Friday 25 April 2014

Jolene / Sherlock

Some of you may have read my review, Jolene: A Queer Perspective, of versions of Dolly Parton's classic back in December last year.

In this post I shall be taking a closer look at the video I referenced by April Simons which she created using images taken from the BBC's Sherlock.

Here is what I originally wrote about the work:

The clever juxtapositioning of Sherlock characters, Watson (singer), Holmes (man) and Moriarty (Jolene) with Dolly's version along with some very judicious editing of shots from season 2 finale The Reichenbach Fall are perfectly combined to create a purely queer melodrama.

Now I am going to expand a little on why I personally like this mini film noir.

One obviously realises I am queer and am quite partial to men. I have to admit to fantasising about a troilistic affinity with Watson and Holmes. I am certain I am not the only person who has imagined a romp abed with the two detectives. Partly this can be put down to the show actually playing on the "Are they queer?" flirtations, malentendus, interactions and so forth. No doubt this is down to openly gay Mark Gatiss, a co-creator & writer for the series as well as the actor playing Sherlock's brother Mycroft. Additionally, the British good-looks of the protagonists also have to be factored in. Furthermore, I have been a fan of Martin Freeman. who plays Watson, for quite some time - just a cuddly teddy-bear to my fantasy. Benedict Cumberbatch I only became aware of in 2009 after Marple: Murder Is Easy was broadcast by ITV; but he has charisma -  a definite turn-on.

[Image description: John & Sherlock leaning heads together & holding hands when drunk,
in Series 3:  Episode 2, The Sign of Three; © BBC]

In the series, we get used to seeing Holmes & Watson in various states of attire and undress: a sense of domesticity pervades. As I recall: we are never shown Watson's bedroom, though we are given a glimpse into Sherlock's in one episode when Watson complains of some woman being there. Does John actually use another bedroom or does he share with Holmes? (This recalls to my mind the bedroom scene in Gilda - I admit my most favourite film ever - between Johnny & Ballin which hints heavily at their sharing the bed.) Of course, sharing a bed does not mean anything sexual occurs; John & Sherlock might simply lie side by side without any tactile contact - recalling respectively army and boarding-school conditions.

In April's drama we see John fresh from cleansing answering the telephone for Sherlock. The re-use of this by April from being about consternation of involvement with an arch-enemy to a potential dalliance with another suitor is clever, Watson's expression being appropriate for either scenario.

Jim Moriarty, as played by Andrew Scott, has a more conventionally US handsome look (not my type; though in a foursome with the other two…!). As such, he is perfectly cast as the better-looking guy who might steal Holmes from Watson, or as Jolene filching "my man" from the singer. The idea that it appears to be a game to Moriarty is also one possible interpretation of Jolene being capable of having any who she so desires.

The courtroom dynamic of glances, miens and gestures highlights John's/that of the singer's status being undermined.

I love all the parallels and the manner in which April has interwoven them, whether deliberately or sub-consciously is immaterial.

Oh, and one final comment, that does not really fit in with the narrative above. The running scene where Holmes & Watson are hand in hand, are they running just for fun or for a purpose?

April's mini drama deserves to be seen by more folk: I hope you will view & enjoy it!

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