Amanda Lehmann’s Song: the Blossoming

It’s little over a week since Amanda’s beautiful song was released. Listen to it here. She worked so hard on this to write and produce it but she’s far from left it there. Like many of us here she’s continuing to volunteer her own contribution to raising awareness of gambling harms. Four radio interviews already about the song and gambling harms. This one, with the Ugly American Werewolf in London, is about her personal shock upon realising the scale and nature of gambling harms. It includes a fascinating look at the ‘shape’ of the song – how it begins quietly as if looking forward to ‘a spin’, before the music descends into the pain of gambling. The interview about the song is a few minutes in.

If you haven’t seen it, the story of how Amanda came to write the song is fascinating. It shows how just a few people connecting, with a little bit of chance, can have marvellous outcomes.

While so many work so hard to raise awareness, it is so good to witness a great way to reach people through their ordinary life, here through music. Whatever changes to regulation may bring, and whatever specific gambling related campaigning achieves, we know that cultural change is slow. Sometimes a storyline in a TV soap may have great impact in raising awareness. Sometimes so can a song. Please pass this one on! As much as anything, it is simply a beautiful song before it is a ‘message’.

Again with Amanda’s help, we are pressing some copies of the song onto cd. We’ll be sending these with a media release to radio stations in Scotland. One hope is that perhaps the song will lead to listener interaction, for instance with phone-ins.

On its own the song is of great value but the way Amanda links it to the film is wonderful Thanks so much.

And our thanks to all of you who share the song.

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One Last Spin: the Song is Here!

We’re thrilled to announce the release of Amanda Lehmann’s song, One Last Spin.

Amanda wrote and recorded this beautiful song which you can listen to here to go with our film about gambling harms. She’d learned about the extent of the issue following an interview with Sylvia Fountain . Sylvia, a music radio presenter at Puritans Radio,  has become actively involved with raising awareness herself, and she put us in touch with Amanda. Sylvia had interviewed John Myers who is also in our film where he relates the devastating impact of the death by gambling suicide of his son, Ryan. John put us in touch with Sylvia and Amanda’s wonderful record is the result.

We hope you like this sad but nourishing song.

Amanda is a much loved and respected figure in the progressive rock scene. Trained initially as a classical pianist she fell in love with rock early in life.  She’s performed frequently with Steve Hackett’s band in studio work and at live concerts with her trademark red guitar. Last year she released her first solo album to great acclaim, see for example this review. Read more about Amanda at her website.

Like many people Amanda had never thought about gambling harms. She says, “I was not fully aware of the extent of gambling addiction before, and now I find myself noticing stuff all over the place luring people in, it’s very scary.”

Amanda has gifted her time and musical creativity to contribute to raising awareness of gambling harms.

And she continues working to reach people with the song and raise awareness about gambling harms.

We didn’t plan to get a top musician to write, record and donate a song which raises awareness about gambling harms. John (Myers) spoke to Sylvia (Fountain) who seeded Amanda’s commitment. You can have all the plans in the world but the so often overlooked truth is that good things emerge from just a few good people making connections. It has been about John being John, Sylvia being Sylvia, and Amanda’s being Amanda. So in a way, the story of the song is the same as that of the film. John, Kelly, Tony, Martin inspired a very skilled film director to give, like Amanda, his time for free. To that extent, they are the film makers.

We’ll be pressing cd’s of Amanda’s song, largely at this stage to circulate to radio stations. It will be online here, on Amanda’s channels and  getting plenty of airtime from Sylvia. Music, theatre, film  and other art forms are powerful ways to reach hearts and minds, and to express and share our feelings.

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The Film is Here!

Director Ross Donald (left) and Martin Paterson

Three years ago Martin met Ross with an idea. Through tremendous obstacles arising from the pandemic, the film finally premiered at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts on 19 February. We’ll give an account of the making of the film soon but suffice it here to say that the two guys here have been the power behind the involvement of so many others who’ve worked on the film to get it just right.

