Half-way to Heaven on the Glacier Express

Last time, we left our hero in Nice, having just had his passport, travellers’ cheques & Inter-rail cards stolen. With a sleep on the beach in prospect, read on.

On previous nights, I’d seen quite a few people sleeping rough – one of the beaches looked more like an open-air pop concert – I sort of envied them, at least until one night there was a massive thunderstorm, with lighting, torrential rain, the works – all of a sudden, I was glad to have a roof over my head! Luckily, the weather was good, and I managed a fair nights sleep, clutching tight to my ruck-sack,disturbed only by the odd vagrant, and the street-cleaning lorry.

The next day, I phoned the British consulate in Marseilles to see about getting a replacement passport – I couldn’t get a new Inter-rail card without one – but they were closed till Monday. However, American Express came up with the replacement cheques, and I managed to cash them using my drivers’ licence; I could now afford a room for the night and found one, through the Tourist Information Office, in the Hotel Sybill. Ha,ha,ha, I thought, as I went up to my room – even though it was a 2-star place, this’ll be just like Fawlty Towers. I was wrong. It was a LOT worse.

There wasn’t really a carpet on the floor. The mattress on the bed had been rolled up against the wall,perhaps to avoid the plaster that was falling from the ceiling. The floor was littered with empty wine bottles, as well as a couple of cans of empty bug spray. Someone had moved a large chest of drawers in there, and added a trunk to the top of it for good measure – this took up most of the floor-space. The bed-linen had been thrown on the bed, along with a few miscellaneous towels, none of which looked as if they’d been near a washing machine for months. The window didn’t close either, and there was a distinct sound of Something scuttling behind the walls…

It was NOT a nice room. I’ve stayed in some dives in my time – this was a Grade A, five-star pit. I did consider complaining but spending the previous night on the beach had lowered my standards a lot and, besides, my French isn’t quite up to ‘My room has been hit by an Exocet’. I spent the rest of the day back on the beach. It was at this point that Fate stopped kicking me in the head.

Bruce Campbell demonstrates how NOT to smuggle weapons through Customs.

At about 9 p.m I headed back, not looking forward to a night in a room with noises from the walls. By now the manager was on duty at the desk, and I asked him for the keys to my room, 509. He went an odd colour and asked if I was sure of the room-number. I assured him I was. He then asked if I had already moved in. I said I had. He flinched noticeably and said that he already had ‘one or two bits and pieces’ in there. I told him I’d noticed.

To cut a long story short, I’d been given the key to the attic by mistake. I should have been given the keys to 510 instead, which was a very nice room. I’d recommend the Hotel Sybill to anyone, though if you get put in Room 509, make your excuses and leave. To their credit, they WERE extremely apologetic – don’t know who was more embarrassed, them by their mistake, or me by their over-enthusiastic attempts to make up for it. “Would m’sieur like another croissant? Perhaps another cup of coffee? Or maybe he would enjoy the use of the managers’ daughter for an hour or two?”. Ok, I exaggerate – not much though!

Monday morning, I was up bright and early, to go to the British consul in Marseilles for my replacement passport. I had to BUY a ticket there, which cost me 130 Francs ; a pretty good illustration of how good value the Inter-rail card is, since it’s only about a 2 1/2 hour journey. I phoned up beforehand to check what I needed to take with me, and then got the photos required from one of those machines – as ever, they looked absolutely nothing like me, and I wonder how I ever got through the border checks with my temporary passport.

Didn’t think much of Marseilles. I found it very noisy, crowded and dirty especially after the comparative peace of Nice. There seemed to be cars EVERYWHERE. The British consulate was on the third floor of a building, just above a doctors’ surgery, and there were several other people there, most of whom had also lost their passports. It was a very quick and painless process; if I hadn’t been who I claimed to be, it would have been quite easy to get a passport, as long as I had some examples of whoever I was pretending to be’s signature, and could forge it. However, as it had to be handed in on my return to Britain, I suppose it wouldn’t have been much use.

