ken russell knows that cinema is the delirious form


Ken Russell was born into a lower middle-class family in Southampton in 1927. When he was little he went to see Pinocchio and was fondled by the man in the seat next to him. Ken marched out and complained to his Aunt Moo, but she didn’t really listen. Neither did Mum or Dad, but then they weren’t particularly switched on.

Ken was definitely switched on: he thought that a gorilla resided next door, and longed to live in a puddle. Mum loved the cinema above all else and forced Ken to go with her every day to watch ghastly romances. (“You said there wasn’t going to be any love in the film and they’re kissing already!”) So Ken converted the garage into a cinema, adding extension arms to his Pathescope 9.5mm hand-cranked projector, renting Die Nibelungen and Metropolis from the local chemist (some chemist), and screening them for whoever would watch.

Soon Ken was sent to a naval college where he dressed the other cadets in drag, using rolled-up rugger socks for boobs. And he hadn’t even noticed real girls yet. Plus it’s only page 12.

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