Magic Lantern film club
The big idea:
you enjoy a magical evening of film, friends and wonder.
Supporting Awamu charity, working with vulnerable kids in the slums of Kampala who dare to dream big.

Fahrenheit 451 – Bristol Library Magic 5/3/14

5.3.14 Bristol Central Library. 68 attendees. £681.15 raised

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The big screen next to @Bristol provided the first clue as to what shenanigans would unfold during the Magic Lantern extravaganza, displaying a quote from the evening’s film as individual people-units gathered in Millennium square.


Agents Bradshaw and MacFarlane saw that each human was -not so- carefully checked for contraband literature before giving them a badge to gain access to Phase 2 processing.

Units were guided through Millenium Square, along Magic Lane and to the back entrance of the Central Library in Bristol where the head ‘non-reader’ Andrew Cox revealed that ten incinerators were in constant use to rid the city of dangerous books.


Agent Jennings was on hand to secure attendees in the holding pen before they were briefed on entry to the incinerator room.


Contraband literature was taken from attendees and placed in the first incinerator by operatives Browning and Browning. Full of books, the button ‘451’ (the number of degrees farenheit at which paper supposedly burns) was pressed and the books were duly torched.


Having been relieved of their books, over 60 magic seekers were led around this five story, iconic establishment of non-learning.

Due to the massive energy consumption of the incinerators, lighting was at a minimum, but thankfully only a couple of attendees were lost during the tour. Starting in the basement where 270,000 reference and lending store books are housed, Agent Cox led the crowd up dark wooden staircases, into paneled rare book rooms, (usually closed to the public), around balconies, down spiral staircases and through neoclassical corridors of abhorrent learning.


The tour neared its end in the arched vaulting of the main atrium where the living sculpture ‘the Book Hive’ resides. This ludicrous testament to misguided human endeavor celebrates 400 wasteful years of public libraries in Bristol, during which time residents used to actually borrow and read books (!).

ML_bookhiveAt the culmination of the tour, a plethora of cakes and tea were on hand, made and donated by professional healthy cake maker – Agent Efi (no sugar or butter! Who knew?!), Rhiannon, Jon, Annie and Kerry. Expertly served by magic volunteers Annie, Dom and Elena.

Agent Cox welcomed viewers to the screening area (the children’s library section) and introduced the film, Fahrenheit 451, based on the 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. Agent Cant, projectionist extraordinaire started the screening in what some might say was the best magic lantern yet…


Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name. Guy Montag is a firefighter who lives in a lonely, isolated society where books have been outlawed by a government fearing an independent-thinking public. It is the duty of firefighters to burn any books on sight or said collections that have been reported by informants. People in this society including Montag’s wife are drugged into compliancy and get their information from wall-length television screens. After Montag falls in love with book-hoarding Clarisse, he begins to read confiscated books. It is through this relationship that he begins to question the government’s motives behind book-burning. Montag is soon found out, and he must decide whether to return to his job or run away knowing full well the consequences that he could face if captured. Written by Brian Rathjen

ml-bookDuring the film credits, and in a fitting end to a most extraordinary night, Agent Bradshaw wheeled-in some books rescued from the cinders of the incinerators. Amongst those saved were two copies of Ed Milliband’s biography and the screenplay to the film Deliverance… hmm maybe there is something to be said in outlawing these pesky books! Or something better not said about the calibre of Magic Lantern attendees….


100% of the £681.15 raised from the Magic Lantern processing event will go to the inspirational woman and children from AWAMU working in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Special thanks to Jo Keeling for photographizing and Mark Leech for linking up all the people to make it happen!

Check out this awesome video of Ray Bradbury talking about his love of books. It made me cry!


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