James talks about how he went to the University of East Anglia to study Drama and English, where he managed to direct his own play. James reflects on the importance of film when growing up in Wolverhampton, when he used to record films off the TV. He was into horror films from the age of 11, and James talks about the joy of using the Radio Times to see what was showing and tick off the films he wanted to watch.
We talk about the solitary nature of cinemagoing and our apprehension of Official Competition (Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat, 2021) and whether James has ever considered writing a film blog. James talks about avoiding reviews before a film as he likes ‘the shock of the new’, and we talk about Marvel movies.
He discusses his apprehension of Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) when it came out and how the second time around he thought very differently about it. We also talk about our respective experiences of watching The Fugitive (Andrew Davis, 1993) at the cinema in 1993.
We learn that James loved listening to music when growing up and why the one sense he couldn’t do without would be hearing. We learn that he and a friend also recorded the John Peel show.
We learn about how James might have gone to university in Manchester and he reflects on what he enjoyed about studying at UEA. He encountered various luminaries there including Peter Ustinov and W.G. Sebald and also read Sight and Sound.
He talks about getting Iain Sinclair down to Kent and we learn about James’ daughter who also has a love of horror.
Then, at the end of the interview we find out what the younger James would have expected he would be doing now, and he reflects on the importance of aspiration, why he wouldn’t mind one day moving to Bristol, and we end with a really touching story with an intergenerational dimension around the imminent funeral of his father’s best friend of nearly 60 years.