Helen Smith will be appearing on panels at Malice Domestic (3 May, USA) and CrimeFest (16 May,UK)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Capital Children's Choir

A song by 24-yr old Lily Allen, written for her mother. Sung by the Capital Children's Choir. Thanks to Gladys Ong (who may or may not be a middle-aged man) for bringing this lovely version to my attention.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Updated Look


I've updated my website and cut my hair.

Foto8 Summer Show

Last night I went to the launch party for the Foto8 summer show of photographs at Host Gallery in Honduras Street. Apparently there were more than 2,300 submissions from around the world for the show. Just over 100 of these were chosen for the exhibition and my friend Rob Hackman has two photos in it, both taken in Albania.

Pretty much all the photos in the exhibition are amazing. It's on until September and well worth a look if you're in London.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Splendid & Miniaturists

On Friday I went along to the screening of the pilot of a half hour sketch show called Splendid, written by friends Jason Arnopp, Piers Beckley, Sarah Morgan*, Dan Turner (who also directs and produces) and Richard David Glover (who also writes and performs, together with an excellent ensemble cast) and then on Sunday I went to The Miniaturists at The Arcola, an evening of short plays by more friends: David Eldridge and Stephen Sharkey (who also produces The Miniaturists), and Lisa McGee, Nancy Harris and Deborah Pearson.

The beauty of The Miniaturists is that each of the plays is self-contained, existing for its own sake rather than as an extract of a longer play that the writer hopes to get commissioned elsewhere. The variety and brevity of the evening's entertainment is one of the many attractions of The Miniaturists for the audience, each play fully rehearsed and performed with such props and set as the space will allow, with a different cast, different directors, different writers for each short piece.

And although clearly the intention must be to get Splendid commissioned, the pilot had been made to broadcast standard and could be watched and enjoyed as an end in itself, rather than as a taster for 'the sort of thing' that could be made if a broadcaster stumps up some development money. I really thought it was excellent - clever, funny and original. Details of those involved are here.

Tony Garnett has written on the WGGB site about how the development and commissioning process for TV drama can stifle creativity. While it's clearly not an option for most people to create and produce a half hour TV show to broadcast standard without funding, and nor is the performance of a short play going to be a substitute for getting a TV drama series commissioned if that is your aim, still it's instructive to see what can be achieved when a company of creative people - writers, directors, actors and technicians - get together and do it for the hell of it, without having to ask permission.

* see comments re my dear, dear friends mentioned in this post. Actually I don't know Sarah at all. But apparently she's lovely.