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Saturday, 27 September 2014

They Eat Culture presents Future Preston tours - part of the BFI's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear & Wonder season.

This week I received what I believe without doubt is the longest email ever having been written in the history of emails being, er well, written. I'll give it its due though, it did suggest that in terms of saving the rain forest etc that it might be wise not to print it off. To be honest, I don't think that I have had THAT much paper, like ever.

Now normally my lack of attention span would mean that on receiving said 'email giganticus' I would possibly (probably) send it straight to the great trash box. After all, I find that the subject of unusually long email messages tend to be either some very nice person in Ghana wanting to share his millions with me or a years supply of Viagra for my own personal needs - either way they seem to require my various PIN numbers and bank account numbers. Yeah, like I'd ever fall for that scam........"cough"

Anyhoo - this email was very different. The reason why it was so big was evident by the truly exciting plans that it included. It concerned the BFI'S Sci-Fi: Days of fear and wonder season - and if you have no idea what exactly that is then you may have been living in a cave for the past few months. It also means that you haven't been reading any of my previous blog posts on the releases contained within the event - and that doesn't make me much of a happy bunny. No not at all. So before you go any further I suggest that you click on the previous BFI entries on this blog and do the required reading. There will be a test of your knowledge in due course.
The email was sent by Rob Talbot, a representative of a Preston based cultural production company, the wonderfully named They Eat Culture (TEC). Rob was very effusive in his praise of my blog from the start - and as I've mentioned previously on a number of occasions, simply aim some flattery in my general direction and it will get you anywhere. So of course he caught my attention immediately.
They Eat Culture is a direct creative intervention into the cultural life of Preston and Lancashire. They programme, commission, & produce quality arts & cultural work, and run culturally engaging, in-deep projects co-designed with communities. It also transpires that they are responsible for delivering Future Preston Tours - the Preston content for the BFI's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear & Wonder season but also what also caught my attention was the genuinely exciting news of what TEC is intending to do. The plans includes a series of immersive and non-traditional screenings of four science fiction movie classics ( in the truest sense of the word) E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, Dredd, Logan's Run and Tron at secret locations around the city, along with a range of other genre-related events, framed as tours run by a retro-futuristic travel agency ('Future Preston Tours').
For a start I love their film selections - 3 of them in particular are personal perennial favourites of mine. Let's think about the four selections for a moment. I won't say outright which is the one film from the selection that I've never quite fully warmed to, but let's just say for now that I won't be phoning home about it............ However I'm fully aware that many disagree with my opinion, so don't ever listen to me. As for the others, how I love them. 
"Is that a video game in your pocket or are you just
pleased to see me?......."
I first saw Tron on its original release in 1982 and if I remember correctly, I was one of the few to fall in love with it from the start. Lets face it, the film wasn't exactly welcomed with overflowing critical and commercial success when it first hit the cinema - which at the time perplexed me, I seem to remember watching it in a half full cinema in that first week of release. After all, its stunning originality in terms of look and technological innovation should have meant instant adoration. Instead it was often ridiculed in its early life - and unfairly so. It took Tron, like others at the time such as Blade Runner, a number of years to reach the status that it attains now and as a consequence is quite rightly regarded as one on the major science fiction works of it's time. And do you know what? I saw Tron again on DVD just a few months ago, it still looks rather stunning.
"Finding the toilets was always tricky in 1970's disco's."
Logan's Run is another example of a slow burner of a film in terms of acquiring the cult status it holds today. The fact that I've been a little smitten with Jenny Agutter for most of my life may hold some reason for my love of this piece of work. However, there are other reasons why this film is high on my, and many others, all time list. The story itself is pure Scifi joy of a future mankind confined to a domed city governed by a computer, where the pursuit and enjoyment of pleasure is the only societal value. If that wasn't enough, each citizen has to undergo the public ritual of ‘Carrousel’ at the age of 30, where they are vaporised with the false promise of ‘renewal’. Yes there are themes of Government control and Conformity which are as relevant as much today (perhaps more so) as they were in back 1976 when the film first appeared. But fundamentally, it is a good, rollicking chase movie that's simply a whole heap of fun.

It is no secret that my formative SciFi experience was the introduction of the seminal Comic, 2000AD. Its most famous creation, Judge Dredd has had two major film adaptations. Lets be clear, the one being shown as part Future Preston Tours by They Eat Culture is not, I repeat IS NOT, the 1995 abomination which 'starred' Sylvester Stallone. If you've never seen it and want to know just how catastrophically bad it is, don't watch it. All you need to know is that it also 'stars' Rob Schneider. I rest my case.
"Put your hands up,'re nicked for crimes against 200OAD"
No, this film is the magnificent 2012 version which contains an almost pitch-perfect characterisation by New Zealand actor, Karl Urban. Dredd is about as cool as contemporary SciFi can get, it looks great, with the desolation of Mega-City1's inner-city chaos, it has some truly amazing cinematography and also some very, very cool bikes. The only unwelcome surprise about the movie is that as yet a sequel hasn't been decided upon. 

If all that wasn't enough, TEC are not satisfied with providing people with traditional straight forward screenings of these acknowledged Sci-Fi classics, no no no, because the intention is that guests will also experience Science fiction in a completely new and inventive fashion. The months of October and November are set to be an amazing time for Lancashire’s Scifi fans and arts and culture junkies; people need to be prepared to see the Preston in a new light, straight from the future. As yet many of the locations and activities are shrouded in secrecy and mystery. However it is safe to say that this will literally be the first time that I've ever said this, but this venture makes me really wish I was in Preston.

The schedule, as far as I know it for these events are as follows;

"Pull my finger - it makes a funny noise......."
E.T the Extra-Terrestrial (PG)
Bring the wonder of ET to life for a new generation and experience this family classic in an exclusive, one-off secret screening. Step inside ET and his world in Preston, join them for a magical moon-lit cycle ride to their secret cinema location with live theatre performances and interactive activities aimed at a family audience.

Date:  18th Oct         Location: Avenham Park & Christ The King Catholic College.

Dredd (18) 
Date:  25th Oct         Location: Classified

Logan’s Run (PG) 

Date:  22nd Nov        Location: Classified (await update)

Tron (PG) 
Date:  29th Nov         Location: Classified

Also included (dates to be announced) 
  • Touring travel agency Future Preston Tours
  • Classic and little-known Sci-Fi, talks and workshops at The Continental 
  • Sci-Fi Trash Cinema, quizzes, and a future rock & roll sci-fi social club at the Ferret
  • A touring videotheque for sci-fi archive

Future Preston Tours commence in October as part of the BFI’s nationwide Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season.  Tickets will be available from £10 adult, £7 children and family of four £28. 

Believe me, this is set to be a very special set of events. It's not often that I unreservedly take my hat off to a proposed venture, but in this case I'll make a genuine exception. This just could be the best of experiences.

For more information, They Eat Culture can be reached via their website at

Their Facebook page is RIGHT HERE

You can follow They Eat Culture on Twitter via their twitter type name of  @theyeatculture