Tag Archives: Freddie Mercury

Reasons for celebration in the British comedy industry

Yesterday and today have been days of me hearing about travel but not actually going anywhere myself except travelling for tea in Soho via a train in which the stranger opposite me kept farting… and driving from Greenwich to Borehamwood and finding the M25 turn-off I needed was closed.

This is neither glamorous nor very interesting.

But I had tea yesterday with someone who shall be nameless who was celebrating the fact that football manager Harry Redknapp, currently on trial for tax evasion, had opened a bank account in Monaco in the name of his dog.

“It’s comedy gold,” this nameless person enthused. “Writers and comedians all over the country must be celebrating. They say it’s all Rover? It is now.”

The reason this person cannot be named is that he told me a relation of his is an alcoholic who lives in Finland.

“Why does he live in Finland?” I asked.

“Because he is an alcoholic,” came the reply. “So, in Finland, he seems perfectly normal or even sober.”

This rings true. As I have previously blogged, I do not think I have ever met a sober Finn. Very nice people. But mostly drunk most of the time.

You cannot beat a good xenophobic generalisation, I find.

Take the cliché of the drunken Englishman abroad…

From Australia yesterday, I got two e-mails from English comedian Bob Slayer, a would-be Foreign Correspondent for this very So It Goes blog which you are reading.

The first e-mail read:

“I did warn you that the combination of alcohol and an iPad could make some of my reports incomprehensible. I am currently full of drink in a Burger King (they call them Hungry Jack’s out here) where they have free interweb. I will get a bus to the airport and fly to Perth. Where it is hot. I have no more energy to type anything of note. Goodbye Melbourne, you beautiful backward en-trend land of ladies in summery dresses and cowboy boots – I will miss you.”

The second, later, e-mail read:

“I have arrived in Perth and one wheel has fallen off my suitcase (I had already lost a handle in Melbourne). This is somewhat impeding my progress.”

Bob Slayer has always told me that his decision to enter the world of comedy as a stand-up (after ten years behind-the-scenes in the music business) was made after reading godfather-of-British-alternative-comedy Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake.

I have always had a suspicion that Bob mis-read Malcolm’s character in the book and got the idea that he was a very loud, constantly-drunk, OTT extrovert anarchist. In fact, like many great characters, Malcolm was a rather shy, occasionally drunk, occasionally OTT introverted extrovert with anarchic tendencies.

Now I fear Bob may be modelling himself on Hunter S. Thompson’s book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This can only lead to drug-fuelled paranoia, guns and a surprisingly bad film by Johnny Depp and Terry Gilliam.

However, it might well also result in some good blogs. So I shall, in a subtle spirit of amoral comradeship, encourage Bob on his downward spiral of self-destructive excess.

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Malcolm Hardee: the originator of free-entry shows at the Edinburgh Fringe

Today would have been the 62nd birthday of Malcolm Hardee, the father or godfather (depending on which journalist you read) of British alternative comedy. He was born on 5th January 1950 and drowned on 31st January 2005.

The (currently three) annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards are given in his memory at the Edinburgh Fringe every August. This year, the winners will be announced during a bizarre two-hour late-night variety show Miss Behave Presents The Malcolm Hardee Awards at the Counting House in Edinburgh on Friday 24th August. The show will be part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival. Entry will be free. Any money donated on the way out will go 100% to comedy critic Kate Copstick‘s Mama Biashara children’s charity.

I have written a couple of blogs recently about reviewers attending Laughing Horse Free Festival and PBH Free Fringe shows in Edinburgh.

Malcolm Hardee was an early proponent of getting free entry to Fringe shows and giving awards in his name, as he explained in this section of his 1996 autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake:

* * *

Most people pay to get into shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. I don’t encourage this. The thing to do is to get plastic sheaths from a stationers, get a bit of card, get a bit of Letraset and write PRESS on the card in big letters, then REVIEWER in smaller letters, then your name at the bottom. You put the card inside the plastic sheath and then get access to a laminating machine if you can – if not, a domestic iron does just the same thing. You press down on the card inside the plastic, it’s laminated, you’ve got a Press Card and you just go in anywhere with it.

