1. Who was the famous outlaw, associated with the Lincoln County War?
...is the question!
Evolution of The Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers information facilities has been going, as far as I am aware, since around 1960/61.
At first, as a magazine, which was then issued annually as a year book. Every-so often, it stopped, and was revived as a magazine or a news letter. The year book has never been revived. Today, the magazine is in the form of a website.
However, during one of its revivals, I started to submit cartoons. Not the animated motion picture kind, but the still
newspaper joke kind.
I did read and heard that art work should be produced in Indian ink. Lines should not be too close together. This may have had an affect on my artwork.
About this time, during the 1970's, two major news stories had hit the headlines.
One was the Watergate affair, in which President Richard Nixon, was accused of instigating secret reel-to-reel tape recording of the rival Democrats' Party's conference.
The other concerned the strike by some Kodak workers. This, over a period of time, caused a huge back-log of both still photographs and movie cine film.
Both the subject of sound recording and making films, obviously was of interest to our club.
Therefore, I could not resist submitting two joke cartoons to our magazine at the start of a club meeting.
John Baldwin, the then editor, accepted the one which depicted President Richard Nixon visiting our club. The caption was that of a member saying something like, "Look who has come to give us a talk on trick tape recording?"
However, he declined to publish the cartoon regarding the Kodak industrial dispute. I had better explain that at the time the Kodak processing laboratory was here in Hemel Hempstead. Nearby was my then workplace. And also a newspapercalled The Evening Echo & Post. Undeterred by my rejection, I took the cartoon, and left it with the reception
of the newspaper. Not hearing anything at first, I thought that I would see if I was rejected or not,
and either way, collect my cartoon. So, I popped round to them. I explained the situation, and they were going to comeback to me.
I later received a telephone call. They had located my cartoon. They enquired if I wanted payment for this?! If so, there would be a problem. Any joke/cartoon that they published, was dealt with via a syndicate. The syndicate might not like them paying for it. They suggested that they could publish the item in the readers' letters portion of their journal. This, they did. It dealt with Kodak not wishing to recognise a union. Irrespective of who was in the right or wrong,
I reflected on three points of view.
An executive was on the roof. He held a banner saying, I WANT NON - RECOGNITION.
Two people in the street each held their banners. I WANT RECOGNITION. And I WANT MY FILM.
My favourite contribution was a letter from someone who submitted a letter suggesting a song for Kodak.
The song was SOMEDAY MY PRINTS WILL COME. This joke, I heard at a later date, by Jim Dale on television.
The county film competition, HACCA, modified its rules and regulations that year, allowing entries that were not
Kodak processing laboratory in Hemel Hempstead is no more. I can't remember what the outcome of the union
dispute was. The newsletter, as previously mentioned, is now a website.
And as for me, I am still in this club!!
Albert Makepeace is a bitter sweet memory. I enjoyed portraying him, but the memory is tinged with some sadness. But do not be despondent, this write up is not morbid. In fact, it has a happy ending.
Once upon a time, in a land called Gadebridge Hall we thought, rightly or wrongly, it was time to make another advert about our organisation. The Super 8 gauge film was to be entertaining, and specially designed to show prior to, and even during, the interval of any film show that we were to present. The story line was that an audience was watching a film. Up would come the interval. Out would come a pianist who would do his thing. Whilst playing the piano, a person garbed in a smart cinema employee's uniform, would come out; stand in front of the film screen; whilst holding a tray containing refreshments. Instead of the audience politely queuing, they would rudely rush and fight to get at the tray's contents. In the process, the poor man ended up on the floor, with his uniform in disarray. At this point the word INTERVAL would appear on the screen, together with information in smaller print saying that the show was being presented by the Hemel Hempstead Cine Society, as we were then known, and that all enquiries should be made to the members at the back of the hall.
A script was formulated by Brian Harris. It featured a pianist named Albert Makepeace. There would be small comic adverts placed on the piano top, informing the beholders of Albert Makepeace's musical services. Tom Lowrence was to be cast as the downtrodden cinema employee, and I was to be Albert Makepeace. The club, plus anyone who wanted to be in the film, portrayed the audience. Brian, I believe was producer or director. Mike Quinlan was cameraman.
