#MontyMarch: Our Tribute to Richard Griffiths

This piece was penned by Kev McCready and read out at the start of #MontyMarch as a tribute to the great man. You’ll find Kev on Twitter @KevMcCready and you’ll be glad you did.

4064

Richard Griffiths had a long, successful and varied career playing a certain kind of Englishman. In a way, this was a stereotypical image of what being English is about: louche, lascivious, moustache waxed, eyebrow raised. In a way, this is a kind of some vulgar little tumour of the men he sometimes played. It also does the man a massive disservice. Sometimes actors are typecast, sometimes their roles take on a life stronger and stranger than celluloid. Their work is an after image of what left us when their soul fluttered somewhere else.

He’d already proved his worth as a stage actor, before his film and TV career started. He never played The Dane, but played most of the great comic Shakespearean roles. A native of Yorkshire, he had that region’s great skill for blunt speaking: there at least three recorded instances of him asking theatre audience members to leave for a ringing mobile.
So: a serious man, with a serious mind. A very precise, proscribed way of doing anything. Not in a Freudian, anally-retentive way. Rather a dry sense of morality and how things simply should be. So, why then should such a grey cloud be the source of much sunshine? Why should he be regarded as such a great comic actor?
Simply put: comedy is tragedy with a different face. Comedy should be played absolutely straight. We are all simply the punchline to one massive cosmic joke, in any case: as Nietzsche says: ‘I accept chaos, I’m not sure it accepts me’. That’s why I am part of Monty March, celebrating the man’s life with other Withnailians.

12706_1_front
I’ve previously spoken at length of the craft of Richard E Grant and Paul McGann. Monty is perhaps, the quiet centre of the film. Withnail and Marwood’s need for a holiday needs a solution, Monty provides one… but heightens the decaying relationship between the two leads. He is erudite, but bordering on a pretentious buffoon. In denial of his own sexuality, but fully prepared to thrust himself (literally) on any Greco-Roman youth he finds in his cottage. Monty is the product of a very peculiar kind of English disappointment: in denial of his own organismic self, in quiet contemplation of the next disappointment.
He leaves the film unseen, much as he left this life in March 2013. His obituaries refer to him as Harry Potter’s Uncle, a man whom in another time and space; turned down the chance to succeed another English eccentric Tom Baker, as Doctor Who.
But this is not about fantasy, this is about reality. Richard Griffiths was a delightful by-product of our environment. He was not part of a terrible cult; he was a particular kind of Englishman. For that, we should be grateful his grace was part of our presence.
And he always will.
– Kev McCready 28th March 2015

#MontyMarch A Tribute to Richard Griffiths

Monty


Evening folks, after months of waiting #MontyMarch is upon us. The event is a tribute to the late great Richard Griffiths on the second anniversary of his passing. Most audience members will probably know him best as the predatory and yet lonely Uncle Monty. The event is not for profit – like #WithnailWeekend it is for and by fans of the film and in this case the man.

Everyone is welcome to pay tribute as they see fit. For some it will be an outfit based tribute; others like the brilliant @KevMcCready have penned an offering, others will simply come and soak up the film and doubtless significant quantities of booze. Come as you are as the song goes….

The event is now sold out. There is a wait list on the Eventbrite Page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/montymarch-a-tribute-to-richard-griffiths-tickets-12623967627 in the event of people wishing to cancel we will do our level best to slot folk in. The batting order for the event is as follows (dip in to as much or as little as you wish):

1pm onwards meet at the Victoria Pub http://www.thevictoriabirmingham.co.uk/ or @TheVictoria 48 John Bright Street.Birmingham. B1 1BN

2.45pm onwards meet at The Electric Cinema https://www.theelectric.co.uk/ or @ElectricBham 47-49 Station St. Birmingham B5 4DY For those of you with “Eccentric Millionaires” sofa seating the Electric will have a seating plan on reception. The rest of the seating “Scrubber Standard” is not allocated including the front recliners. Please provide your names at reception and you’ll be checked off the list. You don’t need to bring paper copies of your Eventbrite Booking but do double check the name you booked your tickets in prior to arrival (this will be trickier for those of you who come to The Victoria first if Withnail Weekend is anything to go by!)

