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Little Did You Know: LFF cracks open actor, screenwriter and film critic David McGillivray’s autobiography

Referred to variously as “the Truffaut of smut” and “a prolific hack writer”, David McGillivray started out reviewing movies for the BFI and on the radio. Always preferring to cover the exploitation films over the Hungarian dramas, he gave credible notice to a lot of films that “respectable” outlets were not giving time or coverage to.

With a taste for the sleazier side of celluloid, he went on to write scripts for British sexploitation films like I’m Not Feeling Myself Tonight, and horror films like Satan’s Slave for Norman J. Warren, as well as combining the two elements for four of the infamous Pete Walker’s films, including the notorious House of Whipcord.

As well as all this, McG — as he likes to be called — acted on stage and screen, was a prolific playwright, spent some years as an extremely successful cocaine dealer, and wrote material for comedian Julian Clary.

McGillivray’s new book, Little Did You Know chronicles all of this in charming detail. McG is not only an extremely good raconteur but also a true life-of-the-party who finds himself in the right place at a pivotal time again and again.

This means that as well as his lively, humble not-humble recollections of writing, reviewing, and working with many famous and interesting people, he was also on the front line of the video nasties war — hunting down and collecting tapes — in Soho when it was still dirty and cool, and hanging out in New York’s dangerous, grimy and exciting 42nd Street grindhouses.

Structurally, McG gives a hyper overview of his life as he charges through a supremely entertaining and endearing opening section, before doubling back to add detail to each individual act, fleshing out every element that pricked your attention during the opening. Your mileage will vary on how into some sections you are, but there is truly something for everyone.

As well as everything film-related, there are McG’s struggles with his sexuality, love affairs large and small and good and bad, adventures abroad with his touring productions, tragedies and terrors during the AIDS epidemic and of course the drugs.

The cocaine-dealing section is large and significant and sees McG break bad, decadently dealing from a large Kings Cross townhouse and partying crazy hard, culminating in a resin-fuelled revelation in Sainsbury’s supermarket and a bacchanalian millennium New Year’s Eve party.

McGillivray is a supremely entertaining and self-deprecating storyteller. A fearless dirt-disher with zero filter, his memoir Little Did You Know is a wild ride through a filthy and fabulous outlaw life full of sex, drugs and stage ‘n screenwriting.

Always endearing, this under-the-counter tell-all goes from Soho to 42nd Street to Sainsbury’s providing film fans with recollections from the front lines of British film criticism, horror, sexploitation, video nasties and more.

Little Did You Know is available to buy online now from Fab Press, and hits the high streets on the 1st of August.

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