We’ve always had a soft spot for “The Wrestling” here over the years (above) and the other night joined about 120 or so other grapple fans to watch the excellent 1992 Arena special “Masters of The Canvas” (available to watch here) and the after show Q&A featuring the masked wrestler/mystic Kendo Nagasaki and artist Sir Peter Blake at the Regent Street Cinema, an event put on by Heavenly Films.
Before the film commenced Kendo Nagasaki came out to great applause, raised some sort of ceremonial stick in our direction and threw salt on the stage like Sumo wrestlers do before a match to purify the ring. A nice touch! Never seeing the film before it was a real treat to watch and featured amongst other things the masked Kendo riding on horseback in the countryside (which looked like something out of an episode of Midsomer Murders), a subtitled interview with the masked man in the back of his limo with no sound (apart from barely audible mumblings picked up from a mike on the other side of the soundproof screen) and some very gruesome footage from a 1991 “grudge match” at Croydon Fairfield Halls against Giant Haystacks (much more atmospheric than the youtube version here).
Straight after the film Kendo Nagasaki, (his spiritual advisor) Atlantis Chronos Goth, Sir Peter Blake and Mary Dickinson (the director of the film) took to the stage for about 40 minutes of interesting conversation. True to his reputation Kendo didn’t say a word but sat motionless in his mask and cape holding his stick throughout while Atlantis answered all questions aimed at him. Out of these came some interesting stuff previous unknown to us here; mentions of Billy Riley‘s notoriously tough wrestling school in Wigan called The Snake Pit (to quote wikipedia: “luxuries such as a toilet were not provided at the Snake Pit”) and the great wrestler (and one Kendo had feuded with in the past and mentioned that he still holds in high esteem) Billy Robinson. Needless to say the talk didn’t go on for long enough for us!
On leaving the auditorium walking through the foyer, the queue for autographs of Sir Peter Blake and Kendo Nagasaki were so long we had to pass on that one. The last thing we saw on leaving was a glimpse of the side of great wrestler’s masked head lowered in mid-autograph and that was good enough for us and it will stick in our mind for a long while. An end to a good evening! More on the great wrestler and his present day work here. #KendoNagasaki #mastersofthecanvas
A couple of wresting related things to end on. We once read that Dickie Davies the presenter of World of Sport and the man who introduced “The Wrestling” on a Saturday afternoon supposedly hated the actual sport. Kendo Nagasaki and the late “Gorgeous” George Gillette went into music management in the late 70’s with one of the ventures being the band Cuddly Toys. The Dulwich Destroyer himself Mick “not the ears, not the ears” MacManus may even have co-wrote Hawkwind’s Silver Machine (see here). Who said music and wrestling don’t mix? #nottheearsnottheears