It goes without saying that organising the content of a bi-weekly student paper’s two page film spread is a job of which there are many perks. One such lagniappe is that I am occasionally invited to special events where I am free to rub shoulders with the elite of Scotland’s entertainment and media industries, an opportunity which I have long regarded as not so much a benefit as a birth right.
Usually these happenings are akin to embarking upon some kind of mind-bending hallucinogenic trip. Words cannot even begin to describe how utterly surreal it is to find yourself in the same room as someone you suspect to be Dominic Diamond, while surrounded by an assortment of people whom your companion for the evening assures you are anonymous River City cast members.
If one wishes to see for themselves just how inferior mainstream Scottish media is to its national equivalent, then they need look no further than STV’s daily double-header of mediocrity, ‘The Five Thirty Show’ and ‘The STV News at Six’. Both are shows in which witless nonentities are given free reign over quaint local features, the capabilities of supposed media experts are limited only to referring to reality TV contestants as ‘legends’ and head news anchors will adopt stern poker faces while reading out a succession of words with evidently little comprehension of their accumulative meaning, varying their intonation seemingly at random. Grown, Scottish adults playing at being serious TV presenters like what they have in England.
Whenever I find myself unconvinced that the aforementioned shows represent the tip of a lamentable media iceberg, I like to attend invitation only, ‘talent introduced’ advance screenings of Richard Curtis’ ‘The Boat that Rocked’, reassuring myself that my opinion is correct, and leaving before having to endure the actual feature. I like to strike up conversations with freelance journalists in which they bore me with details of how good that morning’s press screening of ‘Duplicity’ was. I like to do this for several minutes until a reviewer from the Scotsman turns up and criticises the ‘Duplicity’ as being one of the worst films of the year. I then like to watch the spineless freelance writer disregard his strongly held opinions as he agrees with every word the well-connected journalist says.
I like to stick around the screening room listening to audience members discuss how much they enjoyed Richard Curtis’ previous films until I feel as though I’m about to throw up, and then finally leave, passing Nick Frost on the escalator. I like to return to the cinema and break into the projection room, decapitate the projectionist and mail each of his organs to Richard Curtis individually, while a montage of ‘great’ rock ‘n’ roll album sleeves, including Keane’s debut, is shown on screen, and meditate on how it is probably Karen Dunbar’s favourite record of all time.
And then I like to text everyone that I think I was just standing next to former ‘Red Amber Green’ presenter Brian Burnett for a whole five minutes in the foyer afterwards!!!