But all was not well. My father died at the preceding weekend. The part of the pianist was then offered quickly to David Harrington. Oddly enough, the name Albert Makepeace, did not appear on the joke placards, placed upon the piano. So it is open to debate what the pianist's name was.
I was able to attend the second filming session. Although I acted as a member of the audience, I was also recorded playing the piano. Due to the fact that at the time, a certain Italian song was being utilised for an advert for Cornetto ice cream cones, I played a deliberately out of tune version of O SOLE MIO. This was dubbed onto the soundtrack, in the post production stage. But if the piano character was Albert Makepeace, it was not the last time that we called upon his services.
Audrey Batchelor had, a few years before, dreamed up the idea for a cheese and wine film show, which in turn, would raise money for charity. Although I admit that I was apprehensive at first, the idea became a success and ran for approximately ten years. The first one was held at a church hall in Bennetts End. After that, the event was held at Potten End Village Hall, usually in December. The presentation was of a high standard. Just after the interval, in which we consumed excellent food and drink, there were things that would raise money for the chosen charity. Apart from a raffle, there might be for an example, an auction.
For three years running, I was required, during the proceedings, to play the piano, at this event. I can recall, that on at least one of these occasions, I had to accompany a silent film. This was very amusing, as some people present were members of Sons Of The Desert aka S.O.D.S. This is the name for the Laurel and Hardy fan club. The silent film that I remember, featured Laurel and Hardy. It was amusing to see those who were S.O.D. members, donning fezzes. This was mandatory if you belonged to S.O.D.S. I remembered the name Albert Makepeace from the script of INTERVAL. And so for those three years running, I donned a false moustache, and performed under that name. In fact, Brian Harris, produced a placard which read approximately as follows:-
Playing the pianoforte,
Teacher to Lady Falsebottom and other genteel ladies of upbringing,
Appearing in Summer season at the Apsley Institute in Swan Lake on Ice.
However, at what may have been the last performance of Albert Makepeace, I decided to reveal that he was a pearly king or prince. (The pearly movement was started up by Harry Croft, who is buried in Finchley Cemetery. The movement still raises money for charity. I regret that his unusual, but marvellous tombstone has been damaged by vandals and has had to be replaced with something else.)
In 1971, my mother patiently sewed buttons on a suit, which made its debut during a cockney finale in a Hemel Town Toppers' show titled, A ST. PATRICK'S VARIETY NIGHT. The suit gained instant attention and commenced the start of it acquiring sentimental value. I have worn it during some rock 'n' roll performances and Liberace impersonations. It was with me on my last night at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. I wore it at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight Village, where Ringo is reputed to have made his public debut with The Beatles. It has been in numerous stage shows, and on one appropriate occasion, I ate the traditional cockney pie and mash whilst wearing it. I even once, caught Hughie Green admiring it. Yet my mother hated sewing buttons. I therefore felt that in the wake of her death, it would be appropriate to wear the suit and raise money for charity, at our cheese and wine show. This I did by asking the audience to guess how many buttons were on the outfit
A few years later, the cheese and wine shows ceased. As for Albert Makepeace? Well, maybe he should embark on a royal tour as a pearly king, encompassing the drinking establishments of Holloway Road. Although there is a rumour he has been seen performing for The Duke Of York and The Prince Of Wales, as well as other leading pubs in the country. However, if he did appear wearing a pearly king suit, I would object. Because if you think that I am going to count all those buttons again, you can have another think coming!
Alan French / Albert Makepeace. 2009.
Useless local history post script: In another blog, I refer to a cinema pianist named George Motherwell. According to CiINEMAS IN HERTFORDSHIRE by Allen Eylles with Keith Skone, George would visit The Sebright Arms and acquired his bottles of beer. Then upon arriving at the Princess Cinema, would proceed to the orchestra pit where there was the piano. Then the bottle tops were eased off and two of the bottles would be placed atop the piano. He commenced playing ten minutes prior to the show starting. In the middle of the first house, he had a break for a few minutes. He has been chronicled as having a limited repertoire, but kept pace with the films. Eat your heart out Albert Makepeace!