Kev McCready will take to the stage to read his tribute at 3pm. There will short and sweet awards ceremony for the following categories:

– The Bastard Must Have Died Award (idea courtesy of @simonpennysmith) for the audience member who has made the absolute minimum of effort

– The Oh So Mauve Award for the audience member most likely to terrify I

and finally

– The terrible c&*t award (we have no criteria for this but @HuBoyd considers himself an expert)

Huge thanks to Graham at Great Escape Cars. Graham donated the mk. II Jag to #WithnailWeekend and has offered a days free hire of a Jag to the winner of the Oh So Mauve Award. The least we can do is punt his wares so have a look at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or go to @ClassicCarsHire
14486275342_8b5f5e5cce_o
Thereafter the feature presentation. After that over to the upstairs of Wellington 37 Bennetts Hill. B2 5SN http://www.thewellingtonrealale.co.uk/ or @WellyRealAle where our very own cake SCRUBBER @JRAlderton will have prepared a slice of Monty themed cake for anyone attending the film (it’s included in your ticket price). Withnail themed beers by @Edenbreweryltd will be available at the Electric and the Welly. There is no plan for the rest of the evening other than enjoying the best the Welly has to offer.

Thanks to you all for supporting the day and we hope you enjoy yourselves.

Chin Chin

Matt and Hugh (@WithnailBrum)

We Need To Talk About Social Care

The first reference to social care that I could find in statute was the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601. The law refers to people in need of health or domestic care, housing or employment. The “care” in question pertains to financial hand-outs, food, apprenticeships, boarding or referral to a workhouse. The first reference to any systematic approach to care is about the problems caused by the poor. Much of the legislation that followed over the years reflects similar themes “The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act,” “The National Assistance Act” etc.

arch2-110609

The “Archway of Tears” at the entrance of the former Birmingham Union Workhouse
Fast forward to 2014 and the Care Act unpacks some of the rights and expectations citizens can have about Social Care. Councils are now required to offer a range of support to carers and self funders and offer both preventative and personalised care. The balance (in law at least) is beginning to move the way of people. There is much of the legislation to be proud of. The challenge is now to ensure human experience of care and support mirrors those hard won rights and entitlements.

In contrast to the layering of new responsibilities and statutory duties for adult social care funding from Government to Councils has decreased (according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services 2014 budget survey) by 26% over the past four years (or £3.53 billion) and an incredibly steep trajectory of cuts lies ahead. Public expectation and funding are on a collision course.

There has been a tendency over the past twelve months to either attempt to recycle funding across a distressed health and social care economy e.g. the Better Care Fund. A range of additional duties and expectations of the system have arisen that have not been resourced as yet; such as the tenfold increase in the need for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard cases as a consequence of the Cheshire West judgement. We cannot ignore the debate about the future of adult social care any longer.

Kathleen Bowsher

My Nan, Kathleen (Kath) Bowsher who died recently having experienced fantastic care in her own home.

Skills for Care estimate over a million of us work in social care and over 1.27 million people access state funded care and support. The number of self funders and informal carers make both the preceding figures look tiny. Why is it then that when the impact and reach of social care touches the lives of so many people that it appears to have such a low profile? A general election is five months away and as yet there are no signs social care will play a part in it.

Finally and much more positively, credit and credence must be given to the many voices that have challenged the system and demanded greater transparency and candour. Decreasing resources are no excuse for a lack of honesty and openness. Public services must be held to account by the people they serve. There are too many individual voices and organisations to give full credit to but the #107days campaign has been creative, challenging and powerful. It has made me reflect deeply about what it is to be part of a system and how easily the voices and needs of people who use care and support can stop being centre stage.
In this context my (lofty) hopes for 2015 are as follows:
1) Cross parliamentary debate on the Kate Barker Report; with a clear consensus about the future funding of social care
2) The #LBBill becomes law and usage of treatment and assessment centres becomes unwelcome and unacceptable in all quarters
3) There is tangible evidence the Care Act has been implemented to positive effect

The roots of the social care system may be intertwined with dependency, asylums and workhouses; the future must be the opposite.

