Funny Festival Events Part 1
One afternoon in the Delegate Prick Center I get talking to a coupla teenagers who are in a film called “Out Of Control”, which is screening that night. They persuade me to come and see the film, which I promise to do. Talking to one of the other young stars of the film, I ask how old the youngsters I was talking to are. She tells me eighteen.
So anyway. Later on that night, but a while before the screening, I attend a Scottish Screen party for some shit or other, who knows or cares. There I see one of the youngsters I was talking to earlier on, who is handing in a photo for a press pass at the press desk. He’s not really supposed to be in there, just nipping in and out under strict orders, but I ask him if he wants to get a free beer or two. He asks me if it’ll be alright.
“Diplomatic immunity, wee man,” I tell him. “We can do whatever the fuck we like.”
So we wander across to the free bar and, after the barman asks if the youngster (whose name I can’t recall now) is over 18. I tell him he is, and we grab a coupla free bottles of Stella each. When we sit down, the youngster is antsy, wondering if he is gonna be ‘caught’ for this. I can’t understand his agitation, and we grab a quick three walking beers and head across the road to the hotel where he is meeting the rest of his cast before the film.
So we walk into this chi-chi hotel, the Sheraton, with three beers each and half-drunk. The director looks at me in a mixture of bemusement and horror. I subsequently learn that my companion is only 15 years old; know it wasn’t the first time this wee streetkid had had a beer though.
“If he was a 15-year-old girl you’d have to worry,” I smile at the director. He eyes me curiously. Tamzin Outhwaite, an ex-soap opera star of an English program called “Eastenders” and star of “Out Of Control”, seemed amused by the whole thing. “Normally beer and 15-year-old boys are my Friday night activities,” I tell her, “but for the festival I’ve gone hog wild.” She laughs.
I make my way across to Filmhouse 1 and sit in the front row and wait for the film to start. It’s set in a Young Offenders Institution, where my underage drinking buddy gets sent and kills himself after being bullied there. Good enough film.
But there is a fucking problem.
The guy a few seats along to my left starts speaking at periodic intervals during the film to the guy next to him. This is bad enough, but I try to let it slip. However, about half way through he starts flicking his finger nervously from the plastic of a press pass he has. And this is annoying beyond belief.
I ask him perfectly civilly if he minds stopping flicking the plastic with his finger. He looks at me with an evil grin and starts doing it on purpose again. Guy in his mid-to-late 20s; not even a dumb youngster with the excuse of ignorant youth on his side. It’s at times like this I drag my Falkirk ‘gutter language’ brogue out. This fast fluid freaky Scottish generally fakes out middle class people in Edinburgh, because it sounds so raw and aggressive and they think you’re gonna kill them. It’s a bluff thing; I’m not a violent person at all.
“Are you taking the fucking piss or what pal?” I ask him.
“Yeah,” he grins, and continues flick flick flicking away at his pass.
“Get a fucking grip man. Look, just shut the fuck up and watch the film.”
So I turn away from him and try to concentrate on the film. I hear him muttering to his companion, and then he is standing in front of me.
“Let’s go outside and settle this like men,” he says to me.
“Alright,” I sigh, and pick up my stuff and follow him outside. I can’t believe this stupid shit is happening over a fucking film. But if the fucker hits me I’m gonna hit him back. Tired of pricks like him.
So we go outside the door of the cinema and he starts going on at me, you called me a cunt, yada yada yada. And I’m just like no, I didn’t, I merely asked you to be quiet during the film because you were talking and flicking your pass. He then tells me that he’d served time in the Young Offenders Institution when he was a youngster, “but that’s all behind me now.” Hmmm. So. He’s been getting riled up by watching the film, and has been looking for a convenient target to take out his aggression on, namely me. We shake hands and he disappears off into the night. I still am not sure if he’s bullshitting me or not, if he’s just made up some face-saving crap after I’ve called his violent bluff before leaving. Whatever. I don’t care. I just go in and watch the rest of the film.
At the end, when the lights come up, the guy’s companion comes across to me, and I’m thinking aw shit, here we go again. The guy asks me what the whole thing had been about and I tell him. He tells me the character who had challenged me to a fight had started talking during the film because he was telling his companion what would really happen during key moments in the film during the prison scenes. He had also been genuinely getting agitated by the film, hence his pass-flicking antics. I tell him to tell his companion, who has merely been a festival acquaintance anyway, that there are no hard feelings between us. And that’s that.
Underage drinking with funny pederast undertones, worried directors, fights, ex-offenders. That was a good, fun night.
Hell yeah.

Posted on September 10, 2002 in Festivals by

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