Wall of Death

A short doc about the last travelling fairground Wall of Death. The first of a trilogy of Fairground films made between 1981 and 1985. I always loved the fair. Best memories: being taken to Battersea Park London, as a kid. When I moved to Newcastle in the early 1970’s there was the Hoppings, the world’s largest travelling fair pulled on Town Moor. The rides were never my thing. I always liked the side shows. Dark booths with mysterious people from Tod Browning’s world. When I saw the Wall of Death it blew me away. I had been making ‘8mm’ and ‘s8mm’ films now I wanted to graduate. I knew where I could get hold of a Bolex [London Filmmakers Co-op] and off I went travelling with and shooting the Wall for a couple of months. Finally we laid up in Bournmouth where I shot the on-Wall sequence. Luckily a camera man, Maxim Ford, came down and shot the camera mounted footage. I couldn’t have done that with the Bolex. The Messhams were great, unfortunately little Tommy, a great trick rider, isn’t with us any more. The Wall of death was some gig, what a hit! I could see it wouldn’t last.

Camera - Maxim Ford
Sound - Dave Henderson
Editor - Nicki Clemens
Director - Adrin Neatrour
Featuring: The Mesham family

1983, UK, 16mm, 14 min.


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