Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Skins Season 4 recap – Episode 4: Katie

Episode 4 of Skins focused on the Fitch family and saw Emily and Naomi mess up their relationship some more.

Previously on Skins: Emily moved in with Naomi and then she found out Naomi had been cheating on her with Sophia, who ended up committing suicide.

This is Katie's episode, which means we see a lot of drama, as well as just what is wrong with the Fitch family. Unlike the previous episodes, the storyline this time was so far from being plausible, I seriously wondered who they let write this episode.

Katie F-ing Fitch

It starts of with Katie finding out she has hit early menopause and will never have any children. How many 17 year olds do you know that go into menopause? Well, apparently they do on Skins and it sets the tone for the rest of the storyline.

Some more Katie drama follows that we don't really care about. The next day there's trouble at the Fitch house, as dad has forgotten to mention to the rest of the family that they are seriously in debt and their house will get repossessed.

It gets to the point where guys show up to collect their valuables and the family can be seen running off with their stuff. This scene wasn't very believable or funny, so I'm not sure what the writers were thinking.

Now that the Fitch family is homeless they do not know where to go. Katie comes up with a brilliant solution: Move in with Naomi and Emily. There's so much wrong with this plotline, I do not know where to start.

Katie and Naomi

Katie shows up at Naomi's, asking her if she and her entire family can move in. Obviously, Naomi doesn't think that's a great idea, but finally gives in. She's not the only one not happy about the idea. Mother Fitch doesn't want anything to do with Naomi, Emily and their relationship, so the last thing she wants is live in their house.

When Emily comes home she's less than pleased about the situation too. She makes a scene, telling her family she and Naomi are having a barbeque and then starts kissing Naomi in front of them, who of course isn't at all happy about it, as things still aren't right between the two of them.

Emily and Naomi

The barbeque is the typical Skins get together, where everyone is drunk, on drugs or both and no one really seems to get on or have a good time. Emily is off her head on pills and pretending to have a blast. As if that isn't bad enough, she decides it's a great idea to make out with one of the girls at the BBQ in front of Naomi.

Emily on drugs

As if that hasn't pissed of Naomi enough, she then drags her with her into the kiddie pool. Emily is still laughing, while everyone else is upset (Naomi, mother Fitch) or surprised/indifferent (the rest of the Skins gang).

Later on we see Emily lying on her bed crying, while Katie comes in and tries to comfort her.

Katie and Emily

We don't get to see if Emily and Naomi resolve their differences or if they might break up, but at the end of the episode it at least looks like the Fitch family will be alright.

the Fitch family

Next time: Episode 5 is all about Effy and Freddie, meaning the preview was rather boring. Or maybe that's just me.

This post was first published on eurout.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Skins Season 4 recap – Episode 3: Cook

Episode 3 of Skins was all about Cook, which means a lot of stupid, pointless and aggressive behaviour and very little screen time for our favourite couple Naomily.

Previously on Skins: Emily and Naomi were allowed to be happy and in love for about an episode, before all was destroyed when Emily found out Naomi had been cheating on her with Sophia, who ended up committing suicide.

Those of you who follow Skins for more than the Emily and Naomi storyline, know that Cook is quite the character. He's a loud, annoying, aggressive guy, who's usually up to no good. So when the episode revolves around him, you kind of know what to expect.

Most of the third episode of Skins revolves around Cook beating up things and people for no good reason and generally being a total ass. This time his reckless behaviour actually has consequences, as it looks like he's facing some jail time.

We see very little of Emily and Naomi this episode. The first time we catch them is at the college, where they are sitting in the same corner, but are clearly not happy with one another. Cook suggest they go out together for a "pint and a poke" and "make it a threesome", but not surprisingly, that's not exactly what Naomi and Emily feel like doing.

Later in the episode we see Cook and Naomi talking to each other. Naomi is saying how bad she feels about Sophia dying, and she admits to Cook she cheated on Emily with Sophia. She feels really bad about it, especially how she hurt Emily, and she should.

