Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Halifax Ghost Story Festival, Dean Clough, Halifax 12th November 2011

Lin and I had a great time at this year's Halifax Ghost Story Festival. We decided to go to Halifax the day before and stayed overnight Friday and Saturday at the splendid White Swan Hotel, near Halifax Town Hall. What an amazingly friendly hotel this is, a large, old, brilliantly well maintained building, with some of the largest bedrooms I've ever stayed in. Recommended!

The Festival started at 1.30 p.m. on Saturday with a reading of Arthur Machen's The Ritual by Reggie Oliver (who kindly signed my copy of his recent Tartarus Press collection, Mrs Midnight).

 This was followed by a panel made up of Ray Russell, Mark Valentine, Gwilym Games and Reggie Oliver discussing Machen's stories. Thoroughly entertaining. It is always great to hear people discussiing a subject they know a great deal about and love.

Rounding off the Machen side of things, we were then shown a short film based on Machen's story The Happy Children. The director, Mark Goodall answered questions from the audience afterwards for several minutes.

The second panel of the afternoon was chaired by the ever entertaining John Probert, discussing how the boundaries of the ghost story could be expanded. Other members of the panel included Chris Maloney, Nicholas Royle and Mark Valentine. This was an excellent discussion and it was only a shame that it had to end when it did having run out of time. Although I'm not usually a great fan of panels this was exceptionally interesting.

The afternoon's events were rounded off by three films, two professional and one amateur. The professional films were an adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard's story Three Miles Up (directed by Lesley Manning) and Robert Aickman's The Hospice (directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard).The amateur film was a short feature called The Hairy Hand (directed by Ashley Thorpe).

There was a break of about an hour and a half after this, during which most of the afternoon's guests left. Lin and I stayed on to have a specially made Ghost Story Festival meal at the Dean Clough cafe, which included some delicious Pumpkin soup, vegetarian Indian food and parkin. We spent most of the time talking with fellow BFS members Caroline Callaghan and Di Lewis.

The final event of the evening was a showing at eight o'clock of a full length feature film, Ashley Thorpe's An Urban Ghost Story.

Altogether a very successful event, shorter than last year's, but neatly compacted with some interesting items.

There's also an excellent review of the Festival on the Tartarus Press blog, including some video footage.

1 comment:

  1. Makes me wish I lived in the UK. Talented bunch there