June 8, 2009

Sign Circle on Spanish Television

signcircle.jpgThe 3rd Sign Circle Camping Festival was recently held in Lancashire.

The festival was covered by Spanish television, TVE, En lengua de signos. Reporting is by Javier Guisado. The item starts at 16:32, if you can make out international sign or read Spanish.

Congratulations to all those who got this festival off the ground.

December 2, 2008

Four Deaf Yorkshiremen and the Missing Wife

Last weekend was Deaffest at Wolverhampton. Premiered at the event was Charlie Swinbourne's Four Deaf Yorkshiremen and the Missing Wife:

The four grumpy old men (no relation to us!) are arguing over the women they've loved and lost. Written and directed by Charlie Swinbourne, the film was made with the support of Remark! Production and stars John Smith, Matt Kirby, Jonathan Reid and Ilan Dwek. A soundtrack composed by Steven Brown, make-up by Kate Ardern and Matt Brown, while the Farmbrough family providing the location.

The film can also be seen on YouTube, in two parts here and here.

A copy of the dvd is available for purchase, by e mailing - it features photo gallery, posters, trailer and the chance to watch it without subtitles (sign language only). Proceeds from the film will support the production of the next film.

See also:
Trailer: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen and the Missing Wife!
New British Deaf film coming soon!
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen: the whole film!
Photo Friday: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, Make Up
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, A Trailer
Coming Out, Charlie Swinbourne
BBC Access 2.0: Interview with Charlie Swinbourne

Facebook Group: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen

October 6, 2008

Trailer: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen and the Missing Wife!

The film stars John Smith, Matt Kirby, Jonathan Reid and Ilan Dwek, and was made with the support of Remark! Production. It has been entered for the Deaffest Film Festival, so hopefully it'll be seen first on the weekend of 29/30th November in Wolverhampton, UK. The whole film will be released on YouTube on Monday 1st December.

You can join the Four Deaf Yorkshiremen mailing list, mail:

See also:
New British Deaf film coming soon!
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen: the whole film!
Photo Friday: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, Make Up
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, A Trailer
Coming Out, Charlie Swinbourne
BBC Access 2.0: Interview with Charlie Swinbourne

Facebook Group: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen

May 8, 2008

Film: Experience of Tinnitus, from Channel 4's The Shooting Party

The Shooting Party is a series (Sunday mornings) on Channel 4 which follows nine disabled directors.

Two of the participants are deaf:

Sam Dore is 30, profoundly deaf and uses BSL. He has worked in television on Channel 4's VEE-TV, and as a writer/director since 1999 with several short films to his name.He has also worked as a presenter and actor. His short film for The Shooting Party is a music video.

Zoe Cartwright is an art student and a keen photographer and traveller. She has chosen to make her film - - about her experience of tinnitus.

Its always good to see artistic expression. Zoe's film is online, and about tinnitus. Unfortunately there's no subtitles. However, if people wanted to watch, it does contain some English text and gets a bit more visual:

From the visual alone, I can see its well made. I was curious about the audio, and I'm told by a hearing friend, the film starts off as this:

"It's ironic that I can't hear anything, yet for the last 10 years... I've been (unclear) this (unclear sound (shreiking noise) (high pitched with cracking) You think I live in silence but I'm tired of this illusion.."

And so it goes on. They did not have time to translate all, but the the talking stops when the subtitles start, however, the tinnitus noises carry on. Does any of our hearing readers have time to translate this?

For those of you based in the UK, The Shooting Party is on Channel 4 on Sundays around 8.25am. Check the listings here for any time variations.

Note to Channel 4:
To promote diversity, especially a programme about diversity; you really should be subtitling your content.

Ask the Readers:
Do you know of any other films about the experience of tinnitus?

Film: Waterfront

Waterfront - a film produced in 2001 - is available on online:

Total clip time: 7 minutes 20 seconds

For international readers, Old Street is / was in the vicinity of a few deaf organisations.