Cook doesn't seem to care too much about it, but the next day he goes to visit Naomi to talk about it. We see Naomi sitting in her bedroom, while Emily is asleep in her bed. I don't quite get why Emily is still there. I mean, I know she wanted to move out, but is staying with your girlfriend who cheated on you really better than staying with your parents?

Naomi gets a text message and looks out of the window to see Cook standing there. She goes outside to talk to him and together they sit on a blanket and drink from a bottle of wine and talk. They talk about what happened with Sophia and basically about how much it sucks to be them right now.

Naomi kisses Cook on the cheek and then they are kissing on the lips. I am all ready to start shouting at the screen, but it seems like that is as far as it's going to go.

Next Naomi puts her head on Cook's shoulder and they stare into the distance while the sun is coming up. We know the writers are really not going to go there when Cook proclaims, "For F's sake, I'm never going to get to bone you, am I?"

That's all the screen time Naomi and Emily get this episode. More stuff happens with Cook, the most important being that he takes the fall for Naomi and tells the police it was him, and him alone, who gave Sophia the drugs.

Next time: Episode 4 is all about Katie, so the teaser didn't give us much information about Naomily, besides the fact that they apparently have a fight and/or sex in the kiddie pool.

This post was first published on eurout.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lists Are Hot: 10 LesBian books you should read

I've always been an avid reader of anything and everything fictional, and sometimes non-fictional. From the moment I realised I was into women, I started reading books with lesBian content.

Over the years I have read a lot of rubbish, but luckily also some gems. Here's my selection of 10 lesBian books I think you should read.

10. The price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The price of salt by Patricia Highsmith was one of the first books with lesBian content I ever read. As a teenager I was always browsing in the library, hoping to find some queer content that I would then hide between books with very straight content when checking out.

This novel is about a young girl named Therese, who one day in the store she works at sees an older sophisticated women named Carol, who she end up falling madly in love with.

To complicate matters, Therese has a boyfriend and Carol is in the middle of divorcing her husband and fighting for custody of their kids. But amidst it all the friendship between the two women quickly develops into something much more.

9. Schijn, hoop en liefde by Rianne Witte

For this list I was going to stick to books written in the English language, but I felt I had to make an exception for Schijn, hoop en liefde (Pretence, hope and love) by Dutch author Rianne Witte.

This novel tells the story of a closeted lesbian living in Holland’s Bible belt. It’s a fun and intriguing novel about coming out, religion, but especially about learning to stand up for yourself and living the life you want to.

The novel tells the story of Linda, a naive and insecure 20-year-old girl who lives with her parents, in a little village in the Veluwe (heart of the Dutch Bible belt). All her life she has been a good girl, and has done exactly what her parents expected of her.

She's always known she is into girls, but this is something she has always tried to suppress. Being accepted and fitting in are things that are very important to her. That is why she has made trying to be insignificant and compliant into an art form.

When her friend Kayleigh encourages Linda to respond to a personal ad, little does she know that this one date is going to change her life forever. No longer being able to hide who she is, Linda is going to have to find a way to stand up for herself and start living her own life the way she wants to.

8. The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan

I've enjoyed the dark and mysterious writings of Caitlin R. Kiernan ever since I picked up a copy of Silk at a book fare. Her latest novel The Red Tree is even better than Silk, which is really saying something as that novel has always been my favourite.

The red tree tells the story of Sarah, who has just ended her relationship and is now living alone in an old house in rural Rhode Island. One day she discovers a manuscript inside the walls of the house, written by the former tenant – and also a parapsychologist - who seemed to have been obsessed with the old oak tree outside.

Once she starts investigating, Sarah discovers more and more things about the old oak tree that will risk her health as well as her sanity.

7. Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larrson

As I've already mentioned plenty of times, I am a big fan of Stieg Larrson's  Millennium Trilogy (both the novels as well as the movies). For those of you unfamiliar with the content of these great novels, the story revolves around Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist at magazine Millennium who gets hired to investigate and write about a family mystery.

