The Monkees, Head and the 60s

Last autumn I was asked by Dr Peter Mills, a senior lecturer in Media and Popular Culture at Leeds Beckett University if I would cover an event. A screening of Head, a feature film by the popular American band, The Monkees, which on its release in the 1970s, was a complete and utter flop.

So how had Peter managed to arrange a screening at the Hyde Park Cinema in Leeds years later?

Thirty years on from the disastrous release, the film was shown for the first time to a UK audience at the Leeds Film Festival, and it was a sell out. The film had become somewhat of a cult classic.

Peter, a self confessed Monkees fan, was writing a book about The Monkees alongside using it for teaching in lectures. He decided to hold another screening of the film for his students and the public, and included a passionate introduction.

The book which you can read about here has just been completed and goes on sale this week.

I fell in love with the cinema as soon as I saw it. It was like something out of The Shining. Full of character and absolutely perfect for showing the completely surreal and psychedelic Monkees film.

Photographically, the event was about as challenging as you can get. Covering the screening of a film in an almost pitch black cinema. As well as Peter’s dimly lit introduction before the film began.

I set about capturing the small details to set the mood. The redish orange light meant my photos of Peter gave him a red glow, usually this would be disasterous for a photographer, but I felt it kind of suited the style of the film.

After snapping for a while I sat down to enjoy the rest of the movie which was pretty trippy, but fascinating.

I thought now, with the launch of Peter’s book, it would be a good time to share these images.