We want as many people as possible to see the film. We already have some screenings planned, and there’ll be an online event to share the film and have discussions.

If you’d like to consider using the film get in touch and we’ll send you a link to preview it.

Some Ideas for Screening the Film

These are simply suggestions. Feel free to pick and mix and add your own ideas! It is our wish that the design of each event involves the local organisers. You know best how to use the film. The film is best seen as part of an event. The event may fit in with work you are already doing, for instance in relation to recovery from addiction. Since gambling harms affect all communities, raising awareness generally may be of interest to community groups.

An online event. For larger organisations with wide membership reach across country, region or city. These could be linked to ongoing initiatives around gambling harms.

A small community organisation operating in a defined geographical area. Raising awareness within the general community. A mental health organisation. A substance harms recovery organisation.

Prisons.

Larger ‘hub’ events such as an event for a wider geographical region within which transport enables attendance. Particularly in remote rural regions. Larger events may also include panels of significant speakers; for instance, in some events we already have planned we intend to have people from the film on panels.

National, regional and local governmental organised events. For instance, council, MSP or MP sponsored. We are also aiming for an event at Holyrood or Westminster.

Sector training/awareness raising. For example education, medicine, mental health nursing, social work. Initial training and professional development.

We shall be able to deliver an event ourselves in conjunction with hosts. Where we can, we can fund these in part or whole. A typical event would see a short introduction with a panel or between two and four people, the film, and audience interaction. Some print materials from ourselves would be available. Event running time about 90 minutes.

Organisations’ members watching privately. Some organisations have asked us if we could make the film available for their members to view in their own time. This is possible. Please note, though, that access to the film would be via a password. Again, in this case it will be possible for organisations to supplement the film with materials and links.

Arts festivals and events.

While we’d be happy to attend events in person where possible, and we’ll always be ready to chat about your event, it will be possible for us to let you see the film prior to organising an event. Then, if you think you can use it, and can fully design the event yourself, we can provide the film either via online streaming or as a memory device (flash drive, DVD e.g.)

IF YOU’D LIKE TO PREVIEW THE FILM, DROP US A LINE AT

adrian@gamblingwatchscotland.org.uk

Or

martinpaterson07@gmail.com

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Wee Delay – but Almost There!

There’s a passing joke from Billy Connolly about Partick in Glasgow. It’s his old stomping ground and it has a football team, Partick Thistle. “Partick Thistle” is the shortened name, he said. Its full name is “Partick Thistle Nil”. Boom boom.

Hopefully with the same spirit of levity we have become a bit used to seeing One Last Spin as the shortened version of One Last Spin Delayed Again. But this is the last time! Read on.

Get Ready!

We had aimed to have the premiere in December. With a bit of luck it will be this month, January. The Director, Ross, has finished editing it. It’s now having some final touches from others – the colourist, the sound designer, the music composer, a graphic artist for the opening and closing credits.

We – Martin and Adrian – were offered the chance to see the final edit but we’re both minded to wait until it’s completed totally and we get to join others in a cinema at the premiere.

Community and Online Screenings

Our strongest wish is that the film will be screened in local communities at events designed by people there who know their audiences. Some of these events may fit with the work of mental health groups or recovery groups that have traditionally focused upon substance harms. But since awareness about gambling harms is something every community benefits from, we continue to invite all who’d like to host a screening (and there are some ideas about screening events here).

As Covid uncertainties continue we are holding back for a while from finalising any community events. The projected future is optimistic regarding the pandemic and we’re really looking forward to going on the road very soon.

In the hopefully brief interim we have advanced plans for online screening and discussion events. We’ll detail these in the coming weeks.

Join Us!

As ever, we would be delighted to hear from and work with any organisation in Scotland or beyond that is interested in a live community event in 2022. Drop us a line at info@gamblingwatchscotland.org.uk

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Filming Completed!

What a couple of years!

