The Social Whirl

My colleague Chrissie Harper and I will be taking next Tuesday evening off, in order to join members of the Made In Birmingham TV team in celebrating the channel’s expansion onto Sky. We haven’t actually visited the company’s Walsall headquarters since my first appearance on The Big Picture six months ago, so it’ll be nice to have a little face-to-face contact with the presenters and studio crew.

With Stars In His Eyes

I learned yesterday that my old friend Peter Weston passed away on Thursday, aged 73. He’d been severely ill for several years and had consciously wound down a lifetime’s involvement in science fiction fandom in order to spend more time with his wife Eileen, their daughters and the wider family.

Next month would have been the fortieth anniversary of our first encounter, at the Birmingham Science Fiction Group, one which he quoted me recalling years later in his own memoir With Stars in my Eyes (NESFA Press, 2004). Later in 1977, he returned from Miami with news of the UK team he chaired having secured the 1979 Worldcon, the very first of those events I attended. His friendship, counsel and support was always welcome, such as when I headed up another worldcon bid, this time for 1989 (it eventually mutated into the successful 1987 bid, under more experienced hands).

My life would have been incalculably different and diminished had our paths not crossed, and I know this loss is shared by many, many people across the world. For now, my thoughts remain with his family.

Saturday Night at the Movies

As well as launching a new venue for its monthly meetings, Birmingham’s historic Gunmakers Arms, the Birmingham Horror Group held its first movie event on 7 January, when I got to introduce no fewer than 14 short films and a handful of trailers. Several of the directors sent along pre-recorded introductions, whilst local film-maker Carl Timms turned up to introduce his zombie comedy Still in person and discuss it with me afterwards on stage. The interview was filmed for Ghostwords TV, and Made In Birmingham TV wants to look at a three-minute extract for airing this Friday.

Update #1: Free tickets for the 4 February meeting are now available online.
Update #2: The extract was screened on 13 January as part of The Week with Carl Jones, and repeated twice during that weekend.

Down the Tube [3]

The extended version of my report from the recent Grindhouse Planet Film Festival in Leicester is now available online via Ghostwords TV’s YouTube channel. Running more than eight minutes, it includes an extended chat with organiser Marc Hamill and an additional interview with Liam Banks, winner of the event’s 48-hour movie challenge.

Strip Teaser

Didn’t pick up the November issue of Britain’s longest-running horror magazine, The Dark Side? In that case, you’ll have missed the first instalment of what could become a regular comic strip if we can just persuade editor Allan Bryce he has room.

The artwork’s by my regular collaborator Chrissie Harper (you can see more recent illustrations at her own website, Chez Chrissie, where you can also support Chrissie’s webcomics via her Patreon page). The idea is to lampoon a different horror or science fiction movie each time, and we’ll be concentrating on older films because too many of the more recent releases are already laughable without any input from us.

Anyway, if you like this debut effort, particularly if you’re a regular Dark Side reader, please let Allan know via

Blu-ray / DVD reviews: Howling II (1985), The Devil’s Woods (2015)

[Published in The Dark Side #180. December 2016.]

Down the Tube [2]

Rose of Eibon’s YouTube channel has been further updated to include my first three appearances on Made In Birmingham TV, successor to Big Centre TV. These comprise interviews with actress Edith Scob (12 November), movie director Norman J Warren (3 December) and film-maker turned festival organiser Marc Hamill (10 December). An extended version of the last of these is currently in the works.

Down the Tube

[On-set photographs courtesy of Chrissie Harper]

Rose of Eibon’s YouTube channel has been extensively updated recently, and now includes all five of my appearances on Big Centre TV’s The Big Picture: my debut on 22 July, in conversation with presenter Carl Jones; my and Chrissie Harper’s reports for the show, filmed at Birmingham’s Mockingbird Theatre (27 September), Blue Orange Theatre (18 October), Flatpack Film Festival (11 October) and, down at London’s Bleeding Heart Tavern, an extract from my lengthy chat with FrightFest organiser Alan Jones (31 October).

Life’s a grind(house) [2]

A couple of images from Sunday’s interviews at Leicester’s Grindhouse Planet Film Festival, featuring organiser Marc Hamill and award-winner Liam Banks. Meanwhile, Marc announced today that he’s already taking submissions for the 2017 event. Great to hear it was such a success.

Update: The interview with Marc aired on 10 December as part of both Birmingham News Weekend Magazine and The Birmingham Lowdown: Best Bits.