LLANELLI is set to become the centre of exotica as the androgynous, flamboyant and beautiful Adrian Street descends on the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival.
The former wrestler who adorned our TV screens on ITV’s World of Sport in the 1970’s has returned to Wales after a long and successful career in the USA.
For the last two years film maker Joann Randles has been documenting Street’s life for a bio pic called ‘You May be Pretty but I am Beautiful’.
The film premiered in Street’s home town of Brynmawr yesterday evening, Thursday (May 16) in front of a large audience made up of grapple fans, former and current wrestlers and the friends and family of the outrageous glamour-puss that is Adrian Street.
Queues formed around the ageing wrestler who was dressed in an outfit featuring sequinned birds of paradise purchased from ‘Granny Takes a Trip’, a King’s Road shop famous for supplying the likes of Elton John.
Young and old alike were treated to some of Street’s stories even before the film had begun. Still as fit as a fiddle but with a slight hearing problem the suntanned Street with the twinkling and piercing blue eyes gave young fans his own personal advice, which was ‘It doesn’t matter how you win as long as you cheat’. It was a line Street outed in the days before the PC Police and said with tongue in cheek. Another of his taglines is ‘I’ve got so many ways to hurt you you have to invent new ways to scream’.
Street’s wife and long time heel Miss Linda was at his side as always. The lady responsible for Street’s outrageous outfits looked fantastic in a red sequinned dress. Describing her role in Street’s life and career she said that they had had a wonderful time pioneering and forging their way in a man’s world where she had to undress in changing rooms with male wrestlers. They were, she said; ‘gentlemanly people’ and would ‘show her respect’. Street admitted that it was tough for Linda but said that they always supported each other. The film documents their amazing relationship and family life from their appearance on TV to running a wrestling training school in America.
Former and current wrestlers paid tribute to Street calling him a sparkling star and a firework who lit up the way for what we see in wrestling today. It was said that Street invented glam rock. Street says he didn’t invent it but they took a lot from his glamorous persona.
Film Maker Joann Randles who hails from Saundersfoot developed a close relationship with Street and his family and said that she hoped the message from the film would be to inspire the younger generation to follow their dreams.
The film is an outstanding piece of work which hops back and forth between Street’s life in wrestling and commentary from fans. Vintage footage of the wrestler provided the colour and sparkle Street is so famous for. A miner’s son, who decided going down the mine was not for him. He opted for the spotlight. He made our world a little brighter. Colourful, exotic, effeminate, homo erotic were just some of the words used to describe the diminutive man by commentators including the famous Kent Walton.
Today Street stood in Brynmawr outside the Market Hall Cinema greeting everyone without violent intent or malice, just a warm and friendly glow and the trademark twinkling blue eyes. There is another side to Street. Known to visit sick children in hospital in South Alabama. Described by News Anchors as a treasure. Testimonies from some of the best in the world all paying their tributes to the man who as a child wanted to be an Indian chief but by mistake got into body building and wrestling. A man who wanted to and did achieve his dreams in spite of everyone telling him he couldn’t. Loved now but hated by the ringside fans who were known to beat him with walking sticks. A man in a man’s world dressing in effeminate clothing, being sprayed with perfume and having his long blonde locks brushed by the equally exotic Miss Linda.
The film is truly inspirational covering the life of a man destined for the darkness of the mines of the valleys who dug his cuban heels in and refused to do anything other than step into the spotlight front of stage. And what a beautiful stage that was.
The film can be seen in Llanelli at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival on Monday 27th May at Stiwdio Stepni.
Photos: ©Elkanah Evans