Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 20/07/98

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Confessions of a low culture vulture

From the moment a colleague showed me a blurb in a publisher's list of upcoming releases, I knew I had to rush out and buy British Low Culture: From Safari Suits To Exploitation by Leon Hunt. Any book which promises to examine the Confessions movies, On The Buses, Man About The House, the Carry On films, House Of Whipcord and Are You Being Served? has a guaranteed place on the Gusworld bookshelf.

While British Low Culture does examine all these phenomena, and indeed comprehensively covers the gamut of bad-taste 1970s popular culture, there is one slight problem. Notwithstanding the picture of Robin Askwith (star of the four Confessions flicks and numerous other sexcoms) on the cover, this is a serious academic text (from the field of sociology).

Now there's nothing wrong with serious academic texts, but Gusworld has not been exposed to one since leaving university almost five years ago. And having spent most of the intervening years reading pop magazines, fan Web sites and celebrity reference material, returning to a world where the word 'semiotic' can be used on every second page is not entirely a pleasant experience.

Hunt, however, gets bonus points for including lots of pictures, and generous script excerpts from Man About The House. He also praises the performances of Yootha Joyce and Joan Sims, which is something you can't do too often. And any man who made his university library buy a copy of Abba: The Movie and entitles a chapters on '70s horror 'Grim Flarey Tales' is probably wasted on academia.

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