Christmas is fast approaching, so Admin and I thought it would be fun to examine a scene from one of Mr. Malahide’s more Christmassy movies (for certain definitions of “Christmassy”), 1984’s “Comfort and Joy“. In this scene, radio host Alan “Dickie” Bird (Bill Paterson, who also starred with Mr. Malahide in “The Singing Detective” and “The Killing Fields“), despondent over being dumped by his long-time significant other Maddy (Eleanor David, who also appeared with Mr. Malahide in the “Dead Water” episode of the “Inspector Alleyn Mysteries“), has inadvertently become involved in a Glaswegian ice cream gang turf war, so he visits his friend Colin (who also happens to be a doctor) to get his perspective on ice cream – and other things.
[Alan is staring at an X-Files-style diagram trying to figure out the connection between ice cream (“Raspberry?”), the mystery girl he’s infatuated with, and the man in the mask who attacked her ice cream truck while he was there. He seems to realize he’s in over his head.]
RF: I’m really not sure how he thinks that chart will help him, since it looks pretty nonsensical. Maybe it needs an entry for UFOs or something.
Admin: And the word “ice” in the diagram has an arrow pointing to nothing, unless you count the thumb tack. Alan covers that arrow up with his hand though, so even he realizes it is superfluous.
Alan [on phone]: Hello Colin, this is Alan. This is an SOS. Can I come over?
[Alan listens to one of his own radio ads for some kind of chewy mint bar on the way over.]
RF: The movie does a great job of capturing the absolute inanity of early Eighties radio with the jingles and ads. Of course, none of Alan’s ads can even come close to approaching the insufferability of Mr. Bunny’s insidious “Hullo, folks!” jingle. Ugh, that thing still makes me shudder!
Admin: Mr. Bunny’s catchphrase is irritating beyond belief, and the bunny they perch on the motor is weird too. I’d be a Mr. McCool patron for those reasons on their own, never mind the ice cream.
[At Colin’s house]
Alan: How was the operation yesterday?
Colin [poking the fire and not really paying attention]: Eh?
Alan: The operation.
Colin: Oh yeah, it was fine… um… The bugger had eaten a sandwich the night before and not told us. Very nearly sewed his new kidney onto a piece of tomato.
RF: Colin already looks like the epitome of relaxation, kicking back with his whiskey glass. He also seems remarkably calm and in a good mood for nearly having an operation go wrong on him, but the scene does illustrate his laid-back sense of humour and unflappableness.
Admin: I don’t think they could make the scene look more cozy if they tried. It is maximum coziness. And Colin very much looks 100% accustomed to it.