(Tuesday 7th April, 1998, @ the London Aquarium)
Tin Tin is one of those characters that has a distinct ability to leap across cultural and social divides with ease. This was evident in the eclectic nature of those attending the Mollin Video launch party for their new range of Tin Tin titles. The night was populated by the usual faceless hordes of freebie-seekers but a handful of low-grade personalities were in evidence. Godfather of all British children's TV programmes, Brian Cant seemed to be enjoying himself, as did one of the McGann brothers and every mum's favourite TV chef Ainsley Harriott (all with children in tow it seemed). A couple of ITV's Gladiators were also seen relaxing in a dark corner.
The evening began with a screening of two of the first two films released Mollin in May: The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Chest. It had been some years since I'd watched a Tin Tin film and both the above titles retained a certain charm which made them good fun for adults as well as the children present. Technically speaking, the animation is nothing to get excited about, but the great scripting and character delineation made one realise how poor most animated kids fare is today in comparison. A party followed in the depths of the recently opened London Aquarium - chosen because of the videos' nautical themes. Indeed, hostesses in pirate attire and kinky thigh-length black boots moved among the partygoers serving up tasty food and drink by trendy Covent Garden restaurant Belgos.
The Aquarium setting (approximately three storeys below ground level) provided a stunning backdrop (the sharks were very popular as were the 'strokeable' rays) to the trade revellers and live karaoke by cool dude Count Indigo. Somewhat sparsely populated at first, as the evening went on the crowd increased to a respectable size. In true luvvy fashion, I caught up with several trade pals who I hadn't seen for sometime which was enjoyable; but after eating all I wanted and having had my fill of (horrible) Belgian beer and (lovely) schnapps in a variety of fruity flavours, I decided to call it a night and catch a train home to Kent. On exiting we were all given a goodies bag that included a Tin Tin graphic novel, notepad, pencil and some very bland sponsor bumpf. Though hardly raucous, it was one of the better launch parties for sometime. Thanks to Mollin video who will be releasing the entire Tin Tin video catalogue in the UK over the next two years, including 10 titles never seen before in this country.
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