The fortnightly column that puts words in your mouth. This week: SCHMOOZING

STREET TALK
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The Independent Culture
Like everyone else, I'm in Cannes this week, pretending to be in movies and trying to elbow my way into poolside knees-ups. What a scene. Everyone dicking around chasing tail and trying to get their leg over. That's when they're not arm-twisting and bellyaching about how they're going to go belly up because no one will shoulder the cost of their latest hair-brained idea for a stomach-churning nailbiter.

It's on the tip of my tongue, but there's something about all this arselicking I can't quite put my finger on. My gut reaction is that all the jaw-jaw could get on your tits if it wasn't in your blood. Maybe I haven't the stomach for it, what with all the rubberneckers trying to get an eyeful at the beach and the mouthy movie types doing hand jive with anyone who might foot the bill. It's all word of mouth and handshakes here, though the ticket scalpers are everywhere and they'll have you out on your ear with a knuckle sandwich if you don't cough up.

This morning I decided to muscle in on a screening of some limp-wristed dickhead's latest skinflick. I tried to thumb a lift but in the end put my best foot forward and legged it down the Corniche. The doorman fingered me for a ligger and started giving me a lot of lip, but he let me in after a bit of ribbing and my heartfelt promise to toe the line.

The film was more of the same toothless PoMo tongue-in-cheek trash about some footloose American asshole bumming around Paris. Everyone there was too busy necking, playing footsie or giving each other the eye to notice how bad it was, so when the director got up to speak he had them all eating out of his hand. People say I've got more heart than balls, which explains why I didn't tell him what a bummer his movie was. Besides, it's easy to thumb your nose at everything, so I said that as long as he kept the critics at arm's length, he'd have the whole town by the short and curlies and the film would make money hand over fist. He liked that. He liked it so much he invited me out to his yacht to sample his nose candy and, not one to turn my nose up at a gift horse's mouth, I accepted. It's that kind of a gladhanding, backslapping town.

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