Although the train I was catching went via Marseilles, it got there at about midnight – I didn’t fancy hanging around for seven hours, so I came back to Nice and spent the evening there, before finally catching the train for Switzerland. And this time I managed to go further than one stop!

On the train I met three totally lunatic Englishmen – by now it was nice to speak English again, no matter who it was with. They got off at about 4 in the morning, in Grenoble, looking unhappy. Given the temperature, I can’t blame them.

Lional Rajappa / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

I slept on for another few hours before arriving in Geneva. At first, it struck me as a dull place, with every second building a bank or other financial institution; when I got into the older parts, I realised it was really a very nice town. The view from the top of the tower in the cathedral was quite beautiful; you could clearly see the enormous fountain on the edge of Lake Geneva (above), which at over 400 ft tall, is far bigger than any fountain has a right to be. The weather had improved, it was another warm and sunny day, which always helps!

Spent the night in Basle, at the youth hostel. Apart from Amsterdam, it’s the only place to have been visited on all four Inter-rails, though I never see much of the city since it’s position makes it an excellent base from which to tour. This year was no different. One night there, and it was off into the Alps, heading to Zermatt.

Some people think Switzerland is a boring place. This may be true – you don’t go there for the nightlife – it’s more than made up for by the scenery, which is just superb. Words can’t describe how beautiful it is; huge gorges, towering mountains and little villages precariously perched half up the sides of them, rushing streams where the water is so pure it looks strange and a sky blue enough to hurt.

The main reason for the trip to Zermatt was to take the cable car up to the top of the Kleine Matterhorn (Kleine means small in German – at 12,500 ft tall, it’s quite big enough, thank you!) – I’d wanted to do this last year, but I didn’t have the time, and couldn’t afford the 40 Swiss Francs (about 16 pounds) fare. This trip, I’d come prepared. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived, I only just had time to go up and virtually straight down again – maybe some year I’ll get the chance to get out at one of the midway points and go for a stroll.

However, it was more than enough. The trip up was incredible ; I saw my first glacier (disappointingly grey) and the views of the Matterhorn itself were wonderful. At the top, the air was thin enough that I felt dizzy to start with and any exertion made you breathe hard. I filled a water bottle with the snow at the top – unfortunately, I left it on the counter of a bank when I went in to cash a cheque. Wonder what they thought of it?

The youth hostel in Zermatt was placed at the top of a long, very steep hill that no normal Inter-railer would have tried to climb with a rucksack on. However, “normal” is not something I get accused of being very often,so I struggled up there – unsurprisingly, it was half empty!

The next day saw me on the famed Glacier Express, which runs from Zermatt to St. Moritz. If it’s possible to overdose on beauty,I think I did it that day. For eight hours I just stared out of the window and drank it all in – by the end of the trip, I was just about reduced to thinking “that’s nice” having gone through the most beautiful landscape in the world, and run out of appropriate adjectives.

Хрюша / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

On arrival in St. Moritz, I dumped most of my stuff in a locker, and headed off to the youth hostel. Even though I’d lost my membership card, both Basle and Zermatt hostels had let me stay with no hassle, but to my annoyance St. Moritz demanded the police report! Of course, this had been left in the locker which meant I had to buy a guest card. Scratch three quid from my rapidly shrinking supply.

Zurich. The third last day of my holiday and I discover my German is more rusty than I thought – I ask for a hot-dog at a stand in the street and am given a bottle of mineral water! However, later I manage to find a special offer outside some store – a sausage, hunk of bread and a glass of beer for the equivalent of 60p, which for Switzerland (where things like food are very expensive) isn’t bad. I thought about going round twice – every wasp in Central Europe was also there, so I went and sat down by the lake instead, where they were slightly less numerous. Finished the day sitting listening to a concert of Swiss brass bands – not what I’d normally choose to listen to, somehow it was an appropriate way to end my time in Switzerland.

The journey to Amsterdam was probably the least comfortable of the ones I had – seven of the eight seats in the carriage were occupied. Still managed to get a fairly good night’s sleep – after a while you can sleep anywhere!

