Friday, September 21, 2012

The time I met Robocop

When I was was 7 my dad forced me to lend his friends kid this animated sci-fi movie in exchange the dad of the kids said he’d give me something cool to watch so it would be a fair exchange. He leant me a pirate VHS copy of Robocop (1987).

I remember thinking the movie was fucking cool but jesus fuck was it violent. It freaked me out, my parents were pretty responsible and hadn't exposed me to ultra-violence. I remember it was one of those 20th generation bootleg tapes where the picture was a little blurry and the sound was distorted. I remember the scene where Officer Murphy is shot to hell looking so much more vesercal on a bad saturated picture with the blood looking so dark and sickening.

Almost a year later the film was released on VHS in the UK. The week of release my Mom showed me a small add in the local paper that said ROBOCOP WILL BE AT MEGRATRONE VIDEO WILLESDEN GREEN AT 4PM THIS WEDNESDAY.

I didn’t know what this meant. I knew it was a little weird but I was too young to understand that if Peter Weller (the dude who played Robocop in the movie) is going to be making a guest appearance it probably wasn’t going to be in small video store in North West London. I didn't care tho whatever was going down I was gonna be there.

My mom picked me up after school and we drove straight to Megatrone Video. There was already a crowd of around twenty school kids waiting outside the store. I pushed my way to the front to get a look but it was dead inside and the store was locked.

After about 30 minutes a crowd of around 50 school kids had gathered outside the store and  a beat up grey Nissan pulled up with Robocop in the passenger seat….I mean a guy in a Robocop costume. As Robo awkwardly manoeuvred out of the car I got a closer look. I could see the costume was probably professionally made but the metal panelling was made out of grey styrofoam. The metal leg sections were tied together with different colored thread and I could see his jeans in-between the panels of styrofoam. He did his slow robotic walk toward the store carrying a toy gun.

At this point a police car  pulled up and the officers were pushing passed the kids to see what the fuss was about. Robocop turned to the police and shook their hand - I thought that pretty cool and method, he then walked inside the store and the owner locking the door behind him.

10minutes later the store owner opened the door a fraction to throw some posters and video sleeves to kids outside. The crowd quickly snatched as a crew charged toward the door and tried to pull it open to get another look at Robocop.

I waited round for another fifteen minutes bur nothing happened. My mom became restless and thought the whole thing had been pretty fucking weird and pointless. As we were leaving a bunch of kids started shouting 'get him a fucking tin opener' into the video stores letterbox.

I came home and put the poster I had been given up on my wall.

The more I’ve thought about in years to come I realised how odd and uneventful this all was.

Last week I went back to the video store to speak with the owner and get more information but it had closed down.

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