The BAFTA and Oscar-nominated film director behind a biopic about musician Morrissey’s early life is to pass on his insights to music fans at a question and answer session, in Stretford Mall.
Mark Gill will be at Reel Around the Fountain Records to talk about his film England Is Mine, which tells of Morrissey’s teenage years in 1970s Manchester before he went on to become the Smiths’ lead singer.
It’s part of a celebration of the music of Morrissey, The Smiths, and Manchester indie classics from their era to be held at the independent record shop which is named after a Smiths song, Saturday, July 7.
It comes a year after England is Mine was premiered at Edinburgh Film Festival, as a portrait of Morrisey’s early life.
The film, starring award winning actor Jack Lowden as a teenage Morrissey, was partly filmed at Stretford Mall.
It includes a scene set in the famous Disc and Tape Exchange, filmed at Stretford Mall and featuring Reel Around the Fountain Records shop owner Nigel Young, w features in the trailer for the film.
The afternoon’s entertainment at Reel Around the Fountain Records will start at 1pm on July 7 on with a Smiths inspired set by DJ Aidy Farr, including music from Morrissey, The Smiths and other classic indie tunes from the era.
There will also be an auction of Morrissey and The Smiths memorabilia with all the money raised going to charity Trafford Carers, which has a retail shop in Stretford Mall and supports hundreds of carers of all ages.
“I grew up in Stretford near where Steve Morrissey lived,” said Mark, who also wrote the script of the England is Mine. “I was a musician for 14 years before I decided on a career in films and The Smiths were my first love.”
Now living in the Gee Cross area of Manchester, Mark graduated from the Central University of Lancashire in Preston in 2007 and won an award for his first short film, The Voorman Problem.
“I won a Royal Television Society Award for what was the first short film I directed and wrote,” he said. “And I was nominated for BAFTA and Oscar awards for The Voorman Problem too.
“I was really pleased to win an award for my first short film and to be nominated for a BAFTA award and an Oscar was the icing on the cake.”
A film director for nine years, Mark added: “We used Nigel’s shop to recreate a quite famous store based in Manchester,” said Mark. “It was a magnet for young people like Morrissey.”
“I’m pleased to say England Is Mine is still being released,” said Mark. “I flew to America last year and as we speak it’s being released in North Korea.”
The film tells the story of the teenage Steven Patrick Morrissey before he formed The Smiths in 1982 with Johnny Marr. The film title comes from a Smiths song, Still Ill – “England is mine, and it owes me a living”.
It stars Jack Lowden as Morrissey and co-stars Jessica Brown Findlay as artist Linder Sterling and Laurie Kynaston as Johnny Marr.
Morrissey comes across as a sullen and shy teenager who is inspired to continue writing lyrics and to begin performing by Linder Sterling, who eventually moves to live in London. Although he writes some songs with guitarist Billy Duffy and he tries his hand at singing, he remains withdrawn and very much a loner.
The film ends with guitarist Johnny Marr, with whom he went on to form The Smiths, showing up on Morrissey’s doorstep.
Reel Around the Fountain Records owner Nigel Young encouraged music fans to come along to enjoy the event and also take part in the auction, in aid of his neighbours at Stretford Mall, charity Trafford Carers.
Nigel said: “Mark is bringing a couple of England Is Mine film posters along signed by both himself and Morrissey star Jack Lowden, and we don’t know as yet what the other items will be, but I can guarantee there will be several nice bits and pieces up for auction.”
He said during filming at his shop mocked up album covers were produced. “They even made up the names of fictitious bands,” added Nigel. “And I even made a cameo appearance myself!
“People forget too easily what a rich history of musical talent Manchester boasts. The Stone Roses, Oasis and New Order have all been fairly recent, but what about Buzzcocks and Take That?
“And in the 1960s there were The Hollies, The Mindbenders, Herman’s Hermits, and even Freddie and the Dreamers.
“A friend reminded me that Mark was a year behind me at primary school in Stretford, but we didn’t realise it when we met. Our paths have gone in far different directions since those school days.”
DJ Aidy Farr, who will kick off the afternoon’s proceedings, admits he is one of The Smiths biggest fans.
“I guess it was my idea to stage the Morrissey and Smiths tribute afternoon,” he said. “But I couldn’t have done anything without the help of Nigel and Mark. This event owes everything to them.”
Aidy has just made a return to DJ-ing. “We’ve got a couple of dates booked, but will be doing far more in the near future,” he said.
Stretford Mall manager Gareth Wilkins said the shopping centre was delighted to welcome Mark and the film crew to shoot scenes of England Is Mine.
“We’ll put out the welcome mat for Mark again on Saturday, July 7 for what are sure to be fascinating insights into the world of a film director,” said Gareth.
“And the auction is for a particularly good cause – I know the work of Trafford Carers Centre is very much valued by the people it helps.”
To find out more about Stretford Mall visit www.stretfordmall.com or find @stretfordmall on Facebook or Twitter. You can find Reel Around the Fountain Records on Facebook, Twitter @reelaround_ and Instagram @fountain_records. For information about Trafford Carers visit: http://www.traffordcarerscentre.org.uk