A cultural icon for a generation or a fat bastard with more visible bodily secretions than a skunk? With Hab C. Hesbitt you tune in your telly and you takes your choice. Since sinking his first white puddin’ supper on Naked Video llve years ago, Rab has seeped into the public consciousness as the archetypal Giaswegian- an anti-social headbanger more concerned with how much cholesterol his next dole cheque will buy than what’s the latest oiiering at the Tramway. Writer ian Pattison will hear nothing oi the iact that Rab may be dragging down a city and its citizens who are trying desperately hard to be aesthetes oi the North.
‘l don’t think they give a luck actually,’ says Pattison. ‘I think they just say “is itiunny? Yeah, i’m laughing." it’s as simple as that. Did they worry about Ali Garnett, did they think that this was presenting London people in a bad light? 1 don’t think they did. lt’sjust our national delensiveness, we’re always worried about what people will think oi us. it’s a question of having enough conﬁdence to laugh at ourselves. it it didn't ring true to some degree then he would have died a death a long time ago.’
Amazingly, for a character who seems to have been around ior so long, this is only Nesbitt’s second solo series, with a third planned ior broadcast in the autumn. Pattison and Gregor Fisher who plays Rab, are
3 reluctant to commit themselves beyond ; that, with Pattison especially
circumspect. ‘Fisherand myselitake the same attitude that TV hits have a finite shell-lile,‘ he says. ‘But that might be irrelevant anyway, maybe the
; decision will be made for us by the
viewers. Maybe they’ll think “We don’t like this anymore, we’re led up with it, we want Wendy Craig back,” and so that’s the end of Nesbitt. 0n the other hand, when Gregor goes oii and plays Hamlet or whatever, and i go and write something respectable and worthy tor 7:84 and bore the arse olt everybody, then maybe that’ll iinish him oii.’ (Philip Parr)
Rab C. Nesbitt begins his new series on BBC2 at 9pm on Thursday 14 May.
Renaissance man John McKay
0n the final day oi his Mayiest sojourn, ex-Merry Mac FunsterJohn McKay will begin his new radio series for Radio Four. Entitled Aesthete's Foot, the series of six, ten-minute programmes relate McKay’s liie before he managed to have a linger in every media pie. We’re in under-age country, a time oi cringing embarrassment lor all, but a time ripe iorthe plucking tor a radio writer. Each programme will zone in on one particular feature of adolescence with ‘halr’ and ‘iinding places to snog‘ being among those discussed. Another is ‘drlnklng’.
‘I do that in the lorm oi a moral
L lecture on the scourge of under-age
drinking,’ says McKay, who is to change his delivery for each show to suit the topic. ‘Drinking ceases to be interesting as soon as it’s legal. Belore you’re eighteen, drinking is something that's deeply interesting in itself. There's that stage when you’re seventeen and a halt, you’ve tried to start shaving, so you can work up a bit oi stubble, but you’re really quite worried because the bar will only just let you have that hall of cider.‘
ii snogging and drinking are all part of every rite oi passage then so, undeniably, is the ouija board. McKay doesn’t limit himseli to one oi mum’s tumblers spelling out ‘death‘, though.
‘The running gag throughout the series is this small-townness which is so out oi proportion with the strangeness ol the ideas which you have when you’re living there,’ he says. ‘The one about satanism is all
; about how living in a small town
inevitably drives you to black magic. ' Adolescents everywhere are interested
in arcane systems oi power because, when you’re about thirteen or lourteen, you’re too big to be satisfied with the tiny amount oi personal liberty which you have, but you’re too small to do anything about it. What i was looking lor was a way of being in control - lil
; could conjure a demon irom the
seventh level oi hell, that was me exercising some power at least.’ (Philip Parr)
Aesthete’s Foot begins on Radio Four on Sunday 17 May at 5.40pm.
Your guide to what's new, what's worth catching and what to avoid on the VHS iront this tortnlght.
