The stream ot VHS tape just never lets up. We sort the wheat lrom the chatt inthis tortnight’s video releases.

I Goodtellas ( 18) Or ‘The Home Life OfA Mobster‘. Martin Scorsese‘s magnificent roller-coaster tale of organised crime folk is more playful than the Godfather saga, more interested in the minutiae of day-to-day existence for the guys with the guns. than in questioning their morality. Joe Pesci won an Oscar for his superb portrayal of a completely- off-his-trolley psychopath. outshining even De Niro. There‘s plenty of gore splashing around, notably in an attention-grabbing opening sequence. but Scorsese is equally fond of getting the spaghetti sauce just right. You can pick up a few decent recipes in here. especially in the jail scenes. where the Italians are allowed their own cooking facilities. BAFTA made it their best movie of 1990. and it certainly holds the viewer‘s attention better than Coppola‘s Godfather II] albeit lacking the latter's moral structure. (Warner Rental).


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I Blake’s Seven (PG) The space-opera on a severely-limited budget has been unearthed from the BBC archives and unleashed on an apparently eager audience. lt‘s ludicrous sub-Star Trek stuff with troopers armed with recycled hairdrycrs masquerading as guns emerging from behind polystyrene boulders to blow each other away. and cut-away shots of washing-up liquid tubes pretending to be space-ships. Rumour has it that all the props were made by eight-year-old Blue Peter viewers. but the series was lapped up by the sort of people who write fanzines and play DungeonsAnd Dragons. Baddie Servalan even became a sex symbol of sorts. Two tapes are available, each containing two episodes. (BBC Video £9.99 each)

Opening up

‘I think the programme’s greatest strength is the women who are on it, their honesty and theirwillingness to open up on screen and give at themselves,’ says producer Leslie Hills about the lorthcoming series of ‘Scottish Women’. ‘Also the mixture of people - some with specific expertise on the matter in hand, and others who have expertise through their own lives means that we can bring both the personal and the expert to the things we discuss.’

The topical discussion programme is being made torthe tirsttime by an independent production company, Skyline. Strangely enough, it is also the first time the programme has been produced by a woman, although she has no current plans to change what she regards as a successtul tormat: the new series will as usual leature Sheena McDonald and a hundred women discussing topics ranging lrom warto love.

Hills sees the programme as providing a much-needed space tor

Sheena McDonald presents Scottish Women

women to make their voices heard in public. ‘I think women in Scotland lace particular problems in this respect. Scotland has a particularly male-dominated tradition in almost every aspect of society. It’s ditticult to be taken seriously as a woman unless you agree to join their club and play by their rules. The men in positions at power, who can conter patronage, tend to appoint in their own image. We see this when we're looking tor experts on a particulartopic. We generally try to look at policies on the subjects we’re discussing, so we look tor policy-makers, and in most ol the relevant institutions, there are very lew women at senior level.‘

It may be exclusively women doing the talking, but Hills hopes that the programme will be watched by both

sexes. ‘lt’s well known that men tend to ,

dominate in mixed groups, that women don’t get an equal chance to speak tor all sorts ol reasons. I think it would be very useful tor men to watch it- it’s very rare tor them to be in a situation where they’re listening to a group oi women talk.’ (Sue Wilson)

Scottish Women returns on Monday 6 May at 10.50pm on Scottish, tor a series ot twelve programmes.


3 The sound of


Paul Simon seems to have been on the verge ol coming to Glasgow tor about six months but now, it seems, he really is on his way. And as he hots up tor the British tour, Radio One are guiding their listeners through a leisurely seven-part history ol the man and his music. ‘The Paul Simon Songbook‘ picks up the story as Simon, embarrassingly young, was recording his tirst record, ‘Hey Schoolgirl’ with his best friend Art Gartunkel. They were both titteen years old and went by the name at ‘Tom and Jerry’. Wise beyond theiryears, the duo decided to take this smash hit in their stride and pursue a ‘tolkier, less commercial route’. Simon came overto Britain in the early 603 and was met with rapture, but not enough to stop a bout ot homesickness in the waiting room at Widness Station which inspired ‘Homeward Bound' and provided the boys with their first big UK hit. Then came ‘The Sound at Silence'

and lame and, well, the rest is history. Radio 1 has secured ‘exclusive’ interviews with Paul Simon, and raked up revealing archive material so, it you couldn‘t altord the concert ticket, this might be a good way of making up. (Starts Sat 4, 2pm, repeated Tue 7 9pm)

Radio 3 is hotting up too, with a new recording at ‘Anything Goes’ to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Cole Porter. As well as ‘I Get A Kick Out Ol You’ and ‘You're The Top’, the recording includes three songs which

were written torthe original version but

dropped tor the Broadway production. It will be less colourlul than Channel 4’s ‘Red, Hot and Blue’ tribute to Porter, ol course, but worth a listen. (Mon 6 3.45pm)

Turning its noble gaze on Maytest, Radio Scotland is running a special edition ol the arts programme ‘Oueen Street’ lrom the Tron Theatre bar. Presenter Louise Batchelor will be interviewing some at the many artists and actors appearing at the festival and there will also be some spontaneous pertormances. Nothing too visual, we hope. (Tue 712.02pm) (Miranda France)

I Metropolitan (15) Whit Stilman's debut feature is a thirtysomethingjscx. lies and videotape-type chattering classes scenario that manages to avoid the excessive tastefulness of both. and provide something genuinely affecting. A middle-class student is adopted by a group of upper-class yahoos calling themselves the Sally Fowler Rat Pack. After initial uncertainty. he enters whole-heartcdly into the world ofglam balls and intense self-conscious after-hours conversations. It‘s an attractive but artificial world. that he finds difficult to escape. (Palace Rental)

I Casualties 0t War( 18) Another movie set in ‘nam (no. not Cheltenham). Brian De Palma‘s gritty contribution to the rapidly-expanding genre stars Michael J. Fox asthe naive young recruit confronted with a dilemna after witnessing his comrades' gang-rape and murder of a Vietnamese girl. Does he shop them in. or turn a blind eye and become implicated in their guilt? Fox gives a workmanlike performance in the central role and Sean Penn is convincingly brutal as the sergeant. although the film‘s edge is dulled by a cop-out of a soft-centred ending. (RCA/Columbia £9.99)

I Are You Being Served? (PG) Remember those catchphrases— ‘i'm free'. and ‘Has anyone seen my pussy?'. This was one of those 70s sitcoms that was

so bad it was almost (but only almost) good. Molly Sugden and John lnman were the worst offenders

in the series set in Grace Brothers department

store, a settingthat encouraged plenty of very poorjokes about inside leg measurements and bust sizes. Wendy Richard plays the gormless assistant Miss Brahms and everyone camps it up outrageously in episodes rejoicing in titles like ’Dear Miss Sexy Knickers' and ‘Our Figures Are Slipping'. (Twotapes: BBC £9.99 each) J

The List 3— 16 May 1991 87