He calls in the help of research and computer expert Lisbeth Salander and soon the two of them get caught up in all kinds of drama and violence.

Lisbeth Salander is a bisexual genius (two separate things, although I'm sure she's great at being bi too) and also a little strange and an outsider. Besides (or maybe because of) her anti-social tendencies, you cannot help but love her. Even if you don't care for Salander's character, these books are some of the best crime novels around.

6. Ash by Malinda Lo

Long before Malinda Lo published her debut novel Ash, I already loved her writing. The former managing editor of After Ellen could always have me reading all of her articles and columns. So I was really excited when I found out she was going to be a fulltime novelist.

Ash is a lesbian retelling of the fairytale Cinderella, in which Cinderella doesn't find Prince Charming, but Princess Charming.  It tells the story of Ash, whose life revolves around the fairytales she reads and her daydreams of the fairies coming to take her away from her awful life.

That is, until she meets Kaisa, who's a huntress and teaches her how to hunt as well. Ash must then decide if the real world is better than the one of her fantasies.

5. Annie on my mind by Nancy Garden

On those trips to the library I told you about, one of my other great finds was Annie on my mind by Nancy Garden. Even to this day it's still one of my favourite lesBian books. Annie on my mind is about two high school girls who fall madly in love with each other.

Annie and Liza meet one day at a museum and hit it off right away. Their close friendship quickly develops into a full blown intense romantic relationship. It's all so cute and recognizable, but unfortunately it's not just a light, romantic read.

Just as the girls are being happy and are enjoying being in love, the school finds out about their relationship and they want to expel them. Will their love be able to conquer all those annoying homophobes or will they give into the pressure? You'll have to read this book yourself to find out.

4. Tipping the velvet by Sarah Waters

Years ago I was flipping the channels one night, when I stumbled upon the BBC's adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel Tipping the Velvet.

I remember how much I loved the story and I couldn't believe they could just broadcast something like that without my knowledge. Since then I have read all of Waters' books, most of which I loved. My favourite, however, still remains Tipping the Velvet.

Tipping the Velvet is a historical novel about the life of Nan King, who starts out as a shy naive Oyster girl, then turns to the stage where she finds her first love Kitty, who betrays her and she ends up selling herself as a rent boy on the streets of London. Luckily, things start looking up again when she finds herself falling for someone worthy of her affection.

3. Alix & Valerie by Ingrid Diaz

This list isn't complete without one of my nicest discoveries of 2009: Alix & Valerie by Ingrid Diaz. It's a wonderful novel about falling in love, and being a big dork. It's fast paced and funny and has enough drama, intrigue and complications to keep it interesting.

The novel tells the story of Alix Morris, a 20-year-old student with an obsession for Aerosmith, black clothing, and her straight best friend. For the last seven years, Alix has been in love with her best friend, who is about to get married.

Then she meets Valerie Skye, an outgoing, intriguing, and wisecracking girl, who turns her world upside down. The crush Alix has nurtured for her straight friend for all those years, doesn’t compare to the feelings that Valerie bring out in her. Little does Alix know, that Valerie has a secret past and is not quite who she seems. 

2. Stay by Nicola Griffith

I'm a big fan of all of Nicola Griffith's work, but I especially love her novels about hot and dangerous queer PI Aud Torvingen. The second novel in the series, Stay, made the most impact on me. Stay picks up a few months after the story in the Blue Place (the first novel in the series) ended.

We find Aud living as a recluse in a trailer in the middle of nowhere, where she is busy restoring a cabin and trying to deal with the grief of losing a loved one. No longer the tough and bordering-on-psychopath-woman she once was, Aud is having a hard time coming to terms with the events that took place and she isn’t exactly sure how to go on with her life.

She is not ready to face the real world, but when an old friend asks her to find his crazy fiancée for him, she cannot refuse him. She is forced to leave her quiet trailer in the countryside behind and enter back into society that is called big city life.

