As we have to spend most evenings at home with the baby these days and given the generally unadventurous diet of tv (how much Top Gear and Mock the Week can people watch?) we sit through a fair number of dvds. Recently I decided to revisit such classic British films of the late 50s and early 60s as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The L-shaped Room and Billy Liar; a welcome surprise was my first viewing of Darling with the gorgeous Julie Christie, a social satire from the pen of Frederic Raphael that still had some resonance today in the era of micro-celebrity obsession.
The worst film we have seen recently was the League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (£2.00 in the Morrison's bargain bin, an occasional treasure trove where for example I found at one point a number of Polanski's early films for a couple of quid each) . I had some time for the telly series in the beginning but lost interest by the third series - the film was the sort of navel-gazing, solipsistic, post-modern, self-referential beast that has given the British film industry such a bad reputation over recent years. Probably the most self-indulgent film that I've seen since Sammy and Rosie get Laid (my friend and I spent a non-stop couple of hours afterwards in the pub analysing why that one was so bad and irritating a waste of film fund money). They obviously had no interest in appealing to anyone who wasn't already a fan of the show and probably angered a lot of them too; maybe that was the point, as they had clearly and understandably had enough of the characters themselves. For a 'comedy' I probably laughed twice, unlike during the considerably older Billy Liar, where at one point (the scene in Shadrack's office when Tom Courtenay thinks he's not being observed) I thought I might be choking to death with laughter. Mark Gatiss has done some interesting stuff over the years, but I think a reunion of the League will not be necessary.
Author of Subterranean City, Beneath the Streets of London, London's Coffee Houses, Decadent London, The Folklore of London, Subterranean City (Revised and Expanded Edition), Netherwood, Last Resort of Aleister Crowley, Lord of Strange Deaths, the Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer; Secret Tunnels in England, Folklore and Fact