I did a similar thing with The Snakebite Award.

The Perrier Award has been awarded at the Edinburgh Fringe for about ten years. It is given to the best comedy/cabaret performance and it’s run by a woman with the unfortunate name of Nica Burns. Unfortunate, because ‘Nica’ is pronounced ‘Knicker’.

Well, it can be if you feel like it.

My Snakebite Award was the opposite of The Perrier Award. It was an award for the worst cabaret. I laminated up a few cards, gave them to a few of my pals and we just went in any show we wanted for nothing. I went to see a Japanese opera at the Playhouse Theatre. I didn’t understand a word. But I didn’t have to pay to see it.

The Snakebite Award had a £500, and later a £1,000, First Prize which was a bit of a problem. So it almost always had to be awarded to someone I knew well or someone who I knew wouldn’t ask for the £1,000. I won it a couple of times; Chris Luby from The Mad Show has won it; and the London Hospital Medical School won it the first two years running, once with a show called Jean De Toilette, which is the worst show I have ever seen.

They did a musical number called Flush Gordon to the music of Freddie Mercury and Queen. At this point in the plot, the hero, Jean, was sitting on a toilet cleaning his teeth with a lavatory brush, surrounded by a bevy of nurses in stockings and suspenders. Someone else sang a song about lentils while members of the cast went into the audience scattering lentils. I watched it with a bloke called Tristram Davies from the Independent who said it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. We couldn’t stop laughing, but we were laughing at rather than with. We almost had to be carried out. The venue was the lecture theatre of a mental hospital in Morningside, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and it was packed. It was a Monday and there were about 300 people there. My show was right in the middle of town and I was performing to about 30 people each night. Proves something, though exactly what I don’t know.

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It’s the $1 million day Comedy experienced its Radiohead moment

(This was also published in the Huffington Post)

Yesterday was a special day. Not because it was Christmas Eve, but because I had a cup of tea with jockey-turned-rock manager-turned-comedian Bob Slayer.

Any day when Bob Slayer has a cup of tea instead of 15 pints of beer is a special day.

The American comedian Louis CK had reportedly just made over a million dollars from his concert video. He did not release as a DVD through the normal channels. Instead, he released it by himself as a download. The result?

Over $1 million of income from $5 downloads in 12 days.

He bypassed the big DVD distributors, wholesalers and retailers and sold direct to his audience via the internet.

It cost him $250,000 to record the show, set up the website and pay banking fees to handle the transactions. But he grossed over $1 million in 12 days.

“It’s the day Comedy experienced its Radiohead Moment,” Bob Slayer said to me.

“Are you sure you haven’t had a few pints?” I asked.

“It’s a great headline, though, isn’t it?” he laughed.

Bob knows the independent music scene. From 2003 to 2009, he was full-time manager of Japanese rock band Electric Eel Shock, whom he constantly calls “EES” – I think because it is difficult to pronounce “Electric Eel Shock” after downing 15 pints of beer.

When they had been in previous bands, the members of Electric Eel Shock had released tracks and albums on major labels in Japan and not enjoyed the experience. Hardened by this, they became fiercely independent and – who knows why? – they let Bob Slayer manage them. Strangely, they got on well with the anarchic yet experienced Bob and his sometimes unconventional, often lateral-thinking ideas.

“In a way,” says Bob. “I was lucky. They were – and still are – an amazing live band. So good that, over several years, I toured them in over 30 countries around the world and they are still conquering new countries all the time.”

One of Bob’s bright entrepreneurial ideas was to sell one hundred fans “EES guest list for life” passes at £100 each. This created £10,000 in cash and helped the band get out of a label deal with a man called Eric. They then went for another of Bob’s bright ideas – to finance their recordings by asking fans to buy the albums in advance – before they had recorded them.

