Culture Club

Issue 76

Mel Jackson is a professional stage manager and event organiser and has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. Mel has a passion for her local area and is now organising events for Blyth Town Council. Here she tells us about her taste in music, art, and culture.

Who is your favourite author and why?

J.R.R Tolkien. I can’t begin to think how many times I have read and re-read his books. The imagination, the painting of pictures through words is in equal measure, magical, scary, alarming, leaves you questioning and finding more with each reread. What would be your three Desert Island Discs?

Stand by Me – Ben E King, Why Worry? – Dire Straits and Dance Away – Bryan Ferry. Who is your favourite film star and why? I don’t watch many films at all, I am too restless and get bored easily, if I am watching a film at home, I tend to play Scrabble on my phone at the same time, so I don’t nod-off, I’ve been known to have a quick 40 winks at the cinema.

What are your top three films?

Four Weddings and a Funeral the only film that makes me laugh out loud. Downton Abbey as I would’ve loved to live in those times, perhaps not as a Crawley, or any of the servants but somewhere in between. First Contact, the Borg are so scary!

Which poem left a lasting impression on you?

Warning by Jenny Joseph, I didn’t wait to wear purple as Jenny warns the reader, I have always loved the colour, however the prophecy of aging disgracefully appealed from first reading, and I’m on my way.

What box sets have you enjoyed?

Gavin and Stacey. A quick escape that always raises a smile. Downton Abbey, it’s a fabulous peep into the complicated, privileged life of the aristocratical Crawley family and their servants.

Who is your favourite artist or performer?

I have been fortunate enough in my work to work with so many artists, bands, etc it is difficult to pick one, but if I have to it would be Bryan Ferry because his music captivated me many years ago. He is gorgeous and has a wicked sense of humour, plus and most importantly he is a gentleman. I remember the first time I worked with him, and I so hoped he would be nice as it’s so sad when artists are rude and don’t value the venue team. He walked in and thanked all the team for their hard work. His valuing of everyone from the load-in crew upwards is something I will always remember him for.

What is your favourite venue? It can’t be anywhere other than Blyth Beach the venue of Northumberland Live, which I created eight years ago now known as Blyth Live. I am very proud of what myself and the team have achieved in bringing a festival to Blyth that is now on the map and attracts 1000’s.

Which musical instrument do you particularly enjoy?

Drums, perhaps it’s the tribal call, but they can also be played so calmly. However, I don’t like anyone playing them with brushes, they should be banned as drums are for banging.

From the world of Arts and Culture who would be your ideal dinner party guests?

It must be Billy Connolly, some do not recognise comedy as art, but the gift of standing there and having a full auditorium crying with laughter is an incredible talent. Observational comedy is everyday life but twisted a little, so we see it in a slightly different way. The genius of the telling of any story, so others live it through the re-telling is to be applauded and celebrated. I would without doubt be excited for his arrival, along with Pam his wife who is also a critically acclaimed comic and Doctor of Psychology. Bryan Ferry would also be invited along with Paul Carrack and Alan Clark, Alan is the keyboard player in Dire Straits, who once came round to our house and asked, “what is that delicious smell?” He ended up staying and entertained us with many stories of how he became the man he is today.

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