Category Archives: Journalism

I’m In Love With My Car; The Love Affair

I’m In Love with My Car – Sunderland One
Wayne Madden

A retiree celebrated his everlasting love for car sales in Sunderland this week, presented with recognition of service from his long standing employer at a special ceremony. John Watchman, 65, has spent 38 years in the motor retail industry and all of that time with just one employer – Bristol Street Motors Vauxhall Sunderland.

John, who was the guitarist for R&B band Love Affair in the 1960s prior to joining the firm as a sales executive, worked hard to obtain the position of Car Sales Manager. Love Affairs biggest hit, a cover of Robert Knight’s ‘Everlasting Love’, could sum up perfectly the admiration which John has for his employer.

The grandfather, who was presented with a special plaque by general manager Jass Singh, was humbled by the turnout of colleagues and well-wishers including Bristol Street Motors CEO Robert Forrester. “I’ve had a wonderful 38 years with Bristol Street Motors Vauxhall Sunderland. Bristol Street Motors is one off, if not the best in the motor retail industry and I’ve loved working for them.”

When asked what he was likely to do in his retirement John responded “I’ll spend more of my evenings playing guitar with my friends in local bands. I’m also looking forward to spending a lot more time at my second home in Spain and helping my children and grandchildren out with their young ones.”

Jass, all too aware of John’s talent and experience, said: “John’s presence around the dealership will be greatly missed. He has a wealth of experience and that shines through in the way he deals with customers and colleagues. Nothing is ever too much trouble and he is always prepared to lend a helping hand or answer any questions.”

Love Affair formed in London in 1966. Their first single, ‘She Smiled Sweetly’, was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, released on Decca Records. By 1968 the band had moved to CBS Records and recruited John Watchman in April 1971 for the single ‘Help Me Get Some Help’. They attracted controversy by later admitting that most of their singles did not feature Love Affair band members playing the instruments, but instead session musicians, who recorded the music while the band was on the road.

Love Affair disbanded in the 1970s, with some of the bands former members forming a partnership with Tim Staffel, the vocalist in pre-Queen band Smile who would be replaced by Freddie Mercury. John, who still plays in a number of local bands, gave an online interview in 2007 about the bands collapse and his subsequent musical endeavors’.

“I was offered a chance of a job with Roxy Music in Feb 72 after working in a previous band with Paul Thompson but decided to go to Sweden with Love Affair…I started working in Sunderland Locarno in the house band from spring 73 to late 75 when the band transferred to Tiffany’s Wimbledon then on again to Tiffany’s Newcastle until September 1977. I then recorded two albums with Tommy Morrison on Real Records, the first being co-produced by Paul Rodgers. The second, never released at the time, was produced by Ed Stasium. I then recorded with Paul Rodgers but the material was all demos.”

Mad Max; Black and Chrome, Film Review

When George Miller’s Fury Road first burst onto our screens in 2015, we were greeted with a novel concept, a truly likable post millennium film. In our cynical world we’d forgotten the beauty of a movie which doesn’t over think, looks artistically incredible and has a simple plot. Max is a drifter, captured by renegades who seek his blood, forced into servitude. A tyrannical dictator named ‘Joe’ keeps several women captive, hoping to conceive a suitable heir, their beauty and purity unmatched. Max and Joe collide, the women in both their lives suitably liberated and the pursuit is on.

At its heart, Mad Max is a road movie, everything from Max himself to the metal guitarist (now perhaps more infamous for refusing to help inaugurate Donald Trump) strapped firmly to a hood. In this new edition some 24 months later we’re treated to a picture entirely converted to black and chrome, something that creates a unique opportunity to have a revaluation of a modern blockbuster. While it’s impossible to say exactly what effect this monochrome effect has on modern film precisely, we can say that it looks incredible in its usage here, the darkness is more effective when it needs to be and there’s a sinister edge of horror comparable to the opening gambit of Mad Max 2. By removing the color from our screens the director has created a violently drawn image which we’re almost transfixed on. It’s art.

Like Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Stirling before him, Miller has purposefully chosen to avoid color, feeling that his choice of black and chrome may add that additional character the movie has been seeking. Miller calls this his superior version, and while I’m likely to agree, would remind viewers that the “original” version is just as good.