With cash as tight as ever down Mordor way, perhaps it’s time to resurrect a money-spinning idea from summer 2014. Showtime Drive-In Movies (dot com) was the company that chose the Albion Car Park as the venue for their attempt to re-enact a quintessentially American tradition alongside the dilapidated stately home of the quintessentially skint British club/ company presently going through the motions of re-enacting the dead mob that used to play there.
The advertising puff extolled the delights in store for anyone brave enough to park their car in the vicinity of Kinning Park at night (even with the deterrent factor of security guards and vehicle occupancy it’s still a risky proposition): “There’s something incredibly charming and magical about the drive-in movie experience. What could be more blissful than watching your favourites on the big screen beneath the stars from the comfort of your very own car? For a modest £24 per car, the whole family can enjoy a classic movie in an old school setting. Don’t forget to pack the popcorn!”
For ‘classic movie’ you can insert your own eminently more suitable film here; any zombie B feature, low-budget Hammer horror or Mack Sennet comedy would raise a chuckle.
Personally I can think of lots of things more charming and magical than being stuck in a motor in the gloomy shadow of the Big Hoose, although I do admit it might enhance a screening of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Having to bring your own popcorn suggests that every expense was being spared by Showtime Drive-In Movies (dot com) but at least they wouldn’t have had the additional cost of repairing any seats slashed by visiting Sevconians.
As for the modest £24 a car, well at least any watching zombies could console themselves with the thought that the money was going to keep the life-support machine on for a day or two. What’s that you say? The car park revenue has been siphoned off by someone else?
Anyway, should the idea be repeated this year might I tentatively recommend a movie that might tempt patrons from the sixth floor at Hampden to pack the place out.
L’arbitro is a largely forgotten (for very good reasons) Italian film made in 1974. Translated into English the title means ‘The Referee’, of course, although it was released in this country as ‘Playing The Field’. It bills itself as ‘a hilarious and sexy comedy’ which is a polite way of saying it’s a soft porn flick.
It’s main selling point on its release in this country was Joan Collins (or perhaps that should be main selling points – fnar fnar) who plays the part of Elena Sperani, a mysanthropic misfit with a fetish for short-sighted control freaks (I made that bit up) who jumps into bed at the drop of a can of shaving cream with the referee of the title (Lando Buzzanco). In case you’re doubting the character’s sanity – if not her morals – this comes about because the ref has “unusual methods”. Of refereeing, that is, which leads to him gaining celebrity status after he is invited to do a top match. To trim the fat off an already wafer-thin plot, “His mad passion for soccer and women leads him to the brink of madness.”
Is there maybe an idea for a remake set against the thrilling world of Scottish football: a referee with ‘unusual methods’ is rocketed to stardom on the back of media exposure and then beds a host of admiring groupies. I’ve even mocked up the poster (below).
In true Boogie Nights Dirk Diggler style, surely ‘Willie Collum’ is a great stage name for whoever is chosen to play the part of the ref?
The real film is actually based on the life of the famous Italian referee Concetto Lo Bello, whose career between 1944 and 1974 saw him offiiciate a record number of matches in Serie A. He was also a regular UEFA appointee and there is a Celtic connection here. He was the whistler in charge of the 1970 European Cup final between Celtic and Feyenoord. Watch Celtic’s goal from that match again and you’ll see him running across the Dutch side’s defensive wall – in a seductive and erotic way – distracting the Feyenoord players long enough for Tommy Gemmell to fire home the opening goal from a free kick.
Above: How many rich widows fell for the authoritarian charms and Hitlerian good looks of Concetto Lo Bello?
Not too sure if Concetto was indeed bedding female admirers during his whistling career but after 30 years as a match official he finally retired and went into Italian politics and was elected as an MP for the Christian Democrats, where he went on to hold office as Minister for Sport and, the somewhat bizarrely titled, Minister for Drought. He eventually retired to his native Sicily, home of the Mafia, where Lo Bello became the Mayor of Syracuse. Even by Italian standards he didn’t last long in that job.
No chance of getting involved in anything dodgy with a CV like that, is there?
Toodloo the Noo