“They raised over $50,000 to record their last album,” Bob tells me. “We used to rub shoulders with other bands following similar DIY routes but we all knew that we were on the fringes of the music industry. We were looked down on a little.

“But then, in 2006, DIY went almost mainstream. Lilly Allen and the Arctic Monkeys were marketed as coming from an independent/MySpace scene… although the irony was that major labels spent millions of pounds telling us just how independent these act were.

“That was like a phony start, but it showed the promise…

“Then, in 2007, it all changed for real. Radiohead got out of their contract with EMI and released In Rainbows as a digital download. They asked their fans to pay whatever they liked for it – it is like the Free Fringe and Free Festival shows in Edinburgh, where punters pay what they like on the way out.

“The band were selling direct to their audience and cutting out the middle men. Not only did they get the cash, just as Louis CK has done, but they overnight created a huge database of fan contacts.

“Radiohead proved that ‘Independent’ could be done on a grand scale and, since then, huge parts of the music industry have turned themselves inside-out. Artists are much more central to the whole process and music is all the more healthy for it.

“My pal, who ‘found’ The Darkness and got them picked up by Warners after selling-out the Astoria as an unsigned band, did something similar but vitally different with a band called Enter Shikari a couple of years later… They sold out the Astoria (just before it was pulled down), they milked the press coverage by turning down the major labels’ offers and then they released the album themselves.

“OK, so they only sold half a million records compared to the Darkness’ five million, but they made up to £5 per CD as opposed to less than £1 and importantly – although you haven’t heard of them – they still have a huge hardcore audience several albums later.

“The comedy business has always trailed behind the music business a bit. Alternative comedy arrived maybe five years after punk had imploded.

“Here we are in 2011. Bo Burnham in 2010 could be seen as the Arctic Monkeys of comedy. And Louis CK could be seen as the equivalent of Radiohead.”

I have been thinking of releasing a couple of books as downloads – one of them comedian Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake.

It would avoid the publishers, wholesalers and retailers and the royalties would be around 80% instead of 7.5%.

So Bob’s enthusiasm for a new method of selling music and comedy recordings to the public interests me.

“So what happens next?” I asked him.

“Well, with any luck,” he told me, “we have an independent comedy revolution and it gets a lot more interesting again… I think I fancy a beer…”

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The death yesterday of Joan Hardee, mother of British alternative comedy’s godfather Malcolm Hardee

(This was also published by the Huffington Post and, in a shortened version, on the comedy industry website Chortle)

Last night, when I was on a train coming home from London, the late comedian Malcolm Hardee‘s sister Clare phoned to tell me that their mother Joan had died earlier in the day.

Joan was 84. I met her over perhaps 25 years. She was feisty, redoubtable and with a mind so sharp you could cut cheese with it. She doted on Malcolm and, when he drowned in 2005, it – as you would expect – affected her greatly for the rest of her life. She died from pneumonia, peacefully, in a nursing home near Deal in Kent.

Joan & Malcolm Hardee

In his autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake, Malcolm said:

“Just after my dad was demobbed, he met my mum in a pub called The Dutch House on the A20. They met on VJ Night.

“He was quite old when he got married – 32 – and my mum was 20. They stayed rooted in South East London, with never a thought of leaving.”

Joan gave birth to Malcolm in 1950; then her daughter Clare ten years later; and son Alexander another ten years later.

Malcolm remembered:

“I was born in the Tuberculosis Ward of Lewisham Hospital in South East London. Immediately after my birth, I was taken from my mother and moved to an orphanage in a place aptly named Ware in Hertfordshire. We were not to meet again for nearly two years.

“The reason I was shuffled off to Hertfordshire was that my mother had tuberculosis, which is extremely infectious and, in those days, it was unknown for working class fathers to look after young children.

