I used to work in a Blockbuster video store, many moons ago, and it was a pretty awful job. The only real delight was in ordering obscure films from other branches just to annoy their sales assistants. Since leaving that den of iniquity, I vowed never again to set foot in a Blockbuster establishment, no matter how many copies of Look Who’s Talking Too they boast in their window display.
However, when I went into Camden’s Channel Films to browse the art house section while wearing a beret, sipping a decaf latte and with a soulful yet despairing look on my face, I was astonished to find a little-known black and white film which I had remembered seeing on BBC2 years ago: Acerblanca.
For those unfamiliar with this wartime meisterwerk, the plot is simple. An exiled Scotsman and one-time French sympathiser, runs the most popular blog in town where everyone wants to be seen commenting. However, when the (overly-researched) gun-toting A-list come into town, he has an important decision to make: should he continue his carefree way of life or should be reform, overcome his bitterness at an uncaring world, and write posts about fluffy, wuffy kittens?
I immediately rented the film, unfairly labelled ‘bargain basement’ and rushed home to watch it, only stopping for an evening down the pub, a few days at work and a short holiday. As the credits started to roll, I felt a palpable excitement in the air, so I turned on the humidifier and settled down to watch and remember.
Most of the dialogue came back to me immediately, and I recall my surprise at the number of ways in which AH-64A/D Apache attack helicopters could be mentioned in romantic scenes, as well as the preponderence of weaponry in those immortal lines:
“It doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, especially with a Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW sub-machinegun.”
“We’ll always have Paris. And guns.”
“You played it for her, now play it for me, Sam. And guns.”
“Here’s gunning at you, kid.”
“Round up the usual suspects. With … you know, big guns.”
As the end credits rolled and I looked out of my living room window to see another sunny Camden day, the drug dealers playing on the street and the incense gently wafting on the breeze, I have to confess that a small tear rolled down my cheek. What romance, what passion, I thought, what … guns.