Category Archives: top tips

60-something

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Did you know it’s 50 years since: 

– the “British Invasion” of UK bands blazing a trail across the United States of America? 

– pirate station “Radio Caroline” sent pop music bouncing across the air waves? 

– the South Coast witnessed the infamous Bank Holiday clashes between the Mods and Rockers?

Whatever your answer, the place to be on Thursday 12 June is in the audience for The Sixties – a musical tribute to the entire decade that was the 1960s – a show set to rock Worthing

The Sixties 

With songs from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Beach Boys, Dusty Springfield, The Who, The Ronnettes, The Everly Brothers, Lulu, Bobby Vee, The Four Seasons, The Animals, The Hollies, The Monkees, Cream, The Shirelles, Procul Harem, The Mamas & The Papas, The Doors and many more… eye-catching outfits; an amazing live band; rocking dance routines; and news stories from these exciting and sometime turbulent times, The Sixties will transport people back 50 years. 

Phil Short, The Sixties‘ creator and lead singer, said: “I’m expecting people to be up dancing and singing along with us. Our cast of professional musicians, dancers, actors and singers will take everyone back in time, 50 years, to the blazing 1960s. 

“If you’re a fan of 60s music or love West End musicals like Jersey Boys, Dancing In The Streets and Let It Be, you’re going to love The Sixties!” 

The Sixties starts at 7.30pm at the Pavilion Theatre. Tickets are £19.50 (£18 concessions) and can be bought in advance via www.worthingtheatres.co.uk or on the night at the box office. You can find out more via the theatre’s website, on The Sixties facebook page (www.facebook.com/thesixtiesshow) or by following them on twitter @TheSixtiesShow 

Phil added: “Worthing has some of the best theatre spaces in the area. The Pavilion Theatre, sited on the pier, is a wonderful space to perform in and conjures up all the seaside romanticism of the era. Is it any wonder we picked it for The Sixties?” 

Phil Short is available for interview: for further information, an interview with Phil and pictures, please call Kelly.Barnes (promotor) 07853 852860.

 


 

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Blood Test

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I took an HIV test yesterday. Not that I was seriously concerned I might have contracted the virus, mind: rather that I work for an HIV/AIDS organization, and a sister organization, as part of national HIV Testing Week, was utilizing our premises to offer instant antigen/antibody tests to clients and staff. Kinda weird in the former instance, since being HIV+ is a prerequisite for referral for treatment; but staff-wise it seemed like good form to – and be seen to – attend to one’s sexual health.

My ‘tester’ explained that which might once have been semi-taboo to voice, that as a ‘straight’, white man, the risk of my contracting HIV thru sex  was somewhat lower than it might be for a man indulging in regular homosexual relations.

One aspect of the testing procedure surprised me: I filled out a form with personal details prior to the blood test which included my sexual orientation; from which I could choose ‘straight’, ‘gay’. ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘Transgender (Male to Female), ‘Transgender (Female to Male), ‘other’. Perhaps you can guess from whence my surprise sprang? As something of a ‘gender sceptic’, I’m familiar with the line that ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ are discrete ‘boxes’ as it were. So goes popular, contemporary ‘queerthink’. Could it be that the UK’s preeminent (and admittedly gay-male-centric) HIV charity missed the memo or is their use of language deliberate and candid?

As it happens, I agree, to a point: both ‘cis’ and ‘trans*’ people can be attracted to either/both (biological) sexes and/or to folk presenting as one, other or both. But underlying that fact is the reason that sexual orientation is such a deal, even now, in terms of  personal identity. Andrea Dworkin delineated this so well in the ‘Law’ chapter of her magnum opus, Intercourse [1987](p. 185-211):

‘The laws regulating intercourse – prescribing how we must use each other (be used) as well as proscribing how we must not use each other – are supposed to protect the authentic nature of men and women. Men being fucked like women moves in an opposite direction … [t]he regulation of men by men in sex for the sake of upholding men as a class is the least recognized, least scrutinized aspect … of social control…’

During this chapter, the author also states ‘…[e]very detail of gender specificity was attended to in the Old Testament, including cross-dressing ‘A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garments; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the Lord thy God…’

Dworkin remains on record as the least ‘transphobic’ of radical feminist thinkers; yet she clearly and succinctly apprehends the symbolic and real dichotomy between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ modes of attire/behaviour inherent in historical conceptions of gender: deeply-rooted (radical) correlations which are not easily dismissed or over-written by superficially-neutral jargon.  The inference I take from the previous quote is not that the consumerist-patriarchal monetization of gender-nonconformity is to be embraced (which can be discerned even in the presumably-positive notion of the ‘pink pound’, as well as the ‘Transsexual Empire‘ to borrow Janice Raymond‘s epithet) but, rather that in her radical vision, we might reach a point where ‘gender’ ceases to hold sway over our estimation of interpersonal – and specifically sexual – relations.

