The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Crazy old dykes

I really like The L Word. It’s never claimed to represent the lives of anything other than a group of white, middle-class lesbians in Los Angeles, and with a bunch of reasonably pretty women, acceptable storylines and plenty of hot sex scenes, the word ‘groundbreaking’ is a fair and accurate description of the series that’s about to go into its fourth season. Careers, motherhood, a bit of confusion over sexuality and gender identity – all staples of your average lesbian life, in a glamorous West Hollywood setting. What more could lesbian viewers ask for?

Well, how about a British version? Just for diversity’s sake. A lesbian soap opera that’s anathema to stylised US portrayals of our lives. Titled Crazy Old Dykes, here’s a would-be scenario: 73-year-old Yvonne goes crazy when her partner, Helga, 64, says she wants to end their relationship of more than 20 years. Forget a few heated words and an object or two flying around the room – old Yvonne goes into another room, comes back with an air rifle screaming ‘I’m going to kill you’. Helga grabs the barrel of the gun; it goes off but misses her (a pellet is later recovered from a wall in the couple’s home). Yvonne, obviously still pissed, snatches a walking stick and proceeds to whack Helga over the head and shoulders. Helga somehow manages to get out of the house to call the police, who arrive to find Yvonne lying in bed (tired out?) surrounded by (Helga’s) blood, and cart her off to the loony bin.

Another storyline goes as follows: Two lesbian junkies/petty thieves, Sharon, 48 and her long-term lover Mandy, 44, are having problems. Mandy wants to come off heroin, Sharon doesn’t. One night at a lesbian bar, Mandy meets Angela, a transwoman who is keen to help her get clean and, as is wont to happen in the Sapphic world, they start dating. Sharon doesn’t want to lose Mandy, so she slips sedatives into Mandy’s tea each day without the latter’s knowledge to prevent her leaving the house to see Angela. Mandy finds out, is not best pleased and runs off to her new relationship. Sharon doesn’t have an air rifle or a walking stick to hand, so she steals a disability mobile from outside Sainsbury’s supermarket and attempts to mow Angela down in the street in broad daylight. The story is reported in the national gutter press, causing Angela to have a nervous breakdown and refusing to press charges against Sharon. Sharon and Mandy get back together and resume their shoplifting and drug habits, more in love than ever.

Too over the top? Well, they say truth is stranger than fiction. The first scenario was reported in the British press this week; the second happened two years ago and I had the pleasure of meeting Sharon and Mandy via my friend Michael on a trip back to my hometown, London – although Mandy was, now I come to think of it, very sleepy at the time.

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