i (Tustoms change. ‘ At least. I think a numberofthem have — but
3 perhaps I‘m
‘ simply not invited to that sort of party anymore. The kind where the hostess stabs you in the back to your face. so to speak. before you‘ve had time to deposit the Elizabeth Sharps and seize the peach fizz. Thereafter. you spend a wretched half-hour indulging her antique whim by eitherla) trying to find out who you are — that is. what name has been copper-plated onto the scrap ofpaper safety-pinned to your back — by asking your newfound mates questions which can only bc answered by YES or NO (it is useful to be aware that the answer is always Oscar Wilde. Catherine the Great or Vlad the Impaler) — or (b) hunting vainly for ‘Ilam'. ‘Robert Browning‘. or ‘Jeff’. in the gloomy acceptance of your temporary scrap-of-paper identity as ‘Eggs'. ‘Elizabeth Barratt' or ‘Mutt‘.
The idea. you remember. was to stimulate — or simulate — gregariousness — get people talking to each other. Perhaps it's simply the scraps of paper that have changed - now they‘re invisible and bear different legends: ‘I Iomeowner‘. ‘Incomcr'. ‘Incomeless‘ — so that the first half-hour is spent prowling the rooms for social kin with whom to wallow in self-congratulation or lamentation for the duration of the festivity.
Are there still parties like that'.’ Let‘s hold one for a short season — there you go — you are LOVE. and you‘re looking for— what'.’ MARRIAGE? Ah. there was a time. they tell me - indeed. the time comes again. its seems. as I watch the younger siblings gallop up the aisle — a ceaseless stream of braces (if you know what I mean). Me — I‘m from that other antique period. the drop-out generation. which. maritally speaking. was enraptured by the horseless carriage. Poop poop! —all the wayto the shelf. . . But enought of me and mine - if not MARRIAGE. how about KISSES or HUGS? Or. ifthis is a literary party. MR LEWISHAM‘.’
Whoever you end up with. it's unlikely to be that unfortunate character over by the window emblazoned with SEX. SEX. as we all know. mates with VIOLENCE.
Now the William and Mary ofour own time are charged with the business ofexpelling these twin rogues from our cultural garden. and thereby ratifying their ill-starred match.
Meanwhile the liberal letter-writers. crowned heads. and flag-wavers wish it were otherwise. Why couple these together? they plain. Ban violence from our screens
Two‘s company. but three’s a crowd. Sheena McDonald 0n perfect pairing.
with our blessing. but the depiction oferotic love (to give SEX its full title. . .)is not a cause for shame. You'll be banning dancing and laughing and reading novels on Sunday nest!
Well. leaving aside my personal conviction that dancing and laughing and etc are each intrinsically more erotic and life-enhancing than any amount of voyeurism. it just ain't that simple. The coupling of violence with sex is the daily stuffof news and general information. The current solemn and painstaking press coverage ofchild abuse is typical. Genuine concern underlies the detailed interviews with individuals concerned. Presumably. genuine concern underlies the decisions to reproduce the abuses perpetrated on some children. But am I the only one to sniffthe strong sulphur of prurience in the careful listing of who did what to whom‘.’ Is there really a genuine public need to know exactly how a child can be used to satisfy some weak adult sexual craving‘.’ Is there any possibility that one might actually derive a frisson of something which feels very like excitement from the printed details of another‘s degradation. never mind an idea of what temptation might. terribly comprise? I think there is. And I think that reporters and editors should look seriously at the cause and effect ofsex crimes and abuses. and the way in which they are written up. As a one-time newsreader. I complained regularly at being asked to read not just the conclusion of the rape trial. and the sentence passed on the rapist. but a recap ofthe details of the crime committed. Useful and enlightening to the viewer'.’ I thought not. and I am quite convinced that innate viciousness is an appetite which can be fed. and dangerously so. by the apparent scrupulous attention to detail of the reporter and sub-editor.
Mary Stott. that practical and pioneering prom-feminist. was recently interviewed about her long career in newspapers. principally as editor of the Guardian's women‘s page from 1957 to 1972. She says. amongst many other fascinating things. this: ‘Women journalists will never get to the top table. really up top. unless they have some subbing experience. I feel it very strongly. Papers do come out through men‘s eyes. It's the subs. ofcoursc. and there are very few women subs still .’
