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TITLE
Ron Miller on Jimmy Nairn (2 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_RONMILLER_02
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Ron Miller
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2210
KEYWORDS
cinemas
audio

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Scottish amateur film producer and director, Ron Miller, created a film in 1979 called 'Movieman'; a documentary about the life of Jimmy Nairn, Inverness cinema manager, photographer, and amateur film maker. The documentary was shown to an appreciative audience, including Mr. Nairn himself, at La Scala cinema, Inverness. In this audio extract, Bill Sinclair asks Ron Miller how he acquired the archive material for the documentary. The photograph shows Jimmy painting a background for the Fairyland Café.

Interviewer: Did you find that the Inverness shots, some of the old Freedom Ceremonies, for instance, how did you get all that material?

Some had been shot by Mr. Nairn or by a cameraman in the area at the time, others came from the commercial newsreel archives which are a really wonderful source of material because, being commercially minded, you see, they keep everything. And, better than that, they make everything available. So you can approach them and say, 'I want so many feet of such and such' and they will find it for you and they'll make it available at whatever the going rate is.

Interviewer: Inverness people, I'm sure, must have enjoyed the scene of the old Fairyland Café in the old Playhouse. It seemed to be quite recent film considering the fire?

That dates, I think, back to 1970 and a lucky accident, that was, because at that time the very fast colour film stock suddenly became available and I happened to get hold of some of this and I thought, 'Well, what better subject than the Fairyland Café?' So, I arranged a session, set up my lights, and shot that piece of film, and fortunately, because that is now the only living record that exists of the café.

Interviewer: Yes. What do you think is going to happen to this film? Is it - ? Would you say it's more of archive material or for Inverness local interest?

I don't think it's really Inverness locally. I think it's one of these universal stories because he, I think, would appeal as a person to anybody, really.

Interviewer: People in the north, of course, just think of the cinema and Mr. Nairn; the two, two -

the two together.

Interviewer: - two things go together.

Well, yes. That happened to me as well. I'm an Aberdonian now, by absorption if you like. I don't live anymore in Inverness and I suddenly heard about the destruction of the Playhouse through a friend. And for three or four weeks I went around considering, you know, thinking in my mind, you know, it wasn't the Playhouse that had disappeared, it was Mr. Nairn had died. It was a slightly uncanny feeling in a way and I kept having to remind myself that 'No, no, it's just the building', you see?

Well, I hope that the - in future, Mr. Miller, this new life, shall we say, of the cinema in the Highlands, with the new La Scala, which we're sitting in just now, will bring forth lots more interesting films in the future

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Ron Miller on Jimmy Nairn (2 of 2)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1980s; 1990s

cinemas; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Jimmy Nairn

Scottish amateur film producer and director, Ron Miller, created a film in 1979 called 'Movieman'; a documentary about the life of Jimmy Nairn, Inverness cinema manager, photographer, and amateur film maker. The documentary was shown to an appreciative audience, including Mr. Nairn himself, at La Scala cinema, Inverness. In this audio extract, Bill Sinclair asks Ron Miller how he acquired the archive material for the documentary. The photograph shows Jimmy painting a background for the Fairyland Café.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Did you find that the Inverness shots, some of the old Freedom Ceremonies, for instance, how did you get all that material? <br /> <br /> Some had been shot by Mr. Nairn or by a cameraman in the area at the time, others came from the commercial newsreel archives which are a really wonderful source of material because, being commercially minded, you see, they keep everything. And, better than that, they make everything available. So you can approach them and say, 'I want so many feet of such and such' and they will find it for you and they'll make it available at whatever the going rate is. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Inverness people, I'm sure, must have enjoyed the scene of the old Fairyland Café in the old Playhouse. It seemed to be quite recent film considering the fire?<br /> <br /> That dates, I think, back to 1970 and a lucky accident, that was, because at that time the very fast colour film stock suddenly became available and I happened to get hold of some of this and I thought, 'Well, what better subject than the Fairyland Café?' So, I arranged a session, set up my lights, and shot that piece of film, and fortunately, because that is now the only living record that exists of the café.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes. What do you think is going to happen to this film? Is it - ? Would you say it's more of archive material or for Inverness local interest? <br /> <br /> I don't think it's really Inverness locally. I think it's one of these universal stories because he, I think, would appeal as a person to anybody, really. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: People in the north, of course, just think of the cinema and Mr. Nairn; the two, two - <br /> <br /> the two together. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: - two things go together.<br /> <br /> Well, yes. That happened to me as well. I'm an Aberdonian now, by absorption if you like. I don't live anymore in Inverness and I suddenly heard about the destruction of the Playhouse through a friend. And for three or four weeks I went around considering, you know, thinking in my mind, you know, it wasn't the Playhouse that had disappeared, it was Mr. Nairn had died. It was a slightly uncanny feeling in a way and I kept having to remind myself that 'No, no, it's just the building', you see?<br /> <br /> Well, I hope that the - in future, Mr. Miller, this new life, shall we say, of the cinema in the Highlands, with the new La Scala, which we're sitting in just now, will bring forth lots more interesting films in the future