Due to technical reasons, I am having difficulty in both amending and submitting a reply to the comment on my Supershazagramme blog.
Firstly, where I have referred to Captain Marvel Junior being re-vamped into Kid Marvelman is incorrect. It should read that Captain Marvel Junior was revamped into Young Marvelman. And on very, very, rare occasions, Marvelman Junior.
It is with interest that I see, at the time of writing, that two motion pictures are being launched to the cinema public about Captain Marvel. One is named CAPTAIN MARVEL; and the other is named SHAZAM!
The CAPTAIN MARVEL film is about someone who originated in Marvel Comics, as Ms. Marvel. The other Captain Marvel is the proper one, who originated in comics published by Fawcett.( Pronounced Fossett). His film is named SHAZAM. His own name will not be used in the production. He will be known as Shazam, which is confusing, as that is the name of the person who empowers Billy Batson the right to change, via magic lightening, into the super-hero Captain Marvel, after saying Shazam. Although in the movie, Shazam will empower Billy Batson to change via magic lightening into Shazam after speaking the name Shazam. Eh!?
You might be a little confused by the aforementioned. Do not worry, so am I. To know more, please study the Penguin Book of Comics and a book about comics; published by The Smithsonian Institute. There are also many websites that will give details. It is best to refer to as many as possible.to gain a proper picture of what happened. In fact Fawcett's character, actually had been known to outsell Superman. He also had a 1940's highly praised cinema serial, which was considered by some to be better made than the Superman serial.
I will not bore or confuse you, fascinating though it might be, with the full background of the behind the scene arguments between Fawcett and National Comics aka National Periodicals aka DC Comics, but instead, I shall recall the time, as a child of five or six, I became, or thought I became, a superhero.
It happened like so...
My maternal grandmother took me to The Grand Cinema in Holloway Road. Later in the week my father took me to the same cinema. On both occasions, the cinema showed in its supporting programme, an episode from a serial about a character named Superman. I was fascinated. There was a shop in Holloway Road just around the corner from my home. The couple who ran it; I believe were Americans. They, coincidence or not, started to sell American comics. My mother asked me to choose one. I chose Superman. Later in the week, my father purchased a comic with yet another superhero. He was named Captain Marvel. My father read out to me what was being said. Was I was not good at reading? Or was it because it was an excuse for him to read the comic? Perhaps secretly enjoying the journal?
Later, his younger brother popped in. So while these grown-ups were conversing, I disappeared somewhere. This looked like a job for a superhero. I decided to transform myself into one by grabbing hold of my red dressing gown. I tucked its sleeves either down the sides of my shirt collar, or, the shoulders of my pullover. I was now the Holloway region's answer to it all.
I went to a room and decided to fly out of the window. I approached the said window and sill with bated breath. My brain temporarily left its fantasy world and studied the distance between the sill and ground outside. Would I be safe if I jumped? I was not that stupid. I then returned to my fantasy world standing there. I was poised. I then took the plunge and jumped. Then I imagined that I was flying around in the front surrounded by a privet. Whee!
Presently, a little girl; who was in my class at school, entered my turning with her mother. She called over from the other side of the street, "Hello Alan. What are you doing?"
"I am flying! Whee!" was my reply, hoping that she could not see my legs behind the privet; firmly on the ground
"You can't fly."
"Yes I can do too. Look Whee!"
"No you can't."
And with that they continued to the other end of the street and went home.
Then there was a horror of horror situation. On one side of the privet, there was a footpath leading up to the front door and step. The door suddenly opened. There in the entrance was my mother. She inquired how did I get out? I explained that I flew out the window. I was then ordered in, and that I was banned from reading those sort of comics again. The ban was not that bad. I used to have The Beano and Dandy. There was a superhero named Jack Flash - the flying boy from Mercury in one of those journals. Heh! Heh! Heh!
At a later date, I moved to Hemel Hempstead. Here I found some of my new friends were looking at these comics as well. However, this did not seem to detrimentally affect my behaviour. Eventually, the ban was lifted and I was back; officially, into superheroes.
