Simian Substitute Site for October 2020: The Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center
London Film Festival 2020

Spank Gold Volume 9: Spank's LFF Diaries 2015-2019

Photo by The Belated Birthday Girl, who would like to point out that this is a more fitting cover than the one she shot for Volume 4: the Kiln cinema has actually held LFF screenings (back in 1998 when it was the Tricycle), whereas the Lexi hasn't.After close on two decades of dealing with my shit, The Belated Birthday Girl has become an expert at spotting those occasions where I casually skip over the details in a story for either narrative brevity or comic effect. For example, in my recent writeup of our virtual Edinburgh, I compared Christopher Nolan's film Tenet to a Tuesday afternoon in Lincoln town centre. The BBG acknowledges the structure of the gag in that case, but feels that because I stripped down the statement to its barest essentials, it's somewhat disrespectful to the town of Lincoln.

Another recent example is the story I've been telling people about how my pandemic's been going: “earlier this year the government paid me not to work for six weeks, and during that time I wrote three books.“ This is normally the point where she chips in with "well, you didn't actually write them in six weeks. You pulled text off the website that you'd already written, rearranged it to fit book pages and printed it off, and that took six weeks."

It's a fair point, but you know what they say: when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. I like the fact that my time on furlough had a narrative structure: I started on day one with three empty word processor files, and by day forty I had three actual printed books in my hand. Not finished, mind you, as they still needed to be checked for typos and other nonsense, and the covers were just temporary affairs. But I could go into work the following Monday and show them to people (or at least wave them in front of the camera during a video conference call).

So: I wrote three books last April and May. (Sorry, love.) The finished version of the first one came out in August, followed by the second one in September. Now here's the third one.

What's there to say about Spank's LFF Diaries Volume Five: 2015-2019? Not much, really. Like the previous four volumes, it's a collection of London Film Festival reviews, all written the morning after I saw the films and slapped straight onto this website. For the book, I've taken out all the stuff that wasn't by me (guest reviews and photos, basically), tidied up a couple of howling mistakes in the text, added a ton of hindsight in the form of 47 footnotes, and asked The BBG to take a nice picture for the cover (requiring a location shoot during the height of lockdown in glamorous Kilburn). And now you can buy it from for eleven quid plus shipping.

So, at the end of a period that I'll grudgingly admit is closer to six months than six weeks, The Furlough Trilogy is now completed. And, possibly more impressively, I now have five volumes of London Film Festival reviews available to buy, covering 31 years of my attending the event. Just in the nick of time, really, seeing as my 32nd one starts tomorrow...

 Volume 1: 1989-1999 Volume 2: 2000-2004 Volume 3: 2005-2009 Volume 4: 2010-2014 Volume 5: 2015-2019 


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