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Queer Editorial

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A bit of slap and tickle? Oh, go on then…

So this month, after the horrific unfolding of the Tories winning a majority, I’ve been making myself feel better by watching lesbotic art-house films about home-wrecking alcoholic poets and women who like to be sat on, or tied up and put in trunks, by other women. Well, what else am I going to do? I’ve written before about how bad I think most lesbian films are, so I’m not going to reopen that can of worms here, but it it’s been refreshing to see two cultural outputs that depict women with agency and autonomy and their own sense of their bodies and sensuality. And all at the same time (how did that happen?). I can’t imagine these films will be everyone’s cup of tea but at least watching them didn’t make me want to kick the telly screen in. The first film featured the drunken writer and real life poet Elizabeth Bishop, and her south American three-way as depicted in Reaching For The Moon; and the other took me into the soft-focus, sweetly twisted world of Cynthia and Evelyn in The Duke of Burgundy, a film about women who cycle round a weird country estate collecting butterflies and giving lectures to groups of similarly attired white women in long black boots. If you’re not mithered about literature and care nothing for twentieth century poets then the first of these two films still might appeal as there’s tropical rain forest scenery and some nice accents, clothes and architecture. Joking aside Bishop is one of great poets of our modern era and while I knew her writing, on the page, I knew nothing about her life. It’s worth a watch just to sound brainier when you’re down the pub. If you pay attention you’ll be able to learn lines of poetry to woo women with. And if BDSM is your thing – and even if it’s not – then the ladies of The Duke of Burgundy might float your boat. It’s a bit mad and totally out-there in terms of knowing what the hell is going on half of the time. But strip all that away (and yes you do get to see some stripping, or partial stripping anyway) and it’s a film about what we are prepared to do/not do for the object(s) of our affection. Personally I’m a bit nervous about some of the things going on in Evelyn’s mansion but then again, I’d rather do any of that than vote Tory.