Queer as Art, BBC Two review – showbusiness and the gay revolution…

Part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, here was a programme fulfilling what it said on the tin: prominent LGBTQ (when will all these expanding acronyms cease to confuse us all) figures narrating, examining, discussing, analysing, letting it all hang out about LGBTQ folk and the arts during the past half-century.

The usual suspects were interviewed, from Maggi Hambling – her smoking more shocking than anything else on the programme – to Stephen Fry, Sandy Toksvig and David Hockney, although there was no Alan Bennett or Grayson Perry.

In the 1960s before the act that partially decriminalised homosexuality, evidently the only partly safe places were the theatre, the civil service (not examined here at all) and… hairdressing. Lesbianism was never illegal, but most of the running into the open, we were reminded, has been overwhelmingly male. Historically lesbians weren’t closeted but almost totally hidden, meaning no role models were available, but Val McDermid touchingly told us how her pin-up was Dusty Springfield.

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Fourth time lucky for talented Brookmyre…

BARRHEAD author Chris Brookmyre has been toasting success after winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Chris earned the prestigious prize for his book Black Widow, which features one of his most popular characters – investigative journalist Jack Parlabane.

And it was a case of fourth time lucky for the talented writer, having been pipped at the post in previous bids to win the award.

“I’m really quite taken aback,” said Chris. “I’ve been shortlisted three times for this award – always the bridesmaid. Today, I get to walk up the aisle.”

The Barrhead man saw off competition from top crime writers such as Val McDermid, Eva Dolan, Sabine Durrant, Mick Herron and Susie Steiner to win the 2017 award.

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All hail Christopher Brookmyre, the new king of Tartan Noir…

THERE’S been something of a changing of the guard in the talented and successful world of Scottish crime fiction.

With Ian Rankin having threatened to retire his legendary detective John Rebus, there’s a looming vacancy at the top of the Scottish crime writers’ list.

It may just have been filled by Christopher Brookmyre, who last week won Crime Novel of the Year at the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival for Black Widow.

The same novel last year scooped the McIlvanney Prize last year at Scotland’s own festival of crime writing, Bloody Scotland.

What’s more, Brookmyre has been nominated for this year’s McIlvanney Prize with his latest novel, Want You Gone.

The prize is named after the late and much-missed William McIlvanney, who is credited with inventing Tartan Noir with his Laidlaw trilogy, though the man who coined the phrase was American crime writer James Ellroy – a great compliment from one of the kings of the crime genre.

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