Oooh, ooh, there’s nothing as nice as getting the first copy of your new baby…’Film Freak’ is rolling off the presses right now, with its sexy spot-gloss cover and my head stamped over Alec Guinness’s body. It’s a sort-of memoir thatÂ contains Mild Nudity, Lying Producers, Drunk Actors, references to Michael Winner and Lots of Foolishness. I’ll be doing signings around town, and will post details here. Meanwhile, here’s what my publicist has put out about it:
‘Itâ€™s the late 1970s and twenty-something Christopher Fowler is a film freak, obsessively watching lousy films in run-down fleapit cinemas. He longs to become a famous screenwriter and put his dreams on the big screen, and so heads for Wardour Street, Britainâ€™s equivalent of Hollywood, with an armful of terrible scripts.
But heâ€™s made a spectacular mistake. He arrives just as the nationâ€™s filmmakers fall to their knees, brought low by the arrival of video and the destruction of the old movie palaces.Â The only films being made are smutty low budget farces and TV spinoffs. Instead of being asked to write another â€˜Bullittâ€™, Chris finds himself churning out short films for boilers and nylon sheets.Â Somehow, against the odds, he finds success â€“ although in a very different guise to the one he expected.
From the sticky Axminster of the local cinema to the red carpet at Cannes, Film Freak is a grimly hilarious and ultimately affecting trawl through the arse-end of the British film industry that turns into a search for friendship and happiness.’
Here’s a little taster, on the subject of film premieres…
Film premieres in the UK are much slicker affairs than they used to be. Never ones to go in for subtlety, distribution companies once staged embarrassingly literal publicity stunts for their films until Hollywood executives stopped them. During the premiere for â€˜Hairâ€™ at the Dominion Tottenham Court Road the unimpressed audience was pelted with flowers, while the ushers were made to wear beads and long wigs that made them look like crazy old tramp-women. For the megaflop â€˜Canâ€™t Stop The Musicâ€™ we were encouraged to attend on roller skates, but the theatre had a steeply raked floor and everyone fell over. The distributors thought carefully about the latter, putting â€˜musicâ€™ and â€˜Englandâ€™ together and coming up with a Morris dancing display outside the cinema. The premiere of the killer-rodent movie â€˜Willardâ€™ was preceded by a giant red-eyed rat being driven about London on the roof of a window-cleanerâ€™s van, while the vomit-inducing â€˜Mark Of The Devilâ€™ had its logo printed on sick-bags.
More recently, the â€˜Sex And The Cityâ€™ premiere party housed its four leads in mocked-up movie sets separated by white picket fencing, like a kind of movie starsâ€™ petting zoo. â€˜Come on, weâ€™ve stroked Sarah Jessica Parker, letâ€™s go and feed Carrie-Ann Moss now!â€™