A Short History of Talking Pictures

Part One

Nigel Watson

Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk






About Us



The idea for Talking Pictures came after several meetings between Andrew Lydon, Darren Slade and myself. We had all been on the same Film and Literature course at the University of Warwick and our interest in film topics remained with us. So it seemed natural to produce a magazine that would preserve and expand upon our topics of discussion.

The first edition of Talking Pictures was produced on my Amstrad 9512 PCW. A word processing computer that had no hard drive and a printer that sounded like a jack-hammer as it slowly printed out our pages.

Talking Pictures No. 1Issue number one, with a cover date of October 1991 contained three long essays:

Different Views of Steven Spielberg by Darren Slade

A Star For Our Times by Andrew Lydon

Carry On Ealing by Nigel Watson

They filled the 20 pages of this A5 sized edition, which I typed out on the kitchen table in my flat located in not so trendy Lascotts Road, Wood Green, London. I usually typed and printed this, and most of the following issues, on Sunday mornings with The Archers radio soap in the background. The cover illustration was done by Kim Calver in her lunch break and Julia Fowler did the design and paste-up. Emjay Reprographics in Nottingham bound and printed this and most of the following issues.

Talking Pictures No. 2Issue number two was bigger, with 28 pages, and was released in January 1992. Again, there were three major essays:

The Twisted Fifties by Andrew Lydon

Curse of the Middlebrows by Darren Slade

The Beast Inside Presley by Nigel Watson

Kim Calver did the cover again, Julia Fowler did the design again. The difference with this issue was that it contained several book and film reviews at the end, the latter by Ed Cooper who became a prolific contributor to TP. To this day I have never met him. Another significant feature of this edition is a small advertisement for Cinelink at the bottom of page 20. I did meet Fiona Wylie who ran this dating agency for movie fans and she regularly bought batches of TP for her membership. As anyone who has tried producing a magazine of any type knows, producing it is relatively easy, distributing and selling is the hard part. So Fiona helped keep our spirits and finances going so that we could continue knocking out the mag.

Talking Pictures No. 3Issue number three came out for April - June 1992 and the main articles were:

Boldly Going On and On... by Nigel Watson

Look Back In Disappointment by Andrew Lydon

America Stoned: JFK by Darren Slade

The Darling Buds of May by Nigel Watson

There were a couple more reviews by Ed Cooper and a larger advertisement for Cinelink on page 27. The first two essays covered Star Trek and science fiction topics so they gave the excuse for my friend Richard Hunt to produce a fancy cover. Unfortunately when it was printed the large areas of black ink rubbed onto anything that got anywhere near it.

Talking Pictures No. 4For July to September 1992, issue number four contained:

One Europe - Separate Cinemas? by Andrew Lydon

Blood Relations by Darren Slade

The City of Pain (Alphaville) by Nigel Watson

See Hear (pop videos) by Nigel Watson

  State of the Art (1990s music videos) by Sonia Hope

The cover was by Brindley Newton this time. So far all the covers had been produced by graphic designers at the studio where I worked in White Hart Lane. To keep things in-house, fellow copywriter, Sonia Hope produced the music video feature, so no one at my workplace got much rest during the lunch break!

Talking Pictures No. 5For the last quarter of 1992 the fifth edition contained:

Freddy’s Dead The Final Nightmare by Ed Cooper

The War Between Men and Lemmon by Darren Slade

The Bitch is Back (Alien 3) by Ed Cooper

Bond Age Man (James Bond movies) by Nigel Watson

Up to now the magazine had not contained any illustrations - the Amstrad printer wasn’t capable of such things. To include illustrations I had to photocopy them and stick them in spaces specially left in areas of my printed text. In this issue there is an effective picture from The Apartment for Darren’s article, but the pictures of James Bond on page 20 turned out disappointingly muddy. This did not put me off and for future issues I gleefully cut and pasted lots more pictures - all in glorious black and white of course. The great cover illustration of Freddy was by Richard Hunt, and this time the ink didn't rub off.

Talking Pictures No. 6Talking Pictures number six, for January to March 1993 included:

London Film Festival (1992) Highlights by Fiona Wylie

French/UK Cinema Debate by Nigel Watson

Sweets for the Sweet by Ed Cooper

In On The Act by Alan Wijgerden

  Zap Happy by Nigel Watson

  Blood Ties: Dracula’s Daughter by Darren Slade

Fiona’s London Film Festival report was the first of many such reports over the next few years. In this report she notes that at the screening of Reservoir Dogs she spotted Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) in the audience, grinning. Alan Wijgerden a filmmaker in his own right, wrote about the role of characters in film, Kim Calver did the ‘couch potato’ cover, which we use on the website and Julia Fowler did the design.

Talking Pictures No. 7Issue number seven, for April to May 1993, has a striking cover by Brindley Newton. The main contents were:

Reel Fiction (an introduction to An Impossible Picture) by Nigel Watson

An Impossible Picture by Martin Kottmeyer

Get him into Crash Duffy: Watching Casualty by Darren Slade

The rest of the issue reviews videos produced by Alan Wijgerden (one about smashing TV sets was appropriately shown at a later date on Channel 4 TV) and several films. There was an increase in film reviews because some film distributors began inviting us to their pre-view screenings, most notable in this area were the bfi and Artificial Eye

An angry letter from David Ryan also appeared in these pages, which asked ‘Are you a bunch of frustrated auteurs or are you just bucking for the job as researchers on Moviewatch?’ Moviewatch was a much reviled film review TV programme that was presented by Johnny Vaughn. The only answer I can give after all these years is that our tastes are eclectic and encompass all manner of movies and media (does that make me sound like an aspiring auteur or what?). Whatever our answer David supplied us with lots of articles and reviews that appeared in later editions of TP.

Another notable feature of this edition is the contribution from Martin Kottmeyer, who is an expert on science fiction films and ufology. This was the last edition to be produced by my faithful Amstrad 9512 PCW, it had sadly gone out-of-date at the age of five. This was also the last edition to have a specially created illustration for the cover and the last that Julia Fowler worked on.

Read about issue eight and beyond here.
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