Sudley House … Queer Writing Workshop … Positive News: Singapore and Vietnam … Mr Lucas … The Greatest Auction


From a disaster via a catastrophe to a triumph!

Twenty five of us turned up at the Chorlton Street Bus Station anticipating the planned coach trip to Speedwell Cavern and Chapel-en-le-Frith. Unfortunately, Vinny our coach driver, had contacted us to advise that he had just been diagnosed with Covid and had to self-isolate. As he works for himself, there wasn’t the possibility of a replacement driver.

Plan B was proposed that we visit Sudley House in Mossley Hill, Liverpool instead and a number of people decided to make the trip. Whilst some went home, the rest walked to Oxford Road Train Station. With a Senior Railcard and Concessionary Travel Pass the cost was £7.30 for the day return. We just made the train at 10.46am and arrived at Mossley Hill Station about an hour later. A short (uphill) walk led us to Sudley House Lodge and then down the drive to Sudley House. 

Liverpool developed rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was one of the most prosperous towns in Britain, and one of the greatest ports in the world. George Holt (1825 – 1896) purchased Sudley House in 1883 with money made from shipping. In the 19th century, Mossley Hill was probably the most exclusive residential area of the city. Holt does not appear to have flaunted his wealth. Sudley House is not flashly or excessive and the art collection is equally restrained.

The paintings show the docks and the River Mersey, busy streets and grand public buildings – all in all – a sense of a place in constant change. More photos can be seen here.

Free Queer Writing Workshop – Friday, 2 September at 2.00pm – Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL

As part of the development of a new musical, A Permanent State of Emergency at Hope Mill Theatre, we are hosting an intergenerational Queer writing workshop for ages 18-30 and 50+.

The workshop will include informal conversations and story sharing, as well as the writing and sharing of monologues based on someone of a different generation’s story. The theme will be the rapidly changing world we find ourselves in.

The aim of the workshop is to find differences, similarities and allow space for understanding.

We will use this research in the development of the play as well as sharing the process of creative writing with participants.

The workshop will be delivered by the playwright Joshua Val Martin. To book your place, please email:

A Permanent State of Emergency – Wednesday, 21 September at 7.00pm – Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester M4 7JA

A political-cabaret cum European-saga. Jess is in her twenties. She still lives with her Dad and her Step-Mum, Cath. Cath bagged Jess a part-time job working in the Leicester visitor information centre: Jess should consider herself lucky.

But instead with no prospect or purpose in labour, love or life, Jess embarks on a one-way trip through Europe in the search of meaning. Cath follows on Jess’s heels, determined to make her grateful. This is a story of being the young and infantilised on a continent that feels like it’s in a permanent state of emergency.

Singapore decriminalises gay sex … but it’s not all good news

Andee Chua and Hugo Liu are influencers who live in Singapore (Photo: @andeecys/Instagram)

Authorities in Singapore have announced the territory is lifting its British colonial-era law against same-sex sexual activity. The move follows years of legal challenges from campaigners. LGBT advocates across Asia and the wider world have welcomed the move.

However, when announcing the move on national TV, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city-state would also act to ensure marriage between one man and one woman only is protected by the law. This would make it harder for same-sex marriage to become a reality.

Despite that setback, the repeal of 377A has been celebrated by many. In changing the law, Singapore is following in the wake of India, Thailand and Taiwan. Until now, authorities voiced support for keeping 377a on the books, saying it reflected Singapore’s traditional values. However, they promised not to enforce it.

Loong suggested yesterday that society had shifted. “This is the right thing to do, and something that most Singaporeans will accept.” He said ditching 377A brings the country’s laws in line with “current social mores, and I hope, provide some relief to gay Singaporeans.”

Local activists react to Singapore law change

Local gay activist Johnson Ong said, “We finally did it, and we’re ecstatic that this discriminatory, antiquated law is finally going to be off the books. There’s a sense that maybe it took a little too long, but it had to happen, you know. Today we are very, very happy.”

Ong was critical of moves to enshrine opposite-sex marriage in the law. He said, “Even after acknowledging that 377A has through the decades caused considerable hardship, emotional damage and harmed the lives and families of those affected by the law, they continue to beat us down, instead of lifting us up and helping us heal.”

