Friday, 13 May 2022
Tuesday, 8 February 2022
JOHN WILLIAMS - a 90th celebration
To celebrate the 90th birthday of The Maestro John Williams I wanted to share a few memories of my time as a life long fan and what his music has meant to me.
The First time the music of John Williams would have any impact on me was as a 5 year old boy.
It was 1975.
And “THAT THEME” was everywhere.
I was terrified to go into the water after that. Jaws was as we’ve now come to realise the start of the blockbuster but it was as lean a film as I’ve ever saw. The troubles with Bruce are legendary and so director Steven Spielberg turned to the music to deliver the scares that the rubber shark couldn’t and boy did the music do the job. You could hear those two simple notes being hummed at every beach,swimming pool and bathroom you went to that summer. Of course at the time I didn’t know it was John Williams. But I certainly knew the music.
However, like many of us I didn’t become aware of who John Williams was until 1977. It was my birthday and Mum and Dad took me to the cinema to see the film that would change everything.
To this day I still get excited chills hearing that trumpet blast. Like all geeks of a certain age I was obsessed. And as we played with our Palitoy miniature people and clashed our orange handled laser swords together, we would hum the music of John Williams. It wasn’t long before I had the soundtrack cassette and sitting in the front room headphones on, volume up, riding the old rocking chair back and forth like an X-Wing, my mind was among the stars.
Next came the Mothership. Watching with my dad at the Chapter Arts centre in Canton, Cardiff neither of us could believe what we were watching and hearing as that majestic spaceship rose up and glided over the Devil’s Tower. To my tiny little brain that end scene where music is the language by which we communicate with aliens was a true stroke of genius and getting to watch the film at the base of the real Devil’s Tower many years later really brought home to me just how crazy an idea it was but somehow so right. So perfect.
Then followed Superman. Watching the red velvet curtains opening on the screen and being whisked away to Krypton with that epic main theme literally announcing his name. You couldn’t help but believe.
That music grounded these films in a kind of reality and I never doubted that they were real.
And so it went on, whether it be fighting Nazi in the desert or aliens flying bikes across the moon the tone of my childhood was always set by his music.
Of course as I got older and my tastes changed so did the music but somehow his music never lost that thrill, that excitement, that shear joy.
I might be changing but my love for the music wasn’t, through chomping Dinosaurs, boy wizards and further battles in that galaxy far far away, one thing remained constant.
The score was always just right.
And then finally after many years of trying but somehow missing the mark, I got to see him conduct live in Vienna in 2020, just before the pandemic and it was truly a transcendental experience. A life long culmination of my love of music, not just his music but of music itself. Seeing a master at work and how he controlled the orchestra in that way was sublime. So much so I was hooked, like a John Williams solar eclipse chaser I had to experience it again. This time in Berlin a year or so later. And again it was overwhelming. I was on my own and three lovely old German ladies took me under their wing. Not only did we talk about our love of the music and the excitement of watching a live orchestra, but they also shared their sweets with me in case I should need to cough. They explained it was the done thing just in case, so as not to spoil the concert.
And to me that is the power of his music, that shared common ground that brought us together and broke all the barriers. Music that united a gruffty Welshman like me with the height of German bohemian socialites. Just for the shear joy of it.
As I look back, over the years many companions have come and gone in my life but The Maestro is the one who has remained a constant. After nearly 50 years of listening to his music I can honestly say he is the magic to all those films I love, he is the secret ingredient…the magic sauce, even when the films aren't so great, he always is.
And now I find myself about to embark on one more adventure to experience The Maestro at work, again in Vienna March 2022. I am aware that this is most likely the last time I will get to see him conduct live and that deeply saddens me but I am also filled with joy to realise that I have been lucky enough to be alive at the same time as one of the all time great composers, not just for film but in music full stop. So if this is to be the last time I experience him “leading the band” then I will relish it for all it is worth. But you know there is a part of me that thinks there will always be a next time. Who knows, that’s the beauty of life. A couple of years ago I was supposed to see him conduct the LSO at the Royal Albert Hall and he became ill the night before and couldn’t make it. I really thought I would never get to see him conduct. I honestly thought I’d missed my chance and yet now as I stand on the edge of seeing him a third time in as many years (despite a global pandemic) I guess anything is possible. And until it isn’t I will continue to chase the eclipse.
So, I’ll leave you with my absolute pinnacle of John Williams music. For me the piece that no matter how many times I’ve heard it (and I have heard it so many times), it never ever makes me feel anything less than exhilarated and always takes me right back to that rainy Sunday morning in a dark smoky cinema in Cardiff as a 10 year old boy sharing the adventures of our heroic trio, Luke, Leia and Han as the dreaded Darth Vader closes in.
If for nothing more than the absolute joy he has brought all our lives over the years, Happy 90th birthday Maestro.
Cue: the Imperial March.
Tuesday, 2 June 2020
Once it is safe to send the parcels I will let you know. It's very frustrating as it's just sat there in a box in my office all ready to go but I'm sure you'll agree that in the big scheme of things there are more important things to be concerned about at the moment.
As I said in my last update that all the perks are pretty much ready to go other than the final DVD’s. They won’t be ready until the film is released so I’m going to send out the perks as they are with the DVD’s to follow later.
In the meantime I have been uploading lots of content to You Tube channel Terrortube where you can watch for free including my first feature film Through The Looking Glass.
Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRhN-Ie0Lv6COpMO8HHXVFw/
Sunday, 8 December 2019
Sunday, 18 August 2019
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
So here we are into the last 5 days of the campaign and at 90%. AMAZING. One last push and we’re there. We have £200 left to raise to hit target and I need all your help to do it. Please share the campaign link igg.me/at/TheLongRoad and tell as many people as you can about the film.
I’ve decided that September will be the release month for the film so I can now get everything together for that and with the help of our PR guru Susie Tullett we should be able to get some decent reviews in the papers etc and get some bums on seats.
I’m really looking forward to seeing you all at one of the screenings once dates have been locked. In the meantime Thank You for all your support. You’ve all been amazing and I couldn’t have done it without you. The film is yours as much as mine and you should be extremely proud of that. You’re alright you are.
Here’s a couple of pieces of music from the film:
Main Theme Photo Video:https://youtu.be/CmO42rL7NHs
Until next time may the road rise with you.