A few weeks before the pandemic hit we sat down to plan our film. We hoped it would be finished and out there in the summer of 2020. Only through the incredible dedication and commitment of Director Ross Donald and his crews, and the wonderful support of funders have we reached the end of filming on 5 December 2021.

And let’s give a big shout to Martin Paterson (second right) whose idea it all was, who not only contributed his own savings but added months of unpaid hard work and the fuel of enthusiasm. When we hear about things like ‘community activism’, this must shine out as an outstanding example.

Fittingly, the last drama sequence features Martin’s own story. The scene was shot in the same location where Professor Gerda Reith and the Alliance’s Will Griffiths (the driver of the Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm initiative) made their contributions. It feels like ages ago! It was Summer last year too when MP Ronnie Cowan made his contribution. Kelly Field and John Myers travelled up from Merseyside to tell their stories along with Tony Franklin from Buckinghamshire.

While each of the four personal stories about gambling harms were completed last year, the drama sequences to accompany them were finished yesterday, 5 December. Now it’s another short wait for the post-production magic to be completed. Editing, titles, colouring, music, sound mixing and so on. Later this month we’ll have a trailer. Then, a month later than we’d aimed for, the film’s premiere in January along with screenings at community events in Greater Glasgow. We’re also anticipating that the film will be screened at Westminster in January to coincide with an event about gambling harms organised by Ronnie Cowan MP.

Martin’s also looking to set up as a record producer! (We hope to bring you news of a recording soon). The champagne cork above popped from a bottle brought by Director Ross yesterday to celebrate the end of filming. He said, “It was a great day. I’m sad to see the filming days end but happy to seeing it finished now. Looking forward to putting it all together and getting it out there.”

ONE LAST SPIN on tour

We’ll be in touch very soon with the Glasgow organisations who have expressed an interest in staging and event around the film. Wherever you are, if you’d like to consider screening the film get in touch at info@gamblingwatchscotland.org.uk . We think everybody is affected by gambling harms in their community so – everyone, please get in touch! The film will be of special interest to organisations that focus on mental health, including addiction (which traditionally has tended to focus only upon alcohol and other drugs).

We also think the film will be valuable for training and professional development in health, education, justice, finance, social care, and other areas. Check out our earlier post on some ideas about how you could use the film. We’re particularly keen to work with people to design events which fit well with organisations’ general aims, values and memberships.

Thank you!

One Last Spin is a major production. It will add to the great work in Scotland and elsewhere to raise awareness about gambling harms. It has been a wonderful learning experience for us during which we have enjoyed so much support and brilliant partnership working. In 2022 we look forward to working across Scotland and beyond with the .many vibrant networks of community activists and others. It began with the idea of one person, then John, Kelly and Tony gave us their time to lay down the foundation. Director Ross has given an amazing amount of time and expertise all for free. We’ve received financial contributions from Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS, the Scottish Alliance for Health and Social Care, and several organisations whose work we’ll be detailing in full. We greatly look forward to meeting people in their communities, sharing, and joining the combined energies of statutory, third sector and grassroots movements that work to make things better.

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Film Night

The last part of the film to be shot is Martin’s story. The crew gathered by night on 14 November, deep in the woods, powered by generators, to make what will be a very powerful scene.

All directed, of course, by Ross Donald. As an early Christmas present, Martin bought him a chair!

By the way, on the chair is a vinyl LP complete with a ‘One Last Spin’ label. We hope to bring you news soon of a song being created to go along with our film.

The crew were fed and watered sufficiently to endure the harsh climate of Coatbridge. Just as well because they didn’t finish work until half an hour past midnight.

This drama sequence is indeed dark. It represents the part of Martin’s story when he considered taking his life.

From dark times people recover. Here’s a dazzling smile to testify to that. Martin with the actor who plays him, Brian Robson.

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Almost There!

Director Ross Donald with the man who started it all: Martin Paterson

The film is almost finished! From an idea discussed in the cafe at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow to many hours of work, the film is ready to be seen by thousands in 2022.

