There are certain timeless immutable truths that even the most politically polarised of us must agree on: Desmond Lynam’s divinity, Tara Fitzgerald’s gorgeousness and the desirability of Gilbert Adair’s having his teeth kicked in on a regular basis. Similarly, the Booker Prize Late Show Special (BBC2) has always been an excruciating slice of vacuous elitism and yet still there are frightening numbers of people who reach for the zapper, braying ‘oh, yah, must see who won the Booker.‘ For some it exerts the same fatal fascination that the Eurovision Song Contest used to have, without the mitigating attraction of overweight Norwegians in frilly blouses singing about their love for the fjords.

Forget Gladiators or Telly Addicts. truly the most appalling specimens of humanity are those who gather round Sarah Dunant‘s round table every year to sneer, smarm and chunder on at emetic length about the collection of unreadable middle-brow tosh that invariably makes up the shortlist. This year we had a bow-tied buffer from the Sunday Times, John Walsh; a kind of lit-erit Bob Geldof, Tom Paulin, and AS. Byatt (who won the cheque herself a couple of years ago with 600 pages of self-satisfied windbaggery, so at least we had her number from the off).

Dunant made a valiant effort to pretend that the world actually gave a toss which particular waste of rainforest won the prize, getting a new hairdo for the occasion and waving her hands around in an enthusiastic but futile way like a Falkirk goalkeeper. Walsh gave a remarkable impression of a literary editor stereotype, short, pompous and prone to name-dropping, with a fondness for adjectives that no real person would dream of using. I suspect he’s got a Booker candidate novel in him just waiting to escape. Paulin was last year’s and this year’s Rent-a-Nasty, condescending about everyone, never actually saying ‘the book’s fokkin’ bollix’ but giving the impression that’s what he meant.

Byatt, though, won the most objectionable pundit contest by a clear margin, damning Barry Unsworth’s work with faint praise by suggesting that it was the novel the ‘general reader might get most out

Lof. In her supercilious way she


conjured up an image of the great . unwashed provincial plebs heading ; offto their public lending libraries

clutching their grubby tickets and

; asking for the book which their :3 betters had approved for them. I had

a hint of admiration for Unsworth.

I‘ Receiving his prize he showed an

attractive Northern keenness to get his hands on the cheque. It would have been even better if he and Ondaatje had agreed to arm-wrestle best of three to decide the outright winner. And what was Tracey McLeod wearing?

Sadly lacking from our screens was any form of tribute to a great man of popular music who tragically passed

‘Paulin was last year’s and this year’s Rent-a-Nasty, condescending about

everyone, neveractually saying ‘the book’s iokkin’ bollix’ but giving the impression that’s what he meant.’

away last week. Lennie Peters was, at 57, hardly a youthful rocker, dying young and staying pretty, but who can forget the man in his prime, crouched at the edge of the stage crooning ‘Welcome Home‘ in the dark glasses. staring out into space, before the cleaners gently told him the audience had gone home hours ago? When he and the unforgettable Whatsername Lee appeared on Opportunity Knocks in the early 705 viewers sent in not only millions of votes but hundreds of rather more muted suits, so garish were Lennie‘s own sartorial tastes.

Cruel pundits suggested that Len wasn‘t really blind at all and that the_ glasses had been worn at an early gig

5 at Rotherham Masonic because

Lennie had an appalling hangover. The audience jumped to the wrong conclusion and the image stuck. On the other hand few of us can forget Lennie’s show-stopping habit of falling into the orchestra pit during a particularly heart-rending ballad. What was the truth about the enigma that was Lennie Peters? All we know is that dead men issue no writs. (Tom Lappin)

WEE- ‘°’°““°'°°°“‘m message denouncing the

Autumn fades overthe

i horizon and already we’re

well into the season iorsex,

. pies and videotape. Here

5 are the latest releases in

the last category. Rental

5 I Basic instinct(18)

Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone. Sharon Stone‘s crotch, lesbian scenes.

