Sunday, May 19, 2013

An audience with Cass Pennant

BKf8lcxCUAEL0eZ Well, when I started on my own I wanted variety – to be involved in live events beyond just business. I also wanted to work with different festivals and different events companies to learn new methods and push myself.

On Friday the 17th of May at the National Football Museum I did a live interview on stage with the author and film maker Cass Pennant. It was an introduction to the live screening of Casuals, the DVD which charts the history of this much misunderstood and ever evolving youth cult. Cass had been a major face on the hooligan scene in the 1980s and is long since retired from West Ham’s Inter City Firm. His exploits there, and since, have been immortalised in books and a film Cass, starring Nonso Anozie.

The event was the third in the Fanatic series of fan events promoted by events company Ear to the Ground. I did the first one last year which was a very academic and intellectual examination of fan culture.

So, how did it go?

This is what Cass said on Facebook: “Last night at the National Football Museum in Manchester had the opportunity to bring the film to a larger audience when screened the documentary Casuals as part of the – Fanatic Live event and it was a great success. I attended and held a Q & A session which certainly added value. Everyone that went (some 150) left the screening feeling the film was very well-done.”

Cass is a great story teller and he gave a great tease into the film, cueing up some of the subjects, looking into some of his career highlights, and telling the stories he weighed up very skillfully that the audience were here to lap up.

All I can do as the questioner is to lead him. As this blog is about the event craft I wanted to mention how well Cass dealt with the young lads who were clearly in awe of his hooligan legacy. They raced to the front to sit in the front row and really enjoyed his old war stories. But Cass didn’t patronise them, as I may have been tempted to, or cut them off, instead he made the point to me that this is a great opportunity to open their eyes to the rest of the museum, to films and books. You just never know how that might then go.

I was also chuffed to get a good reaction from Cass for the questions I prepared beforehand. He does a lot of events and is always ready to be interviewed, but he did say how he gets fed up when people haven’t bothered to prepare. So there you are. A lot of people will know I can do business events, technology seminars and a bit of politics. I was really pleased with this as it shows I can work in other areas of popular culture as well.

It was also a good opportunity to sell a few copies of Northern Monkeys by William Routledge, the book I published and am actively promoting. I am delighted with how this is going and there is plenty of scope to do more live events around this fantastic subject.


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