MARCH 2010
Frank Skinner pays a visit!
Nineteen years ago I came to Blackpool to attend my first GFS convention. I was armed with a video camera (thinking that if I was behind the camera I wouldn’t have to go on stage to play!) It might have been a negative thought but it did enable me to video the event and then edit and archive the footage and make it available to the GFS and its members. Nineteen years later I am still doing the same thing and even though my equipment is probably the best that my bank balance will allow, it was dwarfed by the equipment that the film crew brought with them to film this weekend for the forthcoming TV special on George Formby and starring top comedian Frank Skinner. The TV special is being produced and directed by Daniel Wiles who is well known for creating the brilliant South Bank Show episode on George Formby about eighteen years ago, so I feel sure that between Frank, Daniel and the very professional crew that attended with them, we are surely in safe hands. Although the weather report wasn’t very good, the weather in fact was very pleasant for the weekend, not that we are that bothered about such things at a GFS get-together. The room was changed to the Washington Suite for this meeting and I have to say that I preferred it to the Lancastrian Suite. I am aware that it was quite warm in there but it had a very good atmosphere - and the lighting was much better for my video cameras. That said, many members felt that it was too warm and that they wished we were back in our previous room, The Lancastrian - they will be happy to know that for the rest of 2010 we will return there. As usual it is always nice to greet old friends and to meet with new ones, Mike Warren was back at a convention for the first time in fifteen years and Martin Hosmer was with us again after a five year gap. Both these lads are great players and it was good to see them both back in Blackpool again. One member who because of his professional engagements usually cannot be with us these days is Andy Eastwood but Andy broke his journey between theatrical engagements to open the show and to give an interview for the TV cameras. You cannot celebrate the memory of George Formby with anything better then “Little Ukulele” and “Leaning On A Lampost” and Andy showed everybody in the room just why he is in much demand these days throughout the UK and overseas for his immense talents. The multi-instrumental wizard gave us a breathtaking start to the weekend and is surely bound for even higher honours in the theatrical world - why wasn’t he on the last Royal Variety Show from Blackpool? I watched that show and there wasn’t an act to touch him. The convention then took its usual form with the members entertaining members. The TV cameras rolled all afternoon and although there will be much editing to be done, they will surely have caught the spirit of our weekend with all the work they did. The TV crew and Frank Skinner even turned up in the evening to share the entertainment with us. They must have had a very hard day and you would have thought they would have preferred to stay private and put their feet up but they all turned up to be with us - well done! Some great performances over the weekend, as well as Andy Eastwood, Jon Shreeve, Paul Kenny, Matthew Sproston, Matt and Jonathan Richards, Stephen Sproat, Francesca Davies, Sean Rutter and the brilliant Martin Harrison all gave great entertainment - but to be fair, all who took to the stage to either compere or entertain played a great part in a great weekend. Frank Skinner performed a couple of Formby numbers and came out of it with a lot of enthusiastic applause from the knowledgeable audience. Even though Frank is a very experienced pro, it must have been a daunting prospect to play a ukulele and sing a Formby song in front of a packed house of George Formby members, but he did it in style and the audience was delighted. The band consisted over the weekend of Tony Thornton (bass), Dale Norman (drums), Geoff Shone (drums), Chris Weightman (keyboard), Matt Richards (keyboard), Jon Baddelley (clarinet), and a newcomer on bass, David Partington. They played throughout the entire weekend with virtually no mini-discs being used. No matter what the song, they came up with the backing - brilliant! Gill Walley was everywhere, taking notes and shooting her camera in all directions in preparation for her latest convention bulletin which can be read here and in the Vellum. All in all, one of the best weekends I can remember, the Imperial was once again a lovely place to be if you are into George Formby and we are now well established at our original home. Jim Machin was on hand to run the cinema and we must all be grateful for his efforts. This job is demanding, Jim doesn’t get a chance to go back to his hotel to get is head down like most other GFS members and has to get all the equipment ready after the afternoon session has finished and then rush out to get something to eat before the show starts at 7pm. I know because I did this job myself a few years ago and found it to be a responsible and demanding role. If you missed this (or any other convention) then you are missing out on a great weekend, remedy it by getting to Blackpool for the forthcoming weekend on June 5/6 2010.
