Tag: Manchester

Manchester Memories [2]

Jenny Hanley (detail).jpg

Among the projects Chrissie Harper and I are currently working on is an online series, In Conversation With, which kicked off by interviewing actor Demelza O’Sullivan (who starred in our short film All Bad Things…) and now features actor / television presenter Jenny Hanley (recorded when we met up in Manchester). Both are available via our YouTube channel.

Manchester Memories

2017-10-21e Hanley & Rigby.JPG

Went up to Manchester yesterday, to interview Jenny Hanley and Jonathan Rigby for the 28th Festival of Fantastic Films. Both guests and audience seemed to have a great time, and my conversation with Jenny was recorded for use in a future issue of the The Dark Side. The photographs above were taken by Chrissie Harper. (No, I wasn’t kneeling next to Jonathan; he’s just really tall.)

Centre-stage again… [4]

Further to my attending last month’s Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester to conduct Dagmar Lassander’s guest interview, I’ve now been approached by Pan Macmillan to interview Adam Nevill at a Waterstones promotion for his forthcoming novel, Under a Watchful Eye. If all goes according to plan, the event will be held in the centre of Birmingham, Adam’s former home city.

Update 21/11: Unfortunately, it appears Adam’s schedule is rather over-loaded, so the event has been cancelled.

Escape From Old Trafford [2]

Further to my review of John Carpenter’s Manchester gig, I’ve been contacted by the BBC Radio 4 consumer magazine You and Yours regarding widespread allegations that the Victoria Warehouse was dangerously overcrowded. (Not that you’ll read anything about this controversy on the venue’s social media pages, of course, or amongst the feedback on SeeTickets’ website.)

Meanwhile, the podcast 80’s Picture House carried a lengthy and detailed report on the event, as well as promoting the Twitter hashtag #ReleaseTheRants. I strongly recommend you listen in.

Escape From Old Trafford

I once had the enormous pleasure of meeting the director John Carpenter at the National Film Theatre, where he’d presented a lecture on his idol, Howard Hawks. I pointed out that he’d paid homage to Hawks’ westerns (Assault on Precinct 13) and science fiction (The Thing), but never tried his hand at a ‘screwball’ comedy. He joked that he might do just that, but with only two movie credits this century (2001’s lacklustre Ghosts of Mars and 2010’s barely-released The Ward), it’s unlikely we’ll ever see him in Bringing Up Baby mode.

In any case, Mr Carpenter is now pursuing a different path, albeit one which feeds on his parallel career as a soundtrack composer: rock star. Which is why Saturday evening found me at the Victoria Warehouse, a short distance from Manchester United FC’s home ground. The European leg of his Release the Bats tour had originally included two nights at Manchester’s Albert Hall, but a switch in promoters precipitated a conflation of both events into one venue, a massive concrete box with all the ambience of a multi-storey car park (and comparable acoustics, according to some who ended up standing at the back). A makeshift sign near the entrance alluded to Escape From New York, but the building itself was a far more convincing nod to that movie.

Doors opened at 6:30pm, and most of the 4,000 ticket-holders seemed to have made their way inside by 7pm, but other than a couple of technicians, the stage remained empty until 8:30pm. Luckily, I’d managed to finesse my way into the balcony area, which offered very limited seating, but the vast majority who’d expected to watch the concert in relative comfort were instead forced to stand for three hours with a restricted — or non-existent — view of the 75-minute set.

The sole saving grace was the performance by Mr Carpenter and his band, which was excellent, although the balcony may have been the only place where it could be properly enjoyed. In amongst the instantly recognisable Halloween, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China et al, we were treated to tracks from his two volumes of Lost Themes, belted out in a mesh of synthesiser and heavy guitar.

So, great gig, lousy location. To quote Beth Abbit’s review in the Manchester Evening News, “It’s disappointing that this highly anticipated opportunity to see a hugely iconic movie man at work was hampered by an unsuitable alternative choice of venue.”

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Centre-stage again…

Delighted to announce I’ve been invited to interview the actress and director Dagmar Lassander next Saturday for the 27th Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester. I already had two reasons to be in the city that day: Chrissie and I will be interviewing attendees for a Ghostwords TV documentary on the event, plus we’re catching John Carpenter during his brief UK concert tour. The Dark Side has expressed interest in publishing my conversation with Ms Lassander, which is a bonus.

Festival memories [2]

Here’s a nice photo of the actress Valerie Leon and myself at the 1996 Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester. She’s reportedly busy filming a new horror comedy, Pitfire of Hell, co-starring fellow scream queen Ellie Church, directed and co-written by Bob East. Ms Leon is 5’11” tall, by the way, and I’m pretty sure she was wearing high heels.

Festival memories [1]

I’ve been looking through a few of my photo albums and it struck me it might be nice to dust a few of the pictures off for a wider audience. The two below were taken at Manchester’s Festival of Fantastic Films in 1995, when the guests also included directors Roger Corman (whose Gas-s-s-s and The Trip are about to be released on R2 Blu-ray by Signal One), Robin Hardy (The Wicker Man) and Norman J Warren (an old friend, whose canon includes Satan’s Slave and Inseminoid).

Anyway, here’s a rather nice snap of myself with Hammer scream queen Barbara Shelley, who rather curiously — albeit charmingly — thought we already knew each other. Perhaps she mistook me for one of the Martian bugs she’d encountered in Quatermass and the Pit.

Oddly enough, Ms Shelley wasn’t the only actress present who’d had to fight off an invasion from the Red Planet, since we were joined by Ann Robinson, who apparently quit showbiz after The War of the Worlds in order to marry a matador (although she had a brief cameo alongside original co-star Gene Barry in the Spielberg remake).