Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HIGH JINX AT SOUTHEND ON SEA WITH MIKE EDMONDS OF STAR WARS' ACCLAIM

That long awaited film UNDER THE RADAR: THE MIKE EDMONDS STORY received its World Premiere at the Park Inn Palace Hotel last night in Southend, Essex. 


And what a great evening was enjoyed by a packed theatre audience We met so many fascinating people in the world of cinema and stayed awhile with our friend Mike - the star of the evening. Red Stable Films' Director Simon Frith, Mike's producer,  brought his family and friends along and there was a goodly crowd of fans from his hometown cheering him on during this special occasion Gala evening. This is a wonderful film that has worldwide appeal, not just because of its Star Wars connection, but because it's a fascinating documentary about a lovely person who also happens to be a great actor.
Paul Cotgrove, Simon Frith & Mike Edmonds before his Premiere

 

Friday, May 27, 2016

THIS BUILDING WAS ONCE THE RITZ CINEMA BUILT 1938 - STAR WARS ACTOR MIKE EDMONDS WAS ONCE A REGULAR VISITOR.


Our poor old Ritz Cinema in Chapel Street - what a story it could tell!


Readers often ask what features I am working on, well currently, I am studying the historical cinemas of Essex and I just know that resiidents have fond memories of this little place in Chapel Street, Billericay which was at the rear of our precious small Cater Museum.  Will eventually post up my findings which are part of my Cinema essay. 
 


Monday, May 23, 2016

PREMIERE TIME FOR OUR MIKE


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OK, folk, Mike's world premiere is approaching and we will all be making our way to Southend's Park Inn Palace Hotel to meet our super actor friend, together with his producer Simon Frith and the team.  Monday, May 30th 8.30pm is the time for this one hour viewing at the Southend Film Festival and a chance to learn more about Mike's amazing life (and there's much more to come).  Both lads were with me in Phoenix 98fm radio studio last week during  our monthly Book Club programme and listeners phoned in to say how great they sounded. Presenter Michelle Ward gave us extra time!    Let's wish Mike and Simon all the best for Monday and do check out Simon's award winning work  at www.redstablefilms.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

THE CRYING GAME - OUR SUPER TOWN CRIER - JAMES SHRUBB

From the latest Saturday Live programme on BBC Radio 4, we learnt all about the history of the town crier, which brings me to our little town of Billericay in Essex.  How lucky we are to have our own rather special gentleman (with a very loud voice - and a bell)  who represents Billericay as Town Crier. 
This is our friend, the well known  James  (Jim) Shrubb who was invited to Buckingham Palace last month in honour of Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday. Although Jim has always performed his 'crying' duties impeccably, and we have photographed him dozens of times, this last occasion was rather special. He was one of 16 members of the Loyal Company of Town Criers to read out proclamations inside those gorgeous Palace gates. This was followed by a slap up lunch at  Wellington Barracks.  You need a vast amount of enthusiasm and energy to do this job and Jim always manages beautifully. Later that day he attended the lighting of the Billericay Beacon - also in honour of Her Majesty's birthday.  
Our Town Crier in full voice outside St Mary's Church Billericay




Friday, May 13, 2016

SEX & SCANDALS, SCONES & STAR WARS - SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION TOPICS

The Groucho Club, Dean Street, London W1
 
These topics were trending at a recent gathering of writers and journalists in London.  Oh, yes, we also had a few techies who popped in to give us some hints at SEO.  It's amazing just how many people use the web, yet have so much to learn - me included. The Society of Women Writers and Journalists often run courses on digital learning - do pop in to their website   www.swwj.co.uk and learn what is available for writers.

CORSETS AND CODPIECES - CURRENTLY MY FAVOURITE BOOK

After a lifetime of designing, sewing, embroidering and wearing outfits that, looking back at the trends so fashionable at the time, one has to ponder (and laugh).  The twists and turns of fashion can change in a flash!   Are these jeans sartorially in? Out? Who knows - who cares! And, of course, through the centuries, it has always been so.

