_ Yo! Ho! Ho!
Bing’s out on his honky white ass — this year it’ll be a Black Christmas. Eddie Gibb finds out what Channel 4 has been dreaming up.
Don’t believe the hype! lee-T, the baddest mutha on Channel 4 this
been repeatedly cast in the role of public enemy, principally for his song ‘Cop Killer‘ with band Body Count which spread the hardline according to ice. But his Baadasss TV co-presenter Andrea Oliver knows otherwise. ‘He's a lovely guy, a very gentle man.‘ she says.
Ice-T and Oliver, who will be remembered by 80s survivors as a member of squawky jazz terrorists Rip. Rig and Panic, have been iilming trashy items for the programme which could earn itself a regular slot. Billed as an African-American version of
Christmas, is really a pussy cat. He has .
production company Rapido TV — the pilot show will reveal, atnong other things. whether there is a big market for Zulu brand Afro-condoms and how those Jackson Five wannabees. Five Star. are faring in Las Vegas. ‘To me. America is such an absurd society. lfyou're looking for absurdity America is the obvious place to go.‘ says Oliver. ‘But I think there‘s a lot of . homegrown absurdity going on here too.‘
Ironically Channel 4‘s annottncetnent of its season of black programming coincided with the news that it was
axing [)(’.S‘Iil()ll(/ 's. the popular black
-; sitcom set in a barber‘s shop. However. word is that the hunt is on for another
popular. black enteitainment show. ‘lt was heartening to meet so many
The Black Christmas posse: Ice-T and Andrea Oliver; Jesse Jackson; and the late Peter Tosh
executive types saying they want to change the face of a television channel and actually sounding like they mean it.‘ savs ()liver.
While Bum/assay 'I'V encourages us to find hutnour in the whackier eletnents of black American and Caribbean popular culture. the Black (I‘hristmas keynote speech is likely to be a tnore serious affair. Running against our glorious monarch's traditional address is The Alternative Christmas Message from Rev Jesse Jackson. While rappers like Ice-T have preached something close to separatism. Jackson. as president of the National Rainbow Coalition, is America‘s great uniiier —- the black politician white liberals thought they might. at a push. be able to do business with.
Not surprisingly music forms a major part of the Black (‘hristtnas season. including the first serious look at jungle. All Junglists: A London Some’ting Dis. on Britiin television commissioned by (‘hannel 4's dance disciple. Stuart (‘osgrove Reggae has its share too, with Stepping Razor Red X. Nicholas (‘ampbell's excellent documentary about es-Wailer Peter Tosh. shot dead in Jamaica in l987.
‘l-‘inally we're getting something on televsion that involves black people and isn‘t some kind of really haml— wringing liberal idea of what black people want or don‘t want.‘ says ()livcr. (‘hanncl 4; respect!
li/m'k Chris/nuts slur/s mt Monday I‘) /)(’('(’III/)(‘l' um/ I'llll.\‘ unli/ I/I(’ ('m/ oft/10 vein: See ‘li'h'l‘tst‘rm lis‘lirrgs‘if‘rn' details.
:— Summers’ tlme comes
While it could be said that plastic lunchboxes - in the Llnford Christie sense - play a part in the proceedings, the wholesome Tupperware party format of yesteryear has been hijacked for the 90s. Welcome to the _Ann Summers party, where a dozen or so female friends congregate in someone’s front room, drink in hand, to snigger at, and possibly buy, ‘exotic’ lingerie and sexual apparatus from the company’s catalogue.
‘Sex in a Cold Climate’, a High Interest special shown saucin after the watershed, examines the company’s sales technique and charts its development from a single sex shop in 1979 through to the present day position as a business with a £20 million annual turnover. How it’s poised to expand even further with plans to open a string of high street stores and cultivate a more ‘respectable’ image.
The organisation is all-female, from the managing director down, and has made a success of bringing women and sex together in an uninhibited, enjoyable and most importantly man- free environment. Ann Summers could be seen as a prime example of a modern, forward-thinking business — but the underside of the success story is less wholesome.
With the exception of the vibrators and a few comedy posing pouches for paunchy husbands, the entire Ann Summers range consists of garments to be worn by women for men, pandering to male rather than female fantasies. Harmless fun? Well
Ann Summers parties: profiting ' probably: from the fly-on-the-wall
2 footage, the sales parties are
hysterical. But High Interest has
intercut these images with shots of
i typical magazines on sale in Ann Summers shops. With titles like Mature Fatties containing articles on the ‘Most Glamorous Fat Slag of the Month’ and countless sex phonelines, this full-frontal pornography is a long way from the hen-night titter of the underwear party circuit.
And who owns this organisation, which reaps the efforts of the commission-only saleswomen? Hot Ann Summers — she sold the name way i back in 1971 - to David and Ralph Gold, a.k.a. Gold Star Publications - a . sizeable player in the UK’s multi- million-pound porn industry. Still it’s a ; larf, innit? (Damien Love)
: Sex in a Cold Climate is on Tuesday 20 December at 9pm on Channel 4.
_ Late night
2 Ho Christmas would be complete
; without a variation on the haunted
; house ghost story, but when the hand i guiding the pen is that of the late
i Dennis Potter, you can be doubly sure i this will be a tale of the unexpected. ! The last feature-length work to be
i written and produced by the one
1 British talent who continually pushed l the small screen’s potential to its
i limits, Midnight Movie brings
i uncharacteristic psychological depth to those familiar old tales of isolated mansions with guests disappearing one by one.
The action revolves around the muddled lust of lawyer Henry Harris (Jim Carter) for dead 60s starlet Mandy Mason and her daughter Amber Boyce (Lipstick On Your Collar’s Louise Germaine). Invited by Amber’s unpleasant American filmmaker ‘husband James (the great and undervalued Brian Dennehy) to their Surrey home, Harris discovers the house is the same one used as the location in Mandy Mason’s most famous movie, Smoke Rings, which just happens to be the BBC’s late night film that very evening. Thus begins a
disorientating mix of various
Midnight Movie: disorientating fantasy
fantasies, as one level of fiction slides into another.
Potter’s labyrinthine narrative drags us down several dead ends and wrong turns, using scattered dialogue clichés to hint that not everything in this overcooked brew should be taken at surface value. In past works, he used popular period music as a Brechtian device for triggering memories in the characters and the
, viewers; here his technique is more
cinematic - perhaps even televisual - as the remembered images of a television movie broadcast set off chain reactions in the minds of the protagonists. There’s also the familiar Potter theme, from Blackeyes and Lipstick, of an older man lusting over a beautiful young girl, but this time it’s as if she is given the opportunity to revenge all of his abused heroines - not, of course, without a liberal splashing of on-screen nudity. It’s reassuring to know that, even from beyond the grave, Dennis Potter is capable of spoiling Mary Whitehouse’s Christmas. (Alan Morrison)
Midnight Movie is on Monday 26 at 9.10pm on 8802.
88 The List l6 December l994—l2 January 1995