I should be this morning writing a ramble on My Dog Tulip (2009) the animated feature film based on J R Ackerley’s memoir about his fifteen year relationship with his dog a German Shepherd but instead I’m writing to lament the untimely death of my friend and mentor Darren Conner. Darren died on Sunday whilst riding his bike to raise money for a charity, he had a massive heart attack and I’m told he died instantly and without pain.
Darren has been a great influence in my life since I met him five years ago at the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries for what was to become the Robert Burns Centre Film Club. The very first sessions were in a room with a very small television set on which Darren set about explaining the intricacies of the motion picture industry. The drawbacks of this arrangement were soon evident and Dan Thomas, the RBC Film Officer at the time suggested we moved into the RBC Film Theatre for a regular Monday night slot. At this stage we were showing films of our choosing and it was not until Alice Stilgoe incorporated us into the main programme that we saw 35mm copies of movies and the film club took the format it has enjoyed ever since . Without Darren’s unique personally and charisma the club would of never have become as popular as it has, the most memorable nights, in my opinion, have been the ones where Darren interviewed a guest for example Rab Buchanan, Morag McKinnon, Peter Mullan and not forgetting ‘John Shuttleworth’.
Next Monday the RBC Film Club will commemorate Darren Conner memory and show a film I know he wanted us all to see Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. The evening will begin with a ten minute visual sample of highlights from some of his interviews. Hopefully we can have a full house for the evening and I’m sure you can still get a ticket by contacting the RBC on 01387 264808.
From my own personnel prospective I would like to thank Darren for giving me the confidence and encouragement to start writing my movie blog something that I would never have started without his influence. From when I was a was a small child I’ve always loved the cinema but you young sir have made the experience so much more interesting for me and I hope mate the good Lord provides a decent cinema for you in heaven, bet I know whose going to be doing the programming?
My friend you were a descent and lovely human being and there aren’t too many of them about. Condolences to Claire, Darren’s Mum and Dad, his family who I know will miss him even more than I will.
RIP Darren Conner.