Until that day arrives, ‘gender’ and sexuality truly cannot be conceived as being entirely separate aspects of our malleable, shifting sense of human identity…

“When the environment makes gender salient, there is a ripple effect on the mind. We start to think of ourselves in terms of our gender, and stereotypes and social expectations become more prominent in the mind. This can change self-perception, alter interests, debilitate or enhance ability, and trigger unintentional discrimination. In other words, the social context influences who you are, how you think and what you do.”

Cordelia Fine (Delusions of Gender…, [2010])…

…even as living in the relatively-liberal West – and especially here in the city of Brighton, UK – the aggressive hetero-normativity and entrenched (Judeo-Chistian-Islamic) conservatism of most human cultures is easily-forgotten, or at least ignored. As Stephen Fry reminded us in his recent TV documentary, this is something of a luxury: in a gender-free, more sane world it ought not to be.

And to return in the end to the matter of HIV testing, if you or any of your loved ones are concerned about the risk of HIV infection, it’s HIV Testing Week until November 29: you can find information here and here.

Privilege: a quitter’s guide.

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I’ve been reading feminist writing for some time now, but it’s only since I’ve been trying to articulate the ways it’s inspired and enlightened me thru this blog that I’ve come to appreciate the adage that ‘the more you know, the more you realize how much you have to learn’ (or words to that effect). In a recent post, Haters, whores and hypocrites…, I waxed on the subject of, amongst other things, male privilege and hypocrisy. I think it’s a pretty good post, as far as it goes; but it got me thinking about my own privilege and how much that was unconsciously affecting the perspective I bring to my writing and my life. Best intentions aside, it would be arrogant of me to assume that 40 years of living in a male body and seeing thru male eyes hasn’t impacted on my view of the world. To point up the hypocrisy of others and not subject myself to equally ruthless scrutiny is, well, hypocritical.

It’s one thing to recognize the existence of privilege and the fact of your own, but how good are you at policing your own speech and behaviour? ‘Check[ing] your privilege’, to use the current vernacular. For every time you’ve caught yourself in the act of thinking or saying something sexist or making a privilege-based assumption/judgement, there are probably a dozen times you didn’t; at least, that’s my experience.

So for the benefit of myself and other guys, I’m posting a link today (see below) by a blogger called Synecdochic, who kindly took the trouble to produce a checklist aimed at those of us seeking to meet women (and the world) on more gender-neutral terms; not freak women out, and recognize when you’re on a hiding to nothing and back off, dignity – yours and hers – relatively intact (along with a couple reflections of my own).

DON’T BE ‘THAT GUY’

In Entitlement (part one) she begins with the fundamental assertion that ‘Women don’t owe you anything … not even their attention’. Ever posted a comment on a feminist blog, mentally congratualting yourself on how clued-up and sensitive you are on the subject in hand, to complete… apathy. Chances are they’ve heard it all before, so don’t waste a moment getting all butthurt about it. And whilst I don’t feel entitled to get a response to anything I post – I ignore/spam some comments others leave on my blog, too – I really appreciate it when I DO get one, even a ‘negative’ one, and it’s clear that the respondant is telling me something I need to know. I replied to a thread on a blog recently and the mod left a short, polite note informing men that that topic was a women-only discussion and that our comments would be spammed. Her blog, her prerogative, and there was no reasonable way I could take it personally. You don’t have to travel far on the www – or in the world, to which much of Synecdochic‘s advice also applies – to observe that men’s responses (to women) when the shoe is on the other foot are frequently MUCH less reasonable or respectful, and often sexist, spiteful and threatening, to boot.

