Cough, cough. I have a cough. I am now on antibiotics.
But, earlier in the week, I went to yet another launch by film producer, critic and cult movie aficionado David McGillivray.
Last week, he was launching a twice-the-original-length re-publication of his book Doing Rude Things – The History of the British Sex Film.
This week, he was back in the same upstairs rooms of a North Soho/Fitzrovia pub in London, launching the soundtrack of his controversial gay porn film Trouser Bar – “It’s the sexy package you’ll want to fondle. A green vinyl LP lovingly wrapped in haute couture corduroy complete with lavishly illustrated insert, Paisley hankie, badge and (director) Peter de Rome‘s visiting card.”
Among those appearing in cameos in Trouser Bar are Julian Clary, Barry Cryer and Nigel Havers.
This week, as last week, David McGillivray gave a speech to the assembled, definitively eclectic, audience. He said:
My only purpose in being here is to lament the fact that two people who should be here can’t be here.
One is the alleged writer of the screenplay.
(LOUD LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE)
I appreciate that response. Obviously, there’s probably nobody in this room who doesn’t know who I am referring to, but I still can’t say his name. Isn’t that marvellous?
The other person is the man for whom the alleged writer wrote the screenplay – the great erotic pioneer Peter de Rome.
How both these men would have loved both Trouser Bar and Stephen Thrower’s musical score!
Over the past year, it has been my enormous pleasure to tell the story of this collaboration throughout the world. Next week, I will be telling the story yet again in Buenos Aires – How exciting is that?
The story starts a long time ago, in 1976, when the alleged writer of the screenplay was appearing in a play on Broadway in New York. The alleged writer was a huge fan of pornography and he wrote in a letter to his friend that, while on tour with the play, he had seen in Washington the film in which Linda Lovelace was fucked by a dog. Those are his actual words.
Now, he did not say whether he liked that film but he did say, in a letter which I’ve seen, how much he admired the work of Peter De Rome.
And that is why, one day in his hotel in New York, the alleged writer wrote the screenplay of Trouser Bar. And that is his title, as well.
I worked on three films with Peter De Rome.
During the production of the first, he presented me with this screenplay which had been written for him in 1976. It was still in the envelope from the hotel.
Astounded is not a strong-enough word as far as I am concerned.
For the rest of Peter’s life, I tried to get him out of retirement to make this film. But, alas, he was absolutely adamant. He was fed-up with filming. He found it tiresome.
So, when Peter died in 2014, there was nothing else for it – I had to make it for him.
I honestly assumed that, when I contacted the John Gielgud Charitable Trust – and, due to the vagaries of English law, I CAN refer to that organisation – I honestly thought they would be delighted that we were making a film based on the only known screenplay written by the alleged writer.
How wrong I was!
They were furious and litigation proceeded over a period of three years.
When they found out that we were due to start production – now, this is something I have never ever told the people involved in the production of the film until tonight – they threatened to sue me AND everybody involved.
Well, it was like a red rag to a bull.
We went into production the following week.
I assumed that the film would never be released and I was quite happy to leave it on a shelf until every member of the Trust was dead. But the reason we are here tonight is because of two very important people, one of whom IS here.
He is Brian Robinson of the British Film Institute who suggested that we could release the film without a screenplay credit.
The other person is my indefatigable solicitor, who isn’t here.
That is the reason the film premiered at the BFI, Southbank.
After the premiere, more than one person came to me and said: You must release the music on an LP, preferably corduroy-clad.
I said: It’s not going to happen, because how can it?
Well, I reckoned without the composer Stephen Thrower.
Because of his skill and determination, here is the record.
You can currently hear samples from the soundtrack online.
David McGillivray is, as ever, energetically promoting it…