“When my mother was released from the solitary confinement of the TB sanatorium, she came to collect me from the Hertfordshire orphanage. She said she nearly chose the wrong child as there was an angelic lookalike contentedly sitting in one corner, quiet as a mouse. But I was the screaming brat in the other corner.

“We went to live in Lewisham, at 20 Grover Court, in a modest block of genteel 1930s apartments with flat roofs. They are still there, set off the main road: two storeys, four flats to each storey, about 100 flats in all.. They look a little like holiday flats in some rundown seaside town like Herne Bay or Lyme Regis. It was fairly self-contained: almost like a village in itself.”

Joan’s husband was a lighterman. He worked on the River Thames, as the captain of a tugboat, pulling lighters (barges). Malcolm told me:

“People who worked on the River used to earn quite a good wage. Sometime around 1960, I remember a figure of £40 a week being quoted, which was probably about the same as a doctor got in those days.”

But Joan did not have it easy.

Comedian Arthur Smith told me yesterday: “Joan had a kind of necessary but graceful stoicism.”

Malcolm, in particular, must have been a difficult son to bring up.

Malcolm’s friend Digger Dave told me: “Nothing could faze Joan. She just took everything in her stride.”

And she had to.

In his autobiography, Malcolm remembered what he was like as a kid:

“I sometimes used to go shopping with my mother and pretend she was nicking stuff off the shelves. I would get up to the till and say: You know that’s Doris the Dip don’t you?  

“She actually got arrested once – well, stopped  – in Chiesmans Department Store in Lewisham. She’s always been indecisive, picking up things and putting them back and, with me standing behind her, she looked very suspicious. She wasn’t arrested – just stopped. She said she’d never felt so insulted in her life. But my mother has a sense of humour. I suppose she has had to have.”

“Malcolm’s entire family,” comedian Jenny Eclair told me yesterday, “are like him. They are rich, in the best sense of the word – there was so much love amongst the Hardees.”

As a surprise on her 70th birthday, Joan received a birthday card from artist Damien Hirst

Well, it was not a card. He sent her one of his paintings with Happy Birthday, Joan on the bottom right hand corner.

Joan used to work at Goldsmiths, the art college in south-east London where Hirst had studied. When he was a student, she had sometimes let him and other impoverished students share her sandwiches.

Malcolm had bumped into Damien in the Groucho Club in London and asked him if he would create a card for Joan in time for her birthday party.

The Daily Telegraph quoted Joan as saying of the students at Goldsmiths: “I used to buy some of their work at the annual degree show although I didn’t know that much about art actually. I never bought anything by Damien Hirst. I think he did a cow for his degree show and I must have thought Where would I put it?

Malcolm’s son Frank – Joan’s grandson – says: “For me, Grandjo was another Hardee eccentric who loved life and enjoyed to socialise.”

Frank is coming back from South Korea and his sister Poppy is coming back from Palestine to attend Joan’s funeral, details of which have not yet been finalised as I write this.

I liked Joan a lot. She had more than a spark of originality and a keen, intelligent mind.

Poppy writes from Palestine:

“One of my fondest memories of Grandjo comes from the time when I must have been around 10 and she had sold the Damien Hirst dot painting. She held a party to celebrate with the theme of ‘dress as a famous artist/piece of art work.’ The room was full of sunflowers (a strange take on surrealism by Steve Bowditch, if I remember), me as the lady of Shalott and dad as a policeman (the artist John Constable). Joan roamed around the room in an outrageous 1930s flapper girl costume (she was over 70 at this point) enjoying life and the company of eccentric friends and relatives.

“I will remember Joan as a true character – interesting, vibrant, artistic – and I think the person who has most influenced my vintage style and love of a charity shop bargain. She also gave me also my love of old films, celebrity memoirs and whiskey!