But there is one situation that I am curious about. Belswains Farm House, the Hemel Hempstead dwelling where I lived, did have the capacity to accept more than one set of occupants. At the time one was a family which included a little girl. I often played with her. One day I was in her part of the house. Her mother was doing some ironing, whilst her daughter and I sat on their settee. Present happened to be one of these comics. We both looked at the pictures and started to enact the unfolding story. Suddenly, there was a look of horror on her mother's face. She quickly said to her daughter, firmly and politely, that she had told her not to play "that" game.
At the time, I wondered what was it about superheroes that grown-ups did not like; which inspired children to play games?
As an adult, an interesting thought has occurred to me. Did my mother say something to the little girl's mother? Did the mother become concerned when she saw us indulging in superhero activity. Did she think, "Not with him!" Did she think that I was mad? Who? Me mad?! Never! How could anyone think that?
End of blog
Useless (but possibly interesting) information:-
(This article was originally published in 2010)
HISTORY MISTORY OR HISTERY MISTERY OR IS IT HYSTERY MYSTERY?
According to documents that were retained in our records, we started up as a result of an advert being placed in THE HEMEL HEMPSTEAD GAZETTE. I also seem to recall hearing that the advertisement appeared in the December edition of that journal. Our founder was Frank Maidment and that the inaugural meeting occurred above a hairdressing establishment in Lawn Lane. To me this was very clean cut and clear. In fact evidence to back this up is by the minutes of our first AGM being held in April 1961.
However, I did hear from someone, who was in process of compiling a list of competition winners, that they had provisioned for the possibility of the club being in existence in the 1950’s. He was informed from someone of this possibility. He was going to investigate, but due to a promotional work situation, he had to leave. Further evidence of us originating in the 1950’s, arose when a chappy installed a new carpet at home and informed me that his father had belonged to this club. To the best of my memory, he referred to a town carnival which was filmed in 1959. And yet our early newsletters and yearbook state 1960.
But this still is intriguing as there are, or were, clippings from the local newspaper reporting our activities also in our records. In some we are referred to as The Hemel Hempstead Cine Club. And yet our name was The Hemel Hempstead Cine Society (This was our title prior to Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers). I, at first put this down to an error. Or was it?
A few years ago, I was conducting some research for something consisting of local history material. In order to do this, my activity involved looking through microfilms of old Hemel Hempstead Gazettes, which in turn were making me bleary eyed. I had by coincidence discovered reference to an organisation which during the post war years, put on film shows at local village halls. I also later discovered that they had made films. But they did not appear to be us. Nor am I clear as to what percentage of their shows were amateur, professional, pre-made or specially made. However, my eyes popped out of my head, when I saw a 1958 report of a meeting at The Bell for The Hemel Hempstead Cine Club. Also some familiar names appeared. This certainly disagreed with our year book which clearly states that we started in 1960 and the backup evidence of our first AGM in 1961.
In fact in a December 1960 edition of The Hemel Hempstead Gazette, Hemel Hempstead Cine Club is mentioned again. I had difficulty in finding the advert which is reputedly to have started us off, but instead this reference was yet another report of a club meeting.
In the wake of all this, I was pleased to meet John Walker, who joined this club some years after I had, but left during our Leverstock Green era, as he moved district. However, he did join our counterparts in Milton Keynes. At a visit during our previous hall’s era, (Bourne Methodist Church Hall), I spoke to him at the tea break. The reason being, his name appeared in the 1958 and 1960 press reports. He confirmed that he was the same John Walker. Then came the bombshell. He claimed that he had started our club. When asked about Frank Maidment, who was regarded as the founder member, he said that Frank had as well. When I also mentioned Vic White and John Pewsey, he said, ”Yes. We were all founder members.” Whether the Hemel Hempstead Cine Club formally folded up, started again immediately, took on a new name or another club came along is not clear and became a little grey area in the conversation. We had to continue with the meeting, and so the conversation never resumed. I also heard at a later meeting, that he might be coming back. But so far he has not. Irrespective whether he does or not, I think we should regard him with reverence.