I don’t know why I always seem to go to Amsterdam. It’s a thoroughly maddening place – it’s reputation means that everyone ought to be spaced out of their mind all the time, however the Amsterdammers are the NICEST people in Europe. Even the drug dealers are polite – “Would you like to buy some acid? No? Oh well, never mind”. I want to claim a record – I managed to walk the whole length of the main street, the Damrak, without being offered any illegal substance. Any other questions as to what I did in my time there should be directed to my solicitor – I deny everything!!

The boat trip home was fairly dull – fortunately there was a cinema on the boat, which I spent most of the time in. Saw “Beetlejuice”, which was quite entertaining, although the poor sound system made it tricky to hear some of the dialogue, especially Michael Keaton’s. The other film on offer was ‘Robocop’ which I’d seen before and was just as good this time around.

Why do I always feel guilty going through the customs, even when I’m carrying nothing even remotely illegal? Clearly, I can’t LOOK guilty, as I’ve never been stopped, but it’s no fun. The train to Liverpool Street had been cancelled due to engineering work and they’d laid on a bus instead, which wasn’t as good. Did the job though. Timed my arrival perfectly – I caught the hourly train to Farnborough with just 6 minutes to spare. However by the time I struggled off it at the other end, all the taxis had been taken, which meant I had a nice two-mile walk, laden down with all the junk I’d accumulated over the two weeks…

Now I find myself back at work,with a chance to reflect. Did I enjoy it? Yes, for the most part. I did a lot of things I hadn’t done before, went to places I’d not been before, some of which (Monte Carlo) I’d like to go back to, others (Marseilles) I’ll avoid. Looking forward to next time – roll on Inter-Rail ’89!!

Nastassja Kinski, Sex Goddess: Part III


Flicking through the Cannes film programme, my eyes caught the title ‘Acque di Primavera’. My, I thought, sounds like a film Nastassja did (“Symphonia di Primavera” aka Spring Symphony). Hang on – starring Nastassja Kinski? Yes, on closer inspection, it’s from a story by the Russian author Turgenev and also stars Timothy Hutton and Valeria Golino. As I write this, I know nothing else about it at all. It was in the competition there, so keep an eye out for it.


Surprisingly little has been written about Ms. Kinski in English – she’s always been a bigger star on the continent or in America and Japan than here. The main source for this series was a French book, “Nostalgia, hors serie no. 1” (above)which covers both Klaus and Nastassja. Of course there is the slight problem of it being in a foreign language. At least it’s in one I can read, unlike the Japanese book I possess which has a large number of very attractive photos and completely undecipherable text. Other books used include “Hollywood Lolitas” by Marianne Sinclair (see TC 0) and most biographies of Roman Polanski have a section about her. Magazines have been a fairly fruitful source of information, with Video World and the March ’86 issue of ‘Look Now’ being especially useful. According to a friend who wishes to remain anonymous, there was an article on her in the Nov. 88 issue of “Club International” – fifty quid in used notes will ensure that anonymous is how he remains…


Conversely, I keep coming across songs with some connection in title and/or lyrics to her. Three definite hits and three possibles are

  1. “Have a Cigar, Miss Kinski” – Extrabreit (from the LP “Europa”). Found in Vienna – “living in Los Angeles, millions flying for your kiss”.
  2. “That’s not Nastassja” – Sparks (from the LP “Whomp that Sucker”). The problems of being an internationally recognised film starlet and being copied by everyone. “She was on the news again tonight/Someone looking like her stole a bike.” [below]
  3. “Nasti Kinki” (sic) – Robby’s Hobby. Tedious disco/soul junk.
  4. “Be a Boy” – Gina X (B-side of the single “No G.D.M.”). There is a reference to “Kinski’s nose” – given the title of the song, this might well be about Klaus! (Trivia time : Gina X’s real name is Gina Kikoine, not a million miles away from that of Gerard Kikoine who directed “Edge of Sanity” – no idea if there’s a connection!)
  5. “Up on the Catwalk” – Simple Minds.
  6. “Watching the Detectives” – Elvis Costello.

