Smashing’s Back

London, The Arts

I got a request to restore this item, whose link had expired. If anyone finds anything else they want restored from an old link, let me know.

My memoir ‘Paperboy’ was set in the swinging sixties, but just how awful was that period really? Rather than study achingly cool (but charmingly strange) films like ‘Blow Up’, we might be better off looking at the ghastly-yet-eerily-fascinating comedy ‘Smashing Time’ to see if the past shared anything with the present. The clip has Yvonne making her first million overnight, and some things never change. So we have a big-boned talentless singer, a heavily-remixed recording of her song, horrible celebrity fashions (she seems to be wearing a triffid on her head in one shot), bribed pluggers (paid in whisky, not drugs – bless) and corrupt PRs. Of course the film is a satire (whatever happened to those?) but nothing really changes…

3 comments on “Smashing’s Back”

  1. Wayne says:

    I love ‘Smashing Time’ I would love it on DVD I only have an old off the TV VHS to DVD transfer so its a bit fuzzy and sound quality ain’t great. Just cant find it anywhere even though it was available some years ago.

    Oh and I never knew the 60′s but love this vision of it……

  2. Jez Winship says:

    Smashing Time was a bit of a bungled satire of the swinging sixties, particularly when you consider it was written by George Melly, whose Revolt Into Style was generally a pretty astute assessment of the times. The musical numbers were pretty lame, but it still retains a certain amount of period charm. I generally love anything with Rita Tushingham in it, but it has to be said, she mugs something rotten here. Why her character Brenda should put up with her ghastly friend Yvonne is a mystery. There’s some good scenes set around the canals and railways at the back of Kings Cross, and a finale in that symbol of White Heat Britain the Post Office tower. Also cameos from Hammer starlets Veronica Carlson and Valerie Leon. Plus a chance to see ‘Professor’ Bruce Lacey’s automatons in action. St Pancras station, where they disembark when first arriving in London, looks shockingly filthy. Irene Handl, as Mrs Gimbel (characters are named after words from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky) is just ‘fabless’ and reminds me a bit of Michael Moorcock’s Mrs Cornelius. You get to see some of John Stephen’s Carnaby Street shops too, and the Michael York character(who is identical to his Basil Exposition Austin Powers character, except with a hilarious attempt at a David Bailey style cockney accent) is first seen eating in the Cranks Restaurant which opened in Carnaby Street in the 60s. So as a historical document, the film is fascinating. Despite all its evident flaws, I can’t help loving it.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Films portray their eras so well but books do as well. I’ve just been reading “Mrs. Ames” by E.F. Benson and have found a beautiful portrayal of 1912 era England and what is probably a normal reaction by a reasonably intelligent woman to the suffragette movement. It’s a long time ago but revisiting an era through the writers of the time is worth doing. Who knows, perhaps Admin will be held up as a portrayer of the London of the early 21st century. I’ve just realized that that book is 100 years old this year! Hmm.

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