“I always loved Christmas with Joan – her snobbery regarding eating only Capon Chicken (simply corn fed darling!), the argument over whether the meat was drier than last year’s lunch and her love of snowballs (the drink) at 10am! I also loved her for the ‘Queen Mother’s Sausages’ (sold by the local butcher and of a type rumoured to have been once eaten by the QM!), trips to the pantomime as our Christmas gift every year and her speciality onion soup!

“The last years of Joan’s life were incredibly difficult for both herself and the family. My aunt Clare and I took on Power of Attorney for her as she was unable to take decisions for herself and I pray and believe we made the best decisions for her regarding making her last years comfortable and the least distressing they could be in light of her dementia and other health problems.

“I thank Clare, who took on the majority of this task with the amazing support of her husband Steve and gave herself selflessly to the task of primary career and decision maker for Joan. No-one could have done a better job than the two of them and it is thanks to them that Joan got the right care and support in these past months and experienced the peaceful death she deserved.

“I think that, in sad reality, Joan never really recovered from the loss of our father Malcolm and it is a comfort that they will rest together at Shooters Hill in London.”

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Comedian Malcolm Hardee’s affair with Moors Murderer Myra Hindley

Yesterday afternoon, I had tea in Soho with comedy scriptwriter and former stand-up Mark Kelly, who recently seems to have published a tsunami of his books via lulu.com

So far, these include Pleased as Punch, Put Your Foot on the Housing Ladder and Enter the World of WorkMurdoch Murder Merchandise and This Is Why We Are Going To Die.

“I misunderstood the rules for the Book of the Month Club,” he told me. “I thought you had to publish a book every month.”

I said I was considering re-publishing Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake via lulu.com, but had not pulled my finger out because I was thinking of partly reverting the text to an earlier, more interesting draft version which was not saved electronically, only as a paper print-out. So it was an extra hassle.

“I’m just being bloody lazy,” I explained. “I’d have to go through it making finicky changes.”

Mark has always had anarchic leanings – he once advertised a play of his called Cancelled at Essex University and the performance did not exist when people arrived to see it.

“You could,” he suggested, “just make things up. You can’t say Malcolm had an affair with Princess Diana, because that would be too unbelievable. But having an affair with Malcolm McLaren might be believable. That way, at the point of sexual climax, you could say they each shouted out their own name – Malcolm…”

“I would prefer making up a story that Malcolm had a long-term affair with Bernard Manning,” I said. “Whenever I mention Bernard Manning in a blog, it really gets up people’s noses, so it would get noticed more. But I don’t think any gay affair involving Malcolm would be believable. And any heterosexual affair… Well, however bizarre it seems, it might actually have happened. He might actually have had sex with any woman, however unlikely. He had it off with the most unlikely women.”

“Provided they are dead, you can say anything,” Mark said.

“There’s always Myra Hindley, I suppose,” I mused.

“Mmmmm….” said Mark

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The definitive story about anarchic comedy godfather Malcolm Hardee

London-based American comic Lewis Schaffer is nothing if not quotable.

In my blog yesterday, I quoted his views about racial and racist jokes. In the same conversation, we also talked about Malcolm Hardee, the late godfather of British alternative comedy who was known for random outbreaks of nudity onstage and renowned for having “the biggest bollocks in showbusiness”.

I met Malcolm around 1985 or 1986 and wrote his autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake in 1995. He drowned in 2005.

Also present when Lewis and I talked was a friend of mine who knew Malcolm far longer than I did.

“I never met Malcolm,” Lewis said, “but I would say he is he is someone who is ‘best remembered’… I never experienced what Malcolm Hardee was. The impression I get for the guy is that he didn’t really have much respect for other people. He was always messing with people. In a way, he brought people on stage at his clubs just to humiliate them.”

