Under The Hammer

London, The Arts

Oh how the mighty have fallen! Hammer horror films formed the basis of my demented childhood (as you will hopefully discover when you hurl yourselves into the shops – or online for our US readers – to purchase my fine memoir ‘Paperboy’). This is the headquarters in which Hammer was housed for so long, in Soho’s Wardour Street. It now sells peanuts and gin. When I first started work in this area, every building housed a film distributor, and all their films filled the windows. There is no longer a single company left. Plenty of card shops and Japanese takeaways, though. Such is progress, sigh.

One comment on “Under The Hammer”

  1. Howard Snell says:

    Back in the 60s my connection with HHH was that I played (trumpet) on many Hammer film sessions at a Beaconsfield recording studio (name in the cells somewhere) for the venerable and estimable MD Phil Martell. Getting up very early to make it so far out of town was rewarded with a fine greasy spoon breakfast (before the days of guilt, self-loathing and five portions of fruit per day), then an enjoyable day’s work with a fine pro and many of London’s best musicians.

    Never got to see the films as we sat generally with backs to the screen, so all the flickering images seemed the same. A bit of this, a bit of that and occasionally the other, when we all turned round to look.

    The roster of composers was very high-class indeed, from Richard Bennett (a friend and contemporary at the Royal Academy of Music) to Malcolm Arnold (a former trumpet player) across to some otherwise very choosy highbrow Third-Programme moderns, including Elizabeth Lutyens, Franz Reizenstein and Benjamin Frankel … something to do with money perhaps … or even their innermost dreams of vulgar fame. Good job the Thin Kontroller at the BBC, Wilhelm Glock, didn’t know his creatures were fooling around with ordinary chords and tunes, however weird. Aaaaaargh indeed ! Ferryman, take them straight to Outer Darkness !

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