Phantom Rides in the Gymnasium

  January is such a ball-ache. I put on half a stone over Christmas. That's on top of the three stone I’ve already acquired since I gave up smoking. This January was the moment to try and tackle that with three self-imposed rules: 1) no booze, 2) no refined sugar, 3) no restaurants. My fourth … Continue reading Phantom Rides in the Gymnasium

British Life on Film: History and the Film Archives

I love the BFI's BRITAIN ON FILM website and all the fab material held in the regional archives which it showcases. So much so that I'm organising a little symposium about it, which invites folk who have discovered films there and gone on to do research on the films themselves or the events/people/organisations they depict, … Continue reading British Life on Film: History and the Film Archives

“Projector Fire – Young Operators Avert Panic”: ‘Projectionettes’ and Teenage Projectionists in Wartime

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/45482 Imagine walking down the street past this cinema, minding your own business, when suddenly a flaming reel of nitrate comes flying out of the upstairs window onto the pavement in front of you. This is exactly what could have happened in August 1943 at the Queen's Picture House in Bolton, when a major incident … Continue reading “Projector Fire – Young Operators Avert Panic”: ‘Projectionettes’ and Teenage Projectionists in Wartime

Armistice Day in ‘Art’ and Popular Culture

It is a hundred years since the Armistice Day on 11th November 1918. To mark it, here’s a discussion of how people responded to that day from the opening of my book Before Journey’s End: The Great War in British Popular Cinema of the 1920s [NB cheaper copies can be found second hand]. The final … Continue reading Armistice Day in ‘Art’ and Popular Culture

Armistice Day in the Cinemas

As part of their rather wonderful Making a New World exhibition (running until 31st March 2019) the Imperial War Museum in London have a number of immersive installations which focus on Armistice Day in 1918 and on the nature of the silences ceremoniously incorporated into Armistice Day celebrations since. Their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit introduces … Continue reading Armistice Day in the Cinemas

They Shall Not Grow Old (2): The Abject Archive… The Sacred Archive

The Abject Archive One of the things I find most fascinating about the pre-release advertising for They Shall Not Grow Old, is the way that it seems unable to argue for the project without at the same time rendering the archive footage from which it is constructed abject. To erase, in fact, the role and … Continue reading They Shall Not Grow Old (2): The Abject Archive… The Sacred Archive