The hand of night swept over the city, settling like a velvet cloak thrown over a puddle. The air sighed in resignation, and a million leaves scurried for cover like frightened rodents. Neons flickered and gained the upper hand, street lamps warmed to orange and reflections danced on paintwork and glass. Electricity flowed in the city’s veins. Time to move.
I snapped up the collar on my trenchcoat and pushed open the glass panel door, noting that they didn’t take any of my credit cards, and were, in fact, closed. It looked like this lead was about as useful as a parachute that opened on impact or a boot spoiler on a Volvo, but desperation was the better part of invention. I guessed I’d think of something. An answer perhaps, but why stop there, I needed plenty.
Answers to questions like is there anyone out there with skin the same colour as sticking plaster and where do blacks get black plaster, what language do angels sing in and who writes the words and why do French supermarket trolleys have steering- wheels at the front? Then again, perhaps that explains why the French have the highest road fatality rate…
My casual entrance ran into credibility problems when the door ran out of movement and I ran into the door, but I needn’t have worried. I could have been a passing alien in a fluorescent tutu or Margaret Thatcher and attracted less attention. The walls held everyone transfixed, but if there was any Warhol in this gallery, it was on Beta or VHS.
The titles seemed to be organised on quite different lines to a newsagents. The sickest slime occupied the fifteen-year-old eye-level shelf while artistic classics languished on the top shelf, safely out of harms way. Each cover vied for attention, with the awards for grossest title, largest breasted female star and heaviest hand- held weapon all hotly contested, with more than a few combined entries. There was a common thread, they shared a healthy obsession with destroying property, poking fun at authority and filling the intervening periods with sex. I reckoned there could be more miles of sex and violence here than in Mary Whitehouse’s private collection, but without the really sticky bits.
The whole place was more than just a reinterpretation of the Victorian library, more like the most complete collection of the obsessions and fantasies lurking in the mind of man ever assembled. Yours to rent at two nuggets or less. I figured it was worth trying everything in life once, except perhaps incest, morris dancing and vespas.
But did this sleaze deprave people or reflect their depravity? It was too big a question to handle, like why people vote for politicians when it only encourages them or why no-one has invented a finger friendly supermarket carrier bag.
Perhaps after those I could have a go at working out how did ladies get the lids off jam-jars, why same-day dry-cleaners always tell you to come back tomorrow, and why people keep giving Ken Russell money to make films. I figured there must be good money in psychiatry…
I also figured that looking for something good here was like looking for a working phone-box in Peckham – out of order. But I was wrong. I scanned the shelves for a few seconds and duly found what I was looking for. I thanked her and coughed the cash. She was mine, in “Assault of the Killer Bimbos”. Mine for a night.
Damn. Another one of these awkward gaps at the bottom of a page. I suppose it’s the penalty I pay for using up the excess this issue – rather than writing articles to fit pages, I’ve got to fit the pages round the articles! Here’s some more letters :
Glyn Williams, Mickleover – “Borderline Cinema is serious stuff which makes me uneasy…because it brings up doubts again in my own mind about some of the scenes in some of the seedier tapes I’ve watched. I’m afraid that I’ve always managed to convince myself that my suspicions…are unfounded…The lid on this particular can of worms is showing signs of strain”
Alun Fairburn’s views came in for some flak.
- Mike Kosminski, Dumfries – “If he’s a genre fan then we’re well & truly sunk.”
I have to accept a fair chunk of the blame for this one – my editing left some people thinking Alun was ADVOCATING banning magazines that reviewed illicit films, when all he was doing in his original letter was pointing out the illogicality of the current government position. That may have got lost in the translation…
Congratulations go to Wendy James, for getting another Time Out cover – she might not be TOO pleased about this one, as it’s thanks to her appearance in their Hated Hundred, under the heading ‘tits out for anti-sexism’.
Difficult to believe rumours #23. A sequel to ‘9 1/2 Weeks’, provisionally entitled ‘Four Days in February’. Basinger & Rourke return for a second helping of ice-cubes and peanut butter, and ROMAN POLANSKI of all people is supposed to direct it. Hang on, I thought Kim Basinger was twice the age of his usual, er, interests…