege to be included in this project. It is important to remember how different this country was in the very recent past – how cold, hard and cruel it was to anyone who fell outside the boundaries of what was considered ‘normal’ by mainstream society. How it crushed many people. But how people resisted and pushed back, eventually transforming the social landscape. I hope there will be continued life in ‘The Decrminaliation Monologues’ as it gives an insight to young people  about those who fought, although their struggle is largely unknown to younger people. Continue reading Showbiz trooper

Burning up


To celebrate my forty year anniversary as a Type 1 diabetic, today  I went to the clinic. While I am not certain of the exact date of my diagnosis I know that it was in June 1978. Therefore I am declaring today to be the official anniversary. I was still basically a toddler, not having started primary school. For my improvement I was meeting a dietitian who was going to explain the wonders of carb counting to me. Continue reading Burning up

The Paddy Jackson trial


For the first three months of this year the country was obsessed with a trial. A rape trial involving two famous Irish rugby internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, and an unnamed woman (as opposed to unidentified – her name was all over social media despite reporting restrictions). In June 2016, after the rugby players had returned from a tour kicking a ball somewhere, and chasing it, they’d gone out on the town in Belfast. They drank oceans of alcohol and were treated like kings – our society lionises men who can run fast after a ball – be that a rugby ball, a football, or a sliotar. After the VIP lounge at some Nite Klub, they repaired to Jackson’s house for a party. Present were four men and four women. Continue reading The Paddy Jackson trial

A target for inclusion?


I am wearing a pedometer. This is a device that you connect to your belt which counts the number of steps you take. I am aiming for 10,000 steps per day for the next 100 days. You might be wondering why I am involved in such a suspiciously healthy sounding activity? Well these little devices are being handed out free at work, and we have been placed into teams of five. The mission is to get the staff moving, through teamwork and competition. ‘Make fitness FUN’ in other words. Obviously I have no truck with the team building part of this campaign. That sounds sinister and corporate – and as a secret communist, I’ll be having none of that kind of lark. While it may be true that no man is an island, I have no issue with being a peninsula – not cut off from my colleagues entirely, but nonetheless at a safe distance from their heart-warming tale of suburban, heterosexual married bliss. Continue reading A target for inclusion?