Six Of The Best – Robert Kilburn (Tyne and Weird) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Tyne and Weird is a collective of filmmakers, artists and animators based in the region dedicated to unearthing forgotten historical facts, local lore, history and culture. They have recently released a documentary on the North East rave scene titled “Two Monkeys” and are currently working on a documentary looking at West Auckland Town Football Club. With all this going on we asked filmmaker Robert Kilburn gives us his six of the best.

Tyne and Weird has grown into a platform which hosts a variety of different things from artwork, quirky tales of local folklore to documentaries which look at subcultures in the North East with films such as Two Monkeys and Broken Window. When it comes to the things that have influenced myself as a filmmaker and storyteller it is hard to narrow down all the different aspects that have contributed to the vast array of interests captured in this. While I haven’t always been the type to take notice of such a diverse catalogue of topics, usually opting for cult cinema and genres, here are some examples of ones that have stuck with me over the years.

British Comedy – Monkey Dust 
Us brits have a long history of cracking wise making it a tough one to narrow down when thinking about British Comedy. There will always be the classics but I also think it is important to take notice of the evolution of what we find funny which is why I have gone with Monkey Dust. This incredibly dark vision of modern Britain portrayed through a series of animated sketches captures elements of truth that are still accurate and relevant today. With only one season actually making it to DVD out of the overall three it is no wonder this grim but hilarious show has been largely forgotten about. From Ivan Dobski the wrongly imprisoned Geordie sounding serial killer, to the man who always has an elaborate excuse prepared for his wife as to why he is home so late, you can be sure to find at least one moment where your laughing when you know you shouldn’t be.

Music – Slowthai 
Slowthai is definitely one of the up and coming artists in the U.K right now with a distinctly British sound and lyrics. His latest album Nothing Great About Britain has a different sound to your average rapper. Having missed two of his gigs in the area this year, where he supported artist Dave in Newcastle and then returned to South Shields as part of a tour where he only charged 99p, his passion for what he does speaks volumes. He is back again in October for only a £5.00 and is someone whose career you will want to keep an eye on!  


Books – Bill Burford Among The Thugs
With my page Tyne and Weird largely focusing on non-fiction it is only right to include some of the non-fiction books that have provided inspiration for topics to do documentaries on and creative ways of telling stories. Bill Burford is an American Journalist who came to England at the peak of football hooliganism to write about the stories and people involved. With some pretty shocking scenes in the book it characterises a section of British society that works 9-5 through the week and then drinks itself into oblivion with thousands of others on their days off, often resulting in violence. Other worthy mentions are Pimp: Story of my Life by Iceberg Slim, Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung and The Lost City of Z by David Grann. 

Podcasts – The NoSleep Podcast
This is one I listen to religiously mainly because it hosts some of the most amazingly talented storytellers from all around the globe. In an anthology based format it presents horror fiction via very talented voice actors. This is a podcast that I can see continuing to grow for the foreseeable future. Having attracted celebrity horror enthusiasts such as Elijah Wood and Harmon you never know what you will get with it often instilling you a fear of things you didn’t even know you could be scared of. They have also just announced their first U.K tour which I will definitely be attending at least one date!

Documentary Filmmakers – Kim Longinotto
I have great admiration for so many documentary filmmakers from the local to international but Britain definitely has an amazing pool of talent to choose from. I debated going for Nick Broomfield or Louis Theroux but decided to go for one that perhaps is not as well known by the general public. With fantastic films like Dreamcatcher and Shinjuku Boys she gives insight into the lives of subjects you might not otherwise be exposed to. Choosing topics and contributors that will leave you enlightened her work is definitely worth checking out! If I had to pick a personal favourite it would be Divorce Iranian Style just because of the unbelievable access she achieved and her powerful presence which is for the majority not even onscreen in her films. 

Anthologies – Tales from the Crypt
I originally intended the Tyne and Weird project to be a collection of anthological stories from the North East focusing on the strange which is something that has also bled into the documentary side of things. The artwork created by the super talented local lad who goes by the moniker @UnderwoodInk on Instagram has obvious influence from the Tales from the Crypt style 1950s anthology comics. The reason for choosing this was also down to the fantastic television series which guest stars amazing actors such as Danny Devito, Ewan McGregor and Tim Curry to just name a handful. Interestingly it has recently gotten a reboot which is due to come out in 2019! Other honourable mentions of course include the Twilight Zone (original series) but also the recent Jordan Peele reboot which holds its own. For films I recommend the underrated Terror Tract (In which Bryan Cranston faces off against an evil monkey), The XX and Creepshow.


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I hope this list gives you a bit of insight into some of the things that have influenced the creation of Tyne and Weird and if nothing else given you some interesting things to look up. We have a lot planned in the future with a book on North Eastern folklore, strange history and urban legends in the works as well as a documentary on West Auckland Football club soon to be released collaborating with the Dubai based company Moving Adverts. If you know nothing of West Auckland it is definitely going to be one to watch as their club is not only an important part North East and working class history but also football history in general. We are currently in the process of working on a short documentary looking at the breakdancing scene in the NE, it’s history, roots and influence so if you can help out with that (whether it’s footage, photos or your experiences) we would love to hear from you. 

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