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Thursday April 18th 2024

The Adventures of Barry McKenzie | 1972

It could be argued that the whole gross-out comedy genre was born in London’s Earl’s Court in 1972, not with John Landis or John Waters, but with Bruce Beresford.

Yes, that’s the nice Bruce Beresford who scored a brace of Best Picture nominations for Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy. Then working as Film Officer at the British Film Institute Production Board, Beresford brought to the screen the outrageous Private Eye comic strip, written by Dame Edna Everage’s alter ego, Barry Humphries, about a naive, sex-starved, Fosters-swilling Aussie, adrift in the strange world of pervy Poms.

Not only has The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie something, as they say, to offend everyone, it also launched the cinematic career of Edna, now Dame Edna, Everage.

Naturally, Bazza (Barry Crocker, whose other contribution to Antipodean culture is singing the Neighbours’ theme song) winds up in London’s Earl’s Court (tube: Earl’s Court; Piccadilly and District Lines). This is bedsit-land, cheap accommodation for just-passing backpackers, particularly Aussies. Long known as Kangaroo Valley, the Court was also the capital's gay ghetto before the rainbow flags went up in Soho.

Across Earl’s Court Road from the tube station, you’ll find The King’s Head, Kenway Road, at Hogarth Road, where Bazza is approached by ad exec Groove Courtenay to advertise ‘High Camp Cigarettes’. Unfortunately, the pub has had a serious wine-bar makeover.