When she does, lots of adventure and intrigue follows, but what this novel is really about is dealing with the grief of losing someone you love.

Stay is more than just your average thriller. It is beautifully written, and by that I mean that the story comes totally alive and the character of Aud Torvingen feels more real than ever. Perhaps this is because of all the heartache she is going through or just because she is such a recognisable character.

1. Pages for you by Sylvia Brownrigg

The one lesbian novel that has had the most impact on me (besides Annie on my mind) is definitely Pages for you by Sylvia Brownrigg. It's a beautiful heartbreaking story of first love. About love at first sight, that first time you kiss a girl, the first time you have sex wit her, and ultimately about the first betrayal and the first time you have your heart broken.

Written after the fact, in diary form, it gives such a detailed and vivid description of a first lesbian relationship, it is at times almost painful to read.

Pages for you tells the story of 17-year old Flannery, a freshman in college, who falls madly in love with a graduate student named Anne. Anne teaches Flannery all about life and love, and Flannery is eager to learn everything Anne has to teach her.

As you can probably guess, things eventually start to fall apart. The naive little college freshman finds out the hard way that Anne is not as wonderful and perfect as she thought she was, and that first love never lasts forever.

This book touches upon all those emotions involved in first love so well. Especially when it comes to the intensity and the naivety. You cannot believe what you are feeling and experiencing, and you want it to last forever. You think the other person is feeling exactly the same way, but they don’t. Or they do, but somehow it just cannot last. And nothing hurts like the ending of your first lesbian relationship.

This post was first published on eurout.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Skins Season 4 recap - Episodes 1 and 2:

Skins is back with a fourth Season. After a great third Season in which cuties Emily and Naomi realised they were in love, expectations were high for this season.

However, if you thought the girls would get a chance to enjoy being happy and in love for a little while, you're wrong. Very wrong. Only continue reading if you don't need Naomily to be happy and/or if you like drama.

Episode one: Thomas

The first episode starts of with all the Skins teenagers drunk, drugged, or both, at a nightclub. Naomi and Emily are also there, and they're busy making out.

So far things are looking pretty good, but there's a drugged and confused looking girl (that we've never seen before) walking around the club. Knowing Skins, this probably means something bad is going to happen next. And yes, I was right. The girl starts walking up the stairs of the balcony, climbs on top of the railing and jumps off.

The suicide pretty much sets the mood for the rest of the episode: dark and depressing.

The next day the police are at the college to speak to everyone who was at the club. Besides Thomas (who works at the club), no one really seems to care that much that one of their peers has just died.

Emily doesn't get why they are being treated like criminals, because they don't even know her and why should they be responsible if some kid decides to off themselves. Charming.

She quickly switches the topic to Effy, who no one really seems to want to talk about. JJ sums is up with, "Effy's gone and we're happy. The status of the tribe is protected. We're happy, right?" This bunch couldn't be more unhappy if they tried, they just haven't realised it yet.

A lot of messed up stuff happens next that we don't really care about (Cook gets punched in the face and Thomas cheats on Panda with some church choir chick). What is noteworthy is that we find out that the suicide girl didn't get the drugs she was on from Cook (as everyone expects), but from Naomi, who's very worried Emily will find out.

Uhoh. This cannot be good. Continue reading about Episode 2 to find out I am right about this.

Episode two: Emily

In stark contrast to the first episode, episode two is filled with Naomily goodness. At least, it starts out pretty good.

Emily is walking around almost naked in Naomi's house. She's looking around, pausing to enjoy Naomi's childhood photos. Basically, she's happy and in love and without a care in the world. The postman rings the bell and Emily puts on her jacket to open the door and sign for a package.

The package is a gift from Naomi, who cannot help but cry when she gives it to Emily. Perhaps she's crying because of a bad conscience or maybe she's just crying because the safety goggles she's given Emily are so damn ugly.

