Podcast #18: ‘A Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Cinema’: Talking cult film and cult spaces with Jane Giles of London’s former Scala Cinema

scalacinema86

In the latest Here’s Looking at You podcast Dr Ellen Wright talks with Jane Giles, programmer between 1988 and 1992 at the former doyenne of British repertory cinemas, The Scala cinema.

Located initially on the site of an old concert hall in Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia, it moved later to its legendary second home in the heart of Kings Cross but very much retained its carnivalesque roots.

For those who are not familiar with this unique, anti-establishment institution, the Scala was THE British repertory cinema, specialising in midnight movie marathons and showing an eclectic range of classic and cult films during its all too brief existence, from high art to pure trash and all in between.

We talk about the cinema space itself, about the turbulent times through which this distinctive cinema existed and much more.

An excellent article in The Guardian, by former owner, Stephen Woolley, about the iconic cinema can be found here and further details about Jane’s book SCALA CINEMA 1978-1993 can be found here

*NOTE* Jane has asked me to point out that I made an error as to the names of the Scala cats. They were in fact called Huston and Roy NOT Huston and Lee! Thanks Jane and apologies!

Feel free to comment below on the podcast or the subjects it covers, ask questions, raise points or make suggestions for further podcasts and blogs. You can sign up to receive email notifications when subsequent podcasts and posts become available. Simply enter your email at the ‘Follow Blog’ notices at the foot or sidebar of the page. You can also access previous podcasts by clicking here or the ‘Podcast’ toggle at the top any page.

Music is by kind permission of The Shannon Reilly Trio. The full version of the song Trouble can be found along with its video here, and purchased on the Shannon Reilly Trio album also called Trouble.

The podcast was produced thanks to the post-production expertise of John Ashbrook of Radio Pictures.

The opinions expressed on this blog are mine, and do not reflect the opinions of the De Montfort University or any other employee thereof. Nor is De Montfort University responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied within this blog.

Advertisements

Meeting a Windmill Girl

IMG_1416A few days ago I met a real life Windmill Girl.

I came across Jill Millard Shapiro first through her rather wonderful book Remembering Revudeville: A Souvenir of the Windmill Theatre, and then through social media. We got talking and she very kindly suggested I we have a face-to-face chat.
Jill was a performer at the Windmill theatre from 1959 to December of 1963 when she left to have her first child so she is a well-placed, as well as eloquent and engaging spokeswoman and expert-in-chief for the theatre that she called home for a short but clearly formative period of what turns out to have been a very eventful life.

Continue reading

Sailing close to the wind, with the Lincoln WI

IMG_1448.JPGThe public engagement element of my job is one of my favourite bits of being an academic. So whenever I’m invited to talk I’ll always try and make it, work and life permitting. As a result last night I was very pleased to be guest speaker at the Lincoln WI.

I’ve visited and spoken to a number of Women’s Institute branches in the last few years and I’ve never had a bad experience, but Lincoln WI are certainly one of my favourites. I’d previously spoken at one of their meetings about two years ago, along with my friend and performer Storme Chaser. Our talk had been about the British burlesque community and its feminist roots. They were a really receptive, fun audience with lots of interesting questions and many of them wanted to have a go with the set of oversize, ostrich feather fans I’d taken with me. I’d even got some them to have a go at doing a glove removal routine to the David Rose Orchestra’s ‘The Stripper,’ much to the amusement of the other members.

Continue reading

Spectacular Bodies: The Swimsuit, Censorship and Early Hollywood published in Sport in History.

SiHMy article ‘Spectacular Bodies: The Swimsuit, Censorship and Early Hollywood’ is finally published in the second of two special editions of Sport in History this month entitled Sport’s Relationship with other Leisure Industries. 

The article grew out of the paper I gave at the Institute of Historical Research back in 2013 and which featured in their podcast series, available here.

This article explores the mutually beneficial relationship between the American swimsuit and film industries during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Three examples are used: Fatty and the Bathing Beauties from 1913 (prior to regulated film content), Footlight Parade from 1933 (when limited self-regulation had been put in place, but was not yet rigorously enforced) and the Tarzan film franchise (which spans both the second Continue reading