Happy 2015 to you all

Withnail- The Universal Treasury

This piece was written by Kev McCready. If you don’t already you should follow him @KevMcCready

Kev is a writer and has been a supporter of @WithnailBrum from the outset. Prior to reading this piece I had, wherefore I know not, started losing faith in #MontyMarch – no one is buying tickets and the stupendous success of #WithnailWeekend seems long ago. Kev has reminded me why the film matters so much and provided me with a much needed burst of theatrical zeal. You can come and join us in paying tribute to Richard Griffiths on 28th March 2015 by booking tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/montymarch-a-tribute-to-richard-griffiths-tickets-12623967627?aff=es2&rank=0

Monty

Enjoy this piece- it is oh so spleeeeeeendid.

Some things take their time. What you love and what you hate, are doing a constant, contemporary dance around your subconscious. Some things lodge themselves there, a constant source of joy in your life. A bird both nesting and singing in your heart. When I first saw Withnail And I in 1987, it passed me by. And as a fat eighteen year old kid, failing his A Levels in slowmo; with absolutely no chance of getting laid… it should.

Come the tenth anniversary re-issue in 1996. I was ready. In a grotty Scouse art-house cinema, I had what counsellors call ‘the peak experience’, colloquially known as ‘the light bulb moment’ Withnail And I struck me, lodged itself in my subconciousness and like Uncle Monty in Marwood’s bedroom; has refused to leave.
So, why do I love it? Well probably for the same reasons you do. As a writer, I admire the screenwriting by Bruce Robinson. It’s a brilliant, poetic, script full of vivid imagery and character development. You will be familiar with the story about Richard E Grant auctioning the script for his old school in Swaziland. Richard Curtis bought it… and then gave it back to him; saying it was the best script ever written. Some praise. Where this fits into his style of white, posh Englishmen swearing in heavy rain is another article.

I know lots of actors. Some of my best friends are actors. I’ve written for actors. Give them the right script, and make them happy. There’s nothing worse than a tired thespian. Withnail And I teems with great performances. The controlled hysteria of Richard E Grant. The quiet, almost understated performance of Paul McGann. Richard Griffiths, a sad, yet seedy individual. Ralph Brown, not so much acting Danny The Dealer, but squatting in him. I’ve seen good actors with bad scripts, great scripts with bad actors. Withnail And I is one of the rare occasions I have seen both in the same place. Like a short film by Peter Jackson, this is a rarity.

But let’s look at things objectively. The subjective is never enough, in my book. Withnail And I teems with themes. Actors, and by extension artists. Wanting to be famous, rather than rich. The squalid nature of the late 1960’s, rather than the peace and love fiction. The transience of some friendships. Some people are with you for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Not everyone is going to be with you forever. Sometimes you go one way, and life goes the other. It crosses the street and you never see the person you loved ever again.
At the end of the film, Marwood is off to Manchester. I’d love to think he was appearing at The Royal Exchange, it’s one of my favourite theatres. He will go on to be a successful actor. He’s grown up. Withnail will amount to nothing. When Withnail stands in the park, performs the speech from Hamlet (Act II, Scene II), his life is up. ‘It is a sad day in any man’s life when he realises… I shall never play The Dane’. Withnail is based on Vivian MacKerrel, a friend of Bruce Robinson’s; who talked a good game as an actor. In the original script, Withnail kills himself with a shotgun, a bottle of wine poured down the barrels. Both stolen from Uncle Monty. That is why, no matter how much I laugh like a drain when watching it, I cry at the end. A man, with literally nothing to live for is about to kill himself. He might not play The Dane, but he has certainly died like him.

