Water Lilies by Jim Harris

30

August

Family fun with Linda Lovelace

GW

The release of a film about the one-time porn star Linda Lovelace brings back a not entirely happy family memory. I think it must have been in 1974 when my father was writing theatre criticism for the magazine Encounter that he got an invitation from a man called Jimmy Vaughan to view a film he had imported illegally with the puzzling title Deep Throat. I think he contacted my father because he had written an amusing tongue in cheek ( as it were) review of Oh Calcutta! ( a pun on the French, meaning " what an arse you have"). My father was invited to a screening of the film in a small studio in Wardour Street and he thought to invite a few family and friends along. It was, I have to say, an eye opener. I read journalists now suggesting it was "tame" and we would not be shocked by it now. But it was not tame at all. There was a general sense of unease as the first film reel went through and then the lights went up while the second reel was put up. I don't recall how many of us were there but certainly a few slipped off into street. I remember my father, trying to sound unflustered, saying: " Now I know what it is like to be a medical student." I can't remember now if he reviewed the film, but I think not. Later he was member of the Williams Committee on Obscenity, a public duty he thoroughly enjoyed. His favourite story was of the man who ran a smutty shop somewhere on the South Coast who was asked what sort of people his customers were. He cast his eyes around the assembled dignitaries, which included a Bishop,and said: " Well, very much like the gentlemen seated here. " 

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