updated: 15/01/2008

bodypainting: Tipping the Velvet

A lesbian historian studies Victorian England and, surprise surprise, finds it full of lesbians hidden from history. Don’t get me wrong I’m not criticising her methodolgy, denying her findings, or indeed denigrating her work in any way: it’s just further evidence that ‘there is nothing essentially in the past to prevent the exercise of endless interpretive freedom by historians’ – I just wish she hadn’t then decided to become a novelist.

Whitstable girl Nan Astley (Rachael Stirling) finds life in the metropolis a tad complicated but, after a number of scrapes and adventures, finds true love (I’m sure I’ve come across a similar plot before).

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I found this television adaptation (fancy dress party aside) torpid rather than torrid; I can’t believe somebody is developing a movie based on this dross – there must be far more lesbian film-goers than I thought (I can’t imagine anyone else bothering to see it). But I was mildly curious as to whether or not gold bodypaint was available in Victorian London – a number of people have now cited cases where its use was reported at the time.

Meinir Jones-Lewis was the makeup designer.