Can unsee, but still haunted

Tales of regret for bonfire night. (Not for the squeamish, you have been warned).

(Not for the squeamish. You have been warned!)

A major benefit of having no pictures in my head is my high threshold for the horrific. I unsee things the moment they’re not in my retinas, and Iove watching shocking stuff as a result. 

But the thought of this scene – of a guy’s bumhole ripped open by a lit firework for laddish laughs, bleeding out into a sanitary pad he’s put in his pants so he can keep binge-drinking on Bar Street – has never left me.

It’s one of the few things I ever watched and wished I hadn’t, despite my unseeing superpowers.

You may not want to watch either. It’s not graphic, but it’s detailed. The way he shouts for ice. The bits of poo all over the room. (Not in the clip, but later in the full episode) the way he gets paler until admitting defeat and seeking medical help. The horror.

Got to wonder if it would have happened at all without the cameras there. I was hooked on all those Club Reps and Ibiza/Faliraki/Magaluf shows, but they were ever so exploitative and I’d like to think you couldn’t make them now. I’m less sure I wouldn’t watch them, if I’m totally honest. 

(This next bit’s a gear shift because of the different subject matter. Also, I’m not a film critic so see Wendy Idle’s review which I mostly agree with).

How to Have Sex preview Q&A

What reminded me of that ‘firework incident’ scene’s existence this week was seeing a preview of How to Have Sex, a far less sensationalist, more responsibly-minded fictional recreation of the same kind of boozy coming-of-age holidays.

It deals sensitively and realistically with the more commonplace horrors of suboptimal teen sex, dubious consent …and worse.  Fuelled (like Nips with his firework) by shots, and the all-inclusive peer pressure to have a wild time.

It’s out now, and is really rather good, worth catching in your local cinema (or on MUBI after the theatrical window). Can’t mention MUBI without also mentioning Scrapper is on BFI Player, the service my team runs. It’s artfully shot by the Director of How to Have Sex and there’s a bit of a narrative forming about these two films being part of a current female-led British arthouse moment. Get on it.

Anyway, happy bonfire night. Careful what you do with your fireworks. And remind your kids to make super certain before inserting things in other people that it’s something they equally want to happen.

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