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Donato di Camillo

In a five minute break from work, while I was mindlessly scrolling down my Facebook news feed, I saw an image that jolted me and made me stop and stare.

It’s a one eyed man, his mouth wide open revealing broken teeth and he’s staring up above him – in surprise or in fear? Is he looking at  the seagull that’s just flown past or at something unseen and terrible in the heavens? Behind his right shoulder is a brightly coloured seaside funfair. To his left, dark clouds are gathering over the pier and out to sea.

It’s like a scene from a film or the first picture from a novel. Except it’s real and it’s the work of a photographer called Donato di Camillo.

Donato is self taught – upon his release from prison, he began taking photos of the people he saw around him in New York, people on the fringes of society, people who are otherwise unseen or ignored.

Donato says:

“I want [my subjects] to understand that the reason I’m photographing them is because I see something in them that I see in me, or that I think the rest of the world could relate to.”

He is a photographer with a real talent for capturing portraits that reveal their subjects at a particular moment in time – sometimes chaotic, sometimes touching, always unique.

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Donato di Camillio’s website

 

 

 

 

 

My first time doing a live radio interview…

As a producer, I’m used to being on one side of the microphone. But during the course of BBC Music Get Playing, an opportunity presented itself for me to do a live radio interview.

I met Miranda Rae through Sound Women. Miranda presents her own show called The Word on Ujima Radio in Bristol. Her programme goes out live every Friday from 1400 to 1600 and is a wonderfully varied mix of art, culture and music.

The Virtual Orchestra deadline was fast approaching and I was trying to get as many people as possible to upload their videos of themselves playing Bizet’s Toreador Song. Miranda asked me if I’d like to go onto the programme to invite her listeners to join the Virtual Orchestra.

At first, I must confess I was was tempted to ask for a pre-recorded interview but soon decided to go for it.

Miranda has interviewed many people during her career including Massive Attack, Roni Size, Neneh Cherry…and now me.

I really enjoyed my first live radio experience and you can hear the interview here.

And you can follow Miranda on Mixcloud and hear more interviews here.

Useful Links

Ujima Radio

Sound Women

Jeff Mills: The Woman in the Moon Cinemix

Last night, I went on a spellbinding trip to the moon – while staying in South East London.

I was sat inside the lovely old theatre The Coronet, watching Woman in the Moon (Frau im Mond, Fritz Lang’s futuristic silent movie from 1929)  while listening to techno DJ  Jeff Mills live mixing his stunning soundtrack.

It was an incredible fusion of the past, the present and the future. Women in the Moon was produced 40 years before the moon landings, and the rocket launch sequences were eerily prescient. Jeff Mills’ sound track underscored the shifting dynamics between the characters as well as underlining the dangers that lie in the overwhelming love of money.

From January 2017, another beautiful venue will be lost in London. The Coronet has been in the Elephant and Castle since 1879 – but will be disappearing next year  as the developers move in.

While I understand the need for progress, I wish gentrification didn’t so often signify the destroying of history, of buildings that made an area special, the universal conformity that seems to follow inevitably in its wake. Look to your left, there’s your luxury new developments. Look to your right – whether you are in Elephant or Castle or Ealing- there’s your Pret, your Starbucks, your Pizza Express.

Woman in the Moon at the Coronet – a nod towards the future and another ending.

 

Beckett Blindfolded: All that Fall

‘I’m going to see a play tonight,’ I told my friends. ‘Except I won’t actually see it -I’ll be wearing a blindfold.’

Their response was confused – but inquisitive. ‘Eh? Why are you wearing a blindfold?’

Because I was going to see Out of Joint’s production of All That Fall. This was Beckett’s lush, lyrical radio play that I read at university and had wanted to ‘see’ for years. I loved the rhythm and flow of the words, the story of Mrs Rooney travelling to the station to collect her blind husband as a surprise on his birthday.

All That Fall - programme cover

Despite being one of Beckett’s more naturalistic plays, All That Fall is not very well known as the playwright was firmly opposed to his radio plays being adapted for the stage or screen. Beckett believed a radio play was ‘for voices not bodies’ and ‘to “act” it is to kill it.’

Theatre company Out of Joint’s answer to this is simple: blindfold the audience.

Stripped of sight, the play is a very intimate, immersive experience. All That Fall takes place in the low lit Victorian brick surroundings of Wilton’s Music Hall. Within a few seconds, I found the music hall was merging with a country Irish road populated with larger than life characters.

Mrs Rooney is a complex woman. She is funny and full of self-pity; she is also determined and loving.  Maddy Rooney will get to the station to collect her husband, no matter what setbacks may befall her on the way.

There are many wonderful 3D sound effects. A bicycle weaving through country lanes, a horse very reluctantly starting to pull its dung cart and a train speeding through the station, so close I could almost feel the wind on my face as it sped by.

The actors move among the audience all the time. Sometimes they are on the opposite side of the auditorium, sometimes they are right next to me, creating long shots and close ups inside my head. This dynamism means each audience member gets a different experience and perhaps an alternative perspective on what did – or didn’t – happen on the train.

Out of Joint has made a great radio play into a wonderful stage production while remaining true to Beckett’s vision of the play. As the director, Max Stafford-Clark says, ‘…there was no vision at all. Beckett’s instruction was that the voices come “as from the void”.’

This aural-only landscape provides both slapstick humour and darkness.  There’s Mrs Rooney the ‘big fat jelly’ being hoisted up into Mr Slocumb’s car. And the train is delayed – for a tragic reason. Go to All That Fall and see what happens in your mind’s eye. Decide how big – or not – Mrs Rooney is – and decide for yourselves whether the very dark end to the play really did occur.

Leap Year – Leap Back to Working Lunch

It’s Monday February 29 2016 – and I have been trying to remember what I was doing last leap year.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t remember 4 years ago but I did uncover something I did in November 2001.

Working Lunch

Not just child’s play was an article I wrote for the Working Lunch website off the back of an item I produced on investing in children’s toys.

It’s fascinating seeing how the BBC websites  have developed since. Selecting the BBC News Front Page link catapulted me straight back to 29 February 2016.

Now I wonder where I’ll be four years from now…

 

The 6 Music Festival and Madonna falling off the stage at The BRITS

February 2016 was a month packed with music.

6 Music Festival

Savages, John Grant and Laura Marling were just some of my personal highlights from the 6 Music Festival in Bristol.

I spent a great weekend working with the web team back in London. I was photo-editing,  deciding which images should be used where on the website – including the single track image, 30 minute set image and the main promotional hero image. I also curated article pages, selecting the best photos which I then used to produce the Highlights article page in Isite2 -for example, Sunday Night’s Best Photos.

Radio 1 

The Monday after the 6 Music Festival, I was in the Pop Hub (which covers Radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 6 Music and the Asian Network).

I wrote my first article for Radio 1 – One Love at Radio 1 – which included dating advice from A-List celebrities Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

On Friday, Ant and Dec were on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. I listened to the broadcast then selected the most shareable clip. As The BRITS are next Wednesday, I chose Ant and Dec’s memories of The BRITS 2015 – which included missing Madonna falling off the stage. I put Ant and Dec’s clip in the Radio 1 Guests Collection and got it featured on the BBC Homepage on Sunday 21 February.

Ant and Dec Homepage

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