I Flirting (15).lohn Duigan‘s rites-of-passage trilogy continues with the sequel to The Year My Voice Broke. Nick Cave lookalike kid Danny has matured into another brooding Australian adolescent at a remote Australian boys‘ boarding-school. The writing and performances. though. make this a cut above the usual first-love slush. (Warner)
I Point Break ( 18) Keanu Reeves falls from the sky hand-in-hand with Patrick Swayze in one ofthe memorable action set-pieces that litter Kathryn Bigelow‘s enjoyable thriller/buddy movie ’cop blow-'em- away. Reeves plays an FBI agent investigating a gang of bankrobbers and in the process infiltrating Swayze’s surf bums. Some uneasy touches ofsurf Buddhism but the action ultimately prevails. (Fox) I True identity ( 15) You will believe that Lenny Henry is white! That‘s about all. though. in this first Hollywood vehicle for the lovable Brummie. Henry plays a guy on the run from the mob. forced to ‘white-up' to disguise himself. An undistinguished caper movie with the make-up department the only ones deserving ofany plaudits.
I Jungle Fever(18) Wesley Snipes plays the wonderfully-named black yuppie Flipper Purify getting unwittingly embroiled in a race war when he has an affair with his Italian secretary Annabella Sciorra. Director Spike Lee also packs in a somewhat
obtrusive sub-plot on drug addiction. Like much of Lee‘s work. the issues and the characters don‘t gel entirely, but it's a stylish piece of work. albeit a far from optimistic one. (CIC)
I Jacob's Ladder(18) Hallucinating ‘Nam veteran Jacob Singer is losing his grip on reality. experiencing recurring ﬂashbacks to the night his platoon was wiped out. The viewer doesn‘t have it too easy distinguishing fact from reality either. resulting in a complex. if compelling. paranoia thriller with a fine performance from Tim Robbins in the title role. (Guild)
I One Against The Wind (PG) (Odyssey)
y Servants 0i Twilight ( 15) (First Independent)
I lronclads (PG) (First Independent)
I Showdown ln Little Tokyo (18) (Warner)
I Roots Of Evil ( 18) (Warner)
I Soapdish (15) (CIC)
I Far Out Man (15) Tacky broad comedy from old hippy Tommy Chong. He plays, hey. an old hippy who refuses to stop living in the 60s until his daughter persuades him to see an eminent psychologist. Dr Liddledick (yup. that's about the level of humour). (First Independent £10.99)
,z . ., or” ‘ I I Merci La Vle(18) Raunchy French stuff from Bertrand Blier, who was responsible for the unaccountany successful Trap Belle Pour Tor. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Anouk Grinberg play a Gallic adolescent Thelma and Louise, setting offon the road to explore life and their sexuality against a backdrop that shifts in time and place. Along the way they are faced bythe twin threats of AIDS and war. (Artificial Eye £15.99)
I My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (PG) Eric Rohmer’s popular romantic comedy
is the latest instalment of his pretentious ‘Comedies et Proverbes‘ series. It's a long-winded, sentimental piece of twaddle about two friends in a provincial town who each fancy the other‘s bloke. In the end they get it sorted. Aaaah. Neighbours tackled much the same plot recently in two episodes and managed to eschew most ofthe gloomy gormlessness of Rohmer‘s version. (Artificial Eye £15.99)
I Rue Cases Negres (PG) (Artificial Eye £15.99)
I School Daze (18) Spike Lee's take on the high-school fraternity rites. romance and dance routine movie sends up the genre mercilessly. and throws in some pointed political satire to spice up the mixture. It’s homecoming gala time but the campus is in the middle of a power struggle between the militant ‘Jigaboos‘ and the paler ‘Wannabes' (as in ‘wannabe white‘). The comedy mixes uneasily with the message and the dance routines throw the whole thing completely out ofsyneh. And all the high school students look about 30 as is usual in these things. (Columbia Tristar£10.99)
I House Party (15) (Columbia Tristar £10.99)
I Awakenings ( 15) Rain Man territory revisited in Penny Marshall‘s film based on a true story. Robin Williams is the genius doc who discovers a (temporary) cure for Robert De Niro. a Sleeping Sickness victim who has been catatonic for decades. Both doctor and patient rediscover the joys and frustrations of living. Occasionally moving if over-manipulative in the Hollywood tradition. (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I Sherlock Holmes Faces 08th (U) (Fox£10.99)
I Sherlock Holmes in The Spider Woman (U) (Fox £10.99)
I Sherlock Holmes In Washington (U) (Fox £10.99)
I Spymaker (15) (First Independent £10.99)
I Masters at Menace (15) (First Independent £10.99)
I Cannonball Fever ( 15) (First Independent £10.99)
62 The List 8—21 May 1992