To Video City in Notting Hill Gate, a fine emporium for the rental and purchase of videocassettes and DVDs. During my brief incumbency as this newspaper’s film critic I often called on them to obtain some obscure early Kurosawa. The same staff are behind the counter as when I joined 20 years ago and they offer the same olde worlde service: on this occasion heading into their musty vaults to disinter an ancient Tom Sawyer for my young shavers.
As we trolled away, one of the boys remarked on the incongruity of the name “Video City”, and I observed that, yes, the establishment did indeed antedate the invention of the DVD. Honestly, to think that Video City now seems as august as Trumpers, the barbers, or Rigby & Peller, the corsetry specialists, it’s enough to make one feel, well, old.
I Cede ground to no one in my admiration for Jeremy “Rottweiler” Paxman but I fear he’s scored an own goal with his leaked email to the chief executive of M&S regarding what he terms “widespread gusset anxiety” among British men. Paxo believes that M&S pants no longer offer the support they once did to the crux of his matter, but it may be his own assets that are on the slide. It’s a touching foible of us men that while we are as sharp as a terrier when it comes to recognising the ageing process in others, we remain curiously unobservant about our own wrinkles and sags. Ask not for new pants, Jeremy, but rather new balls.
The Home Secretary is being castigated for stating the truth: most women in London feel uneasy walking after dark and given the choice a cab, a private car or a police protection squad will avoid doing so. That it is the policies pursued by Ms Smith’s government that have led to the deprived areas of London becoming more so is the real reason she should be pilloried. And whatever she may bleat about crime clear-up rates, most rapists are not even brought to trial.
Still, why should London be tarred with the paranoiac brush? After all, women may feel uneasy walking mean streets alone but they’re also uncomfortable on the Pennine Way. Indeed, so successful have we been in terrifying ourselves with media-created bogeymen that the old Irish saying could be paraphrased thus: “There are no strangers, only psychotic killers you haven’t met yet.”