{ murder and Thora Hird. : You'll have heard ofthis one. (Guild)

Cradle (18) Pleasantly nasty and a box-office smash, this decent thriller stars Rebecca De Mornay as a nanny who at first appears to be perfect, but has a grudge against her employers, and means to get revenge. Chilling in a Stephen Kingish sort of way. (Buena Vista)

I Tiger Claws (15) Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in a predictable martial arts thriller set in the world of the order of the Tiger, an ancient kung fu style. (20:20 Vision)

I Alter The Glory (PG) A

bunch of army buddies return as heroes to their small Texas town after the war, to discover the place is in the grip of a corrupt mayor and police chief. with racist baddies running amok. Naturally the five heroes team up to clean up the town, first of all trying democratic methods, but eventually having to resort to force. Simplistic and corny action adventure partially redeemed by decent performances. (Odyssey) I Into The Sun ( 15) Derivative gung-ho stuff starring Michael Hall as a a wisecracking Hollywood star preparing for a part and finding himselfcaught up in a Middle East skirmish. Together with a ‘Top Gun‘ style pilot he is captured by some Saddamcsque nasties and

glorious US of A. Pretty soon though our heroes break out and start making the towelheads regret they were ever born. Almost as crap asit sounds. (First Independent)

I Late For Dinner (PG) A daft time-travelling romantic comedy about two brothers from 1962 who. escaping a shootout. find themselves in suspended animation until 1991.1t‘s all been done before and this is substantially inferior. (First Independent)

I Daydream Believer ( 15) (Columbia Tristar)

I Miracle Beach (PG) (Columbia Tristar)

I Driving Me Crazy (PG) - (Columbia Tristar)

1 Sell-through

5 I Dinosaurs Volumes 1, 2 and 3 The cult TV sitcom featuring a prehistoric nuclear family and their domestic squabbles. Sounds like The Flintstones? Well it is. (Buena Vista £8.99 each tape)

I Wayward Girls And Wicked Women Volumes 1, 2and 3(15)Three compilations highlighting the work of women animators including

Karen Watson and Joanna Woodward. with themes

rangingfrom sexuality and fantasy to the darker side of family relations. (Connoisseur£l2.99 each tape)

I Jane Campion-Three Short Films(15) Passionless Moments. Girl '3 Own Story and Peel. Early work from the acclaimed Australian director. featuring her usual somewhat bleak

' humour. (Connoisseur


I Romeo And Juliet A collaboration between animators in Wales. Russia. Japan and the USA has produced this collection of animated versions of Shakespeare classics. The Russians

: provided the technique.

the Brits supplied the voices. with performers including Brian Cox. Zoe Wanamaker. Daniel Massey and Tilda Swinton. (Island World £8.99)

I A Midsummer's Night's Dream (Island World £8.99)

I I Twelth Nighl (Island

World £8.99)

I Macbeth (Island World £8.99)

I Hamlet (Island World £8.99)

I The Tempest (Island World £8.99. Boxed set of all six titles £49.99))

I Laurel And Hardy-The Fixer-Uppers/Men D’War/Scram (U) (VVL £10.99)

I Four 8y Kylian (VVL £12.99)

IXerxes (VVL£12.99)

I Right Said Fred - Up The Video The camp masters of the dottin addictive pop ditty are equally appealing on promo video. Archness and flamboyance in roughly equal measure (VVL £10.99)

I DOA(18) (VVL£12.99) I HomerAnd Eddie ( 15) (VVL£1().99)

I American Friends (PG) Unremarkable Victorian romance starring Michael Palin as a stuffy academic finding true love on an Alpine walking holiday. Swarthy Alfred Molina plays his infinitely sexier rival. Dull but nice. (VVL £10.99)

I Cinderella (U) Just in time for the Christmas rush. Disney‘s classic is available for a limited period. (Buena Vista £14.99)

I Winnie The Pooh And Christmas TDD (U) (Buena Vista £8.99)

IAWalt Disney Christmas (U) (Buena Vista £8.99)

I Christmas Dn Division Street (PG) (Odyssey £10.99)

I City Slickers ( 15)The much-lauded sentimental mid-life crisis cowboy spoof with Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. (First Independent £7.99)

I Homicide (15) An excellent. twisting David Mamet cop drama. inevitably starringJoe Mantegna. (First Independent £7.99)

I Let Him Have lt(15) Timely sell-through release for the dramatic reconstruction of the Bentley case. Powerful and affecting. (First Independent £7.99)

I Tom And Jerry Kids Shows (U) (First Independent £7.99)

54 The List 23 October— 5 November 1992