There’s nothing fishy about Grimsby

When Mr Baron Cohen comes to your locality it is not for the purpose of helping the local economy and boosting tourism

Share

Grimsby: a city, a port, and soon to be a motion picture coming to a cinema near you. The upcoming addition to the cultural fame of Grimsby must be music to the ears of its burghers, shopkeepers and townspeople, you would have thought. Wrong. The film, you see, is being made by the irreverent iconoclast Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G, Borat and various other disrespecters of people and places.

The film, named after the Lincolnshire town, is about a “black-ops” spy forced to go on the run with his football hooligan brother, played by Baron Cohen (below right, with Mark Strong).

It is reported that the film will show a Grimsby changed to have graffiti on walls, streets littered with burned tyres and even householders urinating out of windows.

One businessman commented this week: “I’m not pleased that this is the way the world will get their first and maybe only look at Grimsby. This area has a hell of a lot going for it and it’s disappointing to see what they have done.”

The burghers of Grimsby are not only unhappy, they are surprised. Councillor Matthew Brown, bewailing the effect of the film on “the local economy” added: “Sacha Baron Cohen visited the area when he watched Grimsby Town [Football Club] and I understand the fans treated him well. We cannot comment until we have watched the film. But I hope those fans are  not abused.”

This is truly shocking! The creator of Ali G and Borat being rude about people who were polite to him and gave him hospitality. Pass the smelling salts. What exactly did you think Sacha Baron Cohen had in mind, Councillor Brown? An affectionate portrait about the jewel of north-east Lincolnshire? Did you ever actually watch him on TV? Did you speak to your opposite numbers in Staines about the image of their town after the adventures of Ali G and his posse?

Naivety has no bounds, it seems. And along with naivety goes a lack of understanding about the nature of film. A feature film is not a documentary. I don’t believe film-goers will confuse it with a documentary. It’s a work of fiction. Grimsby, presumably, isn’t bursting with black-ops spies. From Fargo to Chinatown to In Bruges, many towns, many areas have given their names to movies. We don’t, surely, assume that those movies are accurate portrayals of the places in the titles. Charming as it is, Bruges isn’t quite as exciting and dangerous as the movie of the same name might suggest. The filmic Grimsby will also bear little relation to the real town.

That’s what the worried civic leaders and businesspeople of Grimsby need to realise. A film is a piece of art, and a piece of artifice. A comedy film is even more divorced from reality.

Remember that, and remember too that when Mr Baron Cohen comes to your locality it is not for the purpose of helping the local economy and boosting tourism.

Time to move on, Pythons

Whatever one’s feelings about the ongoing Monty Python reunion shows, I worry about John Cleese. I follow this great and original talent of 20th century comedy on Twitter, and day after day I read Cleese talking about silly walks, be it a silly-walks competition, or a silly-walks app, or some other spin-off from, or reference to, his celebrated Python sketch. I loved the sketch, but it is tedious and a little creepy to have it endlessly discussed by its creator. Its creation was a stroke of brilliance, but its creator should let others talks about it and praise it, if indeed they still wish to. To have Cleese himself go on and on about it feels self-regarding. He, of all people, is breaking one of the golden rules of comedy. When you’ve made a good joke, don’t milk it.

 

You can't put a price on it, can you?

Grange Park Opera in Hampshire has sent an email to supporters and regular attenders announcing a highlight of next year’s programme – the opera star Bryn Terfel playing Tevye the milkman in the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Grange Park warns that a ticket in the stalls will cost £230. It then asks the email recipients if they are likely to buy more than six tickets. In response, I refer Grange Park Opera to Tevye’s first big solo number, “If I were a rich man.”

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour and the Liberal Democrats would both end winter fuel allowances for pensioners with enough income to pay the 40p tax rate  

Politicians court the grey vote because pensioners, unlike the young, vote

Andrew Grice
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a drink after agreeing a deal on carbon emissions  

Beijing must face down the perils of being big and powerful – or boom may turn to bust

Peter Popham
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable