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    Audio description brings cinema to life

    20 Apr 2014, 8:49 am

    A new service for people with failing eyesight which will help them enjoy the cinema again is now available at Mareel.

    The service, which is called “audio described” (AD) movies, involves a narrator speaking in between the existing soundtrack and dialogue of a movie. The viewer, using a provided wireless headset, can then hear everything from the movie plus a separate description of actions, facial expressions and scenes, described by the narrator.

    Audio description is available on any screening and about 90 per cent of movies have AD available.

    Phil Hibbert of local charity Vision Shetland said that recent studies have shown that very few people were aware of the benefits of AD, but when they try it, most people give extremely positive reviews. He has tried it out at Mareel, together with Lerwick man Neil Anderson, who is blind.

    Mr Anderson, who listens to everything from books to documents for meetings as audio files, described the experience as being very easy to follow. He was impressed that he could listen to the entire atmosphere created by the soundtrack of the film, as well as all the dialogue and descriptions.

    In addition, for only £5 a year, people can buy a card from the Cinema Exhibitors Association which allows a free ticket for someone accompanying a registered blind or partially sighted person, or has a qualifying benefit.

    For more information contact Vision Shetland.

    Right is good and wrong is bad (Ernie Lockwood)

    19 Apr 2014, 10:09 am

    I went to work in the North Sea in the early 1970s. Accountancy, legal and safety were hastily knocked together departments in oil-related companies.

    Fast forward to 2014 when the private accountancy companies have become the main recipients of every payroll thanks to deliberate, ever-burgeoning, legislative bureaucracy.

    On Radio Four, a chap from a nationally known, so-called, accountancy firm explained what his company did. Well, that was his brief. I doubt he knows entirely what it does.

    I doubt if anyone fully knows what it does especially the members of councils, NHS bodies, civil service, governmental and parliamentary departments, educational bodies – all of whom pay mind-boggling amounts of working people’s money to these private accounting companies.

    This chap’s beautifully-modulated, laconic explanation consisted of such grandiloquent but amorphous vagueness that he should be coaching budding, career politicians.

    Instead of today’s wage-earners being allowed to keep enough money to feed their children, too much tax money is flowing out to these accounting companies.

    The latter appear to do little to earn the funds. They bill the above public offices for divesting the officials of duties in order to be handsomely paid for not doing them either. But the paperwork is impressive.

    This may contribute to such a large percentage of our nation’s working people being obliged to endure the crippling indignity of feeding their kids out of food banks while grinning, chubby-faced politicians joke and squabble on national TV, while losing money hand over fist with apparent impunity.

    Serial “readers’ letters” writers may propose the above is simplistic. Right is good and wrong is bad – now that’s what I call simplistic; uncomplicated and easy to follow.

    Ernie Lockwood

    Future of free bin bags in doubt

    18 Apr 2014, 7:00 pm

    FREE black bin bags for every household in Shetland could soon become a thing of the past as the local authority continues on its austerity drive to balance its books.

    Currently Shetland Islands Council is the only council in Scotland to provide 52 free bin bags to all homes at a cost of almost £25,000.

    Next Wednesday Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee will be asked to throw that policy onto the waste heap, instead offering bin bags for sale at a knock down price.

    Big changes in the Lerwick shopping scene

    18 Apr 2014, 6:22 pm

    Scalloway Meat Company's John Alex Cromarty. Photo BBC Radio ShetlandLERWICK is to get a new butcher after Globe Butchers closed its doors earlier this year.

    The town centre will also be lifted by High Level Music moving into new premises at the Market Cross.

    However the increasingly popular Havly Café on Charlotte Street is to close its doors next week to allow its owners to devote more time to their new baby.

    Bressay hotel shuts after managers vanish

    18 Apr 2014, 5:26 pm

    THE OWNERS of a Shetland hotel have been devastated after the Canadian couple running it abandoned the business and left the island leaving a trail of debt behind them.

    The Maryfield Hotel on the island of Bressay was leased to Patrick and Morgan Blanch last August after owners David and Linda Wood retired.

    The three year lease included an obligation to buy the property, but after less than a year the couple have disappeared without trace.

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