Re: Most hilarious Anglish recreation ...
Posted by: Jazz_Sue
Date: November 14, 2008 02:44PM
I gave my copy of NM and DS to the charity bookshop several years ago, so my memory is a bit vague re the Crouch End chapter, but I'm pretty certain it didn't have some bloody great octopussy alien thing bursting out of the tarmac and swallowing the hero whole. Evidently he went the same way as the entire population of ethnic minorities.
For those who don't know, here are the highlights of Alt. Hollywood North London, which exists in a parallel Universe quite unlike our own.
1) There are no cars, no traffic lights, no shops and - despite Transport for London making it the end destination on several of its busiest routes - no buses. This means you might mistake it for West Ealing, especially if it's a Monday. However, you know you've reached Crouch End because:
2) There's a ruddy great rusting ornate metal sign at the top of an otherwise nondescript road saying, er: Crouch End. This is missing from the Google images directory. Oddly, things that ARE on Google, but missing from the alt.Hollywood version, include such famous landmarks as the opera house, the clock tower and the Turkish kebab shops. This proves we have done a dimension hop, even though the director has sworn blind it's a realistic interpretation of our world.
3)Ethnic minorities have vanished, as have most other species of North Londoner. These have been replaced by just three types: a) creepy kids who are oddly dressed in Victorian clothing, but who wear modern trainers so we know they're not ghosts. There are only two of these - one of each. b) Young, menacing James Dean lookalikes in 1950's costume who turn into badly made-up Am Dram animals of indeterminate breed if you look at them funny. (These are rats, apparently, except they don't have the ears, teeth, tails or, indeed, the whiskers). They resemble James Dean because ALL MENACING YOUNG MEN FROM ENGLAND LOOK LIKE THAT. c) Old age pensioners who call everyone 'Dearie'. It is important they, as well as the taxi drivers, do this, so we know that:
4) Crouch End is a cockney suburb. This puts it firmly in East London and is another hint we are in a parallel universe. Crouch End is in North London.
5) There are no emergency services as such. The one shop in town IS a cop shop, but it is there purely to reinforce the fact our heroes are totally lost and bewildered and there's no one to help them. This is a totally surreal interpretation of police stations in Real London. It is open, for one. It also lacks the obligatory bulletproof safety screen in front of the help desk, the security guard to frisk you on the way in, and the telephone on the wall which the desk sergeant - when she eventually answers the buzzer - informs puts you straight through to head office and is the only way you can talk to a real policeman - sited several miles away. Instead, there is an unprotected oak desk with an old-fashioned bell to ding (but see below) There is a single retro dial telephone, and in place of flatscreen computers there are a couple of manual typewriters, together with an empty coffee mug. All the records are held in paper files.
6) The police station rmains spookily silent until the heroine's husband has been eaten, when it suddenly becomes a bustling hive of activity. A single ding of the bell will instantly summon a cockney copper in Dixon of Dock Green era uniform (there are no policewomen). His sole purpose is to offer the heroine a steaming mug of tea and sit her down on a wooden chair in the middle of the room where everyone can listen in. This is normal - there are no interview rooms.
7)A stray cat will have turned up at the police station that morning. Despite the hideous wound on its head, it doesn't get a one-way ticket to the RSPCA or vet. Instead, it is placed in a prominent position where everyone can see the care the Metropolitan Police take over their animals, and also get a protracted explanation of how they decided to give the poor thing the same name as - surprise surprise - the heroine's recently eaten husband.
8) A constant stream of authentic Crouch End Londoners choose this moment to make an appearance. They are all male, and are dressed exclusively in flat caps and braces. They could be plain clothes coppers, although this is unlikely because:
9) Everyone knows plain clothes coppers stick out like a sore thumb, an in Alt. Hollywood London EVERY bloke wears a flat cap and braces - except if he's an American hero who's going to end up getting eaten.
Go anywhere in Real London and say, 'How do I get to Crouch End, then?' and they'll either say 'Getting on that bus that says "Crouch End" would be a good bet,' or, if they're a cab driver, 'Nah, you don't weant to use the buses - take you all bleeding night. Hop in and I'll take you there, via Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Tower Bridge, Richmond Station ...' A few might say: 'Dunno. Never head of it.' They know it as a nondescript dump, in other words. But in Alt. Hollywood London, EVERYONE knows Crouch End as an evil, demonic place; even if they've never set foot there it's public knowledge that it is the pit of Hell and anyone who has to ask the way is doomed the moment they enter.
In that respect, it IS a lot like the Crouch End my mum knows.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2008 02:47PM by Jazz_Sue.