Friday, 21 September 2012

Robert Pereno - 'The Promoter' documentary uncovers his story!

Once upon a time in the early 1980s there was a group called Shock. they cut across various disciplines - combining dance, performance art, robotic dancing and electronic music to create a fushion that went down well in the clubs, but some how never quite crossed over in to the 'mainstream' pop charts despite the best efforts of musical collaborators Rusty Egan (Visage) and Richard Burgess (Landscape).

Some of you may recall that back in #12 of re:VOX we spoke to two of the members of the group - Tim Dry and Barbie Wilde - but while we later spoke to LA Richards for a feature still to be scheduled. But while this was happening it turns out that another memeber of the group, Robert Pereno, was being filmed throughout much of last year for a documentary about his own extraordinary life. It's called The Promoter, and here's the exclusive story (with many thanks to producer Sam Edwards for taking the time to answer all our questions) from re:VOX#17, out now...

When film producer Sam Edwards screened Stealing Elvis at the Film Club in the Sanctum Hotel, Soho in London, she had no idea that showing her first award-winning feature there would lead to her working on a film about the man running that very club, Robert Pereno; previously mentioned in these pages (back in #12) for his work as part of the early 1980s pop/dance troupe Shock.

"Robert is an old friend of mine, getting on for thirty years", Sam Edwards told us, and "I offered to help out at the Film Club". It was then that a strange confluence of events came together. At the same time, Sam now reveals, "My husband, and director, Ed Edwards was eager to start on a new feature film. When Robert asked if we would come and film on his birthday 4th April 2011 – so he could have a record of the day – his home and the film club was full of so many interesting people that we've all known through the years. Robert himself is such a vibrant, charming and funny character with an intriguing past and I said to Ed, ‘this is it, our next film – I think we should make a documentary about him".

Fortunately, Pereno thought it was a "great idea", and they began to film him every week before a film screening at the club, building up a selection of cinéma vérité sequences. "Robert would think of scenarios which he would film, and he would prepare speeches, quotations and pieces to camera about his life". More conventional interviews with Adam Ant, Rusty Egan, LA Richards, Mark Fuller and Eve Ferret were then captured to further "illuminate his story", Sam adds. "It was an eventful year, one that saw Robert go off the rails, his marriage end and for him to have to reinvent himself once again". In the end, the documentary – made for Ed and Sam’s own Ragged Crow production company (formed in 2008) – took over a year to complete up to close of post-production this summer.

This process of reinvention is also very much the hook around which The Promoter revolves, as its promotional material stresses. "Robert Pereno should be a household name", it begins, "however every time he is on the verge of greatness, he somehow manages to mess it up.  This is his story.
An infamous club promoter, actor and singer who describes himself as a bi-polar, loquacious narcissist, Robert Pereno is a seductive, charming and brutally honest man.  The Promoter follows a year in his life… Robert gives an overview of his past from a privileged up-bringing in ex-pat Calcutta during the 60s, to his foray into music, acting and club land."

The film will now be submitted to various key film festivals, with a website now live at: www.the, where a trailer should now be running too. Various other activities are planned for Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Robert will soon be starting his own blog for the movie, as a "keen diarist and a great blogger" anyway, and once a film festival premiere has been arranged, this will be followed by on-line flyers, trailers on YouTube, Vimeo and by "promotion with contacts we have in the local and national press". You can also view their award-winning Wardance, and their most recent short film Crossfire – a love story filmed against the actual backdrop of the London riots in 2011, which opened recently at The London Independent Film Festival 2012 – at

You can never win them all!

One of the joys of running a printed magazine - okay, perhaps 'joy' is the wrong word - is that there will inevitably be an extra bit of news that appears just after you go to press, even after sneaking in a few very last minute extra items before hitting the deadline to go to print. Such was the case, in as many issues, with the latest edition of re:VOX. Only two days after the first issues were printed came additional details about the vinyl release of Ultravox's new Brilliant album, which is to be released in clear vinyl and with early copies also including an exclusive poster.

Clear vinyl releases were first adopted by Ultravox in 1980, after being signed to Chrysalis, when they realised that clear vinyl was always pure vinyl, and so the highest quality, whereas the tradition black vinyl would inevitably contain recycled elements. For Ultravox using clear vinyl for the first pressings of a single was another way of maintaining the high quality threshold that they set themselves, but strangely although their twelve inch releases were also later pressed up on clear vinyl too, this practice was never extended to their albums.

Their Lament picture disc was the exception, though. This, very unusually, used two seperate clear vinyl sides with a double-sided picture sandwiched between them. At the time picture discs were generally created using a much harder vinyl, with a markedly inferior playing quality, and so they were only ever really suitable for display rather than play. This made the picture disc for Lament an unusually high quality item.

This makes the vinyl edition of Brilliant a doubly special one, and its a really nice touch from the band, and one that will be cherished for years to come. It's only going to be available from Townsend Records, so do check out their website when you get a moment.

I'm very pleased with the latest issue of re:VOX. I was worried that it was going to seem a little disjointed, but Issue 17 has come together far better than I hoped, not least because of some excellent photos from a wide variety of contributors - some regulars and some new to our pages - but also thanks to Chris Cross for taking the time to talk to us about the new album, and Vladimar Kruglov for allowing us to run a compilation of the reams of chart data he spent several years collecting and posting up on the forum over at the official Ultravox website at:

Look out for more Brilliant-themed content in re:VOX over the next few issues, alongside various other items being hatched up. It almost doesn't seem possible, but we've been going for almost twelve years now and yet there's still more to cover in the future. I can't wait.

And if you've booked tickets for the tour, which started in Bristol tonight, I hope you have a great time - the two-gig-in-one format should be a phenomenal spectacle in terms of the material they can play, both old and new.