We are incredibly grateful to Ross Donald from Reverie Films who has directed and steered the film through the rocks and rapids of the pandemic. He is a highly accomplished commercial film maker, and to make a documentary about a social issue is a first for him. His enthusiasm for the project has been immense, and he has inspired the same in his many crews, producers and actors. That he’s done it all for no financial reward speaks volumes.

Still, without many thousands of pounds the film could not have been made. We shall soon be giving our formal public gratitude to the individuals, businesses, partners, a major third sector donor and the NHS, all of whom have made possible an important contribution to the raising of awareness of gambling harms.

None of this, of course, could have happened without Martin’s inspiration. If you’d like to hear his story check out the website Gambling Watch Scotland. (That wouldn’t have happened without him either!). He’s testimony to that inspiring quotation from Margaret Mead that Hilda Campbell of Cope Scotland is fond of referring to. Big thanks to Hilda, by the way. Money isn’t the only valuable thing.

So, a little delay recently but we are well used to that. Final shooting of drama pieces are on 7th and 14th November. Then the music, colouring, sound mixing, editing, title sequences…

We already have seven potential venues for screenings in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. We’re really excited looking forward to seeing the film move across the whole of Scotland and beyond.

If you would like to use the film in a community event or for other purposes we have some notes below:

One Last Spin: community and other screenings

Thank you for showing an interest in our film One Last Spin and considering screening it at a community event. You can learn more about the film at our website onelastspin.vision.

The main purpose of the film is to raise awareness about gambling harms.  Below are some possibilities for designing an event. These are by no means exhaustive and just suggestions.

Please note that the film’s content includes reference to suicide. We do not consider the film appropriate for people below the age of 16.

‘We’ are The Machine Zone which is a few volunteers who want to do their bit to reduce gambling harms. We have raised funds to work with professional film makers to produce a high-quality film. We also raised a small sum towards distributing the film, and continue to seek distribution funding.

From January 2022 onwards we look forward to seeing the film screened in community venues throughout Scotland, and also for awareness raising in sectors such as health, education, social work. Also, we very much hope that raising awareness about gambling harms may be incorporated into organisations that support recovery from alcohol and other drugs harms. Third sector organisations may find the film relevant in such work as health, recovery movements, finance, peer support and so on.

The film will also be available outside Scotland. Since we have extremely limited resources this will rely upon our providing the film for organisers to use as they wish. During the year the film will be entered to film festivals. This prevents our making it available in the public domain. But when the festival run is completed later in 2022 we aim to create a professionally designed website with the film at its centre.

The film is about half an hour long. We shall produce some supplementary ‘take-away’ materials as options, and organisers can add their own where appropriate.

Some Ideas for Screening the Film

These are simply suggestions. Feel free to pick and mix and add your own ideas! It is our wish that the design of each event involves the local organisers. You know best how to use the film. The film is best seen as part of an event. The event may fit in with work you are already doing, for instance in relation to recovery from addiction. Since gambling harms affect all communities, raising awareness generally may be of interest to community groups.

  1. An online event. For larger organisations with wide membership reach across country, region or city. These could be linked to ongoing initiatives around gambling harms.
  2. A small community organisation operating in a defined geographical area.
  3. Prisons.
  4. Larger ‘hub’ events such as an event for a wider geographical region within which transport enables attendance. Particularly in remote rural regions. Larger events may also include panels of significant speakers; for instance, in some events we already have planned we intend to have people from the film on panels.
  5. National, regional and local governmental organised events. For instance, council, MSP or MP sponsored. We are also aiming for an event at Holyrood.
  6. Sector training/awareness raising. For example education, medicine, mental health nursing, social work. Initial training and professional development.
  7. We shall be able to deliver an event ourselves in conjunction with hosts. Where we can, we can fund these in part or whole. A typical event would see a short introduction with a panel or between two and four people, the film, and audience interaction. Some print materials from ourselves would be available. Event running time about 90 minutes.
  8. Organisations’ members watching privately. Some organisations have asked us if we could make the film available for their members to view in their own time. This is possible. Please note, though, that access to the film would be via a password. Again, in this case it will be possible for organisations to supplement the film with materials and links.
  9. Arts festivals and events.
  10. While we’d be happy to attend events in person where possible, and we’ll always be ready to chat about your event, it will be possible for us to let you see the film prior to organising an event. Then, if you think you can use it, and can fully design the event yourself, we can provide the film either via online streaming or as a memory device (flash drive, DVD e.g.)

