Demon Crew Review

Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Festival in a Day

What do fairies, Vikings, a Rocket Dog and Ursula Le Guin have in common?

No, this isn't Only Connect so you won't lose points when I give you more clues:
The Federation of Masked Booksellers; Dahlia Press; Demon Crew - DMU Creative Writing Students.

Yes, I knew that would do it - you're right! It's the 9th Annual States of Independence Day at Leicester's De Montfort University and those are just some of the organisations providing stalls and panels.

This incredible FREE event on Saturday 10th March 2018, organised and sponsored by Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham  and the Creative Writing Team at the University, is not to be missed. 

With something for everyone, this Book Festival in a Day is a wonderful opportunity to meet and listen to established authors and new talent, to take part in workshops and seminars as well as show your support for 'independent thinking, independent writing and independent presses'. 

There will be ample opportunity to purchase new and pre-loved books and - if you're lucky - you may even have the opportunity to share some 'Big Birthday' cake with Dr Simon Perril as he launches In the Final Year of My Forties on the day. 

The event runs from 10.30am - 4.30pm at Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Leicester. For directions please click here  

Helen Abbot

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

"Learning to write is learning to work" - an hour with Vinay Patel

Vinay's cats
An whole entire hour with the acclaimed screenwriter and playwright Vinay Patel involves a lot of witty humour, personal anecdotes, stories about his BAFTA experience as well as advice and info on how he got to be where he is today. His was a riveting talk with DMU lecturer, Kathleen Bell followed  by questions from a keen audience who were eager for answers.

Patel gave us an insight into his work and how he got to be the successful playwright we know him as today. I have to say that I thought that Patel would be one of those unrelateable, snobby writers who seem near enough 'untouchable'. In actuality he is very down to earth. He admitted struggling with multiple deadlines, joking that "all procrastination is good procrastination" and also told us how, quite unintentionally, he came to be "running a retirement home for cats."

His humour certainly made me certainly feel happy to be at the event, which was also incredibly interesting. He told us about his up and coming ventures which include a touring production for Paines Plough as well as an epic drama, An Adventure, being produced at The Bush Theatre in Shepherds Bush, London. The adventure in question is based on the life of his grandparents who travelled over three continents (from India, to Kenya then England).

Patel also expressed his interest and passion for wanting to create pieces that highlight the talent of minority actors, as well as meaningful stories, like his critically acclaimed drama, Murdered By My Father (BBC, 2016) which tells the story of an honour killing. He also stated that he would love to write something in the sci-fi genre of which he's an immense fan.

Throughout his whole entire talk, Vinay Patel made me think about my own writing and the different ways in which I might write. "Pick things that are important to you," he said. I've always wanted to write a script or play and this made me even more inspired. It made me think about not writing about what I think other people may want to see, but instead starting from the issues and subjects that interest me.

Overall, this Cultural Exchanges event has a very powerful effect on me. It was a conversation not to be missed.

Tara N. Lawal

"Theatre is the purest form of expression"

Vinay Patel's appearance at the Cultural Exchanges festival yesterday seemed humble, in contrast to the festival brochure’s picture of him decked out in a polka shirt and blue suit. And that's just what he was, during the talk with Kathleen Bell (a lecturer at DMU): humble. 

Despite making a "meteoric rise" in his career through the BAFTA-nominated drama film Murdered By My Father (2016) he said, "I'm not confident enough in what I do to be more involved" when asked about the process of producing films from his scripts. 

However, he remained confident in his idea of what theatre is and what film is. 

"Writing for theatre is changing in terms of what you can do with it ... when writing for theatre, the main unit of meaning is in a line. But in film, it’s in the juxtaposition of two images." Despite his own comment that this statement was "wanky," I found it refreshingly introspective.

Coming from someone who claims that writing was "the only thing [he] could do" at school, I'd say Patel is certainly meteoric. 

“Theatre is the purest form of expression,” he said in response to one question from the audience. 

His one complaint about the theatre industry is that “it’s dominated by people with lots of money.” He suggested that if this wasn’t so, presentation of characters and topics addressed in plays would be more diverse, and in turn audiences would be more diverse. 

Interested in Vinay Patel’s next play? Coming this September is his ‘An Adventure.’

Book your tickets now for its run at London's Bush Theatre.t the Bush Theatre now!