So, Withnail And I is a universal treasury. From ‘King Of The Rodeo’ by Kings Of Leon (‘You come round here, like Withnail for a favour!’, to a pissed Peter Barlow in Coronation Street (‘Honestly officer, I’m not drunk, I’ve only had a few ales!’; to the sign in an episode of Endeavour (R DUCK & CO. 4th Floor THEATRICAL AGENT). Us Scrubbers are everywhere. We don’t need to possess something that appears to be everywhere. Withnail and I exists and is perfection. The stage version (Jude Law as Withnail), thankfully never came to pass. Thank god. It is part of my life, but not an obsession. However, to paraphrase Woody Allen: ‘I could never love anyone who didn’t love Withnail’. That’s why I would urge you to join me in #MontyMarch. It’s high time we met, my fellow scrubbers. See you there. GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN!
– Kev McCready

Escaping All the Hideousness! Withnail Weekend

After five months in the making #WithnailWeekend finally arrived. SCRUBBERS all threw themselves into the road gladly, descending as they did into Birmingham from all corners of the UK (not from London you know.) The three days prior to Saturday 21st June were no time for finding neutral space, tickets came and tickets went, Squat Betty didn’t pick up the phone once. Bastard must have died!

We started on the front foot. The Jag had been poorly the week before but we received clear instructions about how to tutor it in the ways of righteousness in the event of misbehaviour. To start with the brakes were spongy enough to have been served up by Mrs. Blennerhasset but in fairness the engine was that loud fellow motorists didn’t need to rue the day. 

Image

We made it to Birmingham. We parked, we observed a significant volume of water pissing out of the radiator. It was fitting really, the car was absolutely beautiful but it knew its’ part wasn’t about seamless engineering. 

We we swiftly into The Vic and slowly all the electronic entities that I had been conversing with over the weeks and months adopted human form. Genevieve (@jennijuniperxx) bounded over first all smiles and the glint of the cocktail consumer in her eye, followed swiftly by sidekick Becca (@beccamaloo). They came from Northampton you know and the pair of them were radiating enthusiasm and something akin to gin. Next up Sam Maskel (@SamanthaMaskel1) Photo Scrubber and Jeanette (@JRAlderton) Cake Scrubber both contributed loads to the weekend. @HuBoyd – my sidekick was already forking food into his face and shifting fine wines- a man always in his element in a pub. Ant Cooper (@Rain_Over_River) showed me some fantastic pictures of Crow Crag, friends and family filed in, instantly the atmosphere was bubbling, chat levels rising and then Presuming Ed and Danny the Hippy (@durdermoll) rocked up and we were into 5th gear. Jeanette, Sam and Razza (@Linclass72) demanding to have some booze! 

Image

Getting people out of the Pub and into the Cinema was never going to be easy but the film but the fact they keep an excellent cellar @ElectricBham won through. Then the big moment and @HuBoyd (pictured below with Claire; note cheeky work from Phil Sharples @captmoaning in the background) clambered behind a failing mike.  

Image

My friend was born for a stage and warmed the crowd up with the following beautifully crafted tirade: 

“Several months ago, my f … , my acquaintance and I met in a pub in Stoke-on-Trent. The pub and the beer were splendid. It was Stoke that was like a sulphur stained, nicotine yellow and fly blown lung.

 We hadn’t met for a couple of years. We were talking about work, employed as we both are asset stripping the public sector, being shat on by Tories, with little hope of being shovelled up by Labour at any time soon.

We had of late, where and whyfore we knew fucking exactly, lost all our mirth. However, man does delight us, and woman also. There is no quintessence of dust, and the earth appears to us a fertile promontory. A scheme was hatched. A means of temporarily escaping all of this hideousness.

 And here we are …

 My f … , my acquaintance has documented how all of this was done. The blogging! The blagging! The acquiring of vehicles, food and fine wine! The viral spread and the swift sell out! The dubious celebrity endorsements!

