By Richard Stack, on 18 May 2009
Filed under Conference Entries
An excellent and original production, which gives a very good insight into the history of the Lock hospitals and their importance in recognising the suffering and distress caused by STDs to large numbers of people. Alan McOwan is a ‘natural’ and sympathetic presenter. This is, in many ways, a ‘secret’ story which deserves to be more widely told since it is only very recently that we’ve lifted GUM/HIV medicine from their basement clinics. Historians are as guilty of anyone of perpetuating the ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ narrative in the history of sexual health.
A couple of technical points. I realise that the interview was conducted in the clinic, probably using available light. There are a couple of messy and distracting background features (the red garment and ceiling light) that could have been removed or cropped out. An off-camera microphone would have helped with sound. I would have reflected a small amount of light onto the presenter’s face (a piece of white card or foil-covered card works well). The very good images could have improved with cropping out the strapline ‘Wellcome Images’ and also enlarged to fill the screen.
I very liked the use of live action from the location and sequences showing HIV testing. These bring the reality of the story onto the screen.
Absolutely enthralling, interesting and captivating. It’s thought-provoking, entertaining and a history lesson, all at once. The narrator’s got a great, relaxed presence and conveys the ‘story’ so well you don’t want to miss a bit.
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