A WEEK OF LISTS, LOGISTICS AND PEOPLE TO MEET…
There are rhythms to these things, or perhaps more accurately, oscillations, and I am beginning to feel the build up to one of those as the date for the Rink Revival event fast approaches.
For the dancers, Amy and Kelly, that will be the culmination of their work on this project, and at this juncture I really should say that they have been as enthusiastic and motivating as I could possibly have hoped for. They aren’t trained ballroom dancers – their thing is more contemporary dance, but they have taken the task on with verve and, most importantly, have the ability to relate to both the 10 to 17 years olds as well as the 50 to 100 year olds. That’s no mean feat sometimes, and you need to have a thick skin when, like this week, you have a group of sixth formers visiting a sheltered accommodation complex to co-ordinate dance routines, and one lady with Alzheimer’s starts first of all questioning the size of your bust and your sexual appeal and then proceeds to try and kiss her favourite 16 year old boy. We all smiled nervously. I was impressed by the general level of understanding in the room from all parties.
An ex radio Cleveland presenter Stan Laundon has also been very helpful this week. He runs a really comprehensive website that is a goldmine of information about 60’s bands from the Hartlepool and Teesside area. I had contacted him about the source of some of the photos he has on his site and described my project. I’m not sure the nature of my approach is something he is fully in tune with, but he is just a generally sparky character who is very generous with his time and extensive contacts. He put me in touch with a number of people who he reckoned might be interested in talking to me about their time playing the Rink – and it culminated this week in me co-opting a bit of space in the Borough Hall to sit 4 of these gentlemen down in front of my camera and swap stories. Well 5 actually as it turned out because whilst I was in the building I met another guy who was actually a (mature) student on the local media production course who turned out to be a very knowledgeable member of the audience from those days… so he joined us as well.
Following on from that I met another three ex-band members at a house in Washington on Friday to continue a similar theme. All this is great material – and I am particularly pleased when people who say they “haven’t really got much to say” end up being the most contributory of the group. Once you get a good discussion going it’s best to just let the camera role. I am getting very good at nodding and smiling.. and then interjecting to steer a certain direction that interests me.
Talking to the band members is like eavesdropping on a private club. Similar for me was the new wave period in the late 70’s – when I was playing in a Newcastle band and knew all the movers and shakers of the local music scene. For them their period was the 50’s into the 60’s and it really does sound like they were an extended family. My disadvantage is that I don’t know who is who until I meet them and I’ve never been good at recalling names until I can put a face to someone. I look at the archive piccies before I meet them, but they are just images from another time. Once we’ve met though – looking at those same pictures has a totally different connection for me.
If you’ve been watching ‘Homeland’ on the tele – you’ll know Carrie – the slightly deranged bi-polar CIA operations officer who flipped in the last two episodes. In the penultimate programme she has a sort of ‘beautiful minds’ moment. She pins everything to the wall in the hope of seeing a pattern emerge that will decipher the web of information into a coherent story. Carrie…I totally understand.