AN EARLY CHILDHOOD BY PADDY FLANAGAN
Continued from Chapter 6 Part 3.
CHAPTER SIX: THE FALL OF CHARLES STEWART PARNELL AND THE NATIVITY OF THE PORNOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY (PART FOUR)
But the release of the first hardcore pornographic film not to feature Charles Stewart Parnell, discovered in Pompeii and analogically re-mastered to the earliest possible twentieth century standards ever, also added to the depravity of the early twentieth century. When the film reel hit the bookshelves and the newsagents’ storefront windows, no video libraries being available, I was working in one of Lord Pembroke’s franchised chain of newsagents. Six members of the R.I.C. burst in one day while I was pricing the magazines. Peelers, they were called, on account of their predilection for moonlighting, when they weren’t employed as an unarmed force, as kitchen porters. One of them removed his helmet to address me and in so doing revealed a wispy yet strangely full head of hair but when I blew on it, it all blew to the other side of his head and he was bald save for the really long strands on the other side.
“What are you doing?” he asked me with an angry look, withdrawing a comb from his breast pocket and combing the strands over his head again.
“I was just seeing what the story was with your hair,” I mumbled, a hint of apology in my voice as he fixed his hair to make it look full but wispy again.
“We are seizing all of the films on display in your window under article 12, clause 7, paragraph 6, subsection 2 and under the till as well,” the police officer insisted.
So the Peelers took all the films in the winda, as well as the two left to me under the till and they seized all of the copies in the parish of Luh Premiey Feeme Pornographeekeh as it was called, and they moved from one shop to the next, sometimes encountering violence, at one stage having to hammer the excitement out of an inveterately developed eleven-year-old boy in the throes of proto-pubescent activity while watching the offending footage.
The film itself, originally in the form of a children’s flick book many of which have been discovered by archaeologists in abundance, detailed an encounter between a Roman citizen and Pan the Goat-God. I can remember it all like it was yesterday. The film was banned by the Film Board after the flick-book was transferred to cellulite. Or An Bord Scanala, as it was known all those moons ago.
And me following those police officers all around the town until they’d seized every single copy, and then they went to the Police Quarterdeck, and they threw all the offending film reels into the metal shkip outside of the barrax before entering the barrax. I watched them from the window as they gathered round in the Police Quarterdeck in a circle; each of them had a copy of the film in his hands in its flick-book format. One of the officers placed a biscuit on the floor in the middle of the circle and they all started looking through the flick-books. Well, I can’t tell you what I did then, but except to say that with the policemen occupied I was able to sneak up to that shkip, reach my hand into it and slowly but surely make a withdrawal of approximately seventy-seven film reels, one stacked atop the next, and I then made subtle passage, armed with the films, to the censorship sanctuary at the beginning of Main Square, where the gay liberal writer and wit had lived, but him in prison at that point in time. And perhaps by far the worst locksmith in the parish was Ben Deakey, and he arrived at the safehouse and thereinstalled a vault wherein I placed every copy of the film. And I wrote a cutting, jibing, scurrilous letter to the Censorship Board detailing what I’d done, my motives, and my desire to make a bit of money out of the enterprise.
And indeed, I did make a pridey toffit, and I earned a reputation so good on the black market that Mad Leopold Cassidy approached me with the photos he had taken on our night of breast watching, and we edited together another flick book involving Charles Stewart Parnell, and made fierce profits from that as well.
In the end result, I sold each and every copy of that film, making a small fortune, which would have helped, of course, towards a trip to America, had I wanted to emigrate. But sure, there was stuff to do at home; I had a gradually diminishing family to support, and what with a lot of the money going towards all the health care I’d received on account of my illness, I wasn’t left with all that much.
And some of the money did count towards my trip abroad years later, when I was enlisted in an officer’s capacity to fight when that Munich bother, as a literary colleague described it, resulted in the dawning of the Second World War.
Which happened a few chapters from now, and when Father, incidentally, received the position of child replacement in London during the Blitz of the Luftwaffles, which wasn’t, as I thought at the time, the name of a night club. And naturally, as a perk of the job, he became what was known as a “civil servant”, thus permitting him to become “in line for the throne”. He asked for, and received, by post, an application form requesting that in the unlikely event that the post of Head of State and Commonwealth become available, it would be incumbent on him to take the position. He signed all the legal documentation with a flourish and next came four truckloads of paper to the house of his surrogate family, all of it addressed to him. It was what was known as “red tape”, being a long and detailed list of people’s names, also known as “the line of precedence” which posed an obstacle towards his assuming the limited power of the throne in that constitutional monarchy. It all came to nothing in the end – whether Queen Victoria had been dead four decades or not, Lord have mercy on the soul of that black clothed old biddy that she was – but Father did note with pride that he was two names in front of Colonel Cousin Barney, him having desserted the British Army with strawberry mousse and returned from South Africa to Ireland in a calorific tizzy. However, I digress from the principal events of my own life, and return to them now, in the next chapter.
Read Chapter Seven here.