They decide to try out the new safety goggles by going for a ride on Naomi's scooter. It's all very cute. They stop at Emily's house, where her dad is being weird and in need of hugs, whereas her mom is dismissing her relationship with Naomi. She's suggesting Emily looks into universities, even though she's already told her she's going to Mexico with Naomi next year.

When they arrive at the college the police want to question them some more, because they heard they knew the suicide girl – who we find out is called Sophia. Naomi starts blatantly lying, saying they didn't know Sophia at all and were only at the party a very short time.

Emily goes along with it, but afterwards asks Naomi what that was all about. Naomi doesn't want to talk about it, but then admits she was the one who sold Sophia the drugs. Her excuse for being a drug dealer is that she needed the money to buy Emily those ugly goggles. I'm thinking there are better ways than selling drugs to show your girlfriend you love her.

Of course it doesn't take Emily long to figure out that the one who gave Naomi the drugs in the first place was Cook. She runs over to confront him in what turns into the butchest yet cutest scene ever.

Cook doesn't understand what the big deal is, as no one has any idea it was them, and as long as everyone keeps their mouths shut there shouldn't be a problem. When he leaves Naomi tells Emily to, "Mind your own f-ing business, for once." Emily replies with, "Yeah, sorry." Since when is that any way to talk to your girlfriend? I guess in the world of Skins anything goes.

Emily won't let it go and decides to visit Sophia's house to find out more about the girl. She's pretending to be someone called Nancy and after talking to Sophia's mom, she has a look in Sophia's room.

The room is filled with a lot of drawings, mainly of naked ladies and women kissing. I guess that's how the producers/writers of the show want to make clear Sophia was gay. Emily is looking through an university guide with a key and envelope inside. That's when Sophia's brother storms in and asks her if she was Sophia's girlfriend. He also says he's convinced Sophia didn't commit suicide because she didn't say goodbye to him.

Emily leaves, taking the university guide with her. In it she discovers a photo of Sophia and Naomi at an open day. Uhoh.

She goes to visit her mom at the salon, where she finds out her mom has told her co-worker Emily has a boyfriend named JJ. When she confronts her mom about this, her mom is being all dismissive, saying Emily is too young to know she's gay and seriously suggests she should go travelling without Naomi because she would just get in the way.

When Emily tells her Naomi is her girlfriend and she should mind her own business, her mom goes one step further and offers Emily a thousand pounds if she goes travelling without Naomi. Wow, do parents still do this? On television that is, I've never heard of anyone in the real world actually trying to bribe their kids to drop their girlfriends.

Emily tells her mom to, "Shove it up your tits" and storms off. Charming, but well done.

Then there's a scene between Freddie and Effy that we don't really care about (She says she missed him, he confesses him and Cook caught Chlamydia of the same girl. Charming, once again). Emily joins Freddie and asks him about him and Effy, even though it's clear she's really talking about her and Naomi.

Naomi is sitting in class when Emily confronts her with the picture of Naomi and Sophia at the open day. They decide to go off somewhere to discuss it. Emily wants to know why Naomi didn't tell her she knew Sophia.

Naomi: I met her once, at an open day.

Emily: What open day?

Naomi: It was an open day. What does it matter?

Emily: We're going travelling next year. We decided!

Naomi: You decided. Look, I went to an open day. I met a girl. We talked. That's it.

Emily: You should've told me!

Naomi: Well, how could I without telling you where I met her? I didn't want a referendum on our relationship over a stupid open day!

Emily: Did you know she was gay?

Naomi: I met her once.

Emily: Did you F her?

Naomi: No! You think I'd shag some random girl behind your back?

Emily: I'm not saying you did it.

Naomi: Well, what are you saying?

Emily: I'm just asking!

Naomi: Why are you acting like this?

If I were Emily I would be rather pissed around now, but obviously I am way too old to identify with a 17 year old. Emily says she's going to find out if Naomi has been lying and lets Naomi tag along. I'm confused. Why is this a "fun" thing to go do together?

