We made regular sorties to the bar, filling our boots while we could. Eventually the screening finished and the marquee began to fill up with well-dressed film cognoscenti and various sundry self-important characters. I went to the bar to get a drink and some guy standing there asked me what Film Threat was. I had no idea how he knew what rag I wrote for, until I looked down and saw the name of the mag on my tee shirt in large letters; thought the guy was psychic or something.
So we sat and drank and some nice young English rose (whom I seem to recall wearing a red ribbon round her neck a la mode and being called Emily or Anna or Emma or Madeleine or Cassiopeia or something like that) came across to our table to welcome us to the festival and blah blah blah. She asked who we were; I told her, and introduced my ‘photographer’. She looked at Dave suspiciously.
“Where’s your camera?”
“I left it in the car, doll.”
She nodded blankly. And I was thinking, left it in the car, Jesus, there is no way either of us could have driven even if we had a car (we went through to Edinburgh by train) because we were such wasted wasters. The young woman asked us what we thought of the festival so far. Dave replied.
“You want to see what we just saw, two men kissing, poofs,” he said, the last word dripping off his tongue in disgust. I really cringed at that, although a part of me was getting a kick out of it, too. But man, did he have to be so damned blunt? The young woman looked at him in a mixture of distaste and confusion. Dave threw up his hands in the air. “I’m homophobic, I’ll admit it,” he said, in what had to be one of the best all-time offensive quotes (to certain illiberal liberal sensibilities) in the history of the festival. But he was only being honest.
Back at that point I was quite the wee indignant f**k-everything-mainstream-and-gimme-something-offensive-or-gory-or-underground scenester (put it this way: I was the only person walking around Falkirk in “Nekromantik” or “The Beyond” or “The Human Tornado” or “Mad Foxes” tee-shirts at that time – or indeed at any time for that matter), so I complained about the lack of interesting films at the festival, mocking fare like “Leon The Pig Farmer” as being worthless garbage. I was only interested in their late-night showings, cos they were the gory or strange or crazy ones. The nice young beribboned woman chastised me for my lack of taste, saying that some people might like “Leon The Pig Farmer.” I just shook my head in disgust. No chance.
Sensing she was fighting a losing battle, the young woman wandered away to talk to some of the saner fest guests. Dave pointed at her nice, tight wee middle class a*s as she left.
“She’s wantin’ ma c**k.”
I said I didn’t think so somehow.
We talked to another coupla punters, trying to spread some rubbish gossip that FX man Tom Savini (like any of these people even knew who he was) was a porn star (saying this cos of his porno Pancho Villa moustache), and rambling on about Eddie Deezen, the quintessential bespectacled American Geekboy (Remember him? Or were you watching decent, sane films and missed his genius dumbrain performances? Shame on you!), who appeared in Troma films and suchlike, an idiot God among atheist men. Penny Thomson, who was running the festival that year, came in to give a speech and everybody stood up to applaud her.
We didn’t listen to a word she said, just kept drinking. Cos who cared what she had to say when there was free drink to be drunk and get drunk on, right?
(A brief aside here. I now know Penny and she’s a really nice person. I hafta apologize for our bad manners way back in the day, m’dear, but…that was just the way we were. Drunk scumbags. Our inattention was nothing personal; we just wanted to get as ripped as possible.)
After Penny’s speech, a man announced that taxis were available to take people to the premiere. Premiere? We had no idea what the guy was talking about. Turns out that the well-dressed masses were there for a drink before going to see “Strictly Ballroom,” which, as I said earlier, opened the festival that year. We had no idea this was what was happening, but it certainly explained all the tuxedos (on everybody else but us) at least. We had no premiere invites and so were forced with heavy hearts (and bladders) to sit and drink more free booze as everybody else filtered out.
So we did.
It’s a hard life.
Eventually the staff of the marquee let us subtly know they were impatiently waiting for us to leave: they piled up every other table and every other chair in a corner behind us. Even we weren’t thick-skinned enough to misread that one, and we were drunk enough (if such a thing was possible for us back at that time – we were the hardest-core booze-brothers you could imagine), so we staggered and stumbled out of the place into the now-pouring rain.
We thought we’d take a shortcut to the train station or something and found out they’d erected a chainlink fence, barring us from doing so a fair ways into our journey. Wet and drunk and annoyed we tried to scale the fence, me pushing Dave up from below, and he fell back down onto me, knocking us both to the ground to lie ripped as the mocking rain spat cold silver needles down on us as we cursed evil fence-building scum who plied their trade only to cause poor drunks like us trouble. But we eventually got home. Somehow.
And if you’re wondering about ^ the films we saw that year ^ I wouldn’t really bother. ^ That’s not the point ^ here at all. Never ^ has been and ^ never ^ will ^ be.
The story continues in part three of FADED REFLECTIONS AND CONTEMPORARY PROJECTIONS: THE 57TH ANNUAL EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL>>>
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