 

Happily, I had my thoughts confirmed, when last September, my author friend Karen Bowman arrived in Brentwood to give the monthly talk to the Writers Group. Karen's two earlier books ESSEX GIRLS and ESSEX BOYS are both fascinating reads and have been showcased at our Essex Book Festivals, but on this occasion, she was there to focus on her  latest title: CORSETS & CODPIECES - A Social History of Outrageous Fashion.

  

Karen delivered an excellent lecture (looking lovely in Tudor gear)) and even dressed her accompanying six mute mannequins to demonstrate some of the flamboyant fashions through the ages, as illustrated in her book.  Those corsets were weird, hugely uncomfortable, and must have done enormous damage to women's torsos (and men!) and the codpieces and false calves were indeed quirky. As strange as fashion is, maybe even they will make a comeback on the old catwalk. 

 

Karen is a valued member of our Society of Women Writers and  ournalists and her books is an entertaining and excellent read.

 
 
CORSETS & CODPIECES
A Social History of Outrageous Fashion
Published by Pen & Sword History
£16.99 ISBN 1781593398
 
 

 


 

  

Sunday, May 08, 2016

MONDAY 30 MAY PREMIERE AT SOUTHEND THE MIKE EDMONDS STORY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Edmonds

Told you it was coming and now we will be able to see our friend Mike Edmonds on the silver screen in Simon Frith's fabulous film UNDER THE RADAR on Monday 30 May

 

Park Inn Palace Hotel  8.30pm / £5. UK : 60mins : 2016 : Certificate 'U'

 For immediate Release
Under The Radar: The Mike Edmonds Story is a new feature documentary about one of cinema’s true professionals, and Essex’s most unassuming hero.

Featuring director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys), author Mark Billingham (the Tom Thorne novels), Danny John Jules (Red Dwarf’s Cat), Producer Robert Watts (The Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and Jeremy "Boba Fett" Bulloch himself, the film tells the story of dwarf actor Mike Edmonds, from his childhood in rural Essex to the Star Wars franchise, the Royal Shakespeare Company and beyond. The film will receive its world première in Mike’s hometown, at the closing gala of the Southend Film Festival on 30 May.

"Great to see Mike Edmonds get the recognition he deserves. Wonderful person, GIANT talent!" – Mark Hamill

Since his first big break in Ken Loach’s Black Jack (1979), Mike has stolen scenes in some of cinema’s biggest movies (Return of the Jedi, Time Bandits, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Harry Potter and more). A true "actor’s actor" and a huge hit with fans, he’s met the challenges imposed by achondroplasia (or dwarfism) with his immense talent and a true dedication to the craft.

This warm-hearted documentary follows Mike from his schooldays (and dreams of joining the circus) to a life-changing decision to answer an advert for "midgets" in The Stage newspaper. The career that followed has encompassed Hollywood blockbusters, the RSC, iconic TV series like Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, music videos (he was the jester in the classic Men Without Hats' Safety Dance) and, of course, a lot of panto. Mike’s superb acting skills, athleticism, endurance and sheer good humour have made him a favourite of countless cast members and crew, many of whom appear in the film to help tell his story.

Under The Radar: The Mike Edmonds Story is the brainchild of award-winning filmmaker Simon J Frith (Eva’s Legacy, 2015). He and Mike have been friends and collaborators for over 20 years, giving the project a uniquely personal dimension.


Saturday, May 07, 2016

THOSE SILVER SCREENS OF LONG AGO CHELMSFORD AND BILLERICAY


Currently working on a feature about old cinemas in this area.  Just taken a photo of the Regent in the city of Chelmsford which is no longer a cinema, but still standing, which many are not. This building will bring back memories for local cinema-goers of the past in Chelmsford.
 
Another palace of the silver screen was at 33 Chapel Street, Billericay which  opened it's doors in spring 1938 and remained the centre of entertainment in Billericay until 1971.  Television finished off its popularity.  Bingo came next and then the building became the Radion Snooker Hall which eventually came down around 2000.  I was there on the day the bulldozers moved in and took pictures of them. Will pop on some photos when I get a moment. This is in answer to some of my regular readers from the US and Australia. I am always happy to present images from my 'nostalgia files'  More snaps to follow.