In the first of an occasional series I’m turning my inquisitive eye to some of the filming locations used for Mary’s movies. I’m starting with 1979’s Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair – a film which promised so much but, alas, delivered few genuine thrills for Mary’s fans. Billed by David Sullivan’s portfolio of magazines as ‘the funniest sex film of all time” it proved to be neither funny, nor particularly sexy. However, if you, like me, have a certain fascination for this bitter cocktail of ‘X’-rated comic-melodrama, then perhaps you may feel inclined to walk in Mr. Galaxy’s astrological footsteps.
Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair was filmed entirely on location across London over four weeks in October/November 1978. Additionally, a second unit was sent off to shoot footage of Alan Lake (David Galaxy himself) visiting Kempton Park racecourse in Surrey. The central London locations encompass some great shots of Galaxy strolling around Soho, namely Brewer Street, Berwick Street and Old Compton Street, in an era when the pavements really boasted wall-to-wall sex. Our hero also has a brief dalliance with a young woman (Louise Soame) next to David Wynne’s famous ‘Girl with a Dolphin’ sculpture, erected in 1973, next to Tower Bridge.
Galaxy’s watering hole of choice is the downstairs bar at the Concordia Restaurant, in Craven Road, Paddington W2. Run by the Militello brothers since 1970, the restaurant was one of publicist John M East’s favourite venues, and he negotiated for it to appear in no less than four David Sullivan-produced movies (The Playbirds, David Galaxy, Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions and Emmanuelle in Soho).
It is also the venue East chose to film his interview for Channel Four’s 1996 documentary Sex & Fame – The Mary Millington Story. I visited the Concordia several times over the years and it remained identical until its sad closure in 2010. However, there is one location which dominates Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair, and that is the titular star-gazer’s shag pad.
The interiors of Galaxy’s gaff were all filmed at a private residence in a converted warehouse in Docklands, but the exterior shots were shot in the heart of Kensington. Winchester Court is an imposing eight-storey 1930s’ block which straddles Vicarage Gate, W8. Unmistakable to spot, the building is semi-clad in black tiles and the communal entrance, as seen repeatedly in the film, hasn’t changed since 1978.
This is the building where Milton Reid threatened: “I’ve got a bunch of fives for a Mr. David Galaxy!” and where Mary was dropped off for her dinner date, after which she finally experienced her first orgasm! It’s also the location where detectives Evans and Johnson (Glynn Edwards and John Moulder-Brown respectively) continually keep Galaxy under surveillance.
Considering how many scenes were played out by Glynn Edwards outside Winchester Court it seems a strange coincidence that within months of the theatrical release of Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair, Edwards was enjoying his greatest popularity as ‘Dave the Barman’, landlord of the fictional Winchester Club in long-running ITV series Minder (1979-1994).
These are a couple of recent photos of the location, but sadly, for those wanting to live like David Galaxy in 2012, apartments in Winchester Court now sell for somewhere near the £1 million mark. I doubt whether any of the wealthy residents today realise that their communal home plays a tiny, but significant part, in British ‘X’-rated history.
All words and new photos © Simon Sheridan 2012-2015