Writer/Director: William Mager, Producer: Rosa Rogers, Camera: Barbara Nicholls, Edit: Schuman Hoque, Music: Ken Easter, Tsunami Sounds, With thanks to: Maverick Television and Channel 4

Cast: Jonathan Reid, Michael Reid, John Maidens, Cathy Woolley, Alexander James Norris, Joe Healy, William Mager

See also:
Text, Batteries and Earwax and coming soon The Association
Film Trailer: The Association

April 21, 2008

Competition: Win Four Deaf Yorkshiremen on dvd! (And you can buy the dvd too ..)


Remember Four Deaf Yorkshiremen on last year? It was viewed 40,000 times, and also nominated for 'Best UK film' at Deaffest 2007.

The team behind the film are trying to raise some money to make a second film to be filmed this summer. To do this, they've produced a special edition dvd, which includes extra features:

  • The original film with subtitles
  • The film without subtitles (so you can watch in PURE BSL!)
  • The original version (extra 3 minutes!!)
  • Deleted scenes (the jokes that got cut)
  • Photo gallery - photos of the filming
  • Trailer for the film
  • DVD menu

The DVD also comes with two exclusive photos of the 'Four Deaf Yorkshiremen'.

The DVD will have full picture quality and will be a great memento of the film - starring John Smith, Matt Kirby, Ilan Dwek and Jonathan Reid.

How to Buy:

To order e mail:
director (dot) charlie (at) googlemail (dot) com (make the obvious changes) and request an online invoice, or ask for the details as to where to send a cheque.

Note from Alison: Want the second film to be produced? Then I suggest you put your money where your wishes are, and buy the dvd! Deaf talent should be supported and encouraged. :)


To celebrate this dvd launch, we've got an exclusive competition to win a free copy of this dvd (prize donated by the production team).

All you need to do is answer the following question:

Four Deaf Yorkshiremen was based on a famous British comedy sketch made famous by which comedy group?

Answers on an e mail to the following address:
competition (at) grumpyoldeafies (dot) com

The winner will be drawn by the on the 9 May 2008, and they will be notified shortly afterwards. Good luck!

See also:
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen: the whole film!
Photo Friday: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, Make Up
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, A Trailer

April 20, 2008

David Lodge: Deaf Sentence (forthcoming book)

David LodgeDavid Lodge was an author I came across in the early 1990s, when I was a student at the University of Birmingham. He was once a lecturer there, and my flatmate who studied English, happened to have one of his books which I took an interest in. Subsequently became one of my favourite authors, especially for his sense of humour and ability to see irony. I met Lodge at the Hay Festival a couple of years ago (where the above picture was taken).

This is part of what I wrote afterwards:

Lodge is actually hard of hearing, and was conscious of not being able to pick up the questions from the audience. He stated that he would need to get them repeated, but turns out that the audio system was good enough for him to hear. He actually commented, "My wife would like one of these at home", to which he got a response from the audience. [snip]

Lodge being hard of hearing was evident at the book signing, his confidence in interacting with the punters was obvious. [As a good strategy] Everyone had to write the names on paper, what they wanted to appear signed inside their book. He then left communication to his wife, who made small talk. I so wanted to bypass this and communicate with him myself, but I abided by their set etiquette. Mrs Lodge asked where I was from, and being a small town with an added remote factor I was surprised she recognised it. This didn't stop my frustration as to what I was seeing re communication, and I so wanted to communicate direct. Perhaps I will take a line of thosewhoseearsarebroken along next time, to join me.

To get to the point of this post, David Lodge has a forthcoming book called Deaf Sentence (published 1 May). When stumbled across this a few months ago, I was stopped in my tracks. Its title was enough of a give away, and I already I anticipated a certain perspective for a deafened person.

Whilst Lodge is free to write whatever he wanted, I have to admit the thought went through my head "What if he stops being one of my favourite authors, because he won't be able to find any humour in this?!" However, I gritted my teeth and diligently I added the book to my wish list, and to wait for it to be launched.

He has written a piece for today's Sunday Times:

My own awareness of having a hearing problem was more gradual. I was in my late forties, teaching full-time in the English department at Birmingham University and finding it more and more difficult to hear what students were saying in tutorials and seminars. At first I blamed the students for mumbling and murmuring – which many do, of course, out of diffidence or fear of seeming overassertive to their peers – but I had coped well enough in the past.