And a point Synecdochic makes in Entitlement (part two): ‘It is a very sad fact that nine times out of ten, people with privilege, who are exercising that privilege in a way that makes other people feel uncomfortable, will not hear the fact that they are making other people uncomfortable until it’s pointed out to them by someone with the same privilege … that guy is way more likely to listen to you.’   This is something that’s always been in the back of my mind since I started mbg. If I’ve had any kind of agenda in putting my thoughts into words – widening my knowlege and honing my writing skills aside – then reaching out to other guys has certainly been a big part of it: this hypothetical audience might include guys who have read and been influenced by feminism; heard of/read it and dismissed it out of hand, or never encountered it at all. By and large I’ve found myself conversing more with women, simply because guys on the whole haven’t been as interested; or at least, less inclined to get into discussions. Sad to say, I think the misconception that feminism is ‘anti men’ still prevails in many quarters. This has not been my experience. By way of example, Andrea Dworkin – an intellectual and activist frequently reviled as often by other feminists as by liberals and conservatives – has written movingly of the men who have touched her life, and frequently exercised great generosity in discerning positive qualities even in those she came to dislike and despise. If you can read her heartfelt tributes to her father and brother in this autobiographical piece, without a) reaching for a handkerchief and b) feeling a little lighter and more optimistic about the potential of your fellow man, then you’re harder-hearted and more cynical than I. Hers was – and remains – an original voice, challenging both politically and linguistically; reason enough for any aspiring writer, feminist or not, to open up at least one book of hers. I’d recommend Life and Death, for what it’s worth; and if a recommendation from a man rather than a woman is more palatable to you, then I can live with that just fine, for now.

To continue, and conclude on the subject of writing, if you’ve made your way thru to the end of this post, then thanks – I do write in the hope of being read, amongst other motives – but did you click on the link? I hope so. In a mere 3000 (ish) words, Synecdochic demonstrates kindness and insight and you might begin to gain a whole new perspective on the world. To paraphrase (the aforementioned) Dworkin:

‘Am I saying I know more than men about [social interaction*]? Yes, I am. Not just different: more and better, deeper and wider, the way anyone used knows the user.’
* fucking [orig.]
Aside

Happened across this interesting link via Jason Hirschhorn’s Media ReDEFined (worth subscribing to for daily digest of what’s ‘happening’ across a variety of media).

Beating revenge porn with copyright

I don’t pretend to understand the legal nuances (any lawyers reading this?) but tackling the pernicious practice of ‘revenge porn’ is overdue. . Publishing intimate photographs/personal details for the purposes of blackmail, revenge or shaming is one of many unscrupulous uses of internet technology that hurts many women (and some men) and as is so often the case, ISPs and site owners seem unwilling to accept a moral responsibility to deal with it. The law is often victims’ only recourse, so it’s about time for the law to establish some clarity, and get tough.

Copyright vs Revenge

When the Shit Goes Down in the Kitchen

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Woman dies from Xmas lunch Clostridium food-poisoning

As a chef I always pay attention to these kinds of reports – food safety is a matter taken very seriously in the catering profession these days, and rightly so. At work, we’re required by Environmental Health Officers (EHO) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to undergo regular refresher courses in food safety, because in a busy job it’s all too easy to become complacent, and information is continually being updated in light of new developments. Lethal outbreaks of food-poisoning/food-borne illness are relatively rare, but lower-level sickness is very common and can have legal repercussions for catering establishments and is costly in terms of employee sick leave, in addition to the personal pain and inconvenience of being ill. A large body of scientific and statistical data is available to the professional caterer; along with rules and recommendations for best-practice, and though the risks for the home cook are exponentially less – due to the relatively small output – the general principles are much the same and there’s much that can be learned from the professional model in terms of minimizing food safety risks.

Whilst viruses and the physical contamination of food with chemicals – cleaning products, primarily – or foreign bodies – packaging debris, dirt, broken fingernails, glass splinters etc. – also present issues, most incidences of food-related health-risk are bacterial so that’s mostly what I’ll be focusing on here. The Clostridium Perfringens bacteria implicated in the above story is one of the most prevalent causes of food-related illness, along with Campylobacter Jejuni and Salmonella bacteria. So today’s post consists of a – hopefully, helpful – summary of what I’ve learned over my years of cooking professionally: simple techniques and strategies to ensure safe and happy eating, and what to do in the event things go wrong.

Storage – store raw and cooked items seperately in the refrigerator – ideally keeping the latter on shelves above the former, and definitely in separate containers – to minimise the risk of cross contamination. Some fridges/freezers feature a temperature readout but they’re not always that accurate so it’s worth investing in a food-probe thermometer to check that your appliances are working correctly. Ideally fridges should maintain a temperature of 5ºc or below and freezers -18ºc, and no higher than 8ºc or -12ºc. Even in a fridge, storing food too long will increase poisoning risks (see Use by/Best before – below) and the proliferation of spoilage organisms will quickly rob food of flavour and nutritional value: this is especially true of perishable foods such as fresh fish, poultry and berries.

