Thursday, July 22, 2010


Thursday 22 July 2010

When I awaken this morning my watch is missing from my left wrist.  What was I doing last night?  Quickly I flip the TV on to discover that the time is 5.35AM and I still have an ounce of potential sleep remaining.  Then I discover my watch, while I have been lying on all night.  Why is it not on my wrist?

This morning I wake up with the PIL song “Disappointed” ringing around in my head.  Thoughts move towards missing friends that for whatever reason I am not hearing from this summer.  What have I done wrong?  Why am I so toxic?

The main story on GMTV this morning is the suggestion of bringing in some kind of voluntary nation service programme.  Yes, that’s definitely the answer to this nation’s woes.

My left arm still aches like fuck.  Seriously, what have I done to it?  Did I really push THAT hard on Friday?  This is a truly pathetic injury.

As I exit my apartment thankfully the bin bag has finally been removed from the landing outside my neighbour’s door.  Unfortunately the smell/odour has not.

From here I get to the station relatively comfortably save for a couple of drivers who appear out to get me, determined to cause an accident by cutting me up and then almost driving into my side in confused fashion.  Why kind of idiot drives a yellow Toyota MR2 anyway?  I bet this guy is a real fucking fountain.

For I think the first time this week I manage to board my usual carriage and snag my seat.  Today the carriage appears reversed with the two berth seats on the left and the three berth seats on the right.  I think only I could ever notice these things and place some kind of importance on them.  Its my OCD, its infected with feng shui and alarm bells ring whenever things change.

To compensate for this the Sturrock Gang are aboard today.  I wonder what I need to join up with their commuter community.  Does it take money or could I work my wit alone?  Unfortunately my wit has long since gone it would appear at the moment.

At Witham today Stare Girl is replaced by a genuine vision, a truly pretty girl.  Is this some kind of extreme makeover?  In my bleary eyed state I can’t quite be sure.

Always at Ingatestone today some old has been salaryman decides to squeeze into the seat next to me.  Seriously there is not enough room to sensibly accommodate the pair of us, that’s not me being selfish, that’s me being rational.  I would like to think that it won’t be me when I am pushing 50.

Arrival into London is the usual sweet occurrence as I am able to breathe a sigh of relief before undertaking the journey across town to the restaurant, which today is happily a calm one.  On the way as I walk along Loudoun Road past the now empty schools it is truly handsome and sedate as suddenly this zone now resembles a nice place.  People ruin everything.

When I eventually arrive at the restaurant the front door is open but nobody appears to be home.  The angry boss’s car is in the car park but he ain’t behind his desk as I step up to the second floor and into my office.  I guess he has already headed off to the solicitors meeting at Chancery Lane.  He should really have closed the door before leaving though.

Just as I reach the top of the stairs my iPhone begins to ring again but this time it is The Girl.  I don’t bother answering it, my phone is now officially off.  Soon the Filipino turns up and she appears to still be in the same mood as yesterday afternoon.  Just my luck.  Eventually The Girl turns up 20 minutes late which as ever only appears/serves to undermine our entire department.

As with the past two weeks I begin the day doing the banks while the Filipino gripes about the angry boss who is emailing her about payments to suppliers.  He is very full on.  Then he asks her about the wages getting through the bank tomorrow.  She doesn’t know, this is my territory so I respond in kind with what I consider is a watertight replay.  It garners the response: “thanks.”  From here the day plays out in constructive fashion.  This is much required/needed progress.

In the afternoon I get call from downstairs and apparently a bailiff has turned up and with me being the most senior person left in the building it is requested that I head down to deal with him.  When I step down the guy has a clipboard and looks all business.  I have no idea just what to tell him in order to make him disappear.  It would appear to relate to a long-standing lease contract we inherited three years when buying some locations in the West End.  Thinking on my feet I go running to my boss in Turkey and with a couple of phonecalls he gets rid of the bailiff in impressive style.  Never let it be said that my boss has not got skills.  I however fall just short of having a minor heart attack.

At 5.30PM I head straight down to the BFI to attend a couple of events this evening.  Happily I get to the BFI in good time where I comfortably grab my tickets and head straight into NFT1 collecting the customary set of notes on the way.

The first event tonight is a screening of the famous episode of The AvengersA Touch Of Brimstone” followed by a talk with BRIAN CLEMENS who was one of the original creators of the show.

Watching The Avengers on a big screen turns out to be a lot of fun.  I doubt it is a film print that is being projected, rather a digital version, but on a cinema screen it doesn’t suffer from being stretched and remains fresh with clarity offering the opportunity to watch Emma Peel/Diana Rigg in full splendour.

For me The Avengers represents a true golden age.  To think that this show was a mainstream consideration only serves to boggle the mind.  Maybe it just slipped through the net.  Regardless it was a hilarious show chock full of glamour and wit displaying a world that it would have been nice to exist in.  Perhaps it was reflecting on screen the changing attitudes of the time and the possibilities that could arise therewith.

