Following my recent appearance on Big Centre TV‘s movie magazine The Big Picture, hosted by Carl Jones, I’m delighted to announce my first report for the channel will air later this month. Together with my director / editor colleague Chrissie Harper, I met with Anthony Duffy, general manager of Birmingham’s Mockingbird Theatre, to discuss the venue’s impending relaunch as a full-time cinema.
The inaugural episode of Ghostwords TV is now available online, featuring an interview with Ramsey Campbell, news and reviews, editorial opinion and a personal tribute to David Bowie. You can subscribe to the feed here.
For those who recall our pre-Xmas announcement, Chrissie’s and my plans for Ghostwords TV continue apace. We’ve managed to pull together the equipment we need for the initial launch, dressed the ‘set’ (aka the upstairs bedroom Chrissie uses as an office, the same function it had when I first freelanced back in the early ’90s) and filmed a couple of brief tests. We’re probably a couple of weeks away from releasing our first episode, but would strongly suggest anyone who wants to catch the show from the get-go should immediately subscribe to our YouTube channel.
As previously mentioned, the Birmingham Horror Group held its inaugural meeting on 5 December in Acocks Green, when the turn-up comprised James Brogden, Ray Holloway, Louise Palfreyman, Chrissie Harper and yours truly — plus, addressing us via Skype from his home in Wallasey, group president Ramsey Campbell. A follow-up gathering took place on 2 January, but a virtual appearance by Dez Skinn unfortunately fell foul of wifi problems. The next is scheduled for 6 February; details will be posted here.
As one year draws to a close, whilst another waits in the wings, might I just mention the new Ghostwords TV project Chrissie Harper and I are collaborating upon, a fortnightly vidcast devoted to the horrific and darkly fantastic?
More very soon, but for now, here’s a festive ho-ho-homicidal message from Valentine Dyal-Up.
*amazingly, that’s how my voice sounds Chrissie plays with it
Back in November, I reported plans for the Birmingham Horror Group, and I’m pleased to report the first meeting took place as scheduled on 5 December, within the cosy confines of the Spread Eagle pub, Acocks Green. To make the evening even more memorable, honorary president Ramsey Campbell made a special appearance via Skype (you can see a short video clip at the Group’s website).
The next gathering will take place at the same venue on Saturday, 2 January. In the meantime, Chrissie Harper’s design for our logo makes its debut to the immediate left.
A new monthly gathering for horror and dark fantasy fans in Solihull and Birmingham will be launched next month at the Spread Eagle pub in Acocks Green. British horror author Ramsey Campbell has agreed to be the group’s honorary president, and plans to attend the inaugural meeting via videolink. For full details, please contact me via email@example.com.
Edit 1/12: The initial gathering will be held from 7pm on Saturday, 5 December. The group’s website will be launched very shortly.
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time, just a couple of decades ago, when British horror fans risked criminal prosecution simply for possessing videotapes of movies which are now readily available on Blu-ray from reputable high street retailers. The sheer absurdity of this draconian clamp-down helped fuel an explosion in the number of small press magazines devoted to the genre, many of which crossed my desk during the years I produced my monthly ‘Fanzine Focus’ column for The Dark Side.
One of the other magazines I wrote for back then was Headpress (“The Journal of Sex Religion Death”), whose publishing wing eventually grew to incorporate a range of film guides and cultural analyses. Among 2013’s releases was John Szpunar’s Xeroxferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine, a selection of interviews with key players on both sides of the Atlantic — myself included, although that hasn’t biased my favourable opinion of its value as a revelatory window into social attitudes during a particularly oppressive period in this country’s cultural history.