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We’re first introduced to David Traynor, the most showman-like of the cast, who has opened a psychic clinic but works as a hairdresser by day.
David is presented as fairly canny and certainly attempts to sell his spiritual insight as a product. It is perhaps an unexpected turn that, after having been introduced alongside a man with whom he lives and deems his “soulmate,” he has a wife called Andrea.
Our characters are portrayed as anything but ordinary because of their spiritual abilities, and yet I was struck at the choice of personalities offered.
Alongside the discussion of “normalness” which the show was doubtless meant to offer, it had a somewhat awkward relationship to the actual identities presented.
The clairvoyant performers prefer the showmanship offered to them by stage shows in seaside towns.
Less screen time is devoted to Lilyanne, a witch who carries out a séance in the documentary, and 20-year-old Megan, a psychic-in-training who attends a special academy allowing those with the gift to hone their skills.
Meanwhile Shelley is portrayed as never leaving her mother’s side, even bonding with her over internet dating and setting up a blind date.
Gay iconography weirdly haunts the Dean’s narrative, for instance through shots of the rainbow flag flying atop Blackpool tower, or when he tells his audience that a spirit just called him camp.
As I’ve discussed elsewhere, ghosts and ghouls have been a popular way of looking at issues related to identity — particularly sexuality — in the media.
They just seem to go hand in hand: both ghosts and socially outcast people, such as LGBT people, are thought of as existing on the margins of society.