As a side note - through the eyes of an alumnus - his references to the university is a slightly uncanny. Lodge's fiction can be surreal; his descriptions of a fictional based campus etc, façades of which leaves me screaming, 'That's Birmingham!' However, whilst I had own issues as a deaf person with the same university, my context was different. Sure I had major issues over access (the funding wasn't as it was today, and pre-DDA days); I went through the start of a deaf to Deaf transition. It was the place I learnt to sign, the place I was at when I got assessed for a CI (yes really!) and went through every long drawn out emotion imaginable then rejected it, the place where I started to meet hearing people on different terms, and I had a whole identity crisis in the process. To think I'd only gone there to study law!

Lodge's article whilst honest in its approach for his experience, and not something I would want to take away; however, its somewhat frustrating. You almost want to go and tell him, "Just be deaf! Don't try and exist as a pretend hearie, it really isn't worth it!" Go get speech to text, instead of grapping with playing by hearing rules, with their headphones and so forth, then failing. Because trying to be a pseudo hearie now, is a set up for failure. For a deafened person, one might describe it as a hearie (identity wise) trapped in a deaf body. Yet you almost want to shout, "You need to develop such an attitude towards all hearies including the inner one; you still have things to do, places to see!" There's way too much talent there.

He goes onto expand on what he perceives to be the impact of being deafened on a novelist's life:

However, deafness restricts and thins out the supply of new ideas and experience on which the novelist depends to create his fictions. That former nun’s life story might have been priceless “material” and I regret its loss. I miss opportunities to eavesdrop on humanly revealing conversations on buses and in shops and to keep up with new idioms, coinages and catch-phrases that give flavour and authenticity to dialogue in a novel of contemporary life.

And then further elaborates that, "I have found some relief in writing a novel about it [being deaf]".

I respect as a deafened person he will grieve the loss of his hearing, however one cannot help see a sadness in his undertones. For an author that I hold affection for (from his writing), inside you are almost want to introduce him to positive vibes that can happen from being around deaf people. The amount of good Lodge could do in his position is infinite. His use of 'deafies' in his lingo struck a note, and found myself smiling inwardly. Rock on!

Lodge ends his article, "But I won’t be having a launch party" which saddens me the most. Invite a room full of deafies, you could have a ball.

UPDATE: The Observer (Guardian) has an interview, which gives more away about the book's plot, and draws similarities or difference between personal experience and a fictional character:

So how does Desmond's deafness compare to Lodge's? If this were Deaf Sentence, Lodge would shout: 'How does Desmond's wetness come to be shown?' But in fact, he just frowns, and says: 'It's a heightened and altered version of my experience. Actually, while I was writing the book, my hearing wasn't as bad as I thought it was. My hearing aid had given out. So in some ways, I had a slightly gloomier view of my deafness when I wrote it. Though I shall get to his stage, of course.' But still, though he once complained that deafness was treated in fiction, as in life, as a comic disability rather than a tragic one, such as blindness, he decided to make his novel funny rather than sad.

The Times: Living under a deaf sentence
The Observer (Guardian): Nice work

UPDATE 2: The Progress Educational Trust, who recently organised a debate in Cardiff on ‘Debating Deafness And Embryo Selection: Are We Undermining Reproductive Confidence In The Deaf Community?’ (link points to a transcript), is currently auctioning a copy of a signed Lodge book on eBay.

The Times: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge
Daily Mail: Now it's till deaf do us part

The Independent: Deaf Sentence, Eeyore enters the confessional
All The Young Dudes: The Idol-Maker: David Lodge - Deaf Sentence

The Times: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Is silence really golden?
The Sunday Times: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Deaf Sentence (Amazon link)
David Lodge - Encyclopedia Britannica

April 18, 2008

Behind the Scenes: Deafinitely Theatre's Lipsticks & Lollipops

Good to see Deafinitely Theatre making use of and embracing Web 2.0 as a platform for promotion, and it ups my estimation in progression stakes. You can also see a full list of tour dates on Upcoming. They also have a Facebook group, which includes some pre-production photographs.

