Posted by: amanda baillieu11 November 2010
When BD last tiptoed around the difficult territory of how cinema portrays architects, readers pointed out that the female architect in Christopher Nolan’s Inception bore so little resemblance to reality she didn’t add anything to the genre.
But does TV get any closer to explaining what makes an architect tick? In the name of research I have been watching Lip Service, the new lesbian drama on BBC3.
Set in Glasgow, it’s described by the BBC as “sex, lies and true love in modern Scotland”. Leaving aside that there is rather more of the former than you’d expect to see on the BBC, two of the main characters and one minor one are architects, and a number of scenes are set in the Lighthouse, Glasgow’s troubled architecture centre, which has been artfully recreated as their office.
It’s very much as the public would expect an architects office to be – light and airy with exposed brickwork and full of attractive people who never seem to do any real work.
More intriguingly, the office is so relaxed that Jay (Emun Elliott) approaching his 30th birthday with the haunted look of someone on death row, manages to inveigle the willowy intern into the office loos for recreational drug taking and hopefully sex on a slow afternoon
When the cocaine he offers her turns out to be Ketamine, causing her to collapse, he refuses to take her home, worried that if he’s caught supplying class A drugs in the office it won’t be good for his career.
Meanwhile Kat (Laura Fraser) described in the BBC blurb as “self-assured and driven” sets fire to a building while on a site visit with her beautiful ex, the wild Frankie (Ruta Gedmintas ), conveniently hired as the office photographer although she doesn’t appear to know one end of a building from another.
Cat is a drip who I wouldn’t trust with my kitchen extension, but I am living in hope she will be fired by her boss, the sexist Alistair who, when he discovers she is a lezzie, takes away her project and scowls at her through his glass-walled office.
Fans of the series say it’s important to recognise Lip Service for the great promotion it’s doing for British lesbians. I can’t make up my mind whether architects should be pleased or worried that they’re been depicted as inefficient, sexist and too drunk to attend client meetings. More importantly though is whether Jay, Cat or Alistair bear any resemblance to reality. Something tells me perhaps they do .
The final episode of Lip Service is on BBC 3 next Tuesday at 10.30pm