Washing and cleaning – clean your hands and equipment – knives, chopping boards etc – regularly during food prep, especially in between preparing raw and cooked food. Look for cleaning products – hand wash, hard-surface cleaners, washing-up liquid – that are antibacterial but also food-safe (chlorine bleaches such as Domestos will taint food with an unpleasant odour and taste, in addition to being toxic and irritant).

Danger Zone – In catering we talk about the ‘Danger Zone’ to describe temperatures between 5ºc and 63ºc, this being the range within which bacteria can reproduce most quickly to dangerous levels. No food should be allowed to remain between these temperatures for more than 90 mins, and ideally ought to be kept out of it altogether. Serve cold food straight from the fridge and hot food straight from the stove/oven to minimize risk. Soups, gravies and other sauces can be a potential route of transmission and should be brought to a boil quickly and stirred regularly to ensure heat is evenly-distributed. Microwaves are notorious for heating unevenly, and cool spots in an otherwise hot sauce can allow bacteria to reproduce to dangerous levels. Some bacteria (including the Clostridium implicated in the story above) form spores if heating takes place too slowly,  allowing them to survive even boiling thereafter. Egg-based sauces such as Creme Anglaise, Sabayon, Hollandaise and Mayonnaise which are cooked lightly or not at all, and are served warm or at room temperature rather than hot, should not be kept more than 90 mins and discarded thereafter.

High Risk. High-risk foods are those which are ‘ready to eat’ – cooked meats, pates, egg dishes, cheeses (especially unpasteurised ones), sushi/sashimi/tartares, jellies, prepared salads – which won’t be subject to any further bacteria-killing processes (e.g. cooking) prior to service. These dishes require especial care, and leaving them out for extended periods at room temp is a big no-no. After 90 minutes out of the fridge they ought to be binned. As a rule of thumb, any dish which is protein-rich and moist can be considered high-risk. Raw food is only generally high-risk if it is to be consumed raw – so raw meat, poultry and fish, if correctly stored, cooked and served ought not to present a problem. What constitutes correctly-cooked? On the basis of staying out of the Danger Zone (above) we ought to be cooking all of our meat to at least 63ºc all the way thru; but if you’re a lover of rare beef, lamb, tuna or salmon then that’s clearly not an option. In those cases, the important thing is that prime cuts are seared on the outside to eliminate bacteria. Reconstituted meats such as burgers and sausages can be risky if served rare, though; since bacteria are present throughout the meat not just the outside. Undercooked meat products were a major source of the potentially lethal Escherichia coli 157 bacteria strain, nicknamed ‘Barbecue sickness’ in the States. Poultry and pork ought to be cooked until the juices run clear, and a core temperature of 70ºc is recommended; unlike red meat and non-white fish, these meats are pretty unpalatable when undercooked anyway. Use your food-probe thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to check the core temperature (and don’t forget to clean it between uses).

Use-by/best before labels – millions of tonnes of food are needlessly thrown away every year, and especially in the current economic climate consumers may well be feeling under pressure to cut down on wastage. Food date labelling errs, quite sensibly, on the side of caution but before you think about eating that week-old curry in the back of the fridge, take note: the distinction between use by and best before is worth knowing and understanding: the former applies to foods that are high-risk and/or perishable and dates ought to be adhered to rigidly to reduce the likelihood of illness; the latter, as its name suggests, indicates that the quality – flavour, texture etc… – will deteriorate after the date shown but safety isn’t generally a big concern as the foods thus labelled aren’t high risk.

Precautions – avoid goods with damaged packaging or which appear to have been incorrectly-stored. I’ve complained to my local Co-op more than once about price-reduced high-risk items – fresh fish and meat, pre-packed sandwiches, semi-rotten fruit – left unrefrigerated on the counter. This is bad practice and what you save in pennies you may end up paying for in illness. When preparing food, cover any cuts/burns with a sticking plaster, tie up long hair and avoid smoking, scratching and picking your nose (or anything else).

Illness – if you’re suffering from any kind of diarrhoea or vomiting illness it’s better to give the kitchen a wide berth: that’s not always a practical option for home cooks, of course; especially parents with kids to feed. Taking extra care with hand-washing and cleaning of equipment will help to minimize risk, however. If you work in a catering or healthcare environment then you don’t need me to tell you to stay home: your employer will already have the correct procedures in place.

Symptoms – symptoms common to most types of food-related illness and the ones to watch out for, include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, though the exact combination of those and other symptoms can be peculiar to particular types – Campylobacter, for example primarily causes diarrhoea, with fever, disturbed-vision, bloody-diarrhoea, and appendicitis-mimicking abdominal pain variously-present in severe cases. Food-poisoning-like symptoms can also be characteristic of viral infections including Norovirus; whilst the food-borne Clostridium Botulinum bacteria rarely affects the gastrointestinal tract at all: it’s primary symptom is muscular paralysis (Botulism). If in doubt consult a doctor, and any gastrointestinal illness that persists for more than 48 hours ought to be investigated further.

Treatment – most gastrointestinal problems pose more of an inconvenience than a serious threat to health, but can nevertheless be unpleasant. Diarrhoea and vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration, so it’s important to maintain fluid intake, even if you don’t feel like eating. Rehydration sachets can be bought from your pharmacy, but a good home-made alternative is a teaspoon each of salt and sugar dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water. Ginger and peppermint infusions are effective in combating nausea and settling the stomach, as are flat soda pop and Milk of Magnesia. If you can manage food, bland, dry snacks such as unbuttered toast and water biscuits are less likely to upset a delicate stomach, and clear soup. Rest is important, too – though as mentioned above, if symptoms persist or worsen then don’t hesitate to consult your GP – and though it’s better to let minor infections run their course – diarrhoea and vomiting are the body’s natural mode of ejecting pathogenic bacteria and the toxins they excrete, from the system – if you must leave the house, to see aforementioned GP for example, the anti-diarrhoea medicines such as Loperamide (Imodium/Maalox) can provide short-term symptomatic relief.

And speaking of relief, I think I need some respite from all this ‘heavy shit’ so I’ll leave the last word to Mssrs Freese, Muggerud and Reyes: here’s hoping your next weekend roast doesn’t signify a ‘Black Sunday’ in your cooking career…

Aside

A fascinating insight into the work that goes on in between the first draft and the first edition…

MorgEn Bailey - Editor, Comp Columnist/Judge, Tutor and Writing Guru

Welcome to the five hundred and seventieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with editor, writer and creative writing consultant Hayley Sherman. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.

Morgen: Hello, Hayley. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be an editor.

HayleyHayley: I have always been the editing go-to girl, ever since I was at school and the other kids were stressing about their English homework. This led to an early career as an English teacher, moonlighting as a freelance writer. It was actually a prolonged period of illness that steered me in the direction of retraining as an editor – something I could do from home. When I recovered I realised that…

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Tales from the Soundstage

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Brighton-based media bod Wayne Imms has been involved in a variety of projects over the course of his career: presenting shows and creating features for hospital radio in Kent; producing a number of accomplished documentaries for the BBC; curating a pop festival and presenting a magazine-style radio show on local independent station, Radio Reverb FM. For the last six years he has been the creative director for The Space, a Brighton-based arts and entertainment organisation presenting star-studded evening events at various venues around the city, including Latest Music Bar, Komedia and The Basement.

His latest venture, production company Soundstage Events, promises to build on the reputation of The Space, and indeed, shares a similar format to previous occasional Space events hosted by Brighton’s Duke Of York’s Picturehouse. Two such events have been staged to date, a James Bond 50th anniversary event featuring past and present crew members in round-table style conversation, and a special screening of The Evil Dead to mark three decades since the infamous ‘video nasties’ censorship scandal of the ’80s; the latter followed by a panel discussion of movie experts.

Feedback from the public and local press has been positive so far (see also my synopses/reviews below for more details) and the next event in January marking the 40th anniversary of art horror classic Don’t Look Now threatens to be the most memorable yet, set to feature an appearance from a very special guest indeed. Details to be finalised, so check the Soundstage Events website for updates over the next few days and weeks.

Bond on the Big Screen: 50 Years In the Secret Service – 07/10/2012.

Few screen characters can lay claim to the iconic status, never mind the longevity of James Bond. Last week, the release of Skyfall featured leading man Daniel Craig in his third outing playing the secret agent. He’s the sixth actor to take the part in an official franchise now twenty-three films strong, spanning a half-century. Not bad for a character dismissed by his own employer as a ‘…sexist, misogynist dinosaur [and] a relic of the cold war…’ seven movies ago.

To celebrate Bond‘s longevity and the ongoing popularity of the franchise, Soundstage Events in association with Brighton’s Duke of York’s Picturehouse presented Bond on the Big Screen: 50 Years In the Secret Service, an evening of interviews and audience Q&A with a number of leading figures from Bond movie crews.

  Featuring guest appearances from:

  WILLIAM P CARTLIDGE: The Spy Who Loved Me/Moonraker –

  Associate Producer,  

  You Only Live Twice – Assistant Director

  CHRIS CORBOULD: Skyfall/For Your Eyes Only/Licence To Kill –

  Special Effects Supervisor

  PAUL INGLIS: Skyfall/Quantum Of Solace – Art Director

  PAUL WESTON: The Man With The Golden Gun/On Her Majesty’s

  Secret Service/Moonraker/Octopussy –

  Stuntman/Stunt  Coordinator 

  Hosted by: KIERON BUTLER – Brighton-based Editor/Screenwriter

A selection of Bond themes from over the years set the mood in the auditorium as the audience took their seats before Butler took to the stage, resplendent in  007 trademark tuxedo. Butler, incidentally, was also responsible for compiling the several movie montages that provided visual counterpoint to the discussion that followed. Each two-minute teaser, focusing on characteristic elements, such as Girls, Gadgets, Vehicles and Villains, helped to shape the conversation, ably guided by questions and interjections from Butler himself.

Given the rich and changing history of the 007 franchise and the thousands of talented individuals who have contributed it was a given that this ninety-minute event was only going to scratch the surface. But the audience got what they came for: insightful and often amusing behind-the-scenes anecdotes, including an incident during the shooting of Live and Let Die when a crocodile nearly had stuntman for lunch; the day producer Cubby Broccoli had to step into an absent caterers shoes and rustle up a Spag Bol for the crew and why, far from perpetuating misogynistic stereotyping, latterday Bond movies have created new openings for women in previously very male-dominated areas such as the stunt department. A fascinating and informative evening.

The Evil Dead and the Rise of the Video Nasties – 25/10/12

Featuring guest appearances from:

BEN WHEATLEY: Kill List/Sightseers – Director

CHRIS HEWITT: movie critic – Empire magazine

CRAIG LAPPER: Senior Examiner – British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

and hosted by

JONATHAN GLENDENING: Brighton-based Screenwriter, Director and Editor.

In a manner of speaking, this was an altogether more straightforward event than the Bond one the previous fortnight: simply a screening of the movie followed by discussion and an audience Q&A. Much of the talk centred around the socio-political climate of the time – the Thatcher era – and how the Conservatism of that administration was echoed in the conservatism of film regulation – as much as the film itself. Lapper also highlighted parallels with the later controversy around the James Bulger murder: instances of a government abdicating its social responsibilty in favour of media scapegoating. It must be said that, upon viewing The Evil Dead for the first time in many years, it scarcely seems believable that it generated the hysterical reaction that it did from politicians and, infamously, Mary Whitehouse and her National Viewers and Listeners Association. By today’s standards the violence is laughable, cartoonish. In this and other respects it stands apart as a very different kind of movie to other  notorious ‘nasties’ such as The Driller Killer and Cannibal Holocaust, a matter much-discussed among the three commentators. If the film is guilty of anything it’s the kind of casual misogyny, paper-thin characterisation, ropey script and illogical behaviour on the part of the protagonists without which few horror movies would actually work. Most of the gory sequences provoked laughter rather than fright or distaste; including, a little disturbingly, the infamous ‘tree rape’ sequence.

The dynamic onstage for the round-table discussion was interesting – the contrast between the loquacious Lapper and dry-as-a-bone Wheatley couldn’t have been more striking. Both concurred on the merits of The Evil Dead, though the latter, along with Hewitt espoused a preference for its sequel. Lapper – who revealed at one point that his first choice of career would have been as a train driver! – possessed something of an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema as well as the history and regulations of the BBFC; a fluency he utilised to great effect both during the event and keeping our party entertained during a post-show dinner. He ended up almost single-handedly fielding the questions in the following Q&A. Between them, the three provided a plethora of insights and observations, with the geek crowd – actually quite mixed and not at all the sausagefest one might have expected – hanging on every word. Good stuff.