Saturday, 4 November 2017

Some Warmth

There are rare days in your life where you head to bed, bussing, having lived a great day that's lifted your spirits and made you smile. Today was one of those days - after a few months of either being a bit down in the dumps or dangerously fatigued. But here I was, back to my good old self, and it felt great!

I'm dating a really fantastic, beautiful woman called Crina (hello!) who I met at Raindance a few years ago, and was reunited with this year. Things are going great - she makes me very happy, and I'm dead proud of her and what she accomplishes day to day.

There's a new addition to my family too. See, the latest in a long line of nieces and nephews was born yesterday. Chloe is the daughter of my step-sister Kirsty and her lovely husband Pete. Congratulations to them - and I can't wait to meet little Chloe soon enough!

It's my New York trip in just under a fortnight. I'm really excited! Will be the first time I've ever left Europe! I grew up on American culture, so I've waited all my life for a chance to visit the States myself. And now I'm only two weeks away from doing so!

All this, plus Christmas is approaching. I'm returning home from work finding my house warm; the central heating on, making everything ok. I'm glad of its cosiness. It reminds me of when I grew up in Manchester, and returning home from school through the cold. I loved the warmth then, and I love it just as much now!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Dead Stock [Comic - 2017]

Woohoo! This is being serialised on artist Ray Friesen's Patreon site at last - leaving me free to share it with you guys and gals here.

It'll be 5 parts in total, published over 5 weeks. That means that if you can only see 1, 2, 3 or 4 installments below that the strip hasn't yet concluded on Ray's site.

Here goes then. Dead Stock - the tale of a Cat archaeologist, who gets stuck with a mummy corpse he can't shift! Written last 2016, and illustrated by Ray earlier this year.


Parts 2-5 coming soon! Bookmark this page!!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Yellow Sky

The festivals are finally over, and because I'm exhausted I manage to sleep through until 3:45pm. When I do eventually wake, I'm utterly confused as my room is pitch black... but I know this time of day that it shouldn't be. Before I get up, I panic and think that maybe I've slept through until the late evening, or maybe even the next day's morning. The truth, however, I didn't expect!

I get up after a few minutes, and venture towards the window - pulling the curtains back, and expecting to find a night time scene. However, I don't! It's still daytime. But something is wrong - the sky is the most yellow that I've ever seen it, and the sun a deep, dark red. It all looks apocalyptic! It sums up how I'm feeling, post 26 days of festivals, perfectly.



Since we last spoke, I've run the Vue West End arm of London Film Festival. It was a relatively low-key 12 days, with only a few major events accompanying screenings - such as the world premieres of Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson's Ghost Stories, and Maxine Peake, Vic Reeves and John Bishop in Funny Cow. Still, great to be around the festival environment!




Now it's over, I'm sad because I realise that this could be it: I don't know whether I'll be asked/will agree to a return for festivals in 2018. More than likely this is it for London Film Festival. I feel like I've done everything I can do there, and that it's time to move on and let somebody have their turn. Raindance I'm not so sure about. It's a much more personal festival, and I really get along with everybody there. But it does take it's toll, and I'm not getting any younger! We'll see. I'll make my definite mind up on both matters around April next year.

If it does turn out that these were my last festivals, then that's it - my connection to cinema is broken, after 10 years. When I started out as a part time cinema usher in Bury, Manchester way back in 2007 who knew the path that cinema would take me down? Four fantastic and fun years there, before moving to Westfield - the busiest cinema in the UK! After that, Vue West End, where I sharpened up my event management skills, before moving into working film festivals like Frightfest, LFF and Raindance! If it really is the end of an era, well, I've had a blast at least.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Between Festivals

Raindance concluded its festival run on Sunday - but there's no rest for the wicked as the BFI's London Film Festival starts tomorrow. I have to admit, I'm incredibly tired. Raindance hasn't left me this exhausted before, but this year we were at a new venue that saw screens spread out across numerous floors!

Aside from the constant escalator runs, Raindance was really good fun! I met a lot of great people - not just filmmakers, but volunteers too - and I managed to see my friend Ramir's film play on the big screen. The fact that this was the 25th anniversary year festival added extra punch to proceedings - and it was nice to see lots of packed screens and events.

Various pictures I took:


PACKED HOUSE FOR THE OPENING NIGHT FILM

DRAGS ENTERTAIN AT THE OPENING NIGHT AFTER PARTY

AN ELLIOT GROVE SCREEN INTRODUCTION

JK SIMMONS ON THE RED CARPET!

 MIKE FROM GHOSTROADS WAS OUTSIDE THE CINEMA EVERY DAY

THE ANNUAL LIVE AMMUNITION! EVENT

 MY FRIEND RAMIR HAD A FILM IN THE FESTIVAL (MORE BELOW)

 MYSELF WITH FELLOW SCREEN MANAGERS KATIE & HELEN


IT'S BORIS FROM SNATCH!


 ME LOOKING VERY TIRED!



 PROJECTION FIX A SPEAKER!

ROGER ON PHOTOGRAPHY DUTY

 ME, TRYING TO MANAGE JOHN LYDON

CLOSING NIGHT'S CROWD

 THE OPERATIONAL TEAM BEHIND RAINDANCE 2017!

 OH, PLUS ME AND GUS FRING!

I also met JK Simmons - who was a really great guy, who talked to me about his love of Shakespeare and his longing to see Tom Hiddleston perform Hamlet on stage!

At this juncture I don't know if I'll be returning for the 2018 Raindance festival - but there's every chance I just might. We'll see what I'll say in a few months when (if!) I'm asked to come back.

But, like I said at the start, there's still LFF to go. It's nice being back at the Vue West End, working alongside old friends for these events. They have a vacancy at the moment, and I have to admit that I'm tempted to apply - but I'm undecided if a return to cinema is what I need in my career. We'll see!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Raindance Ready

It's that time of year once again - the Raindance Film Festival begins tonight. As ever I'm working it as a screen manager, continuing a tradition that dates back five years now.

My responsibilities have grown a little this year. I was involved in the programming of the shorts films, and will play host to the shorts Q&A sessions on Saturday 24th and 25th. I've not done that before, so it should be fun to spread my wings. I've prepared by watching screeners of all the shorts online. There's definitely some gems on show. In particular I loved an Italian film called Viola, Franca - a biopic of a 17 year old girl who is raped, and in the aftermath fights back against Italian traditions. It's a great piece of drama by writer/director Marta Savina.

It plays - along with the rest of the shorts - this weekend. Please come along and check them all out.

***

Am I ready for the next 12 days?

Ha! Funny thing is, despite years of doing this, I go through the same panic every year. I look ahead to the next 11 days, and simply can't comprehend how I'll manage to get through it. Of course, I will - and as ever, will look back on it afterwards amazed that I ever had any doubts. It'll create an over confidence for the next 11 months that I'm indestructible at these things... before once more, I break down again and realise my panic!

As ever, I'll post my thoughts from the festival whenever I can.