[image of a universe with the pupil of an eye in the centre]
Dark City Podcasts are a series of interviews by veteran blind broadcaster Alan Dyte, with members of the visually impaired community, made in Bristol between October 2018 and April 2019
Interviewer: Alan Dyte – Alan was educated at the Bristol Royal School for the Blind – class of 1948 – and City of Bristol College. Alan is well known for his long standing role as a producer and reporter for BBC Radio Bristol from 1974 – 2003. Now retired he continues to be active and involved in many local initiatives including the Bristol Blind Bowling Club for which he is the chair, and producing and presenting on BABBERS radio programme on Uijima, a weekly broadcast run by and for Bristol elders.
Optometrist: Amar Shah – Amar is an Optometrist and practice owner of Boots Opticians, Keynsham. He is chair of the Local Optical Committee and has had numerous involvements with sight loss charities both nationally and locally. He helps with the Living with Sight Loss programme that is run via RNIB and recently became a trustee with Vision West of England. When he is not working, Amar enjoys spending time with his young family.
Information on each of the interviewees is published below as podcasts are made public.
18th April – click here for Dark City Podcast 2
Podcast 2 interviewees:
Barrington Chambers – Ever since he was little, Barrington looked up to his Grandma and Grandad, his aunties and uncles and dreamed of playing music just like them. They advised him not to follow music as a career as it didn’t bring in much money and encouraged him to continue with education. So Barrington became a mechanical engineer. Since having to give up this job due to sight loss through Glaucoma, music has become his main focus – reggae in particular (the music of his family through the ages). He started the Bristol Reggae Orchestra 10 years ago with others. The orchestra plays extensively including at Bristol’s Harbour side festival each year, St Paul’s carnival, the Colston Hall, Southbank in London. His creative inspiration is unsurprisingly music, reggae in particular and he has chosen – ‘Treat The Youths Right’ by Jimmy Cliff. You can find out more about the Bristol Reggae Orchestra here.
Marc Gulwell – currently activities and development officer at Vision West of England which is a relatively new sight loss charity that was formed in April 2018 to provide services and opportunities for blind and partially sighted people across the Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire areas.
Marc has a rare condition called Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) and lost his central vision 12 years ago, almost overnight. He is a blind sports pioneer founding the Gloucester Growlers VI cricket team. He is now bringing the same can do attitude to his role in Bristol starting VI cricket, football and tennis clubs in Bristol. Marc also writes comedic blogs on blindness. You can access these blogs here.
28th March – click here for Dark City Podcast 1
Podcast 1 Interviewees;
Sally Rodrigues – Sally contracted Uveitis as a child and is now blind. Always a keen sportswoman, Sally has enjoyed various experiences of sailing, starting off on large yachts with the east Anglian sailing trust and working her way down to dinghy sailing. She has been the blind national sailing champion since October 2016 and in March 2017 was chosen to represent the GB squad at the International Match racing sailing competition in Salerno, Italy and is a team GB Gold and Silver medallist from Beijing Blind Sailing Championships. Sally is a registered relaxation therapist and a keen cyclist. She is passionate about music and in the podcast shares a piece that has inspired her; Fingles Cave by Mendelssohn
John Vickery – John was born with congenital cataracts and nystagmus. He latterly also developed glaucoma associated with type two diabetes. He is Treasurer of Avon Sports and Leisure club for the Visually Impaired, is a member of Bristol Blind Bowlers and helps run the Greville Smyth Bowling club in South Bristol. John spent 40 years employed at the Bristol Royal Infirmary [BRI] as a telephonist, was branch secretary of NUPE and UNISON trade unions and also staff side chair of the joint unions for 34 of those years. The last nine years at the BRI John was employed full time as a union rep. John is a keen writer of doggerel verse and enjoys poetry of all kinds. In the podcast he shares a poem by an old friend, Bryony Carr.
Sound recording: Lloyd Bedwin – Lloyd is a severely sight impaired individual (SSI), who has for a number of years worked for the Royal National Institute Of Blind People (RNIB) as an Assistive Technology Specialist and Information Communications Technology tutor.
A keen musician, Lloyd also facilitates and organises musical events in his local community. He believes in sighted and visually impaired people learning together and from each other and has developed a unique Guitar course designed to be equally accessible for both sighted and visually impaired pupils, that he has been teaching since Autumn 2018.
Sound design and engineering: Chris Turner – Chris was born with the eye condition retinitis pigmentosa. His sight deteriorated throughout his teens and early 20s and he went from making computer art, drawing, painting to wondering how he could do more with sound and music production. He finds that the same sort of influences that got him painting when he was younger still inspire him now; abstract scenes, sense of space, light and dark, movement, science fiction, humanity’s relation to technology…
He currently works teaching and advising visually impaired people with and about assistive tech. To do things like reading with a smart phone; use a PC when you can’t see the screen; use GPS and travel apps. Technology is as vital to him as it is to those he teaches to use it.
PECo theatre producing team Emma Hughes and Rachel Aspinwall.