Sunday, March 4, 2012


The walk along Perry St, the home stretch.
A year ago near enough to today I was greeting the largest audience I'd yet had for Shadows.I'd spent the summer inserting my opening film into conversations at parties, barbies, afternoons at the pub, home dvd nights and it had taken. It was the first full house I'd ever had. Around this time I was standing in front of the screen and the audience, shining a small torch on my face and telling them why The Fall was good and why they hadn't heard of it (outside a conversation with me).

This evening I had an odd sense memory of needing to check everything in my backpack to make sure I had every connector and converter I'd need and a host I wouldn't but felt better about including. I even felt a tiny panic that I hadn't organised the program for Autumn 2012. If everything had gone the way I wanted I would have done that two weeks ago. I've just come home from the supermarket and on the walk home I was thinking of what I'd put into a 2012 Autumn program.

I have a good number of new movies on disc, garnered o'er the holidays,most of which would qualify for a place in the first program. This time last year I would have watched them all, made notes, mentally practised the spiels I'd give the audience (and dismissed any I couldn't sincerely celebrate). When I had got the six or seven for a half season I'd put them in a sequence that flowed well, often letting nothing more than an alternation between English and non English language pieces (when it came to the seven titles in my season of women protagonists it got tough as none of them was in English). Generally, though, I'd progress through them according to mood, making sure that there was something like light and dark all the way through the list.

Then, I'd think about a song for the trailer and let that dictate the pace, editing and choice of material for the season trailer. Once I'd extracted the video only of each of the features I'd go and gather every significant shot I could find and string them together against the rhythm of the song. When that was done and I'd made a good copy of each feature and chosen short supports,I was ready. Oh, then I'd write the season program including a short spiel for each one. And then as each was a week away I'd write different copy again for the Facebook event and mailing list and left it to the four winds.

I'd check the response to the FB event and come Friday 6.30. I'd lug the laptop, armed with the movies, trailer and support feature and my entire record collection in flac form, a bag of Turkish bread and dips from my home in Fitzroy to the ABC Gallery in Collingwood. Not a long lug but a good hike on foot. I'd push the heavy door open and take happy receipt of Milos' jovial bellow: Hello, Mr Peter! I'd connect the projector to the laptop and test that the material was going to look and sound the way I wanted and then either put some calming Brian Eno ambient on or go and play the upright piano that I still hadn't got around to tuning and wait for whomever would turn up.

I miss that. I still miss it. Even on nights when only a pitiable few turned out in the icy rain and gales to sit through whatever grim obscurity I was offering I felt like I was doing something worthwhile. I miss the gratified surprise at the appearence of a sudden audience swelling influx just as I was about to run the trailer and I even miss the transition from disappointment to warmth witnessing a small audience appreciate what they'd seen personally and with depth. I miss the ritual and the unexpected. The lot.

But tonight I'm writing in a break from what has largely had to replace Shadows as my weekend industry. I came home this mild autumnal Friday to work on the dialogue and drawing of my graphic novel, The Monsoons. I'm doing that while carrying on a Facebook PM conversation which has gone from jokey through bizarre to enjoyably philosophical. The evening stretches. Tomorrow night a new film at a cinema.

Yeah, it's all changed now and I've got other things to do. God, I miss it, though, I really still miss it.

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