 To be honest, he’s done all of the work. He’s persuaded all sorts of people to do all sorts of things to make this happen. In order to get you to do stuff he probably told half of you that I was a toilet trader, and that he rejected me.

 I ought to hand over to him.    

  • He winters with his mother in Guilford, a cat, rain, vim under the sink and both bars on.
  • He’s understudied Constantine in The Seagull.
  • Get any more masculine than him and you’d have to live up a tree.
  • He’s sure we can find the rosemary together.
  • He hasn’t drugged anyone’s onions.
  • He’s not from London you know.
  • You’ve seen him. Prancing like a tit. Committing sensitive crimes in a punt.
  • Imagine getting into a fight with the fucker. Imagine the size of his balls …
  • He’s incapable of indulging in anything but pleasure.
  • His leg’s wrapped in polythine.
  • He wants to get down there and have sex with those cows.

 It’s your host, …”

 Event though he shared it with me beforehand, I still spat my drink all over the cinema with amusement- all in the delivery don’t you know! Setting up the whole thing with him was fantastic, he is relentlessly enthusiastic and made the grunt work fun. Don’t get me wrong he is still a terrible c*&t and would steal your shoes if you weren’t looking- he’s SOOOOOO mauve. 

And so to me. I felt like I knew the entire audience and the lot of you were at it from the word go – lines hurled up to the stage, clapping, whooping and huge positivity – what beautiful SCRUBBERS you were. Danny and Presuming Ed rightfully deserved a place alongside me. 

Image

For those of you who were too pissed to listen (approximately 75% by my maths) a summary of my speech: 

“SCRUBBERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to #WithnailWeekend – we are known to you as @WithnailBrum. Today we have at least 225 people descending on Birmingham to watch the film and to think they say talking bollocks in a pub never gets you anywhere!  The first screening is already done while you lot were bothering Mrs. Blennerhasset in The Victoria.

Some thank-yous to the SCRUBBERS that made this happen. Please show your appreciation as if Raymond Duck had just landed you The Dane………….

Edie- our designer in chief. 

Numbers Mike – warmed up Twitter, sorted the Welly. Top man! 

Quiz supermo Mr. Dean Lee

Sam Maskel- photographer for the day. If you don’t want your photo taken let her know; it does imply you are a bit of a wrong’un. 

The Electric for hosting the two screenings, Sam and all of the team have been ace. Ditto The Vic and The Welly. 

Jeannette for making a Camberwell Carrot cake to feed a family of elephants and Comms 2.0 (Dan Slee and Darren Caveney) for sponsoring it.

Graham at Classic Car Hire for the Jag. Forget 2 pound ten a tit my man love for Graham means he gets a freebie from Hugh.

Family and friends for taking the edge off the significant financial gamble to get this on the big screen and of course you SCRUBBERS for making it all happen

Hugh for making this fun and pointing out my occasional massive fuck ups!

GUY turns 40 today so happy Birthday GUY – we’ll sing you the obligatory when we are all wrecked later.

FINALLY we need your help – Northern Scrubber  Matt Gibbins has booked an absolute monster of a cinema in Stockport for two screenings on  Friday 12th September. Anyone who can either help fill it or wants to go make yourselves known to the nearest Northerner or follow @WithnailManc

This is the first time I have seen this in the cinema, I that excited that I reckon I could give Wrigglesworth a backie and still win the Tour de France. Enjoy, meet new people, have a superb day and thank-you.

Cut to Whiter Shade of Pale……….”

The atmosphere during the film was superb. As Andy Hunt (@atahunt) put it “Nicest thing about #WithnailWeekend was the constant chuckling at the quotes, but no one shouting them out.” For many of us it was the first time seeing it on the big screen and it was an fascinating experience. I hadn’t noticed the newspaper on the windows of the Mother Black Cap or half of the film references on the wall in the kitchen. Many people commented on detail they hadn’t been able to pick out on video or DVD. 

