Darren Stockford

What’s all this, then?

Hello, there. I’m Darren, and this is a collection of stuff I’ve written over the years, mainly about music but there’s some other stuff too, such as film, TV and merch. You’ll also find the odd bit of promo for videos and music I’ve made. Thanks for dropping by.

A spectre calls: The Woman In Black (1989) finally makes it to Blu-ray

The Woman In Black (1989) Blu-rayYep, the 1989 TV adaptation of The Woman In Black has hit Blu-ray. And I’m jolly glad to have it, as the film has been unavailable, in any format, for far too long. I can now retire the, ahem, ‘unofficial’ DVD-R I nabbed from eBay about 20 years ago (amazingly, it still plays).

Based on the 1983 novel by Susan Hill, and directed by Herbert Wise from a Nigel Kneale screenplay, The Woman In Black is a slow-burning British ghost story with a building sense of dread.

It’s not ideal to watch such a film on a clammy August night, but I got straight down to it and enjoyed the experience very much. Alone with the lights off and the patio door ajar, I was suitably chilled - in both senses, thanks to some midnight breeze wafting across my knees.

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Retrospectual: Last Great Dreamers hit London to celebrate 25 years of their debut album

Retrosexual by Last Great Dreamers, on CD and vinyl

It’s every young musician’s dream: get noticed, get signed, make a record, get noticed again, and – blam! – fame comes a knocking.

On 14 November 1994, four hopeful, London-based musicians released their debut album. And as they turned on the news, each of them heard the same phrase: “You’re a star!”

Actually, it might have been “Eurostar” – the high-speed cross-channel rail link happened to launch that day too – but it doesn’t matter.

The point is that Retrosexual by Last Great Dreamers was finally out to buy, and the band who’d spent the past year being championed by the high and mighty at ‘Kerrang!’ magazine could get on with the job of being rock stars.

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100-word review: The Warner E. Hodges Band live at the Boom Boom Club, Sutton, 23 October 2018

The Warner E. Hodges Band live at the Boom Boom Club, Sutton, 23 October 2018

Last night I visited a football club, and The Warner E. Hodges Band versus Sutton United was a great match: a straight two hours (no half-time) of flesh-scorchin’ rock ‘n’ roll.

Talk about moving the goalposts.

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In the court of the Goblin king: Meeting Claudio Simonetti at HorrorConUK, 19 May 2018

Me with Claudio Simonetti of Goblin at HorrorConUK, 19 May 2018Here’s a blurry pic of me with keyboard player and songwriter Claudio Simonetti, one of the founding members of Goblin - Italian prog-rockers and purveyors of many excellent soundtrack recordings.

The occasion was the fourth HorrorConUK in Sheffield, which as I write is just about finishing up. I only went for the Saturday, so I’m sat at home now fondling my signed goodies and wishing that I’d given the Suspiria sleeve longer to dry. How was I to know he wasn’t using a Sharpie?

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Waxing lyrical about Kong: Skull Island at Madame Tussauds, London

Kong head at Madame Tussauds, London

Madame Tussauds opened its Kong: Skull Island exhibit in March 2017, to coincide with the film’s release, and I’d been wanting to pay it a visit ever since. However, the time never seemed right. Weekends and school holidays were a no-no, as I don’t like crowds. But even on normal weekdays it seemed that the place was rather popular, with TripAdvisor reviewers noting lengthy queues.

With the film starting to feel like yesterday’s news - in the minds of the public, anyway - I was getting worried that Madame T might decide to melt Kong down. So I couldn’t put this off any longer: I had to launch an expedition to Skull Island right away - well, as soon as Tesco sent me the entry vouchers. Hiddleston, Goodman, Larson and Jackson might have reached the titular island via a fleet of heat-packing Hueys, but I’m taking the more sedate route offered by Clubcard points.

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Floor show: Last Great Dreamers launch their new album at the Asylum 2, Birmingham, 7 April 2018

Denley Slade, Marc Valentine and Steve Fielding of Last Great Dreamers at The Asylum 2, Birmingham, 7 April 2018

“On the 13th floor, she wanna know more…”
- Ashtray Eyes by Last Great Dreamers

“This is where we do nine new songs, so if you all want to go to the bar…”

It’s Saturday night at the Asylum 2, a cosy first-floor venue just outside Birmingham’s shopping district, and Slyder, Last Great Dreamers’ lead guitarist and vocal co-pilot, is warming up the crowd.

The event is a launch party...

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Ghost to coast: Ginger Wildheart takes Brighton, 6 March 2018

Ginger Wildheart at The Prince Albert, Brighton, 6 March 2018

“There’s a ghost in the Tanglewood that offered light in the black separation.”
- Phantom Memories by Ginger Wildheart

“Get a move on, Stockford!”

Yes - tonight, Matthew, I am that guy, the bloke who spends an age at the front of a queue, holding everyone up. I don’t mean to be, but the prize now that I’ve reached pole position is a chat with Ginger Wildheart - someone I’ve not spoken to, in person, for… ooh, it...

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Speed of sound: In the recording studio with Marc and Slyder from Last Great Dreamers, Dec 2017

Marc and Slyder of Last Great Dreamers at Henwood Studios, 12 December 2017

“I think if you stick one back on, we’ll know.”

Record producer Pete Brown is guiding Last Great Dreamers’ frontman, Marc Valentine, towards a perfect vocal take. He advises him to listen to just one side of his headphones - to “take an ear off”.

“I’ve got all three off at the moment,” says Marc, before lead guitarist Slyder chimes in with an idea of his own.

“How about putting them over his eyes?”

It’s Monday the 11th of...

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Zealot through the looking glass: Gary Davidson on his Wildhearts book, writing and depression

Gary Davidson, author of Zealot In Wonderland, with some Wildhearts press cuttings

“In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”
-  Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“I’ve been loved by the sweetest and hated by heroes.”
- Geordie In Wonderland by The Wildhearts

The first time that Gary Davidson met The Wildhearts’ frontman, Ginger, things did not go well. It was April 1998, and...

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Dimensions in rhyme: Russell T Davies and James Goss promote their book of ‘Time Lord verse’

Me with Russell T Davies at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, 13 September 2017

Here’s me at Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road last night with one of my favourite human beings, the always-delightful Russell T Davies.

Russell was in town, along with the also-very-lovely James Goss, to talk about Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection Of Time Lord Verse, which James wrote and Russell illustrated, and which looks like a lot of fun.

The evening began with some readings and an amusing hour-long talk, which was broadcast live on...

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