The key Emily stole turns out to be from Sophia's Cadet locker, so they go to Cadet school (or wherever it is that Cadets go) to find out what's in there. Inside they find an entire Naomi shrine, complete with photos and pictures and a little alter. It even includes Naomi's old toothbrush and some food wrappers. It's seriously creepy.

There's also a locked wooden box inside the locker, which they decide to take with them. Just then some Cadets enter the hallway and Naomi and Emily decide to hide in a supply closet. Naomi is shocked, exclaiming, "She stalked me!" To which Emily replies that Naomi is very stalkable. Then they decide to have sex in the supply closet.

Once again I find myself confused about the way these girls act. Who wants to have sex with their lying (and possibly cheating) girlfriend just after you find out the girl she met was obsessed with her? And in a supply closet? Did any of you ever have sex in supply closets when you were teenagers?

Anyway, Emily and Naomi proceed to have sex and it's all very cute and it especially goes really fast, because none of the Skins teenagers ever need much of foreplay.

The next day there's a family dinner at Emily's, Katie has brought along her new boyfriend, while Emily wasn't allowed to bring Naomi. Mom has big news as she's bought the salon she works at, then dad reveals that's bad timing as he's now unemployed. Meanwhile Emily and Katie's little brother is sitting there in a dress and admits he wants to shag Naomi. Such a messed up family.

Emily agrees with me and decides she's moving out. She packs a bag and heads over to Naomi.

Naomi is a bit surprised when Emily shows up declaring she's moving in. She's wondering if maybe they should've discussed it first, but Emily says she really needed to leave. Naomi finally agrees Emily can stay, saying the cutest thing ever, "It'll be great. You can be my pyjamas". Awww.

Then for no reason that makes sense, they decide to dress up as stereotypically Mexican men, complete with Sombreros and big fake moustaches. Seriously? And because this is Skins they start drinking until they are complete drunk.

They go to a party, which Naomi thinks is rubbish and that they, "should go back to ours." Emily asks, "Where?" and Naomi repeats, "Ours" and grins. That ends the cuteness though, as all of a sudden Naomi seems more interested in talking and laughing with other girls than her girlfriend.

Emily decides to hide in the toilet, where she ends up getting cheered up by Cook while he's having a pee. You really cannot make this stuff up. They agree to dance to make themselves feel better, but this doesn't last long as Cook sees Effy make out with Freddie and he starts beating people up.

More completely implausible stuff happens when Emily and Naomi are back at Naomi's. Because Emily cannot sleep, she phones Sophia's brother and decides to meet him at the place where his sister killed herself. When they arrive at the club it turns out Naomi has followed them.

Emily hands Sophia's brother the box they found in the locker and he goes to the roof of the club to open it. Emily and Naomi follow him, Naomi begging Emily to leave it alone and go home. As if there is any chance Emily can just walk away now. Sophia's brother opens the box and inside he finds a graphic journal depicting all the details of what happened between Sophia and Naomi.

Sophia's brother drops the box and walks off, leaving Emily sitting on the edge of the roof. She stands up and walks a little further to the edge, quite dramatically.

Naomi: I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!

Emily: You ruined it! You don't want anyone to care! I could be dead in a second. Everything's…so…fragile. Didn't you realize that? We were special!

Naomi: I was scared.

Emily: You're always scared.

Luckily Emily doesn't jump, but that's about the only good thing I can say about this scene.

Back at her parents' house, Emily is crying in her father's arms, who tries to cheer her up by telling her he once cheated on her mother and it is not the end of the world. Emily isn't quite convinced, and rightfully so.

Emily walks back to Naomi's house, where there's a note on the door saying, "I'll do anything."

Emily looks up at the window and sees Naomi looking back at her. I think Emily is going to walk off, but instead she heads for the door. I think a happy ending isn't in the cards just yet, but I am trying to remain optimistic.

That lasted until I saw the teaser for Episode 3.

Next time: Episode 3 is all about Cook, so the teaser involves a lot of fighting and he can also be seen kissing…Naomi.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Friday, February 12, 2010