Prestige Arts Venues – What’s the Creative Cost?

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May 312013

Are we spending too much money on ‘official’ arts venues and creating spaces in which only ‘officially sanctioned’ work can take place? I’ve just found out that the Cornerhouse gallery in Manchester is being merged with the Manchester Library Theatre as a “major contribution to the arts in Manchester, the UK and internationally”.

I’m increasingly worried that radical and alternative voices are not going to be heard in the UK, as a more corporate approach is imposed. Is it right that the first question that an artist is asked about their work is how does it enhance the ‘brand’ of a city or venue? This kind of thing is great for the prestige of the city leaders, but there’s always a line drawn that defines the ‘insiders’ and the ‘outsiders’. I wonder who the new outsiders are going to be?

No Quarter Given Production Roles Planning

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Jan 102013

No Quarter Given Show Planning Spreadsheet

I spent this afternoons session for TECH3013 Advanced Radio Production working with the programme team to map out roles and task for the coming No Quarter Given Shows. Using Google Docs we have set-up a spreadsheet on which all of the key jobs and tasks are allocated and laid-out in a grid. This means that we can keep a track of who is supposed to be doing what and when. Google Docs has improved loads in recent times and means that we can share the document between us and update information as we go along.

Hopefully this means that the production process for the future content for No Quarter Given will be more efficiently produced and we can think about gaining access to bigger names and events. To help plan each programme we are using a document that gives the running order of the items, their timing and the script information that should be associated with the items. I like the idea of developing the scripted content for the programme. It means focussing before we venture in to the studio and really thinking about what we want to say.

At the beginning of March is the Cultural Exchanges Festival at De Montfort University, which we will be covering extensively for the programme. We are thinking of undertaking some live shows and building-in some more adventurous content, such as a live music performance. All into an hour on a Saturday morning?

No Quarter Given – Concept Development

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Jan 102013

No Quarter Given Website

I’ve been thinking about how the No Quarter Given Show that learners on my final year radio production module can be developed. We have been producing programmes that are broadcast each week on DemonFM, every Saturday from 12 to 1pm. A small group of learners have been consistent about developing and producing the content, but it doesn’t feel like it is enough, and the momentum that we gained in the early stages of the programme is in danger of falling back and slowing down.

I’ve taken a bit of a plunge and set-up a blog site at that will interface with a Twitter feed and a Facebook page. The aim is to post and share content on the site and the pages, and then link them with the DemonFM site so that the content can be reformatted and pushed on as a podcast or as part of the DemonFM website.

I’ve not done any design for the site or the pages yet, other than to use a temporary image and logo that can fit into Twitter, Facebook and an iTunes feed. We will be linking the site to as many feeds and RSS accounts associated with the Leicester arts scene as we can. There is a lot of content that is generated in other site that we can reversion and use to supplement the original content that we produce.

The aim is to develop the site as a multimedia site that uses every form of media – video, images, audio and written content. I will be hosting the site myself, which will mean that I’ll be able to develop the capability of the site at my own pace and using the independent resources that are available to me. It also means that I can give users an email address each if they need it.

I hope this little expedition pays off, and that it allows the learners and other contributors to widen their net, and to take a much broader view of what they are able to produce. Who knows, the more that opportunities there are for sites like this to interconnect with each other, the more we can grow and support the arts and media in Leicester.

Arts Cinema & West End Late Screenings

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Jan 092013

Fellini’s La Dolce Vita

At the weekend I had a couple of late nights in London, but as I’m well past the age of clubbing I wanted to find a late night cinema and watch an off-the-beaten-path movie. It was pretty disappointing that that vast majority of cinemas in central London don’t seem to run any films past midnight at the weekend. I’d have thought that there is a massive market in London for people who want to spend a few hours in the cinema catching-up with an art film.

Perhaps I am an old romantic, but I was in the mood for a Fellini, a Bergman, a Truffaut or a Hitchcock. Instead the films on offer in central London where the same that I can get back at home – only slightly earlier than the screenings in Leicester. Even that bastion of cultural naffness Time Out is getting a sense of the decline of the London art cinema scene. “A mood of doom and gloom has descended over the London film scene.”

Perhaps there isn’t really a market out there any more for art cinema in public places, with the rise of home cinema and the import of global cinema via the internet our film culture is very different than it was. I can’t help thinking we are missing an essential alternative to the booze-fueled club and bar culture that soaks up so much of the late night life of our cities.

I pray for the chance to walk from a late night showing as the rain beats down on the dusty city, the collar of my coat upturned against the cold, Woodbine in hand and a head full of cinematic dreamscapes.