From there the Jag became the official #WithnailWeekend taxi and people started packing out the Welly. Mr. Dean Lee rocked the quiz (nice work The Wolves of Regents Park – winners!) and Jeanette’s cake was immense in EVERY sense as proven by an already tipsy Genevieve with more stealthy scene stealing from @captmoaning).

Image

 

The night descended into a beer infused fug but the atmosphere remained ace throughout. @durdermoll looking very beautiful man……..

Image

The Twitter timeline was awash with hangovers and positive feedback the next day. Tired and broken I dropped the Jag off safe in the knowledge something really special had happened…and I know what for!

You can get a face full of Sam Maskel’s pics here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125533790@N03/14486275342/in/photostream  

You can book tickets to Withnail and I 12th September at the Stockport Plaza here: https://www.quaytickets.com/stockport/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=BC5FC8EF-CAD3-4191-8FDC-B63A4ED77D59# or contact @WithnailManc

Thanks SCRUBBERS, we will be back and we mean to have you all over again!!!

Image

The Blagging of #WithnailWeekend; Four Floors up on the Charing Cross Road……..

Morning SCRUBBERS, it has been a goodly while since the last blog. #WithnailWeekend has been progressing slowly but steadily. I have emptied all manner of mind dump over @WithnailBrum and the lot of you have responded oh so very splendidly! I have especially enjoyed the following interactions:

Me: “Can anyone make cake?”

Jeanette (@JRAlderton): “Yes I can.”

Me: “Could you make a massive Camberwell Carrot themed cake?”

Jeanette (@JRAlderton): “Yes I can.” (Don’t know anything about Jeanette, except a) she can make cake, b) she says yes a lot bless her.)

Christy Allen (@ChristyJAllen a @Withnail Brum follower) Will it be vegan friendly?

Jeanette (@JRAlderton): “Umm dunno. Hang on. Yes, a bit of it will.”

This in a nutshell is how the whole thing has worked. Have an idea, test it, find willing people, do it. We now have a volunteer photographer in Samantha Maskell. We have a volunteer quiz master in Dean Lee @oggy87. Hugh’s daughter @edieevanss has done the very spiffing graphical work and so on and so forth. The amount of large gins we owe people are enough to make the w*&kers on site lose balance! Thank you all for your time and contributions.

People have been so positive and generous that I have started making ridiculous requests like “Does anyone have a mark II Jag I can borrow?” It turns out Graham @ClassicCarsHire does and he is donating it to us on Saturday 21st June so you lot can be ferried from cinema to pub without being eyed up amorously by the angry golden bull that makes people buy stuff. As a youth I wept outside Selfridges! There is an anti-commercial, counter culture feel to #WithnailWeekend as you would expect but we will happily act as a prostitute for the bees in Graham’s case. His cars are smashing – go and see his website http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/. Everyone has a price and it turns out Hugh and I don’t want two pound ten a tit but the loan of a jag is certainly enough for me to pretend Hugh is active!

Witnail Weekend Jag

@WithnailManc is growing in parallel. Our favourite Northern SCRUBBER Matt Gibbins has arm twisted the Stockport Plaza to run two showings on Friday 12th September at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. You can get yours here https://www.quaytickets.com/stockport/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=BC5FC8EF-CAD3-4191-8FDC-B63A4ED77D59 the cinema is a large as Geoff Wode’s head! If enough people are interested I will book a mini bus up from Brum for the evening showing – come and have a chat on 21st June if you are interested.

Just as a reminder the batting order for the 21st June is as follows (remember if you booked your ticket via the Electric you are going to the 12pm screening, if you booked via Eventbrite you are coming to the 3pm)

Withnail Programme

The programme (except screening times which are fixed) may well change between now and the 21st. We will keep you all posted via @WithnailBrum as usual. If you have any other thoughts about stuff that could be done on 21st June (and how we do it!) please let us know. We want you all to lord it in Birmingham like eccentric millionaires!

It will be a great opportunity to meet new SCRUBBERS and celebrate one of the best films ever made.

You can get hold of us @WithnailBrum all of your efforts are really appreciated! Look forwards to meeting the SCRUBBING lot of yous.