MARCH 2010
Frank Skinner pays a visit!
Nineteen years ago I came to Blackpool to attend my first GFS convention. I was armed with a video camera (thinking that if I was behind the camera I wouldn’t have to go on stage to play!) It might have been a negative thought but it did enable me to video the event and then edit and archive the footage and make it available to the GFS and its members. Nineteen years later I am still doing the same thing and even though my equipment is probably the best that my bank balance will allow, it was dwarfed by the equipment that the film crew brought with them to film this weekend for the forthcoming TV special on George Formby and starring top comedian Frank Skinner. The TV special is being produced and directed by Daniel Wiles who is well known for creating the brilliant South Bank Show episode on George Formby about eighteen years ago, so I feel sure that between Frank, Daniel and the very professional crew that attended with them, we are surely in safe hands. Although the weather report wasn’t very good, the weather in fact was very pleasant for the weekend, not that we are that bothered about such things at a GFS get-together. The room was changed to the Washington Suite for this meeting and I have to say that I preferred it to the Lancastrian Suite. I am aware that it was quite warm in there but it had a very good atmosphere - and the lighting was much better for my video cameras. That said, many members felt that it was too warm and that they wished we were back in our previous room, The Lancastrian - they will be happy to know that for the rest of 2010 we will return there. As usual it is always nice to greet old friends and to meet with new ones, Mike Warren was back at a convention for the first time in fifteen years and Martin Hosmer was with us again after a five year gap. Both these lads are great players and it was good to see them both back in Blackpool again. One member who because of his professional engagements usually cannot be with us these days is Andy Eastwood but Andy broke his journey between theatrical engagements to open the show and to give an interview for the TV cameras. You cannot celebrate the memory of George Formby with anything better then “Little Ukulele” and “Leaning On A Lampost” and Andy showed everybody in the room just why he is in much demand these days throughout the UK and overseas for his immense talents. The multi-instrumental wizard gave us a breathtaking start to the weekend and is surely bound for even higher honours in the theatrical world - why wasn’t he on the last Royal Variety Show from Blackpool? I watched that show and there wasn’t an act to touch him. The convention then took its usual form with the members entertaining members. The TV cameras rolled all afternoon and although there will be much editing to be done, they will surely have caught the spirit of our weekend with all the work they did. The TV crew and Frank Skinner even turned up in the evening to share the entertainment with us. They must have had a very hard day and you would have thought they would have preferred to stay private and put their feet up but they all turned up to be with us - well done! Some great performances over the weekend, as well as Andy Eastwood, Jon Shreeve, Paul Kenny, Matthew Sproston, Matt and Jonathan Richards, Stephen Sproat, Francesca Davies, Sean Rutter and the brilliant Martin Harrison all gave great entertainment - but to be fair, all who took to the stage to either compere or entertain played a great part in a great weekend. Frank Skinner performed a couple of Formby numbers and came out of it with a lot of enthusiastic applause from the knowledgeable audience. Even though Frank is a very experienced pro, it must have been a daunting prospect to play a ukulele and sing a Formby song in front of a packed house of George Formby members, but he did it in style and the audience was delighted. The band consisted over the weekend of Tony Thornton (bass), Dale Norman (drums), Geoff Shone (drums), Chris Weightman (keyboard), Matt Richards (keyboard), Jon Baddelley (clarinet), and a newcomer on bass, David Partington. They played throughout the entire weekend with virtually no mini-discs being used. No matter what the song, they came up with the backing - brilliant! Gill Walley was everywhere, taking notes and shooting her camera in all directions in preparation for her latest convention bulletin which can be read here and in the Vellum. All in all, one of the best weekends I can remember, the Imperial was once again a lovely place to be if you are into George Formby and we are now well established at our original home. Jim Machin was on hand to run the cinema and we must all be grateful for his efforts. This job is demanding, Jim doesn’t get a chance to go back to his hotel to get is head down like most other GFS members and has to get all the equipment ready after the afternoon session has finished and then rush out to get something to eat before the show starts at 7pm. I know because I did this job myself a few years ago and found it to be a responsible and demanding role. If you missed this (or any other convention) then you are missing out on a great weekend, remedy it by getting to Blackpool for the forthcoming weekend on June 5/6 2010.