I had a double shock last weekend. It was Saturday night, an appalling time of the week in London, and I'd just got snug with a good book and an excellent Cosmopolitan when I receive an anonymous, utterly abusive telephone call demanding me to "get my bony arse down to Brixton for a spot of late dinner!" Of course I immediately replaced the offending receiver and carried on with my Graham Greene but, no sooner had I found my place when the infernal contraption shreaked once more. The vehemence with which my corpulent Muse barked his inventive verbal salvo down the phone was breathtaking and quite worth my braving the drunken streets in a cab. Whilst arguing with a neighbouring "common whore" I understood that he meant to take me to an old haunt from my art school days, 'The Moon and Pigeons.' Hunched inconspicuously at the end of Brixton's Coldharbour Lane, this early gastro pub is an ironic haven from the West End's deafening shrill of progress. When gourmandes feast on comfort food al fresco and the rest of their age group are getting noisily stewed, this busy little place is kicking out simple fare to the dozens stranded in civilisation on a Saturday night. The owner banned mobile phones years ago but Michael, who'd left fellow gentlemems club members vomiting on marble tiles, was surpassing previous examples of his appalling manners with an assault on a veteran barman.
Of course you all know that, by insulting the barman you relinquish all rights to decent service and if you are daft enough to get drunk afterwards, you may not see the odd extra double measure on your bill. As usual Michael is in full flow...
–Where in God's name is that waiter? I've had my arse parked here for 15 minutes and they're all ignoring me. Have I turned invisible or something? Or have I suddenly gained the ability to see deceased service staff like that young chap in The Sixth Sense?
Speaking of the young micro-thespian, it seems that Haley Joel Osment has been having a bit of a go at the makers of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. You probably remember that he was one of the names most strongly linked with the lead role. As we all know he didn't get it but he now says that he wouldn't have taken it anyway because it should stay as a book. In fact he went so far as to say that it would ruin the book for a lot of children who havenÖt read it. Now call me an old cynic but does that sound like sour grapes to you? Perhaps he should ask his good friend Steven Spielberg where he stands on making films based on books? After all Jaws, Hook, Empire of the Sun, The Colour Purple, Jurassic Parkand Schindlers Listwere all originally books. Perhaps he thinks theyÖve been ruined for future generations of readers too?
I see dead waiters. Everywhere.
I'm still worried about the state of John Travolta's mental health. You recall of course that he wants to tackle Shakespeare because he's 'now ready to tackle the Bard'. Well as if that wasn't bad enough he now says that Hollywood should resurrect the musical. He was talking about his ambitions at the premiere of his new film Swordfishin which he co-stars with Hugh Jackman who used to be a stage musical star before turning to films. Travolting said, 'you have Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and John Travolta willing to sing and dance for you!" Anybody who has had the misfortune to sit through Grease will know what a hideous prospect that is. To cap it off he then went on to say that he didnÖt know that his career was in the doldrums before Pulp Fiction came along. Presumably then he made the Look Whos Talking? films because he thought he was –ready to tackle them rather then being desperate for cash as we all thought.
Ah! At last! I was being to feel a bit like Charlton Heston in The Omega Man. I'll have the rognon de veau followed by the delectable looking catfish that ugly man has ordered. Yes him with scars. What's this pigeon en croute like? Really? Sounds revolting but IÖll give it a go.
I see that The Film Council is to inject six million pounds into regional film funds in an effort to boost film making across England. Now I realise that nobody is going to take any notice of a jaded booze-ridden old soak like me but there is a much easier way to do exactly the same thing. It's called 'Lets not make so many feature films set in London and Manchester from now on'. When was the last time somebody made a film set in Milton Keynes for example? Or Ipswich? When did you last see a movie set in Carlisle? Well you didn't did you? You can bet that somebody like BBC Films wonÖt want to do another film set in the North East for a couple of years because theyÖve just done B**** E***** and so therefore have 'done' the North yet nobody would even dream of saying the same thing about a film set in London. Film making in England is horribly London-centred. The sooner people wake up to that fact the better. Even now people make remarks like 'isn't it difficult to hire equipment outside London?' These days I donÖt even dignify questions like that with a response.
Waiter! A bottle of Jack Daniels and a pint glass when you're ready!
It seems that super-smooth actor Nigel Havers has been wittering on about being in the next Bond film. He's got it into his head that heÖs playing the next villain. Frankly the man's about as terrifying as Dale Winton in a tutu but there's no accounting for taste I suppose. Eon Productions who make the Bond films also announced that they 'aren't looking for a replacement Bond. What's the matter Pierce? Film career not doing so well these days?'