Dan Dare Takes Off Once More!

The iconic British Sci-Fi character Dan Dare has returned to the airwaves in a new audio series produced by B7 Media for Big Finish. The hero’s new incarnation takes off sonically with a reassuring swoosh of jet sounds in the first seconds of the opening episide, Dan Dare: Voyage To Venus, written by Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle. The listener is dropped directly into the breathless action of a cocky, confident test pilot who is recruited for the latest British space program. The rest of the show is pure audio adrenaline.

If it all comes through in a rush, it’s supposed to. Dan Dare began as a comic book in 1950, and quickly morphed into a radio series that gets called back at least once a generation. Referred to as the “British Buck Rogers,” the fast-paced series relies on hard Sci-Fi settings (spaceships, antagonistic aliens) wedded to furious plotting in order to deliver maximum entertainment. He has become almost as much a touchstone of British Sci-Fi culture as Doctor Who, being referenced, for example, in songs by pop-rock icons Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Art of Noise and Elton John. A punk bank, the Mekons, took their name from the primary villains in the Dare mythos.

As audio drama, it’s not Shakespeare, but then again, it’s not meant to be. The series is not afraid of entertaining its audience. Despite its decline in Canada (the CBC stopped producing audio drama in 2012, for example), the medium remains wildly popular in Britain and countless other territories around the globe. Indeed, audio drama is still a vital art form, one that pauses to re-invigorate itself every few years.

Dan Dare is one of those periodic revivals, full of energy and insight on why a non-visual medium would become so imaginative. The comic book narrative transferred to the air makes for an ideal listening situation, allowing its audience to fill in the images for themselves. The delivery mechanism has changed (podcasts, direct downloads), but the wonder remains.

With expertly executed direction by Mark Andrew Sewell of B7 Media, a top-notch cast (Ed Stoppard as Dare, Geoff McGivern as Digby, Heida Reed as Peabody, and Raad Rawi as The Mekon), and fabulous music by Imram Ahmad, the cast and crew of Dan Dare: Voyage To Venus deliver a blast of pure audio excitement that sets the stage for an exciting series of Sci-Fi adventure.

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View 902 Podcast Episode 2 – Dillon Garland

In this episode of the View 902 podcast, Paul Kimball is joined by his good friend and fellow director Dillon Garland for a discussion about the state of independent filmmaking in Nova Scotia, particularly for a young filmmaker like Dillon, as well as his first feature film Afraid to Speak, which debuted this past fall at the Parrsboro Film Festival after being snubbed by the Atlantic Film Festival (which they discuss). Along the way, Dillon talks about his upbringing in the Shelburne region, what inspired him to get into filmmaking in the first place, and where he wants to go from here. Paul and Dillon also get into an in-depth conversation about what it’s like working with actors, and how trust between actors and a director is fundamental to being a successful filmmaker. Finally, they manage to find time to chat about pro wrestling, telepathic space otters, and their experiences at the old Shelburne Sound Stage.

Dillon Garland is an award-winning filmmaker based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Originally from Barrington, Nova Scotia. Dillon graduated from the Centre for Arts and Technology in 2012 with a Diploma in Digital Filmmaking. He has since directed over thirty music videos, for artists including The Stanfields, The Town Heroes, Like A Motorcycle, Jon Mullane, and Gloryhound. He has won two East Coast Music Awards, two Hollywood Music in Media Awards, an IMEA Music Award, a Los Angeles Music Award, and a Music Nova Scotia Award. His short films include St. Rick, Last Day of Fall, and Ageless, which won the Best Short Film Award at the 2013 CAT Film Festival. He produced, wrote and directed the web series Leon, has worked on the television series Big Brother Canada, Amazing Race Canada, and The Bachelor Canada, and served as the Assistant Director on the feature films Roundabout and Exit Thread. In 2016 Dillon’s first feature film, Afraid to Speak, debuted at the Parrsboro Film Festival.

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Happy Birthday to CHNS

What do legendary country star Hank Snow and I have in common? Well, we both worked at the landmark Halifax radio station CHNS… sort of. Hank did the morning wake-up slot at 8 am when CHNS was broadcasting out of the Lord Nelson in the early 1930s. The Depression was in full throttle and his wife worked in the Moirs Chocolate factory, where the Scotiabank Centre is today.

I, on the other hand, worked on a Junior Achievement posting in High School in 1976 and 1977 at CHNS, where we produced one half-hour show per week. We recorded on Wednesday or Thursday nights when the station was located in a beautiful Art Deco building on Tobin Street deep in Halifax’s South End. The show was then broadcast at 8 pm on Sunday Night, right before ‘Dutch Corner’, a program for the Netherlands’ Community in Nova Scotia.

It was the Sunday Night Community access slot, a ratings dead zone that demanded none of CHNS real stars – at the time they were Frank Lowe, Johnny Gold and Jerry (Jer Bear) Lawrence. Lawrence would ascend to the Nova Scotia legislature a few years later, being the first wheelchair-bound MLA, and a formidable force who brought the first accessibility issues to government buildings and to the business community.

Working around and being advised by those radio heavyweights of the time was something of a thrill. Media seemed remote to most of us teenagers, and to actually produce a real program, with real advertisements, music and commentary, catapulted our small but merry company into what we thought was the “big time.”

CHNS may have morphed through several incarnations, having moved from Tobin Street with a couple of ownership changes in between. But it’s still there pumping out music when the pundits said that radio is a dead issue in the age of the internet. That’s what they said with television, and when vinyl went out and CDs came in. Now vinyl is back. And Radio is indeed as alive as ever. Long live CHNS, and may radio continue to live forever.

For my part, I’m happy to have played a very minor part in Halifax’s first major radio station.

So… Happy 90th birthday CHNS!

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