‘The thing I really can’t understand is why you ever wanted to be a film censor, of all things.‘ I laughed, before taking a sip of my drink. ‘I mean, you of all people!‘
Gary grinned at me: ‘Well, how else am I going to watch all of the banned movies?‘
‘Please don’t tell me you actually said that in the interview.‘ I chuckled, almost snorting wine onto the table. It probably didn’t help that someone had got to the jukebox and had started playing that ridiculous “Vindaloo” song that had been all over the radio for weeks. Half the time, I wanted to laugh at it and the other half of the time it was stuck on repeat in my mind.
‘Oh god, no. I was the picture of diligence.‘ Gary said proudly as he rolled another cigarette.
‘The picture of diligence?‘
‘Oh yes, I even did research and everything. I even quoted some of their sillier rules to them.‘
‘Silly rules? Like what?‘ I asked.
‘You can show a criminal machine-gunning ten people to death, but you can’t show him brandishing a flick knife. You can show two people bashing the living daylights out of each other with their fists, but there mustn’t be any headbutts. You can show a ninja hacking someone to pieces with a samurai sword, but you can’t show him swinging nunchucks or using throwing stars. I could go on.‘ He lit his cigarette and blew out a weary puff of smoke.
‘Huh? I always thought that they were more interested in what people got up to in the bedroom.‘ I finished my wine and thought about ordering another.
‘Oh god, there are tons of silly rules about that too!‘ Gary laughed ‘But, they’re pretty much what you would expect.‘ He put on a posh voice ‘We can’t have the British public getting too imaginative, you know. It just isn’t the done thing‘.
I tried not to laugh too loudly. Finally, I got up and went over to the bar for more drinks. Even though it was a quiet night, “Vindaloo” was still playing loudly in the background. When I got back to the table, I handed Gary another pint and said: ‘You do realise that you’d probably just have spent every day sitting in an almost empty room and writing down rude words, between weekly meetings with the local vicar.‘
‘That’s another silly rule!‘ Gary stubbed out his cigarette and got started on his pint.
‘You actually have to see a vicar every week? I was only joking about that.‘ I raised an eyebrow.
‘What? No.‘ He laughed ‘I meant, you can still actually get a film banned for blasphemy. There’s some short film , one with nuns, that is still very much banned to this day. It’s the the nineteen-nineties for heaven’s sake!‘
‘Get out of here! We still have ye olde blasphemy rules?‘ I laughed, before taking another sip of wine. ‘Anything sillier than that?‘
‘Oh yes! A film actually has to go past the censors for a second time when it’s released on video, where a stricter set of rules apply. For some reason, the censors actually think that people constantly rewind and rewatch fight scenes. I mean, you’d be shocked at the number of action movies that have been hacked to pieces on video just because they were worried about some hypothetical sad act rewatching a fight.‘
‘Oh my god, that’s too funny!‘ I almost spilled my wine. ‘No wonder you didn’t get the job. I just wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face.‘
‘Oh no, I kept a straight face.‘ Gary deadpanned ‘But I had a bit of a cold. For some bizarre reason, asking the censors if they keep a box of tissues nearby is a quick way to get booted out onto the street.‘