So, what about Frank Maidment, who according to current records, was the originator of the the society? Well he ran a business called Studio One. (Not to be confused with Brian Harris’ Studio One silk screen printing business.) Frank’s business was a photographic shop. Eventually it expanded into the holiday and travel scenario. This portion of business became larger and the photographic side got less. There is a report in a Hemel Hempstead Gazette plus publicity, when comedian Norman Vaughan opened Frank’s new premises. He donated the Studio One Shield for the holiday and travel competition and was chairman. But by 1963, his involvement with Hemel Hempstead Cine Society became less, due to his business commitments. During the 1980’s, by a chance in a million meeting, I was informed by his ex-wife that he had moved to Spain. [We subsequently heard in 2015 that he had died.]
Another early member, who died just before I joined, had a trophy dedicated to him called The Vic White Sound Memorial Trophy. John Pewsey, who until I found out about John Walker, was regarded as the last of our founder members. Although John Pewsey’s membership was more continuous. He left the club during our Leverstock Green era. He moved to Leighton Buzzard but sadly died.
Some of the ladies associated with us in our early years have been Hilda Stearn, Eve Bysouth and Joan Allen. I do not know what happened to Hilda. But I believe she did acquire the post of secretary. Eve starred in reputedly our first club production, TAKE THE ‘L’ OUT OF IT.(Circa 1962) She also, as far as I am aware became our first lady chairman/chairperson. Joan Allen was recently interviewed by the local press about her days when she was a nurse. I do not know if Vicky Rewell was a very early member with her husband Harry.
If anyone knows more about the origins of this club, irrespective of name, please let us know. Otherwise we will have to spend a large amount of money to hire out Sherlock Holmes. Alan French. 2009.
Useless information post script: Are you aware that according to the earliest rules and regulations that I have ever came across, that anyone who joined The Hemel Hempstead Cine Society, had to be sponsored by one of the members? A lot of people don’t know that!
A.What have the following in common? :-
B. What links Grace Kelly (aka Princess Grace of Monaco), Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires, George Harrison and Bing Crosby.
C. What do Joanna Lumley and Jodie Whitaker have in common?
D. Which member of Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers collided in a passageway with a famous comedy man and accidentally knocked him over into a nearby foyer? And who was the comedy man (possibly Benny Hill, Tony Hancock or Charlie Drake).
E. In our production NONE MUST KNOW (aka MEANWHILE IN LEVERSTOCK GREEN) there is brief reference to the children's television programme BLUE PETER. Why is this coincidentally appropriate?
F. Who is Daisy Duck's cartoon boyfriend?
G. Which famous comedy duo co-starred in PLANE CRAZY, GALLOPING GAUCHO and STEAMBOAT WILLIE? (These were the first 3 of many films that followed.)
H. Which year did EASTENDERS start being broadcast?
I. Which year was the first episode of CORONATION STREET broadcast?
J. What year did DOCTOR WHO first appear on television?
K. What years did production commence on the first Tarzan film, and its subsequent premier?
L. Who was 007 in SKYFALL?
M. Who had a chart hit with the above film's theme tune?
N. Which of the following songs, usually sung at Christmas time, is the odd one out?
There are two answers.
They are all songs but were not featured in the films which share their titles.
B. The song TRUE LOVE.
C. They have both portrayed Doctor Who (Joanna Lumley in a charity TV spoof for Red Nose Day, Jodie Whitaker for the main TV series.)
D. Member: Alan French. Comedy man: Benny Hill.
E. Christopher Trace co-presented with Leila Williams the first editions of BLUE PETER. Christopher Trace lived in Leverstock Green.
F. Donald Duck.
G. Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
K. Commenced 1917. Premiered 1918.
L. Daniel Craig.
N. Answer one = WHITE CHRISTMAS. The other two are not strictly Christmas songs.
Answer two = JINGLE BELLS. It was composed in the 19th century. The other two were written in the 20th Century.
[The following write up includes the term casus belli which means cause of the argument or, in this case, cause of the war.]
The year in which I write this article, commemorates the ending of one of the Twentieth Century's most horrible, tragic, and dreadful conflicts.
I have been to some of the areas where this conflict took place. If one takes their visit seriously, then they must in some way, be gripped by some emotional experience. Irrespective of what side of the casus belli, these people went through living Hell.
Although my visits were biased toward seeing my paternal grandfather's grave, I must not forget my maternal grandfather. He was a weak man. I am not sure whether he did not join the fighting forces due to health reasons, or whether it was because he had a reserved occupation. So he never witnessed conflict. However, sadly he died young, during December 1915.