At the time of writing (27 October 2021) we are happy to have seen expressions of interest to screen the film from seven organisations in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. It is in this area that we shall be starting our community events but Lochinver here we come! (You may need to consult a map!). We look forward to hearing from you if you think that the film will be good for your community or organisation. As said, we are very limited in resources so while we anticipate no great problems in distributing the film, please bear with us if our communications may be by the day rather than the hour. As and when appropriate, as well as emails we’ll chat by phone or Zoom.

Please address initial enquiries to adrianbailey@scotlandmail.com with ‘One Last Spin’ as subject.

Adrian Bailey

Martin Paterson

The Machine Zone Community Interest Company

27 October 2021

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In the Can! Tony’s Story

Packed day of filming the drama sequences for Tony Franklin’s interview.

Wonderful to witness the kindness, enthusiasm and hard work of everyone.

Many thanks to the great staff at the Laurieston Bar and the lovely neighbour who let their house be used as a location.

Top notch actors, incredible crew and the great director, Ross Donald. Very special thanks to the producers and those who work hard for months ahead to get everything ready for shooting.

A special guest was Tony Franklin himself. In true Hitchcock fashion he appears in the film as himself playing a customer in the bar. Here he is (back to camera) sharing a joke with Sean Trizzel, the sctor who plays him:

And here’s a picture of Tony, Sean and the man who started he whole thing, Martin.

The second scene is where Tony’s wife leaves him, taking their son with her. Watching it being shot, the real Tony said it hit him hard.

Last image is of the great young actor Adam who plays Tony’s son.

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It’s a Wrap!

This weekend saw the shooting of Kelly’s story. Actress Debbie has a great facial resemblance to Kelly.

Great time had by all the crew and others. Enthusiasm and collective vibe. Great contacts made.

Next up will be shooting Tony’s, John’s and Martin’s tales. Well on course for having post-production processing in November with world premiere scheduled for December,

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At Last! Filming Again and the END in Sight

Professor Gerda Reith, University of Glasgow

All interviews were completed a long while ago. Now shooting of drama sequences which will be edited into the interviews are starting in mid-July. Best say 2021 as we never know what’s around the corner!

The drama sequences will resonate with the stories told by John, Kelly, Martin and Tony.

The film should be completed late summer (2021!) and will be distributed online, via film festivals, and – very importantly – at community events.

Some more screenshots from the interviews below:

John whose son took his own life because of gambling
Kelly whose gambling drove her to despair. And her strong message of hope.
Tony – one of the UK’s most prominent campaigners – on 40 years of harms
Martin, founder of The Machine Zone, on despair and overcoming the damage
Ronnie Cowan MP Inverclyde, Vice-Chair All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Harms

Our final picture above shows Will Griffiths, Project Manager of Scotland Reducing Gambling Harms at the Alliance for Health and Social Care Scotland. He is moving to the Scottish Governmet as a Policy Officer in July (2021). He has been an inspiration and a joy to work with. He has set up a big network of lived experience folk harmed by gambling, and networked across sectors to help raise awareness and reduce harms. Without him and his support our film may not have been completed, and the momentum we now enjoy in Scotland towards a public health approach to gambling would be much less. We wish Will all the best in his new job and greatly look forward to inviting him to the premier screening of the film.

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