Roy Tan, another local activist, said in a statement, “I am elated and relieved for Singapore’s LGBT community.”

Tan said although not being enforced, 377A impacted LGBT representation in the media and other areas of daily life.

“The retention of Section 377A causes a trickle-down effect which influences many of the rules and guidelines governing the lives of LGBT individuals in Singapore,” said Tan.

“I look forward to a future where we can hold our heads up high as equals in the eyes of the law instead of living as marginalised, second-class citizens in our own country.”

Hopes for marriage one day

Instagram influencers and activists Andee Chua and Hugo Liu (originally from Taiwan) are based in Singapore. They took to social media to celebrate the announcement.

“Last night was super emotional for us. And we woke up today feeling legit – we feel seen, heard, and most importantly, LEGAL,” they said.

“While long overdue, this is an important milestone for the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, and we should be celebrating this win. Honestly, we did not imagine that it could happen within our lifetime. There are still a lot of emotions to process.”

Vietnam no longer considers LGBT people sick

Acting Vietnamese Health Minister Dao Hong Lan (Photo by Tran Minh / Vietnamese government)

The Vietnamese Health Ministry announced it no longer considers LGBTQ people to be sick.

A directive the ministry issued on 3 August directs health care providers “not to consider homosexual, bisexual and transgender (people) an illness.”

The directive also notes homosexuality cannot be “cured.”

“The Vietnamese Health Ministry’s recognition that sexual orientation and gender identity are not illnesses will bring relief to LGBT people and their families across Vietnam,” said Kyle Knight, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “LGBT people in Vietnam deserve access to health information and services without discrimination, and the Health Ministry’s new directive is a major step in the right direction.” Human Rights Watch notes Vietnam over the last decade “has made some progress on LGBT rights.”

BBC Radio 4: Pick of the Week – Mr Lucas’s Diaries – Saturday 8.00pm on Radio 4

There will be an on-air content warning before this is broadcast. Completely understandable, as some of the readings from the diaries of Mr Lucas contain pretty explicit references to gay sex, but equally fitting in that his life was a peculiar mix of conformity and secrecy.

Mark Gatiss reads extracts from almost 60 notebooks of spidery handwriting, diligently kept with added newspaper cuttings and photographs, that were composed by George Leo John Lucas, who died in 2014 aged 88.

The diaries catalogue his life as a gay man in Britain, working as a respectable civil servant and secretly paying for sex. Gatiss refers to them as “The fragments of a life … it’s like a gay Tutankhamun.”

The diaries were bequeathed to the journalist Hugo Greenhalgh, who joins Gatiss to discuss what they tell us about a society slowly coming to terms with homosexuality.

The extracts are sometimes shocking (the verbal abuse from Lucas’s parents is particularly cruel), sometimes raw, but, for the main part, incredibly poetic. The final reading, comparing the legalisation of gay sex to an orchard, is profoundly beautiful – and very sad.

The Greatest Auction

Channel 4 are working on a brand-new TV series with the working title of “The Greatest Auction”.

People will be invited to bring extraordinary objects into their specially created auction house to sell to buyers specially selected for their enthusiasm and passion for these items.  From art to artefacts, medieval to modern – with the weird and wonderful in between – The Greatest Auction will feature an infinite variety of truly amazing objects as they come under the hammer, and their value is decided in the auction room.

They are very keen to feature items from British LGBTQ+ History – a banner from the first UK Pride, an original pits and perverts t-shirt, a sign from a famous venue or it could be anything interesting and with a story that they can tell.

Download the details:

One thought on “Sudley House … Queer Writing Workshop … Positive News: Singapore and Vietnam … Mr Lucas … The Greatest Auction

  1. hi Tony It sounds like you managed to make a success out of an initial setback Pleased that you enjoyed the visit I was hoping to get along to the Out meeting at 2.00 today but was hit by bus AND train cancellations Not to worry. but I was hoping to see you to ask if there’s any further info about next week’s cine visit to Home? What time do we meet and what’s on? Can I bring my boyfriend along too? He’s not a member as he lives in Liverpool but at age 64 qualifies with the requirements ! looking forward to joining everyone next week Dave Foster


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