Celebrating LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: THE CONFESSIONS OF DAVID MCGILLIVRAY (FAB PRESS 2019)
If I were to honour in prose this spectacular memoir,
It would be like painting over a Rembrandt, or more fittingly, a McGill,
For David McGillivray’s book of a cartoon life turned to porno,
Shows how an inscrutably honest self portrait comes to cover us all
With great skill. As indeed ‘McG’ has, his hacketry expert’s neighbour,
As screenwriter and playwright, espouser of filth, celebrant,
Actor of note, even if most of those fall to dischord,
Who in age and wisdom has described his younger self as pure cunt.
Here,then, is a life fully lived, from precocious pup to coke dealer;
Purveyor of filth for new masses who missed the shadow and tat
Of the past. The Radio Times Journalist shooting gay porn
In warehouses. The man who has never been trapped or tainted
By whenever the dye or die has been cast.
A pure writer since birth, McGillivray wrote a different plot to that given.
By foregoing connection with parents and home he was free
To cast the thin suburbs aside, even if was to return slyly to them,
And embrace sixties soho, and all of a gay boho’s fantasies.
This book is so full of life that its writer seems to fuck everybody.
After a lateish start, not so young David takes a yellow brick road walk
With his cock; extremely large we are told and the pen afterall, is a penis,
Which focuses its single eye and intention on moving through
And around every chamber, with each vivid transgression,
Diarised daily, ensuring that a life in red light has been clocked.
The young film fan idolised those fading strays Britain gave us.
Men like Michael Ward, dying sagely after McG’s saving grace.
He charted Harrison Marks, Derek Ford and irascible cult king Pete Walker,
To become at this point his own statesman remaindering shabby
Glories as he catalogues and reminds us in his humourous words
On wronged fates.
The exploitation films McG wrote were an underground,
Free from Culture, but with a vibrancy that no counter, or po-faced stance
Could denounce. The hand to mouth world of film when the industry
Was still puffing is given the judas kiss of life sweetly by the ironic success
With his Farndale plays, which championed Am-Dram
As a genre, and not just a failing that the incompetent might defend.
What with that and the books and the instant turnaround
Of a screenplay McGillivray was a whirlwind who has made
An entire climate of change from pretend.
He adapts. He moves on.
Auteurs only ever thumb their own pockets.
McG has stroked others and let others stroke his.
He has dared the long dark, given up the ghost, and spun
Frightmares. He has chased love and sadness,
The homosexual heart melting for the chance of a heterosexual touch,
Or kiss. He resolved to try everything ‘Apart from Falconry and Knife–Throwing,’
And the hilarious phrases, come at you here from all sides,
In exuberant form, and with writing as elegant as its chatty.
The man spills his person, and hands you the wipe: will you try?
For there is a dare to this book; to live your own life with abandon.
David’s highs and lows are depicted, and the story in turn starts each time
That McGillivray moves, from Kilburn to Ealing, via Kings Cross,
Spearing lovers, while searching for kicks, his fear fries.
He directs films badly. He laughs, gathering devotees as he does so.
He rescues the neglected, such as Peter De Rome, Trouser Bar.
He purveys portmanteau when that style seems extinguished,
Writing more films, filthy panto, and enough of the shows that keep shining
Around Julian Clary’s sauced star. In the book he connects everything;
From lost faded film to the ravers; he moves from raving queens,
To Kings fallen, like the producer David Hamilton Grant,
Who after pushing porn for decades died in a dank Turkish Prison,
Where a murderous imperative sealed him. McGillivray views it all
With wry slants
Of both vision and phrase. These confessions,
At times, come close to Crowley’s, (staining us) in which instead
Of raped sheep and magic, we have 1970’s Light Entertainment
And the SM scene hand in hand. McGillivray’s seen it all to become
The last great survivor, as his book launches and parties are peopled
By famous faces long faded, none of whom seem to quite understand
Just why it all had to change, as what came after did little
To improve horror’s template for sensation’s sake. The fucks fell.
But McGillivray always knew. And perhaps that’s why he kept moving.
Only learning to drive in his 30’s or discovering anal sex as one might
An out of the way holiday resort, or location; his restless spirit
Loved all that surprised him without ever making the mistake
Of falling under its spell.
Most of us believe our own hype. David’s a hack and he knows it.
But its the hacks that keep working and McG has kept up for so long,
In back street cutting rooms, gay bars, Bafta, massage parlours,
And his book catalogues this with exquisite refrains like love songs
That are sung to boys, girls and all things inbetween, if that matters;
The little we knew is long lasting. Now we know more, we belong
To the individuals and groups that McG served and founded,
Reading this, we are the new Farndaled invited to act in his world.
For this is a wonderful book, full of fuel and flith. Its star written,
From the void of AIDS in the 80s to the ever brightening day,
One of the shameful greats he’s long prized,
As he prepares a garish shirt and excursion,
He will raise the world with you
And then probably piss on it, just for fun.
Here then, are pages to prize
And a life to be squeezed between covers.
Here is the smacker a word makes
And here is the shock that gives suck.
The book is that rare thing: it lives,
Especially as it turns the past’s tatty pages.
Met again they gain glamour.
Read and learn something.
It may get you high or laid.
Now, that’s luck.
David Erdos May 23rd 2019