Adam’s cochlear implant and his helmet play football!

17 06 2010

Adam Strecker received his football helmet a few weeks ago, adapted for his cochlear implant.

He has a Twitter page which he will update during the football season so people can follow his progress and how he is getting on with his helmet.

If you have any questions, you can post them on his Twitter page.



Free private subtitled screening invite

4 06 2010

The Walt Disney Company and IMS would like to invite you to a private subtitled screening of ‘The Prince of Persia’, an adventure extravaganza starring Jake Gyllenhall and Gemma Arteton.

The free screening will take place on Monday 14th June at 10.30am, at the Apollo Cinema, Lower Regent Street, London SW1.

Coffee, tea and pastries will be served, and we hope that some of you will be able to stay behind for a chat about cinema subtitling & audio description afterwards. Some feedback about how it’s all working would be very useful.

First come, first served – seats are limited. Please contact Derek ( stating your name to confirm attendance, or for any queries.


Free subtitled and audio described show: The Prince of Persia.
Date: Monday 14th June
Time: Arrival 10.00am for coffee, tea and pastries. Film starts at 10.30am. Film ends at 12.20.
Chat about cinema subtitling & audio description afterwards.

Address: Apollo Cinema, 19 Lower Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR.
Map (just to the left of Jermyn Street)

The cinema is located a short walk from many major bus interchanges on Haymarket and Piccadilly, the Apollo Piccadilly Circus is close to Piccadilly Underground Station which is served by the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines. Nearest train station: Charing Cross.


Subtitled Prince of Persia trailer

Audio described Prince of Persia trailer

Disney Prince of Persia website

IMS (Independent Media Support Group)

Apollo cinemas

Subtitled cinema listings

Audio described cinema listings

More information on access to the cinema.

Apollo cinema contact information:
Box Office: 0871 220 6000
Switchboard/Enquiry Line: 0871 220 6000

The Apollo Piccadilly Circus 5 screen complex is the first new purpose-built cinema in the West End of London for over ten years, and is part of a £70million scheme set to enhance Lower Regent Street.

This cinema is equipped with:
5 state-of-the-art screens from an intimate 40 seats to a generous 168
Air-conditioned auditoria
Digital surround sound
Licensed bar
Licened auditoria
Full size reclining armchairs
Infra-red induction loop in all auditoria
Wheelchair access
Wheelchair spaces (2 per screen, except for screen 3)
The box office is accessible from street level with a lift giving access to all floors.


Subtitled and audio described cinema enables people with hearing or sight loss to enjoy film presented in its original and best form – the cinema.

The award-winning, industry-supported ‘Your Local Cinema .com’ website & information service exists to create nationwide awareness of, and build audiences for, subtitled & audio described films & shows.

Cinema subtitles, displayed along the bottom of the screen, include the spoken text as well as descriptions of sounds such as ‘door creaks’, ‘footsteps approaching’, ‘gunshot’.

Cinema audio description is a recorded narration, delivered through wireless headphones, which explains, during gaps in the dialogue, what is happening on screen.

“It’s the accessible cinema experience: SEE the dialogue! HEAR the action!”


In recent years, the progress made in the field of cinema access has been fantastic.

It is estimated that about nine million people in the UK have some level of hearing loss – one in seven of the population. Each year around 800 children are born in the UK with significant hearing loss while more than 700,000 people, including 34,000 children and young people, are severely or profoundly deaf. Some two million have significant sight loss and every day another 100 people start to lose their sight.

Before 2000, the only way people with severe hearing loss could enjoy cinema was to watch a foreign-language film. And people with severe sight loss would never dream of visiting a cinema.

Today people with any level of hearing or sight loss can enjoy the popular social activity of a trip to the cinema. Every week thousands of people in hundreds of cinemas nationwide watch the latest films with on-screen subtitles, and many listen to a recorded narration of the film (audio description) through wireless headphones.

Most UK cinemas, including all 3D and digitally- equipped sites, now have subtitle facilities, and more than 300 can broadcast an audio described soundtrack. UK distributors ensure that most popular releases – including 3D films – are available in both subtitled and audio described versions. Almost a thousand films have been made available to date.

Most suitably-equipped cinemas utilise their ‘access’ facilities regularly and every week there are more than 550 English-language subtitled shows nationwide, and thousands more audio described performances.

For people with hearing or sight loss, cinema is not the out of bounds social activity of the past, but is now a very accessible, welcoming, exciting, day or night out with family or friends.


