Review: Clapham Junction

Imagine you’re straight, and you think gay men are all white, moneyed, coke-snorting perverts. It’s one of many popular stereotypes, one that Channel 4’s Clapham Junction - a one-off drama shown as part of the broadcaster’s gay season (celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality) - reinforced.

It was a sort of gay Crash, in which everyone more-or-less looks the same. C4 describes it as “a snapshot of the mixed experiences of several gay men whose lives interconnect over 36 hours in London.” Funny, but I thought gay men in London were a bit more diverse than the bunch of dried up Anglo-toffs served up here. It shouldn’t come as a surprise: C4 also gave us the truly hideous Queer As Folk (a show that almost makes me think queer-bashing is sometimes justified), and every year sticks another embarrassing white fag into the Big Brother house, who’s either flaming, or utterly vile in every conceivable way. The one decent gay drama they screened, Metrosexuality (which embraced the diversity of London’s homoverse) was axed after just one series.

Clapham Junction has almost no redeeming features. There’s a gay wedding in which one of the wealthy grooms seduces a young waiter whilst his new hubby wonders where he is. The waiter is later beaten to death on Clapham Common. A married man engages in some glory hole fun in a toilet before being fucked by a stranger. A fourteen year old boy seduces a paedophile. Coke is sprinkled liberally throughout, as if to say it’s what gay men do. Positive stuff. Oh, and there’s a token black character, who gets about three seconds of screen time. Here’s where the prejudice really shows. The black student, a violinist, is being bullied by a gang of black youths, who thinks he’s gay because he plays the violin. Seems to me the writer of the piece knows nothing about the sort of black youth in London he’s writing about. If he did, he’d know that musical talent is highly prized by these kids, but in keeping with the stereotype theme, he decides rough inner city black kids couldn’t be receptive to an instrument like the violin. Leave ‘em to their decks and rapping, eh.

Maybe we should be grateful there’s any gay drama on television at all, and that Channel 4 decided to make an effort with this season. What’s the BBC done? But it’s so depressing, so relentlessly negative, and a picture of a world that’s alien to many gay men. As for me, I’m off to snort a line before heading down to the local public toilets for some sleazy sex - the boyfriend will never find out!

It’s what we do, after all.


COOKiE said...

Wow they aired that? Very disappointing... good job BBC on bringing us 10 steps backward :-)


Boy Uninterrupted said...

good on you for calling out shows like this on their shit ...

too often we're too accepting of what the tv tells us who we are.

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