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Living above a Manhattan coffee shop might be cool, but as MORE TALES OF THE CITY proves, a ramshackle townhouse in San Francisco is twice as groovy. Words Andrew Burnet

.\ group of pals \y ho share accommodation. hang together through thick and thin. share ady‘ice on relationships. crack jokes and hug each other on a regular hasis. Sound familiar'.’

Okay so when did Monica last roll Rachel a hig lat joint of homegroyyn'.’ When did l’hoehe turn out to he a man'.’ When did (‘handler come out'.’ (Actually. when is ('handler going to come out‘.’i.

The world ol lit/m (2/. '/'/I(' (fly is decidedly more risque than that ol' l-rivnds. hut that hasn‘t preyenled people from taking these l’risky San l-‘ranciscans to their hearts. Armistead Maupin’s series or six noyels span a period from the mid 7()s to the early 80s. ohsery'ing those years \‘ia the perspectiye ol an

extended lamin of characters on the fringes of

('alil'ornian hohemia. and culminating yyith the dey'aslating emergence of AIDS.

The irresistihly loy'ahle characters gay. straight. hisexual. transgender and just plain conlused haye gained Maupin a huge cult lolloyy ing. In I‘M}. the first hook was adapted for teleyision hy' (‘hannel 4 and Working Title. and hecame a hig success on hoth sides of the Atlantic. attracting ayyards and right-\y ing indignation in equal measure. .\'o\y. ('anadian production company [a l‘ete and America‘s Slioyytime netyyork haye added hacking lor the second series. More 'lir/m all/iv ('ily'. which hits British screens this l‘ortnight.

The central character of Mary :\nn Singleton an immigrant from (‘Iey'eland ()hio. yy ith a lot to learn has heen played in hoth series hy' New York-hased actress Laura Linney soon to he seen yyith .lim ('arrey in The Truman Slum: ‘The thing that's so lun ahout Mary .-\nn is that she‘s so hraye and she learns so quickly] says Linney. ‘liyeryone kept saying she’s so na'iye; she's really dumh. She‘s not. she jtist doesn’t knoyy the rules of the game. .’\nd that‘s l’un. to play someone who is yery alert and yery auare. and is desperately trying to catch up.‘

Helping Mary Ann on her \yay are enigmatic

104 THE lIST .93 ':) »\..t:


'There's a real Tales crowd - we've become very close. We have so much fun, we just laugh and laugh and laugh.’ Laura Linney

Frisky in Frisco: Laura Linney (centre) with Paul Hopkins and Nina Siemaszko as Mona

landlady Mrs Madrigal. played again hy ()lympia Dukakis. and l‘eIony lodgcr Michael 'Mouse' 'l‘olliy er. In the new series Michael is played hy ('anadian actor l’aul Hopkins. \yho takes oyer the part l‘rom Marcus l)‘:\lllico.

Michael is the gay man it's okay for straight men to low. This is just as \\ ell. since hoth Hopkins and Bill ('amphell \\ ho plays his loy er .lon heterosexual.

llopkins' first day at \\ork inyolyed snogging ('amphell passionately. ‘\\’e just jumped right into it.’ he laughs. 'lt didn't l‘a/e either ol its. so it \y as really quite nice. I mean. \ye \yould still do a hit ol gesturing to remind otlrsel\es that \y e \yere straight. you knoyy. talking ahout \yomen \ye‘d heen \yith or something I couldn't help hut notice that.‘ he adds with another chuckle.

l’art ol’ .llun' Iii/m . . . takes place on a cruise liner. lor yyhich Linney. Hopkins. (’amphell and the lilm creyy joined 1000 real holiday—makers oil the ('alil'ornian coast. 'lt \\ as really quite something] says Hopkins. ‘lt's like riding an American game shtm.‘

.-\ spot ol‘ cruising. like eyerything in Maupin‘s yarns. helped build the disparate characters. as old hand Linney conlirms. '\\'e‘w all groun \ery closef she says. "l’herc‘s a real sort ol- lit/(W croyyd. .'\rmislead’s the greatest \ye'ye hecomc \ery good l‘riends. \Ve haye so much lun. we just latiin and laugh and laugh.‘


More Tales Of The City starts on Channel 4, Sat 1 Aug, 10pm.

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