My maternal grandmother re- married some years later. Her second husband, who had shaken hands with Buffalo Bill, I gather, had served in the cavalry. I have been informed that he had the task of putting down horses who were badly injured, and therefore saving them from misery. It was either he, or my blood grandfather, who would not tolerate cruelty to animals. If he saw an animal; such as a horse, being ill treated in the street, he would tell the offending person off.
It is believed that the last cavalry charge of the British army during war, was at the Battle of the Somme.
I have also heard, in more recent years, that my grandmother had a cousin who was highly praised for his work as a stretcher bearer. But sadly he was shot, during action on the battlefields, by the enemy.
But I do know more about my paternal grandfather who came from Somers Town in London. In fact, I have a colour tinted photograph of him, which a few years ago, I had digitized. It is included in this write up. He served with The 12th Battalion of the King's Royal Rifles. He died of wounds at the notorious Battle of the Somme on 02/09/1916.He was aged 28. He is buried at the Corbie Cemetery Communal Extension. I have seen his grave three times. His death, like many others, left behind next of kin, who, in turn, had to struggle and endure the hard realities of life.
My first visit, was during the 80th year's commemoration of the Battle of the Somme. Also known as The Big Push. Not only did the BBC's programme SONGS OF PRAISE follow us around, but they also stayed at the same hotel as myself.
I was touring with The British Legion. They in turn, also conducted the ceremony at The Thiepval Memorial. Here there is an enormous war memorial dedicated to casualties who have no known grave. The service was conducted by the Reverend William Scott. It was also televised on Breakfast Television. The Guest of Honour representing The Queen, was The Duke of Gloucester. This annual ceremony is held on July 1st every year, the anniversary of the date when the whistle blew for the soldiers to go over the top.
The British Legion party were treated as V.I.Ps. There was talking and the sound of military bands. There was eager anticipation and excitement as it was apparent that the proceedings were about to start. Suddenly, all went quiet. Then a lone piper commenced to march towards, and up to, the memorial. He played a piece of music that I know as A SCOTTISH SOLDIER.
But it was when The Rev. William Scott commenced speaking through the microphone, something strange and creepy occurred. I could hear something reminiscent of the sound of battle. At first I thought it was sound effects. Then I changed my mind. But what could it be? I then became concerned; as we were out in the open. A thunderstorm perhaps? I looked up at the overcast sky. To my anguish, I could see no lightning. The bangs eventually went away but returned every so often. I have had some strange experiences in my life, was this one of them? I did not like it. But then I rumbled what the sounds were. It was either the wind or the speaker's breath hitting the microphone. The P.A. system was in the arches of the memorial. The arches enhanced the sounds, making them very macabre. I have had the same experience two years later, at the same ceremony. This convinced me even more that my suspicions were correct.
The ceremony concluded with the the British band playing the French national anthem, and the French band playing the British. The crowd sang the the lyrics of both anthems. Our voices were enhanced by a choir, which I believe, was possibly from Wales.
After the ceremony, there was an area where we could converse and take refreshments. I was permitted to wear my grandfather's medal. I met the British Ambassador from Paris. I spoke to some locals in my limited French. I also spoke to the lone piper garbed in a Scottish uniform. I discovered that he was a policeman from Birmingham. Everyone was friendly. A few members from our coach were invited to meet The Duke of Gloucester, and rejoined us later. I also met some British veterans. One, who I shook hands with, was I believe, one hundred and four. I felt honored to meet them. The individual to whom I have referred was interviewed on television. He explained how his comrades were falling down around him. When asked was it worth it? He said that it was futile. And that all war is futile.
On the trip, we saw many things, such as the tragic Lochnagar crater at La Boiselle. We also visited Delville Wood, where only one tree survived the conflict. The rest of the wood was destroyed. It has since re-grown. I entered one area of it, and saw a film or television crew. I asked as best I could in French, were they from Television Francaise, ITN, or BBC? The friendly crew informed me that they were not from television. They were from Germany, and were making a film about the battle.
