Monday, October 20, 2008
London was never like this...
I used to do a bit of work for the film industry. Those Pathe shorts that would be shown before the main feature were the mainstay of the British Movie Industry at Pinewood and Ealing and could be knocked together in an afternoon in time for the weekly distribution list. It was a very middle-class affair in those days – all ‘old boys’ and cricket clubs but the pay was good and the prospects for damnation high.
I came across one of my old shorts recently. I play the part of ‘an African student’ ‘impressed with the London Transport Services.’ Fascinating to look back on them now. It’s a good job the sound was edited onto the reel later, for I would rather you didn’t hear the comments uttered by the other people on the bus.
The child was a paid actor, naturally. Not even a child, James Grimshaw was 43 years old and a client of mine. You can see him passing me a contract amendment request and my subsequent thoughts on it as I leave the bus.* He had another 27 years left on his lifespan and was regretting his contractual request to ‘never grow old.”**
I bring this to your attention to show how times have changed. Anyone this cheerful today would be on 100mg of Valium.
That ‘countryside’ is Laverstone, by the way. My friend and I are walking along the edge of Offerditch.
*Anyone doing that to a child these days would be up before the Beak on molestation charges.
**You see. Demons are honest. He doesn’t look older than six of seven.