January 7, 2008

Deaf Amination: Trip to Yatkumchatka (with subtitles)

Deaf animator James Merry has made one of his animations available with subtitles:


November 29, 2007

Can hearing directors make deaf films?

The Guardian Film blog carries a post by Cathy Hefferman asking Can hearing directors make deaf films? This post follows Deaffest last weekend.

November 25, 2007

Four Deaf Yorkshiremen: the whole film!

Following Deaffest this weekend, Charlie Swinbourne's film Four Deaf Yorkshiremen has been put online:

Total length: 9 minutes 59 seconds

How hard was growing up deaf? In this comedy sketch, four old deaf men try to tell the worst story about their childhood - and there's ten pounds on the table for the 'winner!'

The film was inspired by the classic 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch made famous by Monty Python, but with a new script for a deaf cast.

Written and directed by Charlie Swinbourne, made in association with Remark Production

Starring * John Smith * Ilan Dwek * Matthew Kirby * Jonathan Reid * Camera * Mark Nelson * Make-up * Kellie Moody * Assistant Editor * Fifi Garfield * Runner * David Cassandro * With thanks to The Fox Inn, Yorkshire Dales *

You can also watch the deleted scenes:

Total length: 1 minute 31 seconds

UPDATE: Charlie sez: "Coming Out won best UK film yesterday at Deaffest, so it's been a great weekend! Four Yorkshiremen was nominated as well, and had a great reception from people there".

Congratulations! This is not the first time this film has won an award, as previously blogged the film has won a Clin d'Oeil European Video Award in Paris, and later won the best foreign film voted by the audience at the Viittomakielinen filmifestivaali, a deaf film festival in Finland.

See also:
Photo Friday: Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, Make Up
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, A Trailer
Coming Out, Charlie Swinbourne
BBC Access 2.0: Interview with Charlie Swinbourne

November 1, 2007

Emerging Slovenia: Photography on Cochlear Implants

Currently in London there was an exhibition at the Host Gallery, London entitled Emerging Slovenia, photographs by Borut Peterlin (the exhibition closes this Saturday).

One of the books on display was photography of implanted Slovenian children. Miracle of Science: Rehabilitation of Deaf Children in Croatia

It seems that the cochlear implant programme is a result of fundraising, perhaps in the name of 'progress':

The key event in raising awareness was a campaign called "Let them hear" that began when children of war veterans forfeited their Christmas gifts in favour of donating to a fund. The campaign engaged the nation; everyone from the ordinary worker to the president and the prime minister to celebrities got involved.

There are more images on this page, and one that quotes:

It has been said that technology is digging our own grave. Perhaps, but today's modern medicine with its digital technology is making results, that could be called miracles. How would you otherwise name a surgery that enables a completely deaf child to hear a sound for the first time?

Why is it that hearing people are so ill conceived about normalisation that they hang onto any wrong descriptors?

More photos of the children can be seen here. Images that revokes certain emotions within me, more than words are often capable of.

If you are interested in some of the photographer's general images, they can be found here.

What do you think of this work, and what emotions do the images evoke for you?

October 18, 2007

BBC Video Footage: John Smith, Deaf Comedian

johnsmith.jpgJohn Smith a Deaf Comedian appeared on yesterday's BBC See Hear, also starring James Kearney.

Video footage of this show can now be seen here.

The BBC describes it as:

The first subject he's tackling head on this week is the hidden dangers of the high street - whether it's catching the bus, being asked for directions or even buying a paper, he's here to reveal all.

BBC See Hear, Latest

October 8, 2007

Film Trailer: The Association

A trailer for the forthcoming film - The Association - is now available online:

The film is intended to be a follow on from Text, Batteries and Earwax, following the adventures of of Steve and Lenny. It has been described as "an affectionate poke at life in a deaf charity".

Produced & Directed by Jonathan Reid
Written by Jonathan Reid, Michael Reid, William Mager and John Lewis
Director of Photography: Anna Carrington
Production Manager: Caroline O'Neill
The Association logo designed by James Norris
With thanks to the LDAF, BBC and Shooting People

This film will be released in November 2007, presumably to coincide with the forthcoming Deaffest.

