BiMedia: June 2006

BCN 79 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 79, June 2006


Sex, drugs and lawyers
A seminal BBC series is due to return to our screens – and it’s not Dr Who.

“They slept with each other. They slept with their work colleagues. They slept with their flatmates’ parents. During the day they were in court, in the evening they were on drugs. This was the world of This Life, a tale of twenty-something lawyers whose lives were a whirl of bed-hopping, ecstasy use, therapy and gay sex in toilet cubicles. And it was a world that the public loved, making the show one of the most popular of its era.” (Independent on Sunday, 16th April 2006)

A decade after it first aired, the original two series of This Life – which featured courier Ferdy (played by Ramon Tikaram), one of the more positive portrayals of a bisexual man on TV – are being repeated on BBC2. There also plans to make a 90 minute film of the characters as they are now, with filming due to begin in July.

Pakistan’s ‘Dame Edna’
Ali Saleem, who is being described as Pakistan’s answer to Dame Edna, has riled President Pervez Musharraf so much that the country’s military leadership are threatening to take Saleem’s programme, Late Night Show With Begum Nawazish Ali, off air. Known for posing controversial questions that journalists steer clear of, Saleem – who describes himself as bisexual – regularly tackles taboos.

“He questions prominent Islamic religious figures, celebrities and politicians on issues such as Pakistan’s support for the US-led war on terror, Gen Musharraf’s dictatorship and discrimination against women.

He first earned a name impersonating former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and then added Margaret Thatcher, the late Diana, Princess of Wales and Noor Jehan, the actress who inspired the Begum’s 1970s sartorial style.

His mother, a former government official and his father, a polo-playing army officer, both applaud his success.” (The Daily Telegraph, 22nd April 2006)

Big Brother
British summer time – it pretty much consists of rain, more rain and Big Brother. And that’s about it.

As usual, the tabloids are trying to dig up anything vaguely salacious about the housemates. Not difficult, seeing as the producers try to pick wild and zany types (I think that translates as repugnant and obnoxious…) to appear on the show. And being queer, or claiming to be so, seems to be a cast iron guarantee to getting on the show, and this year is no exception.

“Bad BB babe Nikki Grahame burrowed under the bedclothes with a Playboy bunny as the pair went at it like rabbits during a secret eight-month fling.

Sexy Daniela Rossi has revealed how they regularly romped in a single bed while two other pals slept in the same room. And she told the News of the World: “If Nikki has sex in the Big Brother house with a woman – or a man – they’ll be very lucky. She’s amazingly sexy and adventurous.”

Nikki has worked as a glamour model and starred as a footballer’s wife in TV’s Dream Team. The 24-year-old from Watford – who entered the House on Thursday wearing a naughty bunny outfit – may have to bunk up with other contestants in the 13-week show. Now bisexual Daniela, 22, has told how Nikki:
LOVED having ice cubes rubbed over her naked body
CHEATED on her with Babyshambles star Pete Doherty
REVELLED in kinky phone sex.” (News Of The World, 21st May 2006)

Hugh Hefner
From Playboy bunnies to the king of the Playboy mansion – Hugh Hefner was part of a recent BBC News Faces Of The Week feature (http://www.news.bbc.co.uk, Friday 26th May 2006)

After his first marriage ended in 1959 Hefner, now 80, “…devoted himself to a swinging lifestyle which included regular orgies and a period in which he experimented in bisexuality…”

The full article is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5020806.stm

Helem conference in Lebanon
BBC News also reported that Lebanese LGBT rights organisation Helem recently organised a three day event to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia (http://www.news.bbc.co.uk, Friday 26th May 2006). Given that ‘unnatural sexual intercourse’ is still punishable by law under article 534 of the Lebanese penal code, this was something of a landmark occasion.

“Though no-one has been convicted recently under the article, Helem’s main goal is to have it removed it from the law. The organisation says the article also makes homosexual people feel vulnerable and stops them from seeking help from the police for ordinary matters like thefts.

“I’m not afraid but a lot of people are still afraid to show they are gay.” Nada, a young woman at the conference said it was easier for women to hide their bisexuality or homosexuality.

“Women can even still get married and have children. But it’s harder for men, especially if they’re feminine, and our societies are more used to see women touch and hold hands and be affectionate,” said Nada.”