Apart fom covering funerals, which entailed listing ALL the mourners, and fruit and flower shows, listing the first three in all categories (three onions, punnet of strawberries, best orchids, etc), the weekly antidote for the crap jobs for junior reporters’ was writing a synopsis of the films shortly to appear at Tunbridge Wells cinemas.
These were based on reviews in a trade mag and we let our vivid imaginations run riot. Here follows a typical translation:
“The fiery egotistical Lola is left pregnant and alone with her rebellious daughter when her husband runs off with an Australian blonde. Lola has an abortion and when her husband dies after failing to pay maintenance she prostitutes herself to pay the rent. Meanwhile she alienates the girl by killing her goat and pigeons...”
How very different from the home life of our dear Queen. Anyway, you would need a heart of stone to avoid laughing like a drain at a storyline like that.
There was another unforgettable synopsis about a volcano erupting underneath Los Angeles.
A beautiful Eurasian doctor was treating some poor sod about six inches away from a stream of lava and she actually said, “he’s in shock – keep him warm.”
A couple of decades earlier we had the Saturday morning matinees, featuring Flash Gordon. Flash’s arch-enemy was a nasty man called Ming the Merciless, unforgettable because my brother had a boxer dog called Ming who farted mercilessly. We reckoned Ming the dog posed more of a threat than Ming the Merciless’s dreaded execution chamber. Talk about gone with the wind...
At least half the fun of the matinees was in causing trouble and then watching Hideous Hilda, the 14-stone bouncer, hurl out the alleged culprit. She favoured the classic technique – one ham-like hand on the collar, the other gripping the seat of the pants, then running the unfortunate down the ailse, using him like a battering ram to open the swing doors, and then skimming him along the carpet to finish in a heap by the exit.
The injuries en route included carpet burns, near strangulation, concussion and acute compression of the genitals.
He didn’t like it and neither would you. But it wouldn’t happen now though, what with ‘elf and bleedin’ safety.
Alas, flings just ain’t what they used to be...