Ways to feel warmer in the British winter #43: read Love Notes to Men Who Don’t Read by North Morgan. The story follows Konrad as he moves from a cheating boyfriend in London to the beaches and Masc4Masc jocks of California. His journal-style narration starts with that heartbreak and lingers throughout every page as loneliness and listlessness, illuminating the superficial glow of social media and hook-up apps that is a hot topic for gay men who do read. Morgan uses his third novel as the device to comment on it all with wit, rather than giving us any great plot or deep characterisations.

It’s immensely readable and brought me into the could-be-any-city world of WeHo hook-ups and parties that I’ve never experienced but proscribe to some of the ‘great’ gays I try not lust after on Instagram. Konrad recognises his own internal homophobia and trappings of heteronormativity, his desperate loneliness and belief that at 33 he’s far too old to be on the scene. I was rooting for him to move on. While he leaves the break-up and Facebook stalking behind, he stays trapped in a world he can’t quite love or loathe with no sign of an escape. The final rushed paragraph made me angry and should have been cut altogether, but it’s a solid and consistently funny read that left me asking WTF can we do to change all this.

Love Notes to Men Who Don’t Read is published by Limehouse Books

Also this week, Hairspray Live! welcomed everyone to the 60s on Wednesday night in America and shown as live on ITV2 on Friday night. The flawless songs from Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman (who I thought could do no wrong until I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) along with the core message of celebrating diversity made it one of my favourite musicals as soon as it arrived in the UK in 2007, first on film and shortly after on the West End stage.

While Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth and Derek Hough stood out as bringing something distinctive to their characters, the whole production felt a bit hit and miss in trying to merge the best of the stage and film versions to make it work on live TV. At brief moments it was authentic, but most scenes felt flat. While every musical number was largely slick, the plot felt lost, not helped by ad breaks every 10 minutes (thank you ITV2 for disrespecting your audience for an overly-long 200 minutes).  I’ll be streaming Jennifer Hudson’s version of I Know Where I’ve Been for the next week, and while much of the casting and original stage choreography was better in this production of course it’s the 2007 film I’ll stick to for repeat viewing.

And on Tuesday, it felt like Christmas watching Muppet Christmas Carol at Leicester Square’s Prince Charles Cinema, complete with a mini mince pie and mulled wine. Watching my VHS favourite on the big screen for the first time was sheer seasonal joy, especially sharing it with my film blogger friend and general inspiration Sarah. Showings of Muppet Christmas Carol and other Christmas classics continue all month long. Also check out PCC’s Unicorn Nights for LGBTIQUA cinema and treat your ears to Megan Hilty covering Tiny Tim’s Bless Us All.

Next week I’m going to After Orlando at The Vaults, Waterloo.