Obviously this episode is the one known for being the most explicit and when Emma Peel emerges in that famous costume in a way it looks better than ever while also letting in a little bit of light in on magic.

After the screening BRIAN CLEMENS turns out to be an interesting guy, one of those old guys that has seen and done so much stuff in a different era and subsequently has a superior knowledge and a thousand stories to match.  He has stories that cover each and every aspect of his craft and the show.

I think I could happily listen to stories about The Avengers all night.  CLEMENS exudes visible pride in the fact that it remains the only British series to have shown during primetime on the US networks.  His descriptions of writing episodes/series sounds like seat of their pants stuff all done very quickly and under a high degree of pressure.

It would seem the gradual transformation of the show from a spy series to a more camp, science fiction and generally more entertaining programme was quite an organic motion.  He also speaks fondly of The New Avengers which was a show I always thought was something of a poor relation of the original, maybe even a blot on its reputation.

Eventually the questions get passed over to the audience where the usual standard of public inquisition is maintained.  The subject of The Avengers movie gets broached and CLEMENS appears to be unable to give a fuck about the piece.  Also invariably there is question of a new version being made but in an era of everything being remade I/you can’t help but think anyone taking on such a project could/would only mess it up.


 Before long it comes to a close as we get ushered out of the screen where I wait for the doors to re-open to gain access to the screen for THE CORPSE GRINDERS.

Once back inside I again pick up the BFI notes and take my seat inside a cinema that currently has barely four other people inside.  Despite the low turnout obviously there is somebody sat in the seat next to me, the person in question being a scarily sinister looking geek with a strange moustache.

Gradually the room begins to fill out as the screening of THE CORPSE GRINDERS gets introduced.  The people from the BFI that curate the Flipside screenings state/inform that the print they are using tonight is on loan from the estate of Anthony Balch, William Burroughs’ mate who made all those terrible art films with him.

The night begins with the screening of an episode of The Incredibly Strange Film Show that was presented by Jonathan Ross back in 1989 and screened on Channel Four.  The vision of the late eighties thin Jonathan Ross provides many laughs for the audience.

The Incredibly Strange Film Show was an amazing programme that Ross made affectionately profiling various underground filmmakers.  Over the years I have managed to find three episodes online featuring John Waters, Russ Meyer and Herschell Gordon Lewis but tonight I have never seen this episode profiling Ted V. Mikels.  As with the other episodes Ross does everything in his power to positively profile the director even when faced by absurdity and weirdness.  All in all it was a great show, angular and very funny and nothing like anything that gets made for television today.

When it comes to an end the lights fall on the documentary they then proceed to rise on THE CORPSE GRINDERS.  As soon as the movie gets rolling it is wonderfully bad from the off.  For a second time this week I find myself watching a movie rocking an X certificate, the grade is almost a badge of merit.

THE CORPSE GRINDERS reminds me of the kind of movie I would rent out from the video shop in the eighties.  These were movies were everything exciting about the work was put into the artwork on the case and then held within were films of next to no quality where it soon became apparent that all the effort and thought was put into the packaging first and the actual film second.  Indeed as the movie progresses I begin to suspect that I may have actually rented and watched this at some point.

As the movie plays out very little of it actually makes much sense and at times it reduces to pure nonsense.  There is something distinctly distasteful in the manner in which the deaf lady is portrayed and the way that apparent sign language is executed, which is basically bad actors making bad hand gestures.

About fifteen minutes in the movie a terrible buzzing sound begins.  Initially I think it is part of the film’s score brought in to summon up a moment of horror.  The horror doesn’t happen but the whirring buzz remains as I begin to now wonder if it is the sound of the print malfunctioning.  It does occur to me that it may be the fire alarm but as I look around at the other people nobody appears alarmed or moving, they’re just confused by the film.

Eventually the lights come up and with this the movie stops as it transpires that it is indeed the sound of the fire alarm.  We get assured that there is no actual fire and no need to panic but to meet regulations we have to flee and congregate outside.  Slowly we get ushered out via the fire exit as I see parts of the BFI I have never experienced previously before getting spewed out onto the neon glowing exterior of the NT with the South Bank of the Thames to our right and the glowing dark silhouette of the IMAX to our left.  There are definitely worse places to be at this time.

As I wait to be let back inside I check my mail and good news comes through from Justin that he and Helen will be in Colchester next Thursday.  Nobody comes to Colchester anymore, this truly is a treat.

Finally the fire engine turns up to check that all is well and that there is no fire and with this we safely get let back inside.

From here THE CORPSE GRINDERS resumes but it does not necessarily improve and soon the remainder of the movie becomes something of a test of endurance, one that I almost fail at as my eyes start to close and my head begins to nod towards slumber.

Obviously the climax of the movie is brief, they often are with these kinds of movies and swiftly I find myself being let out of the cinema and charging towards Waterloo with view to getting across to Liverpool Street and onto a decent train.

In the end I make the 11.30PM, which gets me back to Colchester around 12.30AM, which is too late for a school night.

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