The shockingly honest journals of the acclaimed filmmaker and gay rights activist
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The Last of Englandstarted filming in August 1986.
These diary entries, interviews and notes for the script were written during the following weeks.
The book starts with my original ending for the film – The Ship Sails – and takes us on a journey back in time and forward into an uncertain future . . .
Elizabeth II’s boarding Britannia. Flunkies with greasy ill-fitting wigs hold bunches of freeze-dried flowers, souvenirs of a thousand royal occasions. Lilibet brandishes her riding whip at the photographers.
‘Fucking carrion crows.’
The words are drowned by the mournful siren of the departing ship....
Young bigots flaunting an excess of ignorance.Little England. Criminal behaviour in the police force.Little England. Jingoism at Westminster,Little England. Small town folk gutted by ring roads.Little England. Distressed housing estates cosmeticised in historicism.Little England. The greedy destruction of the countryside.Little England.
As I watched the documentary on the death of Pier Paolo Pasolini last week, I thought: what would he have made ofLittle England. in the ’80s? Pier Paolo’s enemies saw him as a radical, but in fact he fought for traditional values, he even wrote against the students of ’68 throwing stones...
I looked at a photograph of my father and his three sisters, and it struck me . . . (maybe it’s just physiognomy changes through the generations) that these Edwardians had . . . that the sisters looked like . . . Maoris. So for a while I went around boasting I had Maori blood.
One day I plucked up courage, and said to my father: ‘Do we have Maori blood in the family?’ He was speechless, he was so shocked, I don’t think he had ever expected this question. After a moment he said: ‘Of course not! That’s preposterous.’...
What do you see in those heavy waters? I ask.
Nothing but a bureaucrat from the ministry poisoning the buttercups with a new defoliant.
What’s that I hear?
The sound of Gershwin on his ghetto blaster.
The atom splitting,
And the whispering?
Half-truths spilling from the minister’s case
Wriggling in the sunlight.
What are they saying?
All’s well, no comment. Some of them are silent.
Ah here’s the guard.
What’s the password?
What else do you see ?
Lies flowing through the national grid, and bribery.
All’s normal then?
The little white lies have...
The crew ofAriamet at The Carlton. The dead centre of the Cannes festival, a mammothfin-de-sièclehotel, papered with lurid posters advertising the naked delights ofSex Sluts in the Slammer, andSurf Nazis Must Die, presided over by the Lares and Penates of the quick buck: Golem and Globus of Cannon films. Razor-sharp smile of cine sharks. Barely up the steps into the crowded hall, we were pushed back, helter-skelter onto the streets to rush to the opening (in the Grand Palais) of Lindsay Anderson’sThe Whales of August, in the presence of their Royal Highnesses.
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