Homosexuality

More Mr Pooter than Joe Orton: George Lucas’s gay life in London

18 May 2024 9:00 am

Beginning in 1948, Lucas kept a diary chronicling 60 highly promiscuous years – though ‘my great desideratum has always been sympathy and affection’

Sir Roger Casement never deserved to hang

6 April 2024 9:00 am

Executed as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, he was absent from Dublin at the time of the doomed insurrection – and actually tried to prevent it

Victims of a cruel prejudice: the last two men to be executed for sodomy in England

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Chris Bryant describes in painful detail how James Pratt and John Smith, working-class men from the Midlands, fell foul of the ‘bloodthirsty English justice system’ in 1835

The data-spew about Bob Dylan never ends

4 November 2023 9:00 am

In his latest volume of biography, Clinton Heylin spares us no details about Dylan’s misogyny and cranky obsessions during his almighty midlife crisis

Gentle genius

7 October 2023 9:00 am

Dissatisfied with his unfinished epic, the dying Vergil called for his scrolls to be burned, but was fortunately overruled by the Emperor Augustus

Like an episode of Play School: Dr Semmelweis, at the Harold Pinter Theatre, reviewed

2 September 2023 9:00 am

Bleach and germs are the central themes of Dr Semmelweis, written by Mark Rylance and Stephen Brown. The opening scene,…

Rooms with little left to view: the queer spaces of E.M. Forster and others

2 September 2023 9:00 am

Diarmuid Hester goes in search of the private places of eight remarkable figures from the 20th century, to find only Derek Jarman’s cottage preserved intact as a shrine

Cheerful meanderings: Caret, by Adam Mars-Jones, reviewed

26 August 2023 9:00 am

Now established in Cambridge, John Cromer embarks on a whirlwind of small adventures, testing our patience, if not our sympathy, with his extensive digressions

‘We cannot turn back’ from the League of Nations, said Woodrow Wilson – but did just that

29 July 2023 9:00 am

His fateful intransigence over the negotiations has been variously ascribed to a Christ-complex, an unhappy childhood and even latent homosexuality

Love in the shadow of the Nazi threat

3 June 2023 9:00 am

Florian Illies describes the charged atmosphere of Europe in the early 1930s, as people grew increasingly desperate to celebrate their last chance of freedom

An eye for the absurd

13 May 2023 9:00 am

Come for the satire, stay for the one-liners, and take succour from the hope Walter finds in a world where everyone needs an angel from time to time

A gay journey of self-discovery

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Seán Hewitt, born in 1990, realised that he was gay at a very early age. ‘A kind, large woman’ who…

The women’s lips are pursed; the men’s are kissable: Glyn Philpot at Pallant House reviewed

25 June 2022 9:00 am

Of all the photos of artists in the studio, the one of Glyn Philpot being served a martini by his…

A bitter sectarian divide: Young Mungo, by Douglas Stuart, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Douglas Stuart has a rare gift. The Scottish writer, whose debut novel Shuggie Bain deservedly won the 2020 Booker Prize,…

The making of a poet: Mother’s Boy, by Patrick Gale, reviewed

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Charles Causley was a poet’s poet. Both Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin considered him the finest candidate for the laureateship,…

Gay and abandoned: A Previous Life, by Edmund White, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Edmund White’s new novel opens, somewhat improbably, in 2050. This imagined future, however, springs few surprises on the reader and…

Have we reached peak human rights?

7 January 2022 2:30 am

After the Colston debacle, you might be forgiven for having missed the other legal story that broke this week. The…

Were the Sixties really so liberated?

18 December 2021 9:00 am

Lolita, the Lady Chatterley trial, the pill, Christine Keeler, ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, love-ins, Oh! Calcutta!, the Oz trial…

Enjoyable in spite of the National's best efforts: Under Milk Wood reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Before the National Theatre produced Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood they had to make a decision. How could they stuff…

Nostalgia for seedy nightclubs reeking of sex and poppers

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Gay bar, how I miss you. Barely any lesbian joints have survived the online dating scene, and Grindr has replaced…

A beastly cold country: Britain in 1962

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Like this author, I was happily snowbound at a beloved grandparent’s house during the big freeze that began on Boxing…

The joy of a cancelled Christmas

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Among the greatest bores right now are those friends who insist on telling you, usually as if it’s some kind…

The next generation of gay men will be far more boring

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Last week we broadcast my BBC radio Great Lives episode on Kenneth Williams. The effervescent comedian and presenter Tom Allen…

Walt Whitman’s poetry can change your life

9 May 2020 9:00 am

To describe a new book as ‘eagerly awaited’ is almost unpardonable. Yet Mark Doty’s What is the Grass: Walt Whitman…

Why are musicologists so indifferent to their subjects’ love lives?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

People often say that the battle for male gay rights has been won, at least in the West, and that…