Eric Ca ntona Eric Cantona not only pioneered the ridiculous upturned football shirt collars and the use of martial arts against football fans, but stunned everyone by jacking it in to become an actor. He has subsequently made some respectable inroads into cinema with the likes of Elizabeth. His new film The Children Of The Marsh/and sees him play an angry boxer who, among other things, destroys a bar. With his acting talent slowly being revealed who knows what else he’s keeping under his chapeau.

The Children Of The Marsh/and opens at Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh on

Fri 70 Dec; see review, page 23.

Disco Relax

George Best, Oliver Reed, Boris Yeltsin and Dorothy Parker. They all succumbed one way or another under the influence of the grape and/or the grain. In Sheffield company Forced Entertainment’s new production, we see just how damn easy it is to go from lucid clarity to fragmented haziness. Drink and violence spill over in a land where, at the end of the night, the promises are as empty as the glasses. It's a heady mix of video footage, dance soundtrack, largely improvised script and performers supping real ale. Cheers.

Disco Relax is at C CA @ McLe/lan Galleries, Glasgow, Fri 70—Sun 72 Dec; see preview, page 58.

Guest House Paradiso

If ever there were two men so completely unsuited to the hospitality trade then surely it was Bottom’s Eddie (Adrian Edmondson) and Richie (Rik Mayall). This pair of senior delinquents stagger, rant, stumble, slap, scorch, fart and projectile vomit a path through their feature debut Guest House Paradiso. Set in the worst hotel in Britain a building which just happens to be situated beside a nuclear power station a whole host of unfortunates bizarrely find their way to and suffer the consequences of boarding with such clueless hosts.

Guest House Paradiso is on general release from Fri 3 Dec; see review, page 23.

6 THE “31' 2—16 Dec 1999

Christmas is coming, Cliff's coffers are getting fat, so why do we keep putting pennies in the old fraud's hat? Ah, Yuletide, the only time of year (bar a Scotland World Cup campaign) when mediocrity is actively endorsed and celebrated. Sir Cliff, the real icon of this annual sortie into mawkish sentimentality, lS installed on the top of the pop tree by his devout hobgoblins. These frustrated frumps take time out from buying novelty soaps and smothering other people's children to ensure that everything beneath their Marquis of Middledom Will fall

of a thousand tins of tombola fruit and mobile discos hawk their three col0ur ’Rave Lighting System' around the city centre pubs, Hundreds of thousands of children’s dreams are shattered as they queue to Visit parolees dressed as Big Daddy Xmas in a POW grotto underneath the Blue Lagoon chippy. Egg nog becomes a Viable option.

Like the royal family and blankets, Christmas is bec0ming obsolete. It sits at the end 0‘ the calendar, ineVitable as soap, and waits for us to cast aside al' aspirations of difference and be subsumed by the tinsel wave 0‘ tradition. Zombie-like, we

The Prince of Darkness walks among us. And his name is Cliff.

to the masswe might of the mediocre.

Once the season has been declared open first sighting of a fully tinselled domestic tree (14 November); first Christmas ad (August Bank Holiday) the charity singles emerge. AnoreXic soap stars Sing for spastics. Sports figures break out from the FA Cup embargo and fool around for famine. Tarnished stars of the stage cover Bing for bulimics and inform us all from their dockSide McPartments that we just don’t give enough. The song may be crap, but give us your money anyway.

In order to still walk the streets Without being assaulted by a giant tomato With a pomt to make, I will let the crap song/charity single dichotomy slide for now. But the poison of mediocrity is all-pervasive. Once you allow it into your celebrations, nothing, including midnight mass, is sacred.

Some time around February, you will have paid your £10 deposit for an evening of Fine Festive Fayre and company- endorsed carousing. Come Cliffmas time, this Will have roughly translated into reconstituted turkey escalopes, plum duff and a Winch round the back of The Garage.

Any attempts to purchase a half-decent present Will be hampered (excuse the pun) by amateurish seasonal help With Santa earrings and tinsel in every orifice. Yuletide bazaar tables groan under the weight

trance through the days, acting out hollow traditions that carry all the resonance 0" a Wi'lian‘ Hague speech.

Why should the various industries bother to deliver a decent product, When we have all become so immune to the notion of innovation7 Even religion has watered down its customs, allowmg heathens to sway in the gallery While a mangy donkey chews the Tiny Tears baby Jesus and the heaters hum.

Unlike the current Number One, the truths behind the traditions have been deemed too nasty for today's delicate souls. So everything has been sugar-coated, given a jingle melody, f0isted on the purchasing public and swallowed Whole by hormonal women and sexually ambiguous men. They now march across the Earth unchecked and spread their mild-mannered message wherever they are admitted entry. They must be stopped before the Millennium. The Prince of Darkness walks among us. And his name is Cliff. Go out to seek and destroy him. Have an extreme Christmas and maybe a Happy New Year Will come after all.

Gill Mills co-presents Radio 1 ’5 Evening Session opt-out, Session In Scotland, every Thu, 8-10pm; co-hosts The Loafers on BBC Choice, hie-Fri, 10pm; and presents Hot Pursuits on BBC Knowledge, Radio Scotland.