Because we’re in a gardeny mood at the moment.

Enjoy please, this lovely little piece from GeorgyGirl on the WFMU blog, which hooks into what I’ve been talking about with regards to why people garden quite nicely.

(in case you’re wondering, Sam and Dave are the names of her two plots of earth.)

Newsblurt

Things have happened and there is therefore news.

The fine folk at the Cambridge International Super 8 Festival have added Code Grey to their Best of the Fest touring roster. This has seen a selection of their most popular films screened in places as diverse as Hungary, France, Beijing and Weston Colville. It’s an honour to be a part of this rolling circus of goodies, and we’re deeply chuffed to have been asked. So who knows, perhaps you could soon see Code Grey on a big screen near you!

In the NO NEWS folder, we’re still waiting on a screening date for Time Out on this year’s Straight 8 screenings. All I can tell you currently is what’s been put on the Rushes Soho Shorts programme, which is that it will be screening on either the 27th or 29th at the Curzon Mayfair, or the 28th at the Renoir. All screenings start at 9.15. PROMISE, as soon as I know, there will be a breaking News Alert. I might even spring for a scrolling banner.

Finally, the Sick Puppies will be at Frightfest this year, Clive all weekend, me on the Saturday (Giallo! Pontypool! Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl!). No product to show, alas, just chillin with the horror community, and commiserating with our mate and X&HTeam-mate Simon Aitken, who didn’t make the deadline for this year with his excellent first feature, Blood And Roses. There’s always the Halloween all-nighter, though, right?

Right, I think that’s yer lot for now. How are you doing?

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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Monday saw DocoDomsy and I in London, for the exciting premiere of a brand new movie.

No, not that one.

We were at the ICA for the press screening of a film by Ivan Massow, entrepreneur and the ex-chairman of said august organisation. It’s his first movie, a riff on reality TV and celebrity called Banksy’s Coming For Dinner. The screening was perfectly timed, of course, with Banksy’s takover of the Bristol City Museum making headlines everywhere.

The concept is simple, yet becomes increasingly mind-bending as soon as you put a little pressure on it. Massow has organised a dinner party, hosted by Joan Collins, with guests including past-it girl Tamara Beckwith, and comedian Stephen K Amos. The guest of honour, and the whole point to the film, is Banksy, showing up for the first time on camera. He is pixellated and subtitled throughout, and his voice is put through a voice-changer. The fun of the movie and the idea comes out of this clash of personalities – and the fact that the main star of the movie is the guy that is never properly seen or heard, and would normally not be seen dead at these kinds of events.

So does it work? Well, for the most part, yes. It’s very, very funny for a start. It’s cut to a typical reality show template, where one event is covered in a multi-camera shoot and then carefully bolted together afterwards. You get a lot of pregnant pauses, faux pas, and reactions that are clearly taken out of context. But this all adds to the fun of the thing.

And I should say before I go any further that it’s a mockumentary. Everyone here is playing to type, off a script, and to a certain extent also playing a caricature of themselves. The fact that they all do it so convincingly is part of the film’s charm.

There are extensive clues throughout that the film is not a document of a real event. The staff, for example, are played by quite recognisable actors, including Nickolas Grace and Helen Lederer in a cracking turn as a slightly batty chef. It’s rather telling that Banksy is very derogatory towards Tracey Emin – spouting opinions that are pretty much identical to Massow’s own on the subject. And don’t get me started on openly gay comedian Stephen Amos suddenly having a model girlfriend called Naomi…

As time goes on, you become increasingly aware that the whole thing is an elaborate trick, a Russian dollhouse of ideas nesting together, layers of meaning popping into view, constantly surprising and amusing.

I’d recommend Banksy’s Coming To Dinner, especially if you’re a fan of toe-curling reality shows, and the kind of improv comedy that Christopher Guest does so well. It’s smart, thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

I think Massow’s missed a chance though. He’s offering it as a download or DVD, when surely it’s ideal home would be one of the smaller BBC channels, or More/E4. At just over an hour, it
would need trimming to fit into the broadcast hour slot, but that could be pretty easily done, to my mind. Perhaps he’s tried, without success. In which case, I think that it’s the broadcasters that are missing the opportunity.

And does Banksy really come to dinner? Well, that would be telling…