As a proud Generation X-er I feel sad today.
I saw Drop Dead Fred in Toowoomba in the early 1990s when I was at university. I can remember the excitement of going to the movie theatre far more clearly than I can remember the friends’ names who went with me. For this was a film starring Rik Mayall! That was the main reason to see it. He was already a British comedy legend and he was starring in an American film. We didn’t care that the whole thing was a bit rubbish. We were there to marvel at Rik.
To understand the significance of this we have to remember that these were the days before the 24 hour news cycle, the zillion channels of pay TV, the widespread adoption of the internet into public and private spaces, broadband, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and anything else that would allow viewers, often starved of interesting, “anarchic” (ick!) culture, to see their faves. We had to wait for the ABC (usually) to decide to play or replay a series. If we were lucky we’d catch it in real time, or perhaps be able to tape it with our VCRs and stick a big white label on the cassette to save for rewatching later. That’s how we watched TV back then young readers. So, the fact that Rik was going to be on the big screen doing his thing (in Toowoomba of all places) was pretty darned special.
It was only in later years that I was able to happen upon dvds of The Young Ones and rewatch them, or buy my complete set of Blackadder and appreciate once more the glorious cameos of Lord Flashheart.
Is this the beginning of the end for my British comedy loves? I certainly hope not.
(I wasn’t going to write about this and there’ll be far finer pieces about it all over the inter webs but whatever)