Throw Yourself Into the Road Gladly! The blagging of #WithnailWeekend

Now #WithnailWeekend http://www.comms2point0.co.uk/comms2point0/2014/2/18/how-two-film-fans-used-twitter-to-crowdsource-a-crowd.html has some pace we are getting a number of queries about whether we could run alternative dates and venues. The level of interest is great but the answer is sadly no we can’t. Why you SCRUBBERS (I hear you ask?). Because we are a pair of total amateurs with busy working and family lives (except Hugh who lives in a skip and drinks meths with the w%^kers off the site.) We don’t want to make any money out of Withnail Weekend we just want to watch the film with fellow fans. So, in the spirit of the punk rock ethic, here are a few pointers to try and encourage more folk to adopt a do it yourself approach in other parts of the country. We emphasise we aren’t experts and we have made it up as we go along so do not take this as textbook- have a bash and do it your way is the most important message. 

 Image

1) Make sure you have enough interest. Facebook is awash with Withnail fan groups and key word searching on Twitter can help find folk by location who love the film. @Withnailizer alone has thousands of scrubbers following! 

2) Have a recognisable Twitter handle. Having “Withnail” in it is obvious; the balance needs to be catchy and geographically relevant. Hence the uber imaginative “Brum” for us!

3) Find a venue – independent cinemas are more flexible and most allow private screen hire. The Electric in Brum has also helped us with marketing at no extra charge bless them. Here comes the tricky bit- someone has to take a financial risk as there will be a venue hire (this will vary so shop around) and a public licence fee (circa £85). The more of you there are to bankroll it and the more demand you have the lower the risk. Somewhere handy to bus stops and stations will help the cause. In our case we sold the cinema out (106 seats) in six days. It was only a £100 deposit and we have managed full cost recovery swiftly. 

4) Find people to help; the amount of comms involved will peak and trough quite significantly (mornings and early evening on weekends seem to be peak time alongside commuting time on a Friday.) Hugh and I opted to share the management of the Twitter account. People like Mike Ward @badsciencemonk have played a key role in generating twitter traffic and improving our “Tweet reach.” Richard E Grant and Ralph Brown have been lovely; their interest opened the door for many other SCRUBBERS to get involved and raised the profile of #WithnailWeekend significantly. Equally we have been at pains not to bombard with requests, I can imagine they get asked to do this sort of thing rather a lot!

5) Look for local groups that will support you with marketing. There are loads of Birmingham based twitter accounts and blogs such as VisitBrum who have been of immense help. We were also blessed by @_AleMary (pun intended) who kindly placed us in the Birmingham Post. Such people and orgs exist in all cities and are usually really helpful.

6) Follow back. You can’t possibly read all the tweets on your timeline for an account like this but the more you follow the faster your audience grows. To start with it is more about quantity than anything else, the quality follows! 

7) Take the pain out of payment. We used Eventbrite. The downside is the admin fee £1.07 per £8 ticket. However it can drastically increase marketing reach and also means you don’t have to worry about payment. There is also an early payout option that can help if you have cash flow issues. There are also really useful tracker tools (proportion of tickets sold, functionality to develop mailing lists etc). Finally the Eventbrite app enables a scan and check-in function on the day to ensure everyone gets their seat. 

8) Build around the film. We have had loads of ace people such as breweries, restaurants, street vendors, quiz masters, cake shops etc all coming forwards to help and pitch in. Our role is to signpost and co-ordinate wider activities- we haven’t spent a penny on venue hire once the film was booked people are only too happy to have the business. 

9) Be positive. It is a leap when you first post the event online. We have encountered nothing but positivity and offers of help. WithnailWeekend will be a shared effort and we really appreciate everyone who has pitched in ranging from a simple RT to offers of time and money. 

Best of luck- if we can help in anyway come and talk to us 

Enjoy SCRUBBERS 

 Image

Matt Bowsher and Hugh Evans a.k.a. @WithnailBrum