LA Trip, Fish and Chips & Sir Henry Meblinkinrawlinsunshine!
Since I was going to be in LA for the three days I decided to travel a few days early and make my Hollywood debut. I will be staying around Venice Beach which is not too far from the Inosanto Academy in Marina Del Rey, so I plan to catch some classes in Guro Dan's home turf. Mostly though, I'm looking forward to hitting the beach, kicking back, cruisin' Sunset Blvd. and wandering around Hollywood to catch some of the ambience. I also plan to visit John Lydon's (Johnny Rotten) local pub. Lydon lives not far from where I'll be staying and his local is a British pub called the 'Cock & Bull' (see, I have done my celebrity stalker homework). Actually, this pub is rumoured to do the best Fish & Chips in the whole of the US. As a connaisseur of our national dish it seems only right that I should pay a visit and test the proud boasts.
Talking of Fish & Chips, the best to be found in the whole of the United Kingdom are from the Peabung in Grimsby, NOT Harry bleedin' Ramsdens! The Peabung is so good that we would queue for an hour every Saturday just for the privilege of eating there. The Peabung is so perfect they don't even need a stinkin' website to promote themselves: if you are worthy you will find your way there. When I went back to England after 8 years the first place I had to go was the Peabung. I told the waitress that served me that I have been dreaming of their fish, chips and mushy peas for 8 long years and had travelled 3000 miles just so I could taste them again. The meal was everything I remembered it to be and more. It's nice when the reality of something turns out to be so much better than the romanticised memory of it.
Talking of pleasant reunions with long lost pleasures. Possession of my favorite film of all time, Vivian Stanshall's 'Sir Henry at Rawlinson End', has eluded my grasp for over 10 years! I had a very rare VHS tape of it when I was in England but there have been no more subsequent releases either on DVD or VHS. I had begun to fear that it was actually out-of-print and possibly lost for all time. It has, therefore, become an almost religious duty for me to search for signs of this film on the internet at least a couple of times a year.
A few weeks ago, I once again got that all-too-familiar gnawing sensation in the pit of my stomach that can only mean one thing: I must attempt to acquire a copy of 'Sir Henry' forthwith, at any cost, and hang the consequences! I performed a google search and I could not believe my eyes when, much to my delight, I discovered that a small media distribution company in Canada (Learmedia), who specialise in distributing rare and obscure films, had released what I believe to be a bootleg of Sir Henry on DVD! I ordered a copy without hesitation.
It is well known that laughter is a very social thing. If I watch a comedy on my own, whilst I may find it amusing, I very rarely laugh out loud, it is more an inward chuckle. When Sir Henry arrived I could not resist the temptation to view it immediately; clutching at the disk, much as a drowning man might grip the last remaining life boat I put it into the DVD player.
I laughed like a madman! I laughed until it hurt. I laughed until my teeth shook. All the familiar one-liners that I had preserved in my memory were recited once more in their mother tongue:
"Be quiet! If I had wanted your opinion I'd have thrashed it out of you!"
"I never met a man I didn't mutilate"
"I don't know what I want... but I want it NOW!"
"Do you know what a palmist once said to me? She said: WILL YOU LET GO!"
This film is very difficult to describe, it really has be experienced. Filmed entirely in sepia-tinted monochrome and poetically narrated by Vivian Stanshall himself, it stars Trevor Howard as Sir Henry and Patrick McGee as the Rev. Slodden (defrocked). I can find absolutely no fault with this movie, other than it apparently only appeals to a very select audience; I suppose the same select audience that still listens to recordings of Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.