G.E. Knight
G.E. Knight

Vinay Patel and his rise through writing

“Writing a script at home in your pants with your two cats is what success looks like!” - To all those aspiring writers out there…well you heard it here first.
De Montfort University was treated to a conversation by the very entertaining writer that is Vinay Patel. Vinay talked to Kathleen Bell and the audience about the ten years that led to his meteoric rise in screen and play-writing, as well as telling us briefly about his two beloved cats!
From a young age, Vinay wrote short stories, whilst watching Star Trek at the end of his father’s bed. This is where his love for writing began. 
Murdered by My Father was his big break, but if it wasn’t for his Agent seeing the potential, he would have turned it down. The television drama ended up being nominated for three BAFTAS, which was a surreal moment in his life - even if his Grandma thought he looked like a waiter!
Some advice that everyone took away with them was that the audience is an important factor when it comes to writing. Vinay stated himself with his witty humour - “If you don’t care about your audience, write a diary!”
Most of Vinay’s upcoming work is under wraps. However he did let us know that one of his current TV projects is in the crime and detective genre. This year’s plans also include going back into directing. 
If anyone is interested in seeing more of Vinay Patel’s inspiring work, then get down to London to watch his new play, An Adventure, which opens at The Bush Theatre in autumn 2018.

Lauren Irish

Writers are human too ...

Vinay Patel provided hope to any would-be writer that success is attainable with the right amount of determination and flexibility. He provided an insight into the world of the playwright, explaining the differences between the stage and the screen.

His discussion with DMU's Kathleen Bell served as a reminder that writing scripts, for either medium, is a process which extends far beyond putting words on the page, with involvement in casting and deliverance also coming into play. To hear that the writer for TV is often the most overlooked member of a production team was truly fascinating. 

Furthermore, Vinay proved to be incredibly personable, with a love of cats, proving that writers, for all their talents, are human like the rest of us - and that's a thought which makes the gulf between dreaming of a script and having it produced seem much less daunting.  

L Robertson

Visible Bits, Audible Bites - year 9

For the ninth year in a row, Phoenix Cinema held the Cultural Exchanges event Visible Bits, Audible Bytes.
As a joint honours film studies and writing student, I spend a lot of time in the Phoenix, and know that, as an independent cinema, it usually holds interesting and stimulating events. 

This event was hosted by De Montfort University's very own Professor Bret Battey and consisted of seven pieces of work: Cyclic from Numbercult and Max Cooper, Nuées by Myriam Boucher, Virtual Actors in Chinese Opera by Tobias Gremmler and the GuoGuang Opera Company, Estuaries 3 by Bret Battey, Scan_0.1 by Giorgio Bertinelli, Vacuum by Francesco Martí, and finally, Jean Piché's thirty minute long piece Threshing in the Palace of Light. 

I found every single piece extremely captivating and emotive, and I really don't think that I could say that I have ever experienced any piece of art that is in any way similar to any of the works I saw at this event.
The most emotive for me would have to be Nuées by Myriam Boucher, as I found it genuinely scary and anxiety inducing, due to its loud, jarring, repetitive sounds and the disturbing crossing over of images of birds flying. 

My favourites out of all of the clips, however, were definitely Virtual Actors in Chinese Opera by Tobias Gremmler and the GuoGuang Opera Company and Estuaries 3 by Bret Battey.
Battey's piece was rather soothing, and visually reminded me of what one would envision the feeling of a sneeze to look like: fuzzy and lingering. 
Virtual Actors in Chinese Opera was really interesting to me, as I love dance and it was so captivating to see such wonderful colours and shapes moving alongside one another so gracefully to create a sense of a character.

I would definitely recommend anyone who is interested in the arts and forms of creativity in any way to attend the tenth event in this series next year, as I think everyone could take something from it.

Paige Nicole

Woman with bombs

'Why should a woman not use the same weapons as men. It is not only war we have declared. We are fighting a revolution.' (Kitty Marion)

I was already tired when I walked to Fern Riddell's talk and was worried that I'd fall asleep in the warmth. Luckily, that didn't happen. Instead, for the entire time I was completely intrigued by what was being said. I’ve always been interested in the suffragettes and women’s rights. Hearing Riddell discuss it in such a passionate way kept me listening and wide awake.
  I'd never heard of Kitty Marion before but she played a huge part in the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK and led a fascinating life. After her cmapaigns with the suffragettes she became involved in another important campaign for women's rights - the campaign for birth control in the United States.
Fern Riddell's passion for this topic, and the way she spoke about it and answered questions from the audience was what kept my attention throughout and I look forward to the plublication of her book, Death in ten minutes (due in April) so that I can learn more about Kitty Marion and her appealing life story.

L A Parkins