These last two have been claimed as having a mention of NK in the lyrics – I’ve not been able to track them down yet, they remain unconfirmed. There is also, apparently, a band in Norfolk called Passion Flower Hotel – can’t think what sort of music they’d play!

YouTube video
  1. “You would be surprised by the power a girl of 13 or 14 can have over a man.”
  2. “I go up and down all the time.” [!!]
  3. “I’m fascinated by older men… and what they can teach me.”
  4. On Polanski – “People had warned me about him and young girls, but he was always so nice to me.”
  5. “I don’t understand acting, except when I’m actually doing it. And sometime I don’t even understand it then.”
  6. “For a while, I wanted to be a ballerina and then later, for a long time, a vet.”
  7. “I’m fanatical about privacy – I can understand why to be alone is one of the great gifts of life.”
  8. On “To the Devil a Daughter” – “When I see the film, I’ll probably cover my eyes”
  9. “It wouldn’t surprise me if I left the earth early because, even though I’ve lived so little, there are moments when I think I’m actually ready to go.”
  10. On Dudley Moore – “I’ve never seen anybody who could be so flexible.” [!!]
3 products advertised at some point by Nastassja:
  1. Lux soap.
  2. Senso perfume.
  3. Evian mineral water.
That story in “Sunday” magazine :

For those of you who missed it, the News of the World’s “Sunday” supplement recently carried a story (and I use the term advisedly) about Nastassja. In case you missed it, here are the captions, as printed, that went with the pictures:

  1. Marriage on the rocks after 4 stormy years of possessive Ibrahim Moussa.
  2. Her megarich husband’s millions can’t buy lonely Nastassja love, just booze.
  3. She takes refuge in the bottle yet she just can’t hide the despair in her eyes.
  4. An ex sex symbol, now frustration leaves her a far from pretty sight [!].
  5. Then out of the blue Nastassja meets up with her original love, Roman Polanski.
  6. That new kiss has stirred old memories, but, alone again, she hides her tears.

The pictures seem to me to say “Oh hell, here’s ANOTHER bloody photographer” just as much as they do “My marriage is on the rocks so I’m hitting the bottle”. As for the text, here’s an example : “Her beauty, super-sexy body and innocence were exploited in explicit scenes – but her life was a loveless sham”. Pulitzer-prize winning stuff. The rest of the article is composed of ‘quotes’, supposedly from ‘close friends’, where they’re attributed at all, and pure speculation. Of course, it COULD all be true – personally, I rate the “News of the World” about as highly as a political party broadcast as a source for the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth.

An Anecdote:

Nastassja Kinski was dining at an outdoor restaurant in New York, and doodling on the tabletop as she did so [don’t try this in your local Wimpey, kids!]. When she left, six diners got into a bidding war over it. In the end, a couple forked out 200 dollars for the table and headed for home lugging it between them.

The Editorial

Mutter, mutter, fume, mutter. An entertaining three months, much of it spent either looking for accomodation or moving between accomodations. However, by the time you read this we will hopefully be firmly ensconced in our new address given opposite.

The house is big. Lots more room than 81 Cheyne Way, and a great deal closer to work too. We’re toying with the idea of using this space to organise, at some point, Trashcon 1, which will be an excuse for you lot to visit London, kip on our floor, watch a large number of films, drink a lot and ( hopefully ) have a good time. Not sure when it would take place, probably over a weekend in November. Anyone interested should get in touch NOW, since there’s a limited amount of floorspace – suggestions for viewing, offers of films, etc would also be appreciated. I imagine the films will be a mix of trash and ‘rarely seen classics’…

Another highlight of the past quarter was nearly getting arrested for criminal damage after venting my frustration on a non-working choccy machine on the Tube. These devices are designed purely as a means of gambling – after inserting 20p, you generally get nothing, occasionally a bar of chocolate, and VERY infrequently, more money than you put in (up to 1.20!). On the whole, you’re better off putting it on a horse. If you’re ever in London, avoid them. Giggle of the month was produced by a clip of ‘A Cry in the Dark’ – Meryl Streep’s “Australian” accent, closer to a South African with a speech impediment, fairly made my day!