It‘s a point of view. and one which implies a host of prejudices and accepted wisdoms which deserve a ' thorough airing. over the peach fizz. But I see you‘re still on your own. LOVE. and SEX appears to have got into a huddle with someone calletf TUPLETS — hmmm. Why not make up a threesome with FAI'I’I I and myself‘.’ Me‘.’ Oh. just another of these ridiculous four-letter words. . .
Fora brief moment Buster. a lighthearted biography of the GreatTrain Robber. proved almost as controversial as The Last Temptation of Christ. First. there wasthe embarrassment of havingto advise Charles and Diana notto attend the Royal premiere. Then there was the hypocritical bleating of the tabloids overthe morality ofthe whole enterprise. Phil Collins. the star of the film. was the one uncomfortably caught in the media crossfire.
‘I thought itthere was goingto be anytroubleit would be overthe language. I didn‘tthink anything about the subject matter. I thought there would be too many ‘fucks' in the film and was quite ready forthe Prince‘sTrustto come back and say ‘you‘ll havetotonethelanguage down'. They said. ‘No. it‘s fine. They‘ll come and see it.‘ Then everyone started to get hold of the wrong end of the stick. The train robbery is really a stepping stone for the story olthesetwo people who. through an extraordinary chain of events managed to keep theirrelationshiptogether.‘
Alilm version ofthe Busterand June Edwards story has been in the pipeline forsome years withthe likes ofBob Hoskins and Dennis Lawson attached to the projectat various stages. Collins acquired the role after impressing director David Green with his performance in an episode of Miami Vice. The singerthen agreed to make Busterhis film debut after rejecting many previous entreaties.
‘My managerTony Smith vets them and is a pretty good judge ofwhat l might like. There were a couple that were fairly forgettable and I never got pastabout page 30 butthought Buster was good. ltjust seemedto lit. and I knew I had to do it.‘
Aware of the opprobrium engendered bythe acting efforts of Sting and David Bowie. Collins was determined notto become justanotherrock star making a fool of himself by tryingto act. He has attempted a role within his range and was sensible enoughto viewfilm asa collaborative medium where he could learn from his more experienced coﬂeagues.
‘l've neverseen any of Sting's films but I have seen Bowie and Daltry and I think. ‘Dh. there's Roger Daltry acting'. lfthey're handsome blokes and have a strong image I find it personally hard to forget who they are. I've got one of those instantly forgettable
Phil Collins in Buster
faces. so I've been told. and
am not possessed ofthat kind of leading man image.
Iwasjusttrying to make peopleforgetthey were watching me. Phil Collins the singer.‘
Phil Collins the singer has
no intention of giving up the dayjob butshould ajuicy. non Artful Dodgertype film role be on offer he would certainly considerit. ‘Should a scriptcome through that I like and hasa good idea and it‘s different from Buster I‘ll do it. Icould slop musicfora yearand just concentrate on acting but I don't want to do thatso I'll justwaitand see what comesthrough the letterbox.’ (Allan Hunter) Buster opens in Scotland on Dctober7. See film listings fordefails.
Lenny Henry returnsto Glasgowthis fortnightto play the Pavilion Theatre on 13th with the stage show he performed at the Edinburgh Festival at the end of August. ‘l'd just comefrom three nights at the Riverside in London with the new show playing to audiences of200. so itwasa bit ofa shock going on stage atthe Playhouse. At times in the performance I felt a bit lost. Now I'm really cranked up. It'll be much much tighterin Glasgow‘. he told methis week.
But Lenny could have been forgiven for having otherworries on his mind. Just a couple of days before that perolrmance. Lenny celebrated histhirtieth
2'I‘he List 30 Sept — 13 Oct 1988
birthday. ‘I thought itwas going to be a nightmare. becausethere's aweird thing about beingthirty. You‘re over your teens. and you‘re twenties and your supposed to be consolidating everything you did in you‘re twenties. But if you didn’t do anything in your twenties you've got to do it in yourthirties. That's a daunting prospect because it‘s too late to learn anything‘. Lenny immediately launches in to an improvised piece of evangalism along the lines of how it‘s never too late to learn ending up bytelling me how he's determined to learn to play the guitarand to become ‘The sexiest Goddamned comedy beast on stage anybody has ever seen!
Formany performers thirty would bejust beginning. but Lenny was an early starter. winningthe TVtalent show New Faces when he was only sixteen. He denies actually squirming when he watches himself on New Faces now (he keeps a video) but admits to ‘Watching between hisfingers'. ‘Actually‘. he continues. ‘I