A selection of quotes and reports from people with hearing or sight loss who have discovered – or rediscovered – the joys of cinema-going, thanks to subtitles and audio description:

“Have you ever tried to lip-read a masked super hero or villain? Or an animated rat, fish, car or robot? Without subtitles we just watch the pictures and guess the story”

“I enjoyed A Christmas Carol a lot. I can hear well with my digital hearing aids, compared to many deaf people I know, but the unfamiliar, oldie-style Dickensian words would have been lost on me without subtitles.”

“My profoundly deaf mother had given up trying to lip-read movie stars years ago. At a subtitled show her eyes flickered into life. Two glorious hours and finally my mother and I have rekindled our cinema habit. She is now in her seventies, I’m approaching my forties. It May have been some time coming, but damn was it worth it!”

“My Granddad was a big film fan – Dad too – and I grew up with books and magazines on films and cinema in general. But being deaf, thanks to meningitis, I could never get the full cinema experience. My Granddad, also very deaf due to his advancing years, used to say it was better for people like us a hundred years ago when silent films were around as they had caption cards on the screen! I missed out on many films at the cinema, which I have since watched with subtitles on DVD. I believe that if my Granddad was alive today he’d be joining my Dad and me on our regular trips to the movies because captioned cinema has returned!”

“I know quite a few people who, like me, have become disabled in the prime of their lives. I served in Iraq, came home last year with permanent damage to my hearing. I can still enjoy music, it’s just not as clear as it used to be. I find I now read a lot of song lyrics! Never really bothered before. Same with films. I can still enjoy them with a little ‘assistance’. In this case, subtitles. I only go to the cinema now if the film is subtitled. Thankfully most are these days.”

“The cinema audio description experience is like listening to a Harry Potter audio book, but with all the actors voicing their own parts and with the addition of the film’s complete soundtrack – delivered in fabulous surround sound”

“After losing most of my sight four years ago I gave up on cinema – only to discover audio description some months later. I’ve since watched many more films. Watching ‘Avatar’ I felt just like one of the crowd, reacting with amazement just like the other people in the cinema. I actually felt like I had my vision back.”

“I have lost my sight. You think I can’t enjoy the cinema? Imagine the scariest film you know, only SCARIER!”

“Audio described cinema is wonderful, not just because it allows me to enjoy movies but to discuss them with sighted friends afterwards. Through cinema audio description, I have been able to follow up the recommendation of a friend who gushed about the beauty of the visuals in Volver. Conversely, I have been able to return the favour by plugging the striking images in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It doesn’t matter that I couldn’t ‘see’ them – the description was so vivid that I can still imagine Brad Pitt shooting into the ice, causing a puff of smoke to rise, or Casey Affleck in a rocking chair. When accompanying sighted friends, I can enjoy the car chase in Casino Royale and the decapitation by helicopter blade in 28 Weeks Later, relying on my memories of being a sighted gorehound.”


Subtitled cinema!

Subtitled Sex & the City 2, Prince of Persia, She’s Out Of My League, Robin Hood, Tooth Fairy, Death at a Funeral, Nightmare On Elm Street, Iron Man 2, Back Up Plan and more…


Top 100 blogs award

6 09 2009

I’ve been awarded this badge from The Daily Reviewer. Thank you! I’m honoured.

Check out the site, as there are some REALLY interesting blogs there such as Speak Up Librarian and they are well worth a look.

I’ve been on a long holiday, visiting San Francisco, Yosemite, Vancouver, Whistler, and Seattle. It’s been great and I’ll be back soon with more posts.

Walks and talks for lipreaders

27 02 2009

Have you ever tried using a lipspeaker? They can be booked for tours and make these accessible to deafened and heard of hearing people. You can find out more about lipspeakers on their association’s website.

Monthly walks for lipreaders (with 2 lipspeakers/SSE booked to provide communication support) have been arranged in London – if you would like to join a walk, leave a message here and I will get back to you with contact details. Your email address won’t be in public view but I’ll be able to view it.

Here are our next walks –

Walk 4: Walk with Diane Burstein, London Blue Badge Guide. “Brothels, Bishops and the Bard – Historic Southwark and Bankside” Sunday, 26th April 2009 11.30-1.30pm
*Meet outside Monument Underground Station, Fish Street Exit*

Listen to the notorious Bankside stories, view Southwark Cathedral with its Shakespearean connections, see reconstructions of Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Literature, religion and prostitution all feature. Ticket price £6.00 per person, payable in advance.

