Thursday, May 03, 2012


hello there

the film 8mm was a rather interesting one, to say the least. featuring Nicholas Cage and Joaquin Phoenix, it explored the seedy underworld of less than conventional films, centering on the small matter of whether or not a 'snuff' film was legitimate or not. i proudly own the DVD of this film, and am equally proud that it was a gift from my mother-in-law.

this post is not about that film, however. sorry, dear reader, if you were looking for information about it via google or something and ended up here. instead, good people, here are some rough and ready screenshots of 8mm footage featuring, amongst others, your humble narrator!

the above is indeed me, aged one or even less, on holiday with Mum holding me. some intense research suggests that it was on holiday at a Butlins resort in Skegness or Minehead. i base this on the fact that a monorail is in some of the footage, and it seems only Skegness and Blackpool had such a thing at the time. i am pretty sure it isn't Blackpool, there being no footage of the pier or tower. watch Dad correct me on this when he has read it.

Dad is behind the footage, of course, and the reason i am now able to present images here. he was, as he is prone to do, going through "stuff" at South Fork and found a dozen or so 8mm reels. he asked if it was at all possible to do anything with them, and as it turns out it was, thanks to some people called Covert 4 U. i must point out they have done a superb job of converting the reels to DVD - these screenshots, sadly, do not reflect the awesome quality.

Dad was behind the footage too to the extent that he, if you will, "lensed" most of it, but every now and then he features in some scenes. like this one here, where he seems to set me off on a mini-ferris wheel type thing and then promptly vanishes.

i am sure it was with perfectly good reason that Dad strapped me into that, shoved a few shillings in and let me sit there with a scary looking clown going around and around! at a guess, that picture could well be taken from scenes in Spain. i await Dad's correction, though!

although the majority of footage features me (i am assuming that my arrival was the motivation for buying what was a very expensive piece of equipment), there are moments where others in the family are captured. would you like, for instance to see an image of my Uncle Colin, aged 11 or 12, riding a horse? of course you would!

i am reasonably certain that the above was also from Skegness or wherever it is that has a monorail thing. or had one in the early 70s.

speaking of Uncles, here is a great look at Uncle Trevor!

that, it has to be said, is the most excellent haircut that i have ever seen in the history of most excellent haircuts! i believe that is i in the pram just in front of him; i hope i am giving him some sort of "cool" or thumbs up gesture!

over on the other side of the family, there is some footage of a holiday and indeed our family in Rhyl, up there in the north of Wales. Mum informs me that the below is a look at Auntie Olive...

and this, with a baby that is not me, is Auntie Edna....

not sure who the younger lady is, sorry, but i am sure i will get told eventually!

sadly a good deal of the footage from Rhyl seems to be overexposed or just filmed with too bright a skyline so it is difficult to work out who is who, bar the scenes above. it does not seem, sadly, that there is any footage of Auntie Barbara.

if that is a disappointment, then a reason for joy is that there is a good deal of footage of the great, wonderful and sadly no longer with us Grandad Stanley!

here's Grandad putting together a model airplane, which is interesting since we are sat next to a boating lake....

my memory of Grandad Stanley is a constant smile and happy outlook on life. well, happy except for when the racing was on, and he consistently always managed to select the horse that came in second, and "nearly backed the bugger" that won.

that is indeed Grandma Nellie in the background holding me, and further yes, that's Colin, but with no horse.

there are quite a few pictures of Grandad Stanley that we all have, but it is quite excellent that there is now some footage of him, looking rather dapper. it did my heart particular good to see him rather happy with a first grandson!

bouncing back over to the other side of the family, if you will, and yet another bonus in regards of the 8mm footage comes in the form of glimpes of Grandma Lilly and, as you can see below, Stormin' Norman himself, Gramps!

sadly not too much footage of those two, but they are at least on there! no sign of Susan at all, now that i think - perhaps she was too busy off doing Slade related things whenever the camera was on the go!

the above, yes indeed showing 3 generations in some sort of accidental symbolic pose, was shot at Chester zoo, i am reliably informed. Chester zoo, by the way, has or had a monorail too. i am guessing that is how Dad determined where and when we would go on excursions.

since we are at Chester zoo, we may as well look at some footage of one of my best hobbies as a youngling, apparently, which was damaging myself or being fortunate enough to be in the way of damage.

well, this first picture does not feature bodily harm as such, but it does look like Dad (i somehow doubt Mum was involved) had no problem whatsoever with me getting really close to a gorilla!

oh, i am sure Dad would have sorted out the gorilla if it had tried to approach me. this i base on the fact that he did when a chicken attacked me, doing some significant damage to my eye. i think the below shows me post-chicken attack, looking at the state of my eye.

you are not supposed to be able to remember anything from when you are that young, but i have a clear and vivid memory of this for some reason. i can recall seeing, from the perspective of what we shall call the courtyard, Scotta House and a lady stood in front of it - most likely Gran - and then everything going black. strange, and a memory i would perhaps prefer not to have.

now, the single best thing that i was excellent at when i was younger was breaking my left arm. twice i broke it at this age - once falling (probably jumping) from a swing, and then for good measure by tripping over and breaking it again as soon as we left the hospital to have the cast removed. i am not sure which of those two incidents this footage relates to, but you could argue they are one and the same anyway.

to my shame, i am sorry i have no idea who my friend is in this picture. no doubt the memory of Mum and Dad may be jogged, and if they recognize who it is i shall drop in an edit and reveal the name!

one day, to borrow a great line from a favourite film, all of these moments shall indeed be lost in time, just like tears in rain. for now, though, i find it hard to express the joy at having this footage available, and indeed (really soon, i promise) to be able to send it off to family around the world. i certainly hope they love watching it as much as i have.

full credit once again to Covert 4 U for the excellent, fast service that was certainly worth every single cent. if you are in my part of the world and have similar footage, please consider using them as i have.memories like this should not be left on reels, unseen by the world.

for now, i can assure you that yes, ever since i saw the footage, i do indeed have Joe Cocker's recording of With A Little Help From My Friends on the go in my mind. if you can name that TV show, buy yourself something nice and please do not trouble me with the bill.

do be excellent to each other.

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