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Groupies - The Bognor Regis Experience
on 10 March 2010
The groupie film was a staple of the late 60's / early 70's B-Movie scene, as nothing played into the hands of the Daily Mail-reading moral classes more than footage of adolescents running away from home and doing questionable things with bearded guitarists. Hence films like "Groupie Girl" and "The People Next Door" were prime pieces of exploitation arcana. The British scene was as vibrant as the American scene and not just supplementary, and it's best represented here in Lindsey Shonteff's "Permissive", and I get to my knees and praise the BFI and their Flipside label for keeping a "lost" film in the public eye.
Suzy arrives from the provinces, fresh and innocent, ready to hook-up with her friends and experience first-hand what The Smoke has to offer in the way of rock-n'-roll fun. Acquaintance Fiona soon has her following hippie-rock band Forever More who show her more than 1000 ways in which to disrobe within seconds (or something) with more quaaludes thrown in than a 1973 screening of "Deep Throat" for good measure. So far so innocent-girl-led-astray storyline which you were expecting all along, with the resultant tragedy endgame to follow. But you're not watching this film for it's dog-eared narrative, but for a first-hand glimpse of the groupie life in the 1970s really. And you get it here in spades, thanks to Shonteff's apparent eye for exploitation cinema (He later directed the trashy Ripper-inspired "Night after Night after Night", erm, Flipside?...) and the colours and fashion of the era. It's a treat indeed.
Anyway, the movie looks good for it's age, but not on a par with companion Flipside piece "Privilege" it must be admitted. Chief extra here is the groupie film "Bread", which is a feature in itself with teenagers at the Isle-of-Wight festival trying to earn money by whatever clandestine idea they can come up with. also watch out for the sex-ed short "'Ave You Got A Male Assistant Please Miss?" which featured on the earlier BFI "The Joy Of Sex Education" DVD, but still worth a watch for some more '70s parochialism. Just buy it and prepare to feel just a little dirty.. Not to worry, a fresh pair of flares should do the treat. Arf.