Walk 5: “Anyone for Tennis?” – Sunday 23rd August 2009, 2.00pm – 4.30pm

We have investigated the possibility of an exclusive guided walk around the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Ground for our late summer walk.
We can indeed have such a tour as long as we have a party of at least 15 people, prepaid. The tour would also include time at the end to browse around the Museum. The Guides are all Blue Badge Guides.
We can reserve tables in the cafe beforehand, for people wanting to buy a sandwich or light lunch and a drink, before we start the walk. That would mean meeting in time to be at the cafe for 1.00pm.
You will see that the cost of the tickets for this guided walk are much higher than for the walks we have done so far. Each ticket is £14.00. We will use our usual limit of 2 tickets per lipreader so that we can all see and hear everything the guide has to offer us. We need to book this group visit ASAP as they get filled up very quickly and bookings for August have just opened. I am sure there will be large numbers of visitors there all over the summer but that should not deter us from making the visit.

Do let me know if you are interested, we will send you a booking form and we will send out the tickets as soon as we receive them from Wimbledon. On the booking form, remember to circle the YES or NO for the reserved seat in the cafe. If some do want a seat and others do not it does not matter. We will arrange a meeting place, and time, for the start of the tour.

You might want to check out the Wimbledon website.

Jeanette talks about her experience on one of these walks…..

My name is Jeanette Wright and I was born hearing and became deafened 22 years ago very quickly and very traumatically. After seven years of isolation I decided to learn sign language to teach my children because they were so very hard to lip-read. I then became a qualified trainer and now work as a freelance trainer and teach Deaf/Deafblind Awareness and Communication Tactics with Deaf/Deafblind.

It was a lovely spring morning and I was going to visit Windsor Castle with a group of deaf people – the sun was shining and I was really looking forward to my day out. I got dressed and left home full of the joys of springs.

My friend had kindly offered to give me a lift from Shenfield station in Essex near to where I live so I waited outside the station for her to collect me. Imagine my horror when she arrived in a SKODA!!! Bright red in colour as well so it certainly caught the eye of many people passing by. I sheepishly ducked as I got in the car and just hoped no one recognised me.

Then to my dismay I discovered that the tour was outside – not inside – I had no outdoor wear, just a thin jacket and high heel shoes!!! I began to wonder then if my day was not going to be as exciting as I had anticipated. Although the sun was shining it was very windy and extremely cold outside.

My friend fortunately had a spare coat in the boot of the car so I was lucky enough to borrow it but my poor feet at the end of the day were suffering. The streets of Windsor and the castle grounds are all cobbles and stiletto heels are not practical as I found out.

On arrival at the castle there were a number of people queuing to purchase tickets but I had my ticket so I went to the front of the entrance gates and walked in. The staff were lovely and very friendly – greeting us and making everyone feel special – not just the group of deaf people.

The security staff were another story though – they were very abrupt and although I appreciate their work is serious business I don’t think a smile would go amiss – but maybe that is not included in their job description!!!

This was a special tour arranged for Deaf/deaf people so we were provided with an interpreter BUT also a lip-speaker which is something more organisations should think of providing. Organisers sometimes think to book interpreters for Deaf but never lip-speakers for deafened/hard of hearing people – they think ‘loops’ are adequate – which is certainly not always the case.

The tour guide Monica was lovely – very patient and allowed ample time for us to take in what was being said. Monica kept the tour very interesting and I was fascinated by the amount of history I learnt from her. History was not my favourite subject at school but I could have ‘listened’ to Monica for hours.

I was given a brief written out-line before the tour giving me a rough idea of what would be said so when Monica delivered her talk I could remember what I had read earlier so it made it so much more enjoyable for me and also less tiring. Maybe this is something which could be provided in future for all Deaf/deaf people attending the tours.

The interpreter Tracey Tyer was obviously full BSL (British Sign Language) which I can understand most of the time but for today I was watching the lip-speaker Linda Croton (Luscious lips). I asked if Linda would add signs when lip-speaking and she was happy to do this so I had total communication.

I would definitely recommend people to attend these tours, you will find out about the 20 castles built all around London to protect the City, you will find out about the difference between the Union Flag and Union Jack etc. I am not going to tell you about these as you should go on the tours yourself – they are well worth attending but please remember to wear flat shoes and take a coat!!!

When the tour had finished we had ample time to explore on our own and I think my favourite part of the Castle though was the Queen’s Dolls house – it is so lovely and I could stand and look at it all day and still find things to see. Also the view from the North Wall is absolutely amazing – makes you appreciate how beautiful England is.

Fortunately the rain held off until the end of the tour – then the heavens opened up and we got soaked running back to the car park – I was only too happy then to get in the SKODA out of the rain and also to take off the high heel shoes.

