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.

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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King of the ringers: A review of the 18-inch Kong figure from Lanard

Kong figure by Lanard

Despite loving the heck out of Kong: Skull Island, and hoovering up as much official merchandise as I could (the Blu-ray, the soundtrack CD, the novel, the ‘Art and Making of’ book, the comic book, the Pop Vinyl figure), I somehow managed to leave an 18-inch high and rather handsome-looking Kong toy on the shelf for the past five months.

How did this happen? Allow me to explain.

I clocked the figure - sorry, Mega-Figure - back in March, around the time of the film’s release, but it wasn’t stocked...

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Zealous guy: Author takes a fan’s-eye view of The Wildhearts in new book Zealot In Wonderland

Zealot In Wonderland by Gary Davidson

The first time I met Gary Davidson, at a Silver Ginger 5 gig in December 2000, he was a pain in the arse. All these years later, this sorry tale (“whoops and sorry,” in fact) is recounted in Gary’s first book, Zealot In Wonderland.

This 350-page confessional, written over 10 years, details the ups, downs and inside-outs of his Wildhearts fandom - from his discovery of the band in 1992, to frontman Ginger’s game-changing PledgeMusic campaign, which kicked off in 2011.

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Sign of the Time… Lord: A niche, accidental and very slow Doctor Who collection

Eccleston Street, SW1, street sign

I didn’t know I was collecting these until yesterday, when I exited Charlton station and bagged my second one.

I snapped Eccleston Street in July 2015, while walking from Victoria to Kensington. And now, because I have two such pics, I’ve decided that the game is on, and that the rules I must abide by are these:

• I must spot each sign by chance. Research and planning are forbidden.

• I am, however, allowed to feign surprise in Baker Street. Twice.

• If I end up living...

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