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BUDDY HOLLY WEEK...1994 STYLE
Confucius he say "If it's the seventh day of the ninth month it must be party time". Duly celebrating the nineteenth Buddy Holly Week, Paul and Linda were among the revellers keen to rave on at the latest incarnation of a great annual institution.
Sometimes even the breadth of a hair can be too fine a measure to sort out the winner from the runner-up. At the climax of this year's Buddy Holly Week, sponsored and arranged as ever by Paul McCartney's MPL company, two young directors were neck and neck in line for first prize in the Buddy Holly Video Competition, this year's theme.
The panel of esteemed judges had accorded the pair the same number of points, and it was only on a technicality too confusing to explain in less than a few hundred words that first prize was awarded to one Graham Fink. Maybe Lady Luck played her part though — it chanced to be Graham's birthday, and he ended up walking away with some unexpected presents: a trophy, a cheque for £1000 and a fast forward in his career as a budding video director. Geoff Walker, who had every right to feel mightily disappointed, put on a brave face as he collected his runner's-up cheque for £500. Third prize, and £250, went to Gary Howarth, a student from Cheltenham and Gloucester College.
Indeed, it proved a big day for all six competitors in the Buddy Holly Video Competition. All the submissions were witty and/or just plain entertaining. Winner Fink had assembled a clever film to accompany Holly's 'Peggy Sue', wherein people in the street sang into a pair of black horn-rimmed Holly specs attached to a camera. Runner-up Walker had produced a video with engaging, childlike animation; Howarth's submission had a Holly imitator on stage, monochrome footage melting into colour towards its end. There was an animated 'Rave On' and a collection of archive footage for '(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care', the works of David Brunskill and the Burnley College Media group, and — a huge laugh this - a hilarious 'True Love Ways' put together by four chaps from Glasgow masquerading under the wild name Lenin and McCarthy. A prize they did not win, but Lenin and McCarthy did amass the biggest cheer from the audience, and an offer from British TV presenter James Whale, sitting therein, to include their three minutes of inspired madness in his coming weekend's programme.
But Whale's was not the only recognisable face in the crowd, for the Buddy Holly Week lunch party, held in London as it usually is, again attracted an interesting bunch. As hosts, Paul and Linda McCartney were in town to welcome their guests, who included Hamish Stuart — good to see him again; now living back in the UK Hamish is currently writing music that he intends to record before the year is out — artists Peter Blake, Humphrey Ocean and David Oxtoby, actor-friend Victor Spinetti, DJs Mike Read, Tony Prince and Paul Gambaccini, musician Zoot Money, writer John Beecher, TV presenters Peter Sissons and Clive Anderson, and video directors Geoff Dunbar, Geoff Wonfor and Kevin Godley.
And get this: as Master of Ceremonies Tony Prince reminded, next year's party, September 1995, will be the centrepiece of the twentieth Buddy Holly Week. Now who would ever have thought...?
Two Pauls and a Graham - Video Competition winner Graham Fink (left) with Messrs McCartney and Gambaccini, at the 1994 Buddy Holly Week party. Inset: stills from the winning video