Caligari to Carter

My next trip to the Castle Keep was a special screening of Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari(1919). Starring Werner Krauss (as Dr Caligari) & Conrad Veidt (as Cesare the somnambulist), this was the film that defined German Expressionist Cinema of the 1920s.

Once again Noize Choir provided the live soundtrack, only this time the tone was darker & this added to the dreamlike atmosphere. Like many silent films, it has dated, but overall it has lost none of its power to fascinate.

Next was a mini reunion with three friends from the Swanwick Writers Retreat. Cathy Grimmer, Maggie Cobbett & Phil Collins (nope, not that one) came up to visit. Its always great to catch up with them, but there was much more to the visit.

Cathy is our current chairperson, & Phil & I are committee members. With next year’s programme to sort out, we’re looking out for potential guest speakers & various ways to promote Swanwick through the likes of New Writing North & The Newcastle Book Festival. Part of this was attending a talk given my my good friend Chris Phipps, but before that I gave them a tour around the Castle Keep.

Chris’ book Forget Carter will be published later this year, & his talk on local film & television showed there was more to the North East than the classic British thriller Get Carter (1971). For those unfamiliar with the film, Michael Caine (giving one of his finest performances) plays Jack Carter, a London gangster who returns to his native Newcastle to take revenge on those responsible for his brother’s death. Its a tough, uncompromising film that made excellent use of the North East locations.

In addition to an excellent talk, I met David Hepworth, organiser of the Newcastle Book Festival. My friends were impressed with the wonderful evening & meeting Chris, David and Peter Cumisky will hopefully established important links with Swanwick.

November is National November Writers Month (NaNoWriMo), but with my talk at the Newcastle Book Festival not far away, I need to get some practise in. Not so much NaNoWriMo but PractoTalko!

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