Any dream will do….

9 11 2008

We bought tickets six months ago to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, captioned by Stagetext. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was really looking forward to it as I had watched Lee Mead win the TV show, Any Dream Will Do. This was a full-blown musical with wall to wall songs. The singing was good and the costumes colourful enough to put your eyes out. It was a great musical for the whole family and we all enjoyed it. The captioning, as usual, was spot on.

My friend Jeanette made an interesting comment. She has seen this show twice previously, with a sign language interpreter. She said she got so much more out of the captioned show, as she’d had to keep looking at the interpreter who was too far from the stage, making her miss bits of the show every time she looked at the interpreter. With captions, she didn’t miss as much and got much more enjoyment out of it.

Mexican wave

23 10 2008

We hit a new place, Benito’s Hat. I was fully expecting to be asked to leave as I had my Hearing Dog with me.

But oh no. They welcomed us with open arms and huge grins. The place was fresh, simple and pleasing on the eye. So was the food. It turned out to be great. They gave me different salsas on tortilla chips so I could ‘try before I buy’. All the food was laid out buffet style, and they made up your order for you in front of you. We had our order within five minutes of sitting down.


I had a huge burrito filled with all sorts of good stuff – chicken, rice, beans, salad, salsa and cheese wrapped in a warm soft flour tortilla. The fresh squeezed limeade with ice was to die for. I hadn’t eaten all day and this filled me up nicely.

Mmmmm mmmm mmmmm mmmm mmmmmm mmmm mmm mmmmmm mmmmm!

I will DEFINITELY be back! Besos Benito!

FOL’s verdict : PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Benito’s Hat, 56 Goodge Street, London W1T 4NB.
Mon-Wed 11.30am – 10pm. Thur-Sat 11.30-11pm.
Margarita Mondays : students get 2 for 1 on margaritas with a food order.
Benito’s also do takeaways.

This pasta’s past it

26 09 2008

I adore Italian food. My mouth was salivating at the thought of a freshly cooked proper Italian meal ahead. We had booked a table at Spaghetti House in Leicester Square and were shown into the basement which was otherwise empty – ideal for a group of deaf people as it’s much easier to lipread when it’s quiet and you’re not fighting to hear scraps of sentences against other voices. The staff didn’t bat an eyelid at a Hearing Dog accompanying us. A waitress even asked if the dog would like some water and brought a bowl. Ten out of ten for that.

But the meal? Ugh. Daniel said his minestrone soup was like water with vegetables in it. I had garlic bread, which was the worst I’ve ever had. It was just a roll cut in two, it was burnt and dry, and I could barely taste the garlic. Then I had meatballs. That was dry too. Pork meatballs with plenty of herbs, a little tomato sauce, and spaghetti. Hell, I could’ve cooked a better job myself. (Now you see why I don’t like to go out to eat?) When the puddings turned up, we agreed they looked like the best part of the meal. And my beer was £6. The waitress was pushy and kept asking us if we wanted the pudding menu, the drinks menu etc.

I was so glad to leave!

FOL’s verdict : Photobucket

London’s Transport Museum

21 08 2008

I discovered from lilwatchergirl’s blogpost that you can get free entry into the Transport Museum, with a ‘minder’, if you have a Freedom Pass. Whoopee do dar!

What’s interesting is how rude the staff were to her – I will feed back on their ‘professionalism’ after a visit with my Hearing Dog!

The story of a sign

24 07 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

With a stroke of the pen, a stranger transforms the afternoon for another man in this wonderfully emotive short film, Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign). The creator, Alonso Alvarez Barreda, was the winner of the NFB Online Competition Cannes 2008 for this short film produced in Mexico/USA. Nothing to do with hearing loss, but what a moving way of portraying an ability that most take for granted. More please.

more about "Video – HISTORIA DE UN LETRERO (THE S…", posted with vodpod

Review : Sara Baras

10 07 2008

I booked tickets to go to see the flamenco dancer Sara Baras at Sadlers Wells. I used to live in Gibraltar and Spain, and loved the Spanish culture and way of life, so I jumped at the chance to see some quality flamenco.

The performance was electric and evocative of Riverdance. Very professional, very emotional, very electric. The costumes were gorgeous and the dancing superb. We were transported to a heady world of drum beats and guitar music, clapping and smiles, darkness and light. For two hours, we sat spellbound by the magic and mystery of Sara Baras, and the whole theatre gave her a huge standing ovation. Bravo!

If you missed this show, you can catch Sangre Flamenca 28 October – 15 November 2008.

FOL’s verdict : PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket