A lesson to be learned: always check the equipment you are about to use before the actual day on which you wish to use it!
The plan was to show a film called ‘Akenfield’ chosen because of its depiction of a Suffolk farming community during the period of the 1970s and the first world war. Made by the late Peter Hall as a feature film it was shown simultaneously on television and the cinema in 1974. It was unique in that no professional actors were involved but instead local people were recruited, where possible, to play themselves: a school teacher played a school teacher and a gravedigger played…you guessed it. Shot mainly at weekends because most of the cast were working at their normal jobs during the week; with a minimum crew and on the smallest of budgets, it was based on the book of the same name by Ronald Blythe.
That was the plan. However, because of malfunctioning equipment, the projectionist (me), to his horror and acute embarrassment discovered that the DVD would not play! There was no Plan B so Terry, our group leader, decided to hotfoot it back to Southminster to get some standby notes. In the meantime all I could think of doing for the dozen or so members who were there was telling them about the making of the film that they were not about to see!
Terry returned in a relatively short space of time saying that the traffic and roadworks made the trip not worth taking, so now we were really up against it.
While Terry was gallantly trying to fill in by talking about future topics it was down to Jill Taylor to make the suggestion that we might try her laptop which she kindly went home to collect. It worked! And, although starting much later than planned, I believe that most people thought the film worth waiting for. Many thanks, Jill, for saving the day! Unfortunately, there was no time left to discuss the issues it raised, which is something that we usually do. Maybe we can spend 15 minutes doing that before next month’s topic? I’ll make the first comment: some of the Suffolk accents needed sub-titles!
And, next month’s topic will be……. ‘The 1930s’.