Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Oh, Those Russians! Or: The Charm of Baggy, Institutional Pyjamas

Do you remember last time, when I mentioned a film I recalled coming across within the Lupus Movies / Rigid East catalogue involving girls being humiliated and punished dressed in baggy pyjamas and straightjackets in some kind of asylum / mental home / psychiatric institution or hospital? (It was actually, last Tuesday: I intended to post this article towards the end of last week but I was away from home and although I took the content out with me on a memory stick I couldn’t get WiFi access where I was for some reason.)  Well, while looking for something else entirely on my hard drives (always the way!) I came across these two ‘stills’ from the film I was talking about.  Even now I find something exciting about these.  I mean; if not for the male character in the military style peaked cap in the background (and the fact that the pyjamas I describe in INSTITUTIONALISED BOOK 3 were green striped) these could have been taken straight out of one of my scenes.  Ok the storyline is entirely different, but whoever has arranged these shots has certainly captured that grubby, dishevelled look of hopeless demoralised despair I was trying to evoke in my third novel. In some shots it even looks as if the girls are obliged to constantly employ a hand in order to hoist up their pyjama bottoms as I describe in INSTITUTIONALISED 3. 

There is even a female psychiatrist on hand – and by the looks on the girl’s faces, she is really getting into their heads.

If there is one little detail that lets the pictured scenario down as far as I am concerned (other than the presence of the peaked caped guy – it really should be a woman in some kind of medical carer’s uniform, white coat or prison wardress’s dress) it is that if you look carefully at one of the shots it can be seen that one of the girls is wearing a pair of slippers or pumps with her pyjamas, whereas I can envisage nothing more ‘levelling’ than permanent bare feet along with pyjamas worn 24 / 7.     

So what is it about pyjamas, you’re asking?  And who would blame you?  Why shouldn’t you ask?  After all, I myself would be hard pressed to say what might be so erotic about such a baggy shapeless, masculine garment, especially if additionally endowed with thick, chunky rubbery buttons down the front, broad green and white vertical stripes.  But there is just something about a girl being kept in pyjamas, all day, every day.  And imagine the additional shame felt by the wearer if the breast pocket were to be emblazoned with an embroidered hospital shield, logo or badge and perhaps a descriptor along the top stating something like ‘dementia’, ‘delusional’ or ‘psychosis’. 

In fact I’ve never liked girls in ‘manly’ pyjamas.  But perhaps that’s the point, that ugliness, that basic, blank, institutional plainness?  Perhaps outside the glass-topped walls of this institution she had been a vanity-obsessed designer victim.  Now she shuffles around in a pyjama jacket with sleeves dangling way past her fingers and trousers which trail around her feet threatening to trip her at each step.  And those trousers possess a waistband devoid of either elastic, pull-cord or ties and so loose as to require constant attention from one or other of her hands to clutch at rolls of scrunched fabric to keep them up around her waist - and imagine if you will how demoralising that might become after a while, how tedious and rushing to the spirit.  And yet that is exactly the mood conjured up by these ‘stills’ (taken from the Lupus Movies production ‘Stalin 3’).  And no, I don’t get any payback from this company - I don’t have Lupus Movies as one of my affiliates.  I just like what they do, the attention they pay to getting their costumes and stuff right. What else can I say?  But what do YOU think?

Now, you probably wont hear from me for a couple of weeks as I am off on holiday, flying out tomorrow lunchtime from London, Gatwick to the Greek island, Rhodes.  I’ll be out there for ten days, so if you happen to be on Rhodes, look out for me – I’m always up for a pint and a chat!

Talking of a sociable pint or so:  If you are in or around Brighton on the UK south coast in about three weeks time I shall be cycling down there for a few days after I get back from Rhodes.  I guess that means the first week in August or thereabouts. I can usually be found in ‘The Hand-in-Hand’ pub in Kemptown or one of the two Wetherspoons pubs in Brighton, but I’ll let you know by Facebook and Twitter.

Lastly: Is there anyone out there who has a copy of  Daz Studio 3D, version 4.5?  It has to be version 4.5, not the latest version and it is for my collaborator, Angela Fox, who lost her copy during a computer crash and can’t make her existing stuff and other software work with the latest updated version – thanks!

Oh!… yes… there IS one more last thing… IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I can’t have a pint, coz I’m flying out tomorrow!


Vlad said...

The still looks like one the "Stalin" films, although it's worth noting that Lupus and RGE are actually Czech. But that's OK since in addition to spanking films the Czechs brought us Pilsner beer and the Bren gun. How are things going on the writing front? I have all of your current stories and I was wondering what is next and whether you ever planned to follow up on the hint at the end of Alice 1 about putting the aunt in diapers too.

Orage said...

"But I can’t have a pint, coz I’m flying out tomorrow"
So what? You're not the pilot, are you?

Anonymous said...



The Non Victorian Chick

Anonymous said...

The Creepy World of Abandoned Asylums


OK< maybe Dr Ecclestone could buy one of these...

The Non Victorian Chick

Anonymous said...

Meet the Mental Asylum

The future headquaeters of the Department of Homeland Security


The Non Victorian Chick

Pyjamagirl said...

Being kept in ill-fitting pyjamas for long periods is the perfect punishment for a young woman in need of corrective treatment. It induces a sense of shame and humiliation as well as discouraging any thoughts of escape.

Toyntanen said...

Being kept in baggy institutional pyjamas all day every day will also tend to signify to her her dislocation from society as a whole and her peer group in particular. And when she complains? Well, who is going to take seriously the outlandish allegations of some deshevelled young trollop clothed in garb clearly marked out and identified with a near by mental hospital. It is that aspect of it I find most exciting.

I have to say, I have not been ignoring everyone else's comments. I have a long and convoluted reply partly composed on my lap top which also details certain revealations about my latest work. But I am freshly back in the UK, don't have my laptoo with me and am using my phone and Pyjama Girl's contribution just happened to catch my immaginatio... More soon... Watch this space!

Anonymous said...

You should read "Dances with Werewolves", by Niki Flynn, published by Virgin Books in about 2007 and available from amazon.

Niki is an American girl who was one of the actresses in Stalin 3 (and Stalin 2 for that matter). She tells how it got into her head...