Monday 19 November 2012

Halifax Ghost Story Festival November 17-18, 2012

Another hugely successful Ghost Story Festival was held again this year at Dean Clough, Halifax.

The festival kicked off on Saturday morning with a lively and insightful discussion about the Ghost Story after M. R. James. Panelists included Joel Lane, Ramsey Campbell, Reggie Oliver and Ray Russell.

Ramsey Campbell, Ray Russell, Joel Lane and Reggie Oliver
This was followed after lunch by Dr Jonathan Miller being interviewed by Tony Earnshaw, particularly about his 1968 adaptation for television of M. R. James' Whistle and I'll Come to You, which was shown on a big screeen immediately afterwards. I don't know whether it was a result of the interview or the film being projected onto a big screen, but I have never before enjoyed this adaptation so much. After having originally watched this on TV when it was first broadcast, it was an amazing experience to watch it again in the company of its producer and director!

Tony Earnshaw interviews Dr Jonathan Miller

Following this we moved downstairs into the Viaduct Cafe where Reggie Oliver read one of his stories from Mrs Midnight and Other Stories, A Piece of Elsewhere, where his abilities as an actor were amply displayed by his use of regional accents for his characters. Chris Priestley followed with a lively reading of his story The Demon Bench End. Both were superbly narrated and greatly appreciated by the packed audience. 

Reggie Oliver reads A Piece of Elsewhere
Chris Priestly reads The Demon Bench End

Following a break the evening restarted with psychic entertainer, Max Raven, who carried out some remarkable mentalist feats, during which I think he probably involved the entire audience at one time or another. 

Max Raven

Sunday opened with an informative and lengthy interview with producer/director Lawrence Gordon Clark by Tony Earnshaw. Lawrence Gordon Clark was, of course, responsible for creating the marvelous Ghost Stories for Christmas in the 1970s. This was followed by big screen viewings of M. R. James' The Stalls of Barchester (1971) and The Signal Man by Charles Dickens (1976). 

Lawrence Gordon Clark being interviewed by Tony Earnshaw

A couple of short independent films, Vespers and The Wailing Well, wound up the festival, which finished around 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

Lin and I enjoyed this festival tremendously, and it was a great opportunity to meet up and talk with old friends (though there was not really time with such a packed schedule to meet everyone). It was also a great opportunity to buy some really interesting books from the bookshop on site, which was mainly stocked with Tartarus Press and PS Publishing. Already having a large pile of books still to be read, I restricted myself to a copy of Mark Morris's Long Shadows, Nightmare Light, while Lin bought a Tartarus Press collection of William Fryer Harvey's The Double Eye.

The good news is that it seems virtually certain another festival will be held next year. I look forward to it!

Special thanks should go to Dani Grijak and her team for organising this event and for her enthusiasm for it.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I appreciate your writing. I'm Ghost Stories lover. I had a experience something like that i have a chihuahua and my grandpa died a couple years ago of lung cancer.He used 2 work a night shift so he stood in the doorway and when i saw him i woke my grandma up to let him leave and after he died a couple nights a month i woke up and my chihuahua would be staring out the doorway and barking when i didnt see anything.