Friday, 22 July 2011

Retro review: Vile Pervert - The Musical (2008)

Now, this one seems to have passed under my radar until this week. Vile Pervert is a home made documentary/drama/musical satire by Jonathan King. Maybe it's apt that it should come to my attention at this current time when the UK newspaper industry (red tops especially) is in meltdown and is being as demonised as they have done to so many others in the past. Karma? I'm sure JK would agree.
Whatever your opinion on JK as a person you can't deny that he has had major part in the British music industry, as a performer, writer, producer and much more. When I was growing up, he was a familiar face and name, his TV shows Entertainment USA and No Limits were required viewing, especially for someone like myself who liked to listen to things that would not get radio airplay outside the Friday Rock Show on Radio One.
Before I start with the film, I would like to point out as a disclaimer that I'm a male, in my early 40s, very straight, and if anything have a preference for older women. So at no time did I relate to JK's interests in that way. 
Now, JK had a very public trial and humiliation for allegedly abusing boys who had come to visit him at his home in the early 80s. All these allegations came many years after the events and, as we find out in this frank and very enlightening film, had no proof whatsoever to back them up.

Which brings me to the film. Shot entirely on digital video and interspersed with  musical numbers set to cut and paste videos, it is King's side of the story. An honest account of what he is. Along the way, we meet fictionalised versions of the key characters into his story,  all very thinly veiled that it wouldn't take too much to work out who they are meant to be. Waxie Maxie, a PR agent nicknamed "The Silver Stoat" who will take on anybody's story providing they say they are telling the truth, and there's money to be had. The "victims", some of which had not even met King, but then what did that matter? The police, not too bothered with facts as long as they get a result for the figures. Flame Mitchell, the ex-editor of a red top newspaper who had previously employed King as a columnist for many years, and God, the narrator of the sordid story. I say sordid, but it's not in the way the papers' would have it. The sordidness comes from the way the facts were changed, and the whole scaremongering and hysteria that comes along with anything to do with "perverts" and celebrity misdemeanours. It's worth noting that what King was accused of, and imprisoned for, involves "children" of 15, (some proved to actually older than that when the alleged events happened) and were willing participants. Even the judge, in his summing up, noted that no violence was used, and that incidents stopped when if it was clear that it wasn't wanted. None of which was reported of course. In fact there's so many twists and turns that come out of the documentary that you'd think it was a Hollywood thriller.
And then we have the music. Some of the old hits are included, Everyone's Gone To The Moon and It's Good News Week are both strangely prophetic. It's the new songs that stand out though. Taken out of context, you would think they were terrible and would outrage the public decency. But no, they all make a point. You just have to have the balls enough to think about them. Something I'm sure most people wouldn't bother doing.
There is the the wonderful Wilde About Boys, sung by King dressed as Oscar Wilde with its catchy refrain of "there's nothing wrong with buggering boys" Whaaaat.. f*cking disgusting! String him up I say.. Yep, just the sort of red rag that would have the estates lighting their torches and going en-mass to lynch the nearest paediatrician. In context, what the song is actually saying is there's nothing wrong as long as BOTH sides are compliant. Who would argue with that? It even says "as long as their not too young" and borrows from the famous quote from Wilde's cleaning woman during his trial about "as long as it's not in the street and worrying the horses".

It's worth noting when thinking how disgusting it might be for someone in their 30s to be interested in anyone of 15 or so, (the proper name is ephebophilia) that in many of the countries that YOU, the mob minded hate breed go on holiday every year the age of consent is lower than in the UK. In Spain, for example, it is 13.
The whole thing was very enlightening, and shows the press up just as much as the current scandals. While I have my own personal opinions of certain high profile accusations in the past (the other "King of pop" I have no doubt that something iffy was going on) when presented with the discrepancies that King provides it's hard not to see that something is rotten in the system.
The only warning I'd give is that you might see a bit more of JK than you'd like. There's an image I could have done without! 
In the end King presents his case with humour, and as in his final word, is not interested in making you like him, but just make you think. That it certainly does. And man, can he write a catchy tune.... 8 out of 10.

You can download the whole film - for FREE - from his website All You Tube footage included in this item are owned by Mr King.

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