Filming for a new documentary on Michael Reeves
A gruelling two hour interview for me, filmed in the International Anthony Burgess Foundation — documentary out at some point in 2019, and features Ian Ogilvy too.
Since I wrote my book on Reeves (published 2003), it’s been illuminating to track the change in perceptions of his life and work. Back then, you might have the odd (very) late night Channel 4 screening of a knackered print of The Sorcerers and Witchfinder General. And Revenge of the Blood Beast only circulated in grey markets copies (mail order, for example, from Sinister Cinema) among diehard Barbara Steele fans. Now Witchfinder at least is regarded as a horror classic, and an essential part of any consideration of British cinema of the late 1960s, and a portrait of Reeves has been bought from a Vogue photographer (Peter Rand) for a forthcoming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
Two new pieces from me out Summer 2019
Articles on graffiti and The Libertines, and an interview with Jon Stewart and Louise Wener, of Sleeper, around Louise’s autiobiography. Both in this book from Bloomsbury: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/music-memory-and-memoir-9781501340666/
Stories We Could Tell published
It’s taken a while, but my late friend and colleague David Sanjek’s book has been published, with a little help from me and my fellow co-editors. Info in the “Books (edited collections)” page of this website.
It’s been really important to achieve this; Dave died suddenly and, although he had published widely in terms of articles and book chapters, and updated work written by and then with his late father, he hadn’t managed to see through a monograph in his lifetime — despite plenty of discussion about how he had one (this one) in fine draft. At that point, he and I were about to start editing The Music Documentary, also for Routledge, which I then finished quickly with some friends (REF2014 was pending), and pieced together a chapter from Dave (with response from myself), based on the paper he had delivered at the conference we had co-convened on the same subject, in Summer 2010.
Dave died in 2011, and we recovered the book manuscript from his PC shortly after. The MS had seemingly been left in 2007 and, while it was technically completed, sympathetic editing and corrections, and a painful citation overhaul and verification of quotations, along with indexing, was needed. Permissions from the Estate and the owners of Dave’s papers (University of Salford) were negotiated. Initially Ashgate agreed to publish this, and we had to make the case again to Routledge (who had then acquired Ashgate). The book contains a full introduction by us, which attempts to situate Dave’s writing in its specific timeframe, both in relation to his extraordinary career and talents, and in terms of the evolving levels of access to music archives possible (with which the final third of the book is much concerned). The book is so universal in its scope – a kind of poststructuralist analysis of identified dominant narratives that have determined all writing about American popular music, and how these narratives have coloured streams of that which Raymond Williams referred to as the “Selective Tradition”, with the resultant ideological balance struck around what, very problematically, was/is perceived to be American popular music (particularly in terms of race) – that it represents a major intervention into this academic field. Our task now is to continue to help finesse that intervention by ensuring coverage and reviews (to which end, happy to forward review copies to anyone who asks).
Photo of Dave in the basement of Adelphi Building, on Peru Street in Salford, from about 2008:
Shoegaze at the Wellcome Collection
New article on shoegaze from medical / psychological perspectives, which includes a few quotes from me: https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/Ww1iBCEAAM4AifmS
“Daniel Berrigan in 1970”: University of Wolverhampton Annual Research Conference; 11 June 2018.
Powerpoint for this talk: BerriganPowerPointHalligan
I’m chairing the book launch of Joe Darlington’s new study, “British Terrorist Novels of the 1970s”: International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, 12 July 2018. Event info via: https://www.facebook.com/events/2071805439734978/ & book info via: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319778952
“’90s It Girls: Britpop at the Postfeminist Intermezzo”; “You’re Twisting My Memory, Man” conference, York St John University; 13 July 2018. Event info via: https://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/music-memory/twisting-my-memory/
Powerpoint for this talk: FemaleFrontedPowerPoint (possibly NSFW)
Practices of Verisimilitude in Pop Music Biopics
The article/interview I co-wrote with my esteemed colleagues Jon Stewart and Liam Maloy is now published, open access, on the IASPM journal website. Jon worked on Telstar, and Liam on Control.
It was interesting to talk to Nick Moran after the December 2016 Sleeper gig in the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (that is — after we’d completed this article)… Telstar is a semi-lost classic of British cinema, and Nick assures me that there’s more to come.
The arresting look and feel of two recent British music biopics, Control (directed by Anton Corbijn, 2007) and Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (directed by Nick Moran, 2008), prompts a reconsideration of questions of realism and authenticity – rationales, strategies, practices and constructions – in the historical popular music biopic. The first-hand accounts collated here highlight the ways in which verisimilitude can be compromised by the production process, particularly in relation to budget restrictions and expectations, performance limitations, equipment and props use, contemporary or period dialogue, music copyright, and a myriad other issues and challenges relating to the production of “period” cinema.
Link to article: http://www.iaspmjournal.net/index.php/IASPM_Journal/article/view/841
PDF of article: PopBiopics
David Prothero on Alejandro Jodorowsky
This is the audio from a lecture by David Prothero, on Alejandro Jodorowsky. The lecture was given at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in the Old College, in early December 1999, and arranged by John Hefin.
David and Tony Whitehead were the programmers of the cinema in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Tony wrote a book on Mike Leigh, published in 2007, and died the following year after a brief illness. David, who had intended a substantial book on Jodorowsky, and to that end had spent some time with him (even staying with him in Paris, as related in part two of the lecture), took his own life in 2001 — a year or so after leaving Chapter for Italy. In the 1990s, after coming down from Oxford, he had produced the fondly-remembered horror cinema fanzine, Bloody Hell!, and written in various places on exploitation cinema, including for the BFI Companion to Horror. They were both regulars at the Welsh International Film Festival, where we all contributed to panel discussions, along with my former neighbour, Sara Sugarman, who had been in Grange Hill, thereafter appeared in a few Alex Cox films, and eventually wound up directing Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, starring Lindsay Lohan, among other feature films.
This is therefore, I believe, the only record of David’s work on Jodorowksy. It’s taken from a second generation video of the lecture – the quality of which is terrible.
In two parts:
John also frequently invited Dave Berry (who spoke on Roger Corman, and his research on Welsh film; his Wales and Cinema had been published in 1994), Kevin Brownlow (on Abel Gance and Napoleon, and on the discovery and restoration of The Life Story of David Lloyd George), and Tony (who spoke on Powell and Pressburger). I’d invited Tom Waller, who spoke on his debut film Monk Dawson (in about 1999), and Peter Brunette (in about 1998), who spoke on art cinema and the idea of a national culture, around Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy. In turn, I spoke at Chapter on, as I recall, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and on a panel with Peter Stead (on his book on Dennis Potter) and Stephen Volk (on his work with Ken Russell, for the film Gothic). We tried a few times to arrange for Ken Russell to visit, and eventually succeeded — albeit John talking to him at a conference in Bangor University, in 2000. Mid-interview, Ken had a baby ejected from the auditorium for breaking his concentration, and gave me a self-published erotic novella afterwards.
So many friends and colleagues mentioned here – David, Tony, John, Dave Berry, Peter Brunette and Ken – have since passed on. But they were all part of the rich film culture around the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in the latter half of the 1990s, and I’m happy to have preserved, here, a fragment of that.