See also:
Text, Batteries and Earwax and coming soon The Association

October 2, 2007

Text, Batteries and Earwax and coming soon The Association

Billy Mager's comedy, Text, Batteries and Earwax is now available on YouTube:

Part 2:

A sequel to this is coming out soon, and it's called 'The Association'. A trailer will be online soon, and you can find out more at Deafo.

Great to see more content being available on mainstream sites, good indirect marketing for filmmakers.

UPDATE: Billy sez, "just wanted to point out that I was only an actor in the film! It was written produced and directed by the infamous Reid brothers, Jonathan and Michael".

September 24, 2007

Coming Out, Charlie Swinbourne

The short film 'Coming Out' - written by Charlie Swinbourne, directed by Louis Neethling (who directed 'Switch'), has been added to YouTube. It stars David Hay, Debbie Norman and Ilan Dwek.

The premiere of this film was at last January's London Deaf Film Festival. The film went on to win a Clin d'Oeil European Video Award in Paris, and last weekend won best foreign film voted by the audience at the Viittomakielinen filmifestivaali, a deaf film festival in Finland.

UPDATE: Tony has done an analysis.

See also:
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, A Trailer
BBC Access 2.0: Interview with Charlie Swinbourne

September 13, 2007

Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' in ASL

The Simon Lee Gallery (London) is showing a short film by Jordan Wolfson, which shows Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' speech in ASL.

The official press release [PDF] quotes:

Jordan Wolfson’s films installations and videos have been so described. In his film of Charlie Chaplin’s speech from ‘The Great Dictator’, transposed into sign language, Wolfson makes a subjective political statement using the assumption that the work is political and the history that the work references is an opportunity to propose questions about the world we live in.

If you are anywhere near London and wish to see this, screen is until the 29 September 2007.

August 3, 2007

Playing God reviewed by a Deafie

My (edited) review of Playing God is up now. See it if you can!


July 31, 2007

More Reviews of Playing God, Deafinitely Theatre

playinggod.jpgDeafinitely Theatre's 'Playing God' (a play about cochlear implants) is still getting reviews in the mainstream press.

BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 last Friday covered this issue. For those people who are hearing its the 0830 - 0900 slot, where you can listen to the programme. There's no transcript on their website - a major shortcoming of the BBC, and something they've been pulled up on in the past. Said they would always provide a transcript on their website for deaf content, but hey, history has the habit of repeating itself.

More Reviews: Guardian x2 & Evening Standard

The Guardian reviewed this twice here and here, plus I'm also aware of the This is London (Evening Standard), plus the Times Online (which was previously blogged about).

The Arts as an effective medium to communicate a political message?

Whatever these issues, and how much the mainstream likes to impose their norms which influences reviews, it brings an interesting point how you can get a political message across via the arts. The point is: the message is getting raised in the media. Anyone who is familiar with activism or campaigning, will be familiar with how it is sometimes difficult to get the media to take note of your cause, and include it in their output. A message through the arts adds another angle, and can be a learning point for us all. Spread out efforts across all possibilities, and reach to different audiences. Sending out a message through this art form targets the theatre crowd (this is showing at a West End venue), and reaching to those who would be inclined to read art reviews, who perhaps otherwise might be apathetic to such issues.

Perhaps more politics should be distributed through art forms, as it becomes a more acceptable and mainstream way of getting a message across, something hardcore activism such as demos cannot? I'm not dismissing the latter, just standing back and thinking about impact here.

What do you think?

Full text of the reviews are in the extended entry for this post, mainly so the text can be accessed at future dates.

See also:
Playing God, Times Online

Photo Credit: This is London

Continue reading "More Reviews of Playing God, Deafinitely Theatre" »

Deaf Graffiti

Found the below on Flickr, which always makes me wonder if a Deaf person created this, and who they are.


Source taken by justanuptowngirl.

See also this picture taken of the word "Deaf" in Winnipeg.

Does anyone else know of any Deaf Graffiti?

See also:
Sign Language Graffiti

July 27, 2007

Playing God, Times Online


The Times Online is carrying a review of Playing God, produced by Deafinitely Theatre. Should you wish to go and see this production, a direct link to the play's page on the theatre's website can be found here.

Continue reading "Playing God, Times Online" »