At time of writing, Steve has failed to come up with the promised comics article for the second issue on the trot (too busy looking for someone/thing in black to chain him to the bed no doubt). This is probably a good job too, given the severe lack of room; at our current rate, by publication day we’ll have enough for about 110 pages. You may have noticed the lack of the Video Nasties piece – said space deficit meant a lot of stuff had to give and, on reflection, it’d been done to death everywhere else. It may well be resurrected when we come up with a new/unusual angle. Many other bits were written and discarded to make room for better/fresher things – hopefully this will make it a more interesting read all round.

Thanks to all and sundry, especially the fanzines that have mentioned us, not to Fear, though, since they put our advert in the wrong issue and claim we were full of ‘crash’! Back to schedule next time, all being well – until mid October, remember:

“You can hear all the compressors and the pneumatic drills – they sound right here in the room.”


Will page numbers on SOME of the pages do? Jeez, you lot are NEVER satisfied…


The Cover
The Info
The Contents
The Editorial
Nastassja Kinski, A Sex Goddess’s End
Half-way to Heaven…
The Mail
Trash Pop
Film Blitz
Edge of Sanity
Sherlock Holmes – The Musical
Incredibly Bad Film Show Double Bill
TV Dinners
Trash Literature
Future Schlock
Nightmares in a Damaged Brain
Forthcoming Attractions
Beats Reality, Doesn’t It?
The Section with No Name
Mission Impossible
Borderline Cinema
The Back Cover

"You didn't think I was a drug smuggler, did you?"

The Info

TRASH CITY – Issue 2
August 1989

‘Trash City’ is a ‘zine devoted to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, exploitation in entertainment, beauty, death, splatter movies, computer games, Inter-rail holidays, UFO’s, general weirdness and anything else the editors see fit to print. The style is best described as ‘conversational’ and ‘informal’ – the emphasis is very much on the words, our method of production makes art tricky and photos almost impossible.

It is most easily available from me, and it’s cheaper to subscribe, at least if things stay as they are at the moment ; you’ll only pay the postage, plus an almost nominal fee. If you bought this from a shop, you’ll have had to pay more for it – understandably, shop-keepers aren’t keen to stock things there’s no profit in!. If you want to be sent future issues, send us 40p per issue in cheques/p.o./cash ( made payable to Jim McLennan where appropriate ) along with your name and address – we’ll then send them to you until your money runs out. This offer expires and goes to heaven whenever we decide. If you’re already a subscriber, the number next to your name on the envelope ( the one you’ve just thrown in the bin ) tells you how much of your sub is left – if it’s less than 40p, think about renewing it.

Articles, artwork, etc are also extremely welcome – get in touch for more details.

  • Issue 0 is out of print, but is being redone in the same format as last/this issue. 50p, but don’t hold your breath!
  • Issue 1 (Black Sunday, Kinski, Half Way to Heaven, Salo & DIY flame-throwers) is still available – 50p including p&p.
          ** NEW ADDRESS **  247 Underhill Road  ** NEW ADDRESS **
          ** NEW ADDRESS **  East Dulwich,       ** NEW ADDRESS **
          ** NEW ADDRESS **  LONDON              ** NEW ADDRESS **
          ** NEW ADDRESS **  SE22 0PB.           ** NEW ADDRESS **
  • Editor, publisher, general chief of staff : Jim McLennan
  • Texts : in alphabetical order; Des Lewis, Andrew McGavin, Jim McLennan, our correspondent in Sheffield, Per Porter and Rob Williams.
  • Artwork : The Plagiarist’s Republic (from clip art by Jim, Per and Steve Welburn).
  • Back Pic : So exploitative, so trashy, so bad. The video cover for “Reform School Girls”, nicely done in soft focus with added Sybil Danning.

The views expressed in this ‘zine are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher, and may well be an attempt to fill a blank sheet of paper with the deadline approaching at a rate of knots. It’s no fun being an editor…