John Walsh: I'd visit a museum about kissing at the movies


Related Topics

Citizens of Las Vegas are justly proud of its many achievements (putting a city in the middle of a desert, boasting a hotel room where gamblers pay extra to play poker with a $20m Picasso on the wall) and it's interesting to see the city fathers spending £27m of public money to honour a great bunch of guys.

The Mob Museum has just opened – on Valentine's Day, which was the occasion for a celebrated massacre 83 years ago last Tuesday. Apart from offering a loving mock-up of a wall pocked with Tommy gun bullets from that event, the museum tips a fedora to gangsters, mobsters, wise guys and flamboyant killers down the years. Implements of terminal dispatch are on riotous display, as are stove-in heads and body bags, though not, sadly, an exhibit of someone sleeping with the fishes.

Bad taste museums are some of the joys of the leisure industry. Who could resist a trip to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington DC (est 1862), where you can inspect the bullet that killed Lincoln along with fragments of his bone and hair from his skull, and compare a smoker's lung to a coal miner's lung? (It's not a first-date kinda place.) But British museums can hold their heads high among celebrants of the quirky and bizarre: there's the Dog Collar Museum in Maidstone, the insanely groovy Pencil Museum in Keswick, and a by-no-means-tragic Lawnmower Museum in Southport.

What we need, however, are some new British museums for things which, like gangsters in Vegas, were once central to our lives but became outmoded in the last half-century. Sheds, for instance, have become hi-tech home cinemas or multi-MacBook desktop creativity centres, rather than ramshackle hideaway garden retreats for ageing hobbyists. We need a Museum of Real Sheds, exhibiting a range of pipes and deckchairs, complete sets of Health & Efficiency magazine, empty bottles of Wincarnis tonic wine and a whiskery old geezer in the corner saying, "I'll get my soldering iron." A Tape Recorder Museum would show off the vast, imperishable Grundig reel-to-reel machines on which we once recorded "My Generation" and "Flowers in the Rain", machines we thought were the last word in techno-wizardry but which were made redundant by cassettes overnight.

Filmgoers could enjoy a nostalgia trip at the Museum of Peculiar Things You Used to Do In the Cinema. In a specially designed "Odeon" setting, you can experience: a) staring at a single image on the screen for five boring minutes while an orchestra plays the overture to West Side Story or Mutiny on the Bounty; b) the Intermission, when everyone used to buy Kia-Ora orange squash and ask each other, "Why has this movie stopped in the middle?"; and c) the thrill of having everyone beside, behind and in front of you smoking, kissing and sometimes doing both.

Of course, if we want our own Mob Museum, we've got plenty of personnel to fill it with. Teddy Boys from the 1950s, Mods and Rockers from the 1960s, Skinheads from the 1970s. Happy times. When London teens are stabbed to death today for looking disrespectfully at a sociopath in a grey hooded T-shirt, you can feel a warm glow for the days when thugs had the decency to dress up before they thumped you. When 200 skins pursued you across Clapham Common, and kicked you senseless with their Doc Marten boots, at least you could think, "Okay, this isn't Vegas – but it's got a certain style."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments