Posted in Film, Photography, TV

Shoot Me Like One of Your Film Stars

I did some work at the end of last year which I was paid for with a shoot from the awesomely and amazingly talented Mr Neil Kendall of Chester, which I eventually booked in a couple of weeks ago (fashionably late…daaaaahlink)

If you don’t know if Neil’s work, check out the link to his page on facebook, he’s shot some of the world’s top burlesque and cabaret stars and to add to that he is a super chap and has a beautiful fluffy playful kitten called Napoleon.

For inspiration I went for one of my favourite 60s zany treasure hunt comedies, and in particular the go-go scene with Barrie Chase (youtube link).

Copyright: Neil Kendall & Ivy Wilde, NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT PERMISSION

Copyright: Neil Kendall & Ivy Wilde, NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT PERMISSION

Aren’t they great?!

And to top it off Neil shot me in a dress that I made which is, of course, Mad Men inspired

Copyright: Neil Kendall & Ivy Wilde, NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT PERMISSION

I’m a little in love with Joan. Can you tell? It’s not really obvious, is it?

Have to say, I am over the moon with how they’ve come out, and I can’t recommend Neil enough, if you need some promo shots or even something to treat yourself or for a special occasion call him up.

NOTICE: Please don’t use these photos without my express permission.

In the immortal words of Bryan Mills: I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.

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Posted in Film

Remembering The Regal, Northwich

It’s with a sad heart that I write this post. The Regal, Northwich was my cinematic home for the best part of 20 years and now my facebook feed is full of photos of it being ripped apart, it’s innards on display for all to see like a bad slasher flick.

Photo: Northwich Guardian
Photo: Northwich Guardian

I moved to Northwich from Sunderland in the mid 80s. As a child I was completely underwhelmed by the size of it. Moving from one of the biggest town’s in Europe (Sunderland wasn’t made a city until 1992) to a place where you could walk the high street in five minutes as a novelty to the young me but it had its gem. The Regal Cinema, Northwich’s 2 screen 1939 beauty.

I’m not sure of the first time I went to the Regal but I am sure of how it made me feel; having the familiarity of a big screen and a dark space to settle down in gave me a certain amount of comfort as a kid who was in a different part of the country, miles away from friends and family, in a strange town, struggling to fit in with a mackam accent and being the new kid at school.

Photo: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich facebook group
Photo: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich facebook group

When I think of the Regal now I think about the things I took for granted;  turning up ridiculously early when a new release was on as you knew you’d be queuing round the corner otherwise; sitting on the steps waiting for friends; teenage dates;  teenage smoking (the novelty of smoking in the cinema never grew old for me) of course after having scanned the surrounding seats to make sure no one who knew my folks would be in there; queuing up against the wooden rail  when you got inside (I still have no idea why that rail was there?!);  tickets dispensed out of a slot in the counter of the booth;  always picking the box of fruit gums that were in the shape of mini fruits; being fascinated by the poster montage wall.

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Photo: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich facebook group
Photos: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich facebook group

The films I went to see that stand out for the experience and not just the content; taking my little sister to see The Little Mermaid (1989); my step-ma taking me to see Back to the Future parts 2 (1989) and 3 (1990); being scared out of my wits as a 10 year old when the spider jumped on the lens in Arachnophobia (1990); one Friday night the back five rows of the cinema being filled with folk from my year at high school watching Dangerous Minds (1995); the place being packed out the opening weekend of Titanic being released (1997); watching the Matrix on my 19th birthday (1999).

And last and no means least: the re-releases of the Star Wars films in 1997 were of special remembrance to me, it was the first time I saw them on the big screen having previously relied with tapes worn thin that I’d recorded off the telly when I was a kid. Turning up and seeing Karl Woods (my generation’s Regal Manager) in full Jedi costume, with an R2D2 model in the foyer was brilliant and something I’ll always remember!

I moved to Manchester in early 2003 and subsequently never returned to the Regal, I wasn’t aware of its closure until after it has happened in 2007 and was saddened when I did. On the few occasions I’ve been back through the town centre since its closure I’ve driven past to have a look and have been comforted to see it still standing. I was back there yesterday and saw the rubble, twisted metal and the vast expanse of ground once filled with corrugated cream painted iron.

Photo: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich facebook group
Photo: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich facebook group

Goodbye old friend, you’ll be missed.

With thanks to: Remembering the Regal Cinema Northwich If you have any memories you’d like to share or if you want to know more please like the facebook page.

Footnote:

Support your local cinema. The reason for the closure of the Regal was due to needed upgrades to compete with the out of town multiplexes and not enough money coming in.

I visited my husband’s old local cinema The Odeon in Weston Super Mare over summer and he felt much the same about that beauty as I do about The Regal. We were sad to hear there are plans to build a new multiplex in Weston on the sea front meaning without a doubt The Odeon will close in time.

Both of these cinemas have left us with fond memories of times past as well as many like us, but unfortunately this is happening all over the country and has been for many years (google: Odeon Manchester and Chester for example).

Don’t leave it too late, it’s all well and good moaning after it’s happened but if you can do something to support or fundraise for a local independent cinema in need do it before it’s too late!

Posted in Film

Harry Potter, Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Watford

It was my birthday last June and my lovely husband bought me tickets to the Harry Potter studio tour in Watford. To say I was happy would probably be the understatement of the year!

Tim got the tickets last year, so I have been patiently (read: annoying Tim every few days by telling him how excited I am) waiting for the day to arrive, as I was going on my actual birthday. I couldn’t think of anything better than spending the day looking at awesome Potterstuffs.

I awoke early and donned my outfit as previously planned, including my new Qwertee Harry Potter t-shirt.

We arrived around midday and stopped for a coffee (and a quick check to see if my hands were the same size as Radders, which they are!) before joining the queue, although it doesn’t feel much like a queue, they have little bits and bobs for you to look at while you’re waiting including the cupboard under the stairs and a few family portraits waiting on the walls for you to nosey at. They stagger it out quite well so that there aren’t too many people in the queue at any one time.

You are then shown into a small room with screens on the walls displaying posters from across the world for all of the films (which was pretty cool) and they then show you a little film on those screens about the series of films and how they came about to be make. Then the lady asked if it was anyone’s birthday….

So I shot my hand up straight into the air.

“me, me, it’s my birthday!”

“well happy birthday, and what’s your name?”

“Stacey!”

“and how old are you Stacey?”

“32! I am 32 TODAY”!

“…….oh, and is there anyone else?”

“It’s Amy’s birthday today”

Lady looks in Amy’s direction

“Well, I won’t ask how old you are….”

“I’m only 26!”

Sorry to say, that did brighten my day a little!

We were then shown through to a cinema where Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were shown talking about their experiences of the films, the sets and the studios this ended with the doors of the great hall being shown on screen, and then the screen went up and the doors to the Great Hall were right behind them.

At this point another lady said “I believe it’s two people’s birthdays today”. At which point me and Amy made ourselves known. The lady then asked us to join her at the front and said as it was our birthdays we got to open to doors of the Great Hall for everyone. So up I strode and took my place, me and Amy exchanged glances, then we gave the doors a push and were confronted with the Great Hall in all of its glory. We both looked at each other and said “WOW”. It’s an awesome memory that I don’t think I’ll ever forget in my life time.

Harry Potter or not, when do you ever get the chance to go and stand in a spot and push the doors that have been made famous on film the world over?! It was tremendously cool.

The Great Hall is beautiful inside and we were treated to a little talk about it, and a wander about. It was really amazing and beautiful and great to see the costumes alongside the setting.

Then it was off into one of the main studio parts where they had hundreds of props, various sets and the chance to get your picture taken on a broom or in the Ford Anglia all via greenscreen, well we queued up for an hour to get our car photo taken (decided against the broom as I was in a rather tight skirt and it wouldn’t have been very ladylike getting on or off and there was no option for side saddle). The queue wasn’t that bad, and only what you’d expect from an attraction such as this, plus we wee entertained by seeing everyone else do their bit on the screens. We made sure we gave it our all when we went up there, face licking, Tim miming being sick in my lap etc

After this we wandered about the bits we hadn’t had a chance to look at and wholly admired the Magic is Might statue that they had in the end section of the room.

We went to the outside section with No. 4 Privet Drive, the Potter house in Godrick’s Hollow, the Knight Bus and chess pieces and we settled down for a glass of butterbeer, which is scrummy. It tastes like cream soda with butterscotch topping, it was extremely sweet and I don’t think I could have managed more than one but it was just what was needed after our wait for the green screen stuff and it was nice to have a little rest before moving onto the second part of the tour.

We then went to the prosthetics and mechanics part of the tour which shows you all sorts of wonders including a bookcase full of goblin heads, the animatronics behind the big book of monsters,  buckbeak, the dementors, the incredibly lifelike dummies made for the underwater scenes and more.

Then it was round the corner to Diagon Alley which thankfully was quite quiet when we got there meaning we could have a proper look and take a few photos. This was another one of the things I won’t forget in a long time, that first glimpse of the street and seeing it up close, it’s just as detailed as you’d imagine. I even fitted in a little time mooning over Lockheart in the window of Flourish & Blotts.

We then went on to the original art work section which is completely breathtaking, all of the concept design was awe inspiring and had come straight from the pages of the books. We then went through a section with the white card models of which I especially liked the prefects bathroom.

Through the next doors we found the model of Hogwarts.

Imagine the best miniature village you’ve ever seen times that by a million and you’d be a little close to how impressive it is. The set up means that it turns from day to night in front of your eyes and the model comes to life with lights in the windows and doors and there are screens where you can zoom in to see the detail in the model. It’s completely outstanding and I spent quite a bit of time in there watching it change through the day.

In the next room were rows upon rows of wand boxes each containing the name of a cast or crew member of the film, which was completely crazy when you added up how many boxes there were.

Then it was to the gift shop where I purchased a time turner necklace and a chocolate frog and some every flavour beans for the following days’ Potter film watching at our gaff.

Full set of pics here on my flickr if you wish to have a nosey

Then it was the long drive home, which didn’t actually take us so long. It really was the best birthday I have ever had in my life!