Starburst Memories: The Vizable Edge

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During my brief tenure at the Edge Hill College film society, I started a magazine of ‘Film and Media’ to promote the society and to fill the void left by being unable to finance a full film season. The debacle over the screening of AI NO CORRIDA had left the bank balance in a  fairly healthy state, but the programming policy was bankrupt. A year of ‘playing safe’ with wall to wall screenings of 80s blockbusters THREE MEN AND A BABY and BEETLEJUICE were a mis-judged drain on the society’s resources. The VHS era had rendered the society redundant. There just wasn’t the art house crowd in Ormskirk to sustain the more obscure selections which had to be vetted and approved by the authorities and what was the point of watching LOOK WHO’S TALKING on uncomfortable seating? Nobody was interested. I watched MISSISSIPPI BURNING on my own.

The Magazine that comes out of the screen: THE VIZABLE EDGE. In our heads it was like BLITZ which was the style magazine of the day, but it resembled a sunday school newsletter. We were hot with newly discovered desk top publishing skills and had a ‘right on’ editorial policy that invited three members of the society to be guest editors for each issue as long as they followed our strict non-racist, non-sexist policy. These unwritten policies didn’t stop us getting in to trouble for some spurious reason in each issue: these complaints ranged from disgust over a promotional poster that appeared to feature a woman in hot pants (it was a bloke in shorts) to accessibility issues every time we discriminated against the partially sighted by having white on black type. It was an ideological minefield in the eighties.

The reason why I braved the paper lice to find this issue was to revisit an article about THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS that I had written entitled “Slaughter of the Lambs”. Following the the debate here about with its relative value, I thought that the article could answer the question that was posed: is it a pivotal film of the 90s or is it a souped up TV drama?

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The film has clearly lost some currency with the passage of time as I remember that on the week of the release of the film, I went to a lecture by the late Anthony Easthope, cultural theorist and instinctive controversialist who declared that it was pitched at a literate audience, an audience that was educated to at least a degree level. When members of the pointed out that it was doing quite well on its opening week, he said, “in London maybe, but I don’t think it will be as appreciated in Chorley.”

In the article I reflected my ire at the cultural snobbery that was prevailing at the time (forgetting that it was the stock in trade of the degree was studying) that seemed to be intellectualizing popular culture. On reflection, the piece lacked some focus, but the main thrust seemed to be, as far as I am concerned, some popular culture was intellectual, some of it isn’t, it doesn’t really matter. In other words – relativist tosh.

In the same issue there are reviews for Soapdish, the Swedish film Elivira Madigan, John Sayle’s forgotten Liana and blockbusters Backdraft, Thelma and Louise and two opposing views about Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – one that starts with ‘fabulous’ and another with ‘badly conceived’.

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This is rare copy of the magazine as most of them ended up on a pyre as the cleaners rounded up all of the copies that had been distributed and destroyed them in disgust. They had taken offence at a light-hearted ‘Bluffers Guide to Being a Student’. There is a recommendation that freshers should experience the library toilets as they are ‘the only ones on the college property that do not have to be throughly scrubbed with a nail brush before use.”

You can’t please everyone.

One response to “Starburst Memories: The Vizable Edge

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