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A Nice Night with Brian Trenchard-Smith

Last evening, for the first time in three weeks, I ventured outside into the cold, cutting, Melbourne wind. The occasion was a once only thing. I don’t often sally forth. It takes some hours and some medication to force the jolly old body to work sufficiently well. It was not a disappointing evening. In the…

Last evening, for the first time in three weeks, I ventured outside into the cold, cutting, Melbourne wind. The occasion was a once only thing. I don’t often sally forth. It takes some hours and some medication to force the jolly old body to work sufficiently well.

It was not a disappointing evening.

In the early ’80’s until the early 90’s Brian Trenchard-Smith and his lovely wife Margaret lived a little way away from one of my businesses    .Brian

We are getting a little old, and of course Brian is two years older than I, at 72. He very graciously offered to give a lecture to some very intense and worshipful film students at RMIT last night. He had flown all the way from the US and it was too much of an opportunity to miss, to meet up again with the absolute KING of schlock movie making.

It is a little known fact that I am a huge movie fan. Every Trenchard -Smith movie has been through my hands at some time. There is one magnificently funny gory scene of a dead man playing basketball with his disengaged head. Until the dead man sort of blows up. Blood everywhere! Such fun. But the one thing I did not hear among the ardent want-to-be film-makers was the muttered line which we all used to adhere to every time we watched it. (It was many times.) That final line, not in the movie, but in our heads, “You should have quit while you were ahead!” That is one thing about Brian Trenchard-Smith… his beautiful and mischievous sense of humour. Isn’t that what schlock is all about?

Yes, it was a good night, and though we only managed to exchange a few words, it was a delight to catch up with him again after so many years.

Alice
Alice Through The Multiverse

Recently Brian published a new book, which is currently available on kindle unlimited. Alice Through The Multiverse. For me the book is five stars.  You may or may not agree. Brian has that effect on people, though when Quentin Tarantino says that Brian is the best, well, who better?

The  evening ended up with a few question and answers. My partner is rather shy, and being an ex nurse manager and hospital CEO she actually did want to ask a question. It was about Brian’s ‘other’ movie making. One particular short 20 minute film that she was forced to watch so many times that every scene is etched in her memory. Hospitals Don’t Burn Down is an important piece that should be seen by anyone who works in hospitals. (Though it may be somewhat dated now.) She wondered what Brian thinks of that little piece now.

For my part, one of the squishiest, and most memorable movies of all time is the splash and splatter flick Turkey Shoot. Yes, hang on, I’m getting to the point.

Turkey Shoot starred one of the greats of Australian and International stage and film, the wonderfully disheveled Noel Ferrier, now departed this earth. Oh! And of course the rather lovely Lynda Stoner.

Turkey Shoot was made in, ummm, about 1982 (ish). I first watched it in about ’83. So mischievously schlock, we watched it often. (That is one thing about what are now called ‘cult classics’, they end up being watched time and time again, and something new and often funny taken from them every time.

However. (That word again. It pops up rather more often now that so many have stopped using BUT to begin a sentence) However, Turkey Shoot was made 37 years ago, and today stands almost as ‘boding of things to come. You may think that a low-budget (Brian is the king of low budget) film with no particular redeeming qualities would generally be forgotten. Today more and more people are picking up the film and giving it an airing.

The plot is thin of course. A dystopian society in which dissidents are sent to camps, and now and again some are released and hunted by the privileged few. Somewhat with a tongue in cheek I asked Brian whether he might re-purpose Turkey Shoot, recast it and set it somewhere on the Mexican border in an internment camp. Or perhaps on Nauru or PNG.

No one laughed. In fact, a few of the acolytes began to discuss the possibility. I like to think this morning that I have had a hand in the movie making of the future, and look forward to seeing the result. It won’t be made by Brian of course because he and Margaret live in blissful semi-retirement and revel in caring for the deer that wander into the garden. It might take some amount of money, OR a specific request from Angelina Jolie or someone to get Brian back into the saddle.

I was a lovely evening meeting up with an old acquaintance, and worth every pill swallowed. Thank you Brian for a brief look back in time.

Author: grahamwhittaker
What do I call myself? A novelist? A journalist? Writer on demand? Copywriter? Ghostwriter? Poet? Is there a single word to describe all these things? if anyone knows one please tell me. I started out life as a journalist after my service time in the RN. I was 22. My love then was music writing, contributing articles to most of the pop/rock magazines of the time. As time went by I ghostwrote biographies for celebs, wrote novels, and made a general living from writing everything from love letters to translating menus in China to acceptable English. I have written greetings cards, manuals, How to books on so many subjects I forget. My living has been as a writer on demand. So, my blog is an eclectic collection of HOW MY BRAIN WORKS. Recently I started writing blogs for company blogs. In my retirement I find myself writing more, about more subjects than I ever covered as a roving journalist. I ask myself why having reached the age of leisure why I am now busier than ever before! My last novel, The Girl From Kosovo has led to a second, which will be in your bookshops next year 2019, and my new anthology of shorts with the title Picking Up Peas With Chopsticks has just been uploaded as an ebook. (It's a pot boiler so don't expect a print version any time soon.) If you have a blog, or a job to offer, I'm an obsessive researcher and turnaround time is fast. Yes, I know, I'm a HACK. A writer for money. A gun for hire. But hey... we all have our failings. Thanks for calling in. Feel free to chat and comment. I'll even get back to you with a thank you note!

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2 Comments

  • Marge Martin

    Hi Graham and Garda, I will be coming to Australia in January 2019, and would love to meet up with you. Please let me know if you will be around. Thanks. Marge

    • Hi Marge. So nice to hear from you! We did receive your card, and thank you! We had been away in UK for a month so we thought you might be off on your travels again. Of course we will be around (unless we cark it for some reason!) You will be very welcome and there is plenty of room. Take care now.

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