John meets John, as guest writer Mr Maguire meets director Mr Waters in Liverpool…
Let Saturday 9th November be now known as TRASHADAY, for this year, I had the pleasure of spending a wintry Saturday afternoon in the company of a cinematic master, Mr John Waters.
Waters was in the ‘Pool of Life’ for a series of events (part of the internationally renowned homotopia). The masterclass took place in the Sci-fi-esque environs of LJMU Screen Schools, Redmond Building.
Waters has often past praised fellow creative Mr Tennessee Williams, another champion of the outsider. Quite fittingly, the class began with a screening of BOOM!, (an adaptation of a Williams play, The Milk Float Doesn’t Stop Here) so, so bad it’s good, a visual camp treat, full of lines of genius,
Hot sun, cool breeze, white horse on the sea, and a big shot of vitamin B in me!
BOOM! starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, (think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and add copious vices and addiction); pictures like Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Taming of the Shrew, may highlight the majesty of the chemistry between the toxic lovers, BOOM! illustrates how terribly they are also capable of acting.
The kind of movie that simply would not get made today, in a cinematic environment that lives and is terminated by test screenings, there is no way that a studio would ‘get’ this unique B movie-esque work.
Waters revealed how the film was produced in collaboration with the poison that is alcohol and ALL on set were in some stage of inebriation during the working day, if not downright capernoited.
Looking through the telescope now, back at this feature, the film has a postmodern trashy edge that does in fact work. Intentional or fluke, genius or rebuke? We will never know.
After the screening Waters took questions and answers from an enthusiastic audience. He answered with a cool poise and at no time got snarky with the audience interactions.
The Dickens of alternative cinema spoke candidly about his work, portraits of trailer trash outsiders, freaks, individuals with a whole arsenal of eccentricities, characters with a capital ‘C’. There is no such thing as normal only peeps you don’t really know so well and John Waters’ cinematic treats remind us of this completely.
A catalogue of oeuvre packed with witty writing and twisted plots. Taking quirky oddities and making them positive attributes. Waters brought to the world’s attention Divine, another champion of the underdog, transformed from an overweight suburban geek into a creature of glamorous brilliance.
Allegedly the inspiration behind Ursula from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I am still haunted by the sight of Divine proudly singing You Think You’re A Man But You’re Only A Boy on Top of the Pops.
The afternoon gave an insight into the mind of an individual craftsman of creativity. A man gifted with an inventive imagination that can be expressed as surreal mayhem.
There is a Bowie song called All the Madmen and the lyrics recant how the narrator would rather stay here with all the madmen then perish with the sad men roaming free. When watching a film by this creative force, I would rather be with the circus of Waters’ disciples of trash, be a part of the insanity than not.