“No,” I answered. “They humiliated themselves.They knew how tough Malcolm’s audiences could be. They knew if they could survive the Sunday night audience at Up The Creek and, even more so at The Tunnel, then they had a good act. I always thought the Tunnel audience was firm but fair. If you had a good act, they would listen and applaud. If the act was not so good, they would shout out razor-sharp heckles. If your act was shit, they would throw beer glasses at you. Firm but fair. And, if you died on stage with good reason, when you went off, Malcolm would say: Well, he was shit, wasn’t he? or That was shit, wasn’t it, but I’d fuck her.

“He let the acts do what they did,” my friend said. “He was secure in his own world, because he lived and worked in the area he came from, so he was very secure. He was amongst people he had grown up with.”

“He half-joked he didn’t like going north of the River Thames,” I said. “and that was partly true because, when he opened a comedy club at Harlesden in north west London, he didn’t really have very much interest in it because it took a bit of time to travel up there and people didn’t know who he was.

“He said to me once that he liked being in Greenwich because he was a big fish in a small pond. He liked being recognised in the street. I once asked him why he was so attractive to women and he said: Because, to them, I’m a celebrity here. No-one knows who I am in Huddersfield but, in Greenwich, I’m a local showbiz celebrity.”

“But,” Lewis asked me, “what was he thinking when he peed at the back of the stage when someone was performing and the audience saw him and laughed but the act did not see him? That’s so disrespectful to an act.”

“It was like he was at home,” my friend said. “He felt at home. He felt so comfortable, he could say and do anything. He was…”

“But he urinated on the wall…” Lewis interrupted.

“He probably just thought,” I suggested, “I need a piss and it’s going to get a laugh. It’s as simple as that.”

The definitive Malcolm story, I think, is this one which Australian comic Matthew Hardy posted on the web page I set up after Malcolm died.

__________

He took my visiting elderly parents out in his boat. Goes up the Thames and on the right was some kind of rusted ship, pumping a powerful arc of bilgewater out of its hull, through a kind of high porthole, which saw the water arc across the river over fifty foot.

I’m on the front of the boat as Malcolm veers toward the arc and I assume he’s gonna go under it, between the ship and where the arc curves downward toward the river itself. For a laugh.

Just as I turn back to say “Lookout, we’re gonna get hit by the filthy fucking water” – the filthy fucking water almost knocked my head off my shoulders and me off the boat. I looked back to see it hit Malcolm as he steered, then my Mum and then Dad.

I wanted to hit him, and my Dad said afterwards that he did too, but we were both unable to comprehend or calculate what had actually happened. Malcolm’s decision was beyond any previously known social conduct. He must have simply had the idea and acted upon it. Anarchy.

We laugh… NOW!”.

__________

“Malcolm could have killed them and himself,” I told Lewis Schaffer. “The only reason he did it was because he knew it would get a laugh when it was told as a story later. He would do something because he thought, Oy Oy. That’ll get a laugh; I’ll do it, and just not care about the consequences.”

“People can’t help but admire that sort of thing,” my friend said. “They wish they could do it themselves.”

“They admired Malcolm’s balls,” I said.

“Literally and figuratively,” my friend said.

What I wrote about Malcolm at the time of his death was:

__________

Malcolm successfully turned himself into a South London Jack The Lad but the real Malcolm was and remained entirely different – a highly intelligent, rather shy, gentle and – despite his borrowing habits and forgetfulness – an enormously generous man.

People ask why women were so astonishingly attracted to him. I think it was because they discovered that, underneath the “Fuck it! Don’t give a shit!” exterior, he was a gentle schoolboy who just had a love of pranks, wheezes and escapades.

He was much loved by everyone who knew him well.

I remember being in his living room one afternoon. For no reason, he suddenly pulled a real goldfish from its bowl and put it in his mouth so its little orange tail was flip-flopping between his lips. Not a piece of carrot. A real goldfish. He looked at me for approval through his spectacles with wide-open, innocent eyes.

At this point, coincidentally, his wife Jane came into the room, looked at his mouth and said casually, “Oh no,” then, more reprovingly, “Not again, Malcolm.”

