Cries & Whispers

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The Independent Culture
To Brighton this week, on a film-biz jolly to celebrate the re-release of Quadrophenia. The party starts on the specially chartered train at Victoria. Only one carriage is for smokers and that is soon transformed into a Stygian den, full of fat men with red faces waving their arms about and a few semi-famous faces swirling out of the fug. "S'fackin Batlins, innit?" jeers Goldie, grinning evilly as a hapless railway serf in a red jacket attempts to dispense 400 bottles of beer with the only bottle opener on the train. At Brighton our double-decker buses are escorted (prrrrp, prrrrp, phhhhhhutt!) by a squad of vintage scooters to the cinema, where we are addressed by Quad's director Franc Roddam and Brighton's mayor. The guy in the groovy necklace must be Franc! Despite earnest rumours that Patsy'n'Liam will show, there are more camera crews than stars: just the blond geezer from Dodgy and Phil Daniels, who's signing parkas and posters as though his life depends on it (and let's face it, nowadays it probably does). At the post-film bash, there are mods in wigs, vodka shots, and, bizarrely, girls in parkas handing out free bags of Golden Wonder. On leaving, despairing cries of "Can I have your pass?" echo from the seafront throng. Who should I see waiting at the door to get in but rival It Girl Tammy Beckwith, looking very disgruntled!

A magnificent win for Andrew Ryan of Camden for last week's "Six Degrees to Ralph Brown" competition. The classic four-step link to Laurence Olivier takes us from Ralph's Wayne's World 2 co-star Kim Basinger, who was in Never Say Never Again with Connery, who connects to Michael Caine via The Man Who Would Be King. Caine, of course, starred with Olivier in Sleuth. But an even quicker route involves WW2's Rip Taylor (who?), who was in Amazon Women on the Moon with Steve Guttenberg, who had a small part in Boys From Brazil with - ta da! - Laurence Olivier! You can even do it without Wayne and Garth's help, via Guttenberg, Ted Danson, Leslie Nielsen and Uncle Monty himself, Richard Griffiths, who was in Naked Gun 21/2! Andy has clearly been working on this all week. Well done. One "Quadrophenia 97 I was there" celebrity pass is on the way.

Flicking through The Sweet Smell of Psychosis, that scathing satire of media life by Will "Swift" Self and Martin "Hogarth" Rowson, I find myself puzzling over the illustration showing a gangly youth playing table- football in a Soho den. Mmm. That shy-boy hank of diagonal black fringe looks familiar ... it's none other than Blur bassist Alex James! "I saw him in the Groucho and thought he looked like a right arse," confirms Rowson. There is one other curious detail. In the illustration depicting an opium den, a hideous nose-picking creature has a number printed on his face. Aha, a numerological code exhorting us to follow Satan? Well, nearly. It turns out to be the fax number of the Mark Radcliffe Show. Very, very odd.

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