Thursday, December 07, 2006

Woody Allen's Comedy Fatwa

As a result of a less than flattering article I wrote about him, Woody Allen has issued a comedy fatwa against me. I've mentioned my relations with Woody before, but only now have I decided to go public to report a series of highly suggestive events. I interviewed Woody in Venice. Soon after my jaundiced piece appeared, I walked out of my house to find half the road closed off. Young men with impressive looking utility belts were asking me to be quiet and stand still. I asked one what was going on. A Woody Allen film, he told me, and, sure enough, I glimpsed the man himself in a laundrette not 200 yards from my front door. A few months later the same thing happened and, yes, it was another Woody movie. Yesterday another film was being made in my street, I have not bothered to inquire as to the director. This time, however, the fatwaistas had raised their game. As I parked my car, a fire truck approached spewing fountains from its rear end. The ostensible reason was to make the street look wet with rain, but I knew better. A man stood on the back with a hose gushing yet more water. My car was drenched with me still in it, the man seeming to take particular pleasure in hosing me down. I opened the door and was soaked. Passers-by laughed and pointed. This, I thought, must surely be his last gag at my expense, but, this morning, a tornado touched down in Kensal Rise, a few miles from me. He missed this time, but I have to ask: how on earth did he do that?


  1. Hee hee, I loved reading the June thread on Woody Allen. A reason, no doubt, to spend a day (soon, perhaps, when I shall have nothing else to do but carry a picket 4 hours a day in the freezing cold, then warm up in front of a glowing screen the other four) reading your old posts.

    I love that English insult, "Wanker." It is culturally very interesting that when British men insult each other, they do it by calling the other guy an Onanist. In America, the first word of choice would be to call the other guy an illegimate son. If really angry, then the sin would be Oedipal: to have had sex with one's mother.

    Why is Onanism considered a particularly sinful thing in Jolly Olde, hmm, Bryan? Get to the bottom of this "wanker" etymology for us, please.

    (Also, what exactly does "tosser" mean? Drunk? Drunk to the point of puking ("tossing one's cookies")? I am absolutely and utterly fascinated by slang and if I can't get you to devote a post to it, at least I can ask you here.)

    Lastly, on Woody A.: A rather loathsome individual, but he has certainly made some excellent films (rather like Roman Polanski, now that I think of the comparison). Surely you enjoyed "Match Point"?

  2. Match Point, Susan, was the film he was making outside my house the first time and I did not see it. Perhaps I should. 'Tosser' means 'wanker', I'm afraid, which rather confirms your view of the Brits. Ah a picket. There is a strike I understand.

  3. I too have had a strange, filmic experience involving a fire engine, but thankfully, not Woody Allen.

    In an extended moment of madness, a friend of ours bought a cottage in Wanlockhead, Scotland during a furlough at Glasgow University.

    In an even more extended moment of madness, we agreed to spend a weekend there with him.

    Driving round, looking for somewhere to eat, we espied a large scarlet blob halfway up a mountain. Binoculars revealed it to be a fire engine. Oh well, we thought, this is Scotland - they do things differently here.

    We were welcomed into a local hostelry and escorted to a welcoming fire. After 20 minutes, we asked if they served food.


    'Are you not with the film crew then?'
    'No, we are not. What film crew?'

    It transpired that David Steel (for our colonial friends, he was leader of the British Liberal Party) was making a film about the Covenanters (oh, look it up on Wikipedia) and the weather was not sufficiently dour (pronounced doo-er, with a stern visage, and porridge) and had prevailed upon the local fire brigade to provide an appropriate deluge. Hence the elevated fire engine.

    We were escorted off the premises with a packet of pork scratchings.

    We've not been back since.

  4. Bryan you need to be careful of this; the conspiracy theory is Woody's own preserve.

    I'm afraid it is a sign that he's already beginning to get to you.

    My friend also lives in Primrose Hill, and I remember trying to get a coffee during the laundrette debacle. (Recently, I was sitting in a coffee shop up there enjoying an innocent Satuday-afternoon cappuccino, and in walks Angus Deaton; what does that signify, do you think? Mind you, he didn't spray anybody with a fire truck.)

  5. Woddy Allen, Angus Deaton - try Boris Berezovski in your neighbourhood!

  6. I suppose I have to come clean. I checked with the film crew today. It's not one of Woody's. It's a British thiller set in the seventies. He must be planning something quite different.

  7. "Launderette", Bryan. Unless it's yours, and it's beautiful.