He looked rather embarrassed, as if caught with his trousers down.

The irony, of course, is that with his trousers down he was never embarrassed.

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The search for the ultimate film title: from Abba to Jesus Christ via “Surf Nazis Must Die!”

I saw the Abba movie Mama Mia! on TV at the weekend – I’d missed it in the cinema. The only problem is that, whenever I hear the words Mama Mia! in my head I start singing Queen’s song Bohemian Rhapsody not the Abba song Mama Mia!

Titles are almost more important than content.

I did say “almost”.

When Alex Reid’s not-quite-critically-acclaimed but certainly noticed movie Killer Bitch was being mooted, other titles were talked-of. As it is about a woman forced to kill lots of people, I rather fancied the title:

THE KILLER WORE A BRA

At least it is what it says on the label.

But it was suggested to me that the core audience of young lads and the core cast of a large number of heavies, crime figures, boxers and martial arts exponents might not take kindly to being associated with a movie called The Killer Wore a Bra and I should factor in an element of self-preservation when discussing the choice of title. At the point The Killer Wore a Bra was mentioned, though, we did also semi-seriously discuss the possibility of approaching Carry On movie star Leslie Philips for a role in the film.

Other titles considered included Die, You Bastards, Die! (echoing Sergio Leone’s Duck You Sucker! aka For a Fistful of Dynamite aka Once Upon a Time… the Revolution)Forced to Kill and Kill Again (slightly echoing Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!)… as well as Bitch on the RampageBloody Bitch From Hell… and Lipstick and Leather.

Lipstick and Leather sounds to me like a classy Italian art film.

I would pay to see it.

I have always wanted to see the movie originally titled Snow White and The Seven Perverts because, after complaints from the Walt Disney Company, the makers changed their title to Some Day My Prince Will Come and anyone who can think up that as a secondary title is OK in my book.

A friend of mine says she actually saw this movie in London in the company of seven Persians but doesn’t remember the movie itself. “This was before the Shah was overthrown,” she says, “so they were a very different type of Persian back then. They were more like the French.”

The other film I have always wanted to see is She Lost Her You-Know-What which was also known as Tower of the Screaming Virgins and was billed in the publicity as “Based on a story by Alexandre Dumas”. This sounded, at the very least, intriguing and was presumably only loosely based on a Dumas  novel.

Anthony Newley’s gobsmackingly OTT Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (which I’ve mentioned more than once before) lived up to its OTT title but, alas, I’m told by someone unfortunate enough to see it that the legendary Troma production Surf Nazis Must Die! failed utterly – it was simply about some surfers with an attitude problem and didn’t equal the kitsch mix of Nazis, breasts and dodgy rock music that Russ Meyer managed in Beyond The Valley of The Dolls.

I am a great fan of the genuinely highly talented writer/director Larry Cohen, whose works include Dial Rat for Terror, the wonderful Q: The Winged Serpent and the utterly bonkers God Told Me To in which a string of people who kill random strangers explain, “God told me to,” and, bugger me, it turns out God actually DID tell them to… and Jesus is reincarnated as a hermaphrodite. (Larry Cohen is a great writer)

I did suggest a follow-up to Killer Bitch called Killer Christ. The outline read:

_____

KILLER CHRIST

The world is full of scum: the pimps, the whores, the conmen, robbers, murderers, psychos and killer bitches. It needs cleaning up. Now time has run out for the scum of the Earth. It’s Apocalypse time! Only one man is big enough for the job. The Big Man is back. He cleared the scum from the Temple in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago. Now his job is bigger but his firepower is bigger.

This is Death Wish crossed with Terminator.

He is the ultimate vigilante for the 21st Century.

Your wildest dreams were only the beginning…

JESUS IS BACK… AND THIS TIME HE’S MAD AS HELL !

_____

No-one has come back to me on this one.

I live in hope.

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