This is going to cause some ructions. I imagine that even as a write this, some ‘Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells’ will be penning a letter to the Times.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the hoo-ha surrounding the works of Joe Greenwood. These were displayed in Portsmouth Cathedral until a bunch of blowhards insisted the painting be taken away, as they were ‘inappropriate’ in a place of worship. Because they contained naked women.
The Dean of Derby Cathedral, the Very Rev Dr Stephen Hance, has upped the ante a bit. More than a bit, really. He’s given permission for several films to be shown on an inflatable screen in the nave of the church. They’re not the ones you might expect.
Life of Brian. That’s a surprise, isn’t it? A real turnup for the book. But there it’s going to be. Yay! Go Stephen! ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers?’ ‘He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!’
Next up, The Wicker Man. Bit of a classic this one. If you’ve not seen it, I’ll not spoilt it except to say that Edward Woodward’s devoutly Christian copper falls foul of a bunch of pagans on a remote Scottish island. Christopher Lee is even more villainous than he normally is, and you get to see a lot of Britt Ekland’s arse. Not quite what you expect in a consecrated building.
Then the real kicker, Don’t Look Now. This has quite a lot of implied violence, a dead child, strong hints of the occult. It also has that sex scene with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. The ‘Did they or didn’t they really do it?’ debate rages on to this day. Either way, it’s a truly spooky film, and the reveal of the character in the red coat is still jumpworthy. Nicolas Roeg nailed this one.
Enter the harrumphers. Steve Dunning is a church warden, and said to the Beeb, ‘It isn’t appropriate to show these films in a place of worship that is hallowed.’ Kristin Simmons, another church warden but from a church elsewhere*, whined, ‘Holy Communion will be celebrated nine hours later in the same seats.’ Sorry to tell you this, Ms Simmons, but there may be a few celebrants who had a sneaky legover before they came to church.
Stephen Hance is taking a no-nonsense approach that I find very refreshing. He points out, as I did in the Portsmouth debacle, that they won’t be ‘showing God anything he hasn’t seen before.’
*Not quite sure why she shoved her oar in.