But for me, the big moment was seeing my paternal grandfather's grave. Unlike many other graves, his was in civilization. Many are on roadsides and in secluded spots in farmers' fields. It was quite a moment for me.
On the way back home, we called in a Canadian area at Beaumont-Hamel. The BBC's Songs of Praise people were busy taking pictures. We were warned that if we saw any strange metal, do not touch it. Report it immediately to the people in charge of our coach trip. I thought it would be interesting to walk around a neatly kept trench, and take a continuous stabilized shot of this action, with my recently purchased video camera. I eventually had to force myself to concentrate on this. Looking at the scene, I could easily imagine and sense the evil horror of battle there. The situation caused my body to experience emotion. I am not ashamed to admit, that had I stopped, I would have definitely been overcome with emotion.
The last we saw of Songs of Praise, they boarded our coach. Somewhere along the line, we were all asked to sing IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY. Afterwards, they left. I had not been feeling too good, possibly due to some French wine earlier. But somehow, this experience made me feel better. Eventually I felt great.
We made a stop at Arras. It was here we met some people from another coach party. One of them referred to the bangs, the previous day at Thiepval. I assured him that it was wind hitting the microphones.
We also stopped at Vimy Ridge. Here was a very impressive Canadian memorial. And a trench system preserved in cement.
There is a lot more I could say, but I will leave it there. But one thing that impressed me was that all war graves were kept well by The Commonwealth War Graves' Commission. And furthermore, not one blade of grass was out of place.
As far as film is concerned, there were numerous shots taken during the conflict. These newsreel images brought home to the public in cinemas, the dreadful things that were happening, although there is some talk that the newsreel cameramen had some soldiers pose especially for them.
Despite that there is a lot more that I can say, I shall now approach the end my write up. I did, a few years ago, get my grandfather's photo digitized and it is at the end of this blog.
You might also be interested in some articles that I contributed to the BBC's People's War website. Some, but not all, contain some references to WW1.
About the contributor - Former coding Marvelman.
Alan French: War Baby Interview Part One.
Alan French: War Baby Interview Part Two.
The Three English Brothers French.
Uncle Jim: Send Him Pictorious!
The White Figure - A True Wartime Ghost Story.
There is also, surprisingly, a reference to the Thiepval Memorial, in my blog about Quatermass on both Herts Memories and Our Dacorum websites.
The adjacent image is that of William Thomas French, my paternal grandfather who served with The King's Royal Rifles. It is a copy of a very large blow-up of an original hand-tinted photograph. In 2014 I had it copied by Studio 57 who at the time, was based in Hemel Hempstead, High Street. It has a glass front and there were problems removing it from the frame.
Oh what a frightening, perhaps horrific, thought! During our new 2017-2018 season, which commences in September, I celebrate being a member for fifty years! There have been many changes in that time.
Firstly, our name was orginally Hemel Hempstead Cine Society. There had been a suggestion to change our name for a few years. But to no avail. But eventually, we did during 1987, due to cine getting less, and video getting more.
At the time of joining, the main argument was: is Super 8 better than Standard 8? Today it is, are DVDs better than USB, or any other technical methods regarding the video scene? We even have facilities to show some of our productions on the internet.
But sadly, a number of movie-making clubs are becoming a shadow of their former selves, and even more sadly, packing up. Even HACCA is in jeopardy. Hopefully, it will survive. Some people have speculated whether our club will last. But pleasingly, we still manage to plod along.
Oddly enough, this is not exclusive to movie-making. A number of clubs and societies seem to be in the same boat.
But on the brighter side, we have achieved a lot in my half century as a member. And some people have held us in some reverence. Hopefully, they still do after they see our movies. OK, some productions might be better than others, but good, or not-so-good, we are still keeping the art of movie-making alive.
Nor are our productions the only example of the changing methods of presentation. Guess what else? Our magazine aka newsletter aka year book. Now it is a website.
So who knows? Who will be writing the equivalent of my blog-spot in fifty years time? Interesting thought!
Useless Information: Out of those who attend regularly, only one member has been in the club longer than me. Who is it? David Harrington (in the photo below, front row: right-hand end; I am second from the left of the front row) (plus one of our honorary members, Keith McKnight).
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.