The 3rd Cranbrook Video Festival – ‘Family’

Click here for the full programme

The third Cranbrook Video Festival took place on Saturday 17th February at 12 o’clock in the Crane Surgery, Cranbrook, Kent. This year the theme of the festival was ‘Family’.

Contributors came from the USA, Belgium and Russia as well as the UK. There were animations, dramas, documentaries and experimental films, from both amateurs and professional film-makers.

The theme of the festival this year was ‘Family’. This grew out of the theme of last year’s festival, ‘Wellbeing’. Family turned out to be the thing most people thought of as essential to their wellbeing: but some of the films in this year’s lineup showed the negative aspects of family, as well as the positives. ‘Voicing Silence’ by Lucy Lee is about child abuse, a how hard it is for the victims of abuse to speak out about their experiences. ‘Lint People’ by Helder K Sun is a Freudian comedy-animation about a community of creatures made out of fluff, in which the father-figure is always trying to devour his own children.

The first half of the show was taken up by a screening of my own feature-length puppet-animation ‘Dr Hairy and the QCQ’. I was a bit worried that ninety minutes it might be too long for an audience unfamiliar with my style, but in fact it seemed to go down very well and got some big laughs. Of the other animations in the show, the one that seemed to make the biggest impression on people was the very beautiful ‘My Strange Grandfather’ by the Russian film-maker Dina Velikovskaya; and of the acted films, the standout was probably ‘Brian and Charles’, directed by Jim Archer, written by and starring David Earl and Chris Hayward – an oddly touching comedy about a lonely man’s love-hate relationship with his pet robot. A special mention should also go to the mini-documentary ‘The Reinvention of Normal’ by Liam St Pierre, a brilliantly original mixture of animation and ‘real-life’ footage about the inventor/artist Dominic Wilcox and his ideas.

As with previous festivals, one of the highlights was to have one of the contributors there – Jenni Cresswell, a textile artist from Brighton, who presented her own video, ‘Bound Together’, about a book that was passed on to her by her mother.

The standard of contributions in the festival is definitely getting higher year-on-year, which makes it a very exciting thing to be part of.

Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries, Jan 2018 (a bit late again)

The latest Research Summaries and Quiz have just gone online. Subjects covered this time:

Eating disorders in children and young people
BMJ 2017;359:j5245
Modifiable pathways in Alzheimer’s disease: Mendelian randomisation analysis
BMJ 2017;359:j5375
Effectiveness of and overdiagnosis from mammography screening in the Netherlands: population based study
BMJ 2017;359:j5224
Patient centred diagnosis of dementia: we must listen to patients’ wishes
BMJ 2017;359:j5524
NICE to ban mesh for vaginal wall prolapse
BMJ 2017;359:j5523
Japan’s government warns against abnormal behaviour in people taking antivirals for flu
BMJ 2017;359:j5529
Use of an electronic consultation system in primary care: a qualitative interview study
Br J Gen Pract 6 November 2017; bjgp17X693509. DOI:
Corneal ulcers in general practice
Br J Gen Pract 2018; 68 (666): 49-50. DOI:
Hope is a therapeutic tool
BMJ 2017;359:j5469
Feel the heat: a short history of body temperature
BMJ 2017;359:j5697

To find out more about Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries, please visit


Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries, December 2017 (a bit late)

Slightly belatedly, Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries for December 2017 are now online. Subjects covered this time:

Improving access to allied health professionals through the Champlain BASE™ eConsult service: a cross-sectional study in Canada

Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (664): e757-e763. DOI:

The role of the Quality and Outcomes Framework in the care of long-term conditions: a systematic review

Br J Gen Pract 25 September 2017; bjgp17X693077. DOI:

Effectiveness of UK provider financial incentives on quality of care: a systematic review

Br J Gen Pract 9 October 2017; bjgp17X693149. DOI:

Perioperative resources for GPs

Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (664): 529-530. DOI:

Self-taken vaginal swabs versus clinician-taken for detection of candida and bacterial vaginosis: a case-control study in primary care

Br J Gen Pract 20 November 2017; bjgp17X693629. DOI:

Variations in presentation, management, and patient outcomes of urinary tract infection: a prospective four-country primary care observational cohort study

Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (665): e830-e841. DOI:

Non-antibiotic options for recurrent urinary tract infections in women

BMJ 2017;359:j5193

Antibiotics or NSAIDs for uncomplicated urinary tract infection?

BMJ 2017;359:j5037

Management of chronic pain using complementary and integrative medicine

BMJ 2017;357:j1284

National commitment to shared decision making

BMJ 2017;359:j4746

For more information about Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries, please visit

Dr Hairy and the QCQ, part 9

The ninth in a new series of puppet-animations about the adventures and misadventures of an ordinary (but rather hirsute) GP.

Dr Hairy goes to visit his Mum, accompanied by his daughter Jenny. Dr Hairy’s Mum appears surprisingly clear-headed, and she also seems not to be wearing any hairclips: in fact all her hairclips seem to have gone missing. Then Dr Hairy ventures into the cupboard under the stairs, and finds out where all the hairclips have got to… with hilarious results!

YouTube –
Vimeo –

Dr Hairy and the QCQ, part 8

The eighth in a new series of puppet-animations about the life and misadventures of an ordinary (but rather hirsute) GP.

News of Dr Hairy’s outburst about the QCQ comes to the ears of the vengeful Dr Stead, who decides to pay Dr Hairy a visit to sort him out. In the meantime, we find out the truth about the yellow man Dr Hairy’s mother has been seeing in her house, and the mysterious writing he’s been putting on her walls.

YouTube –
Vimeo –

Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries, October 2017

The Research Summaries and Quiz for October 2017 are now online. Subjects covered this time:

The role of contraindications in prescribing anticoagulants to patients with atrial fibrillation: a cross-sectional analysis of primary care data in the UK

Br J Gen Pract 19 June 2017; bjgp17X691685. DOI:

Application of the 2014 NICE cholesterol guidelines in the English population: a cross-sectional analysis

Br J Gen Pract 31 July 2017; bjgp17X692141. DOI:

Long-term benzodiazepine and Z-drugs use in the UK: a survey of general practice

Br J Gen Pract 17 July 2017; bjgp17X691865. DOI:

Influence of the duration of penicillin prescriptions on outcomes for acute sore throat in adults: the DESCARTE prospective cohort study in UK general practice

Br J Gen Pract 14 August 2017; bjgp17X692333. DOI:

Symptom response to antibiotic prescribing strategies in acute sore throat in adults: the DESCARTE prospective cohort study in UK general practice

Br J Gen Pract 14 August 2017; bjgp17X692321. DOI:

Viewpoint: Domperidone and breastfeeding

Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (662): 408. DOI:

Global prevalence of antibiotic resistance in paediatric urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli and association with routine use of antibiotics in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ 2016;352:i939

Antibiotic resistance in children with E coli urinary tract infection

BMJ 2016;352:i1399

Substance misuse in older people

BMJ 2017;358:j3885

Vitamin D supplementation for women before and during pregnancy: an update of the guidelines, evidence, and role of GPs and practice nurses

Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (662): 423-424. DOI:

For more information about Dr Hairy’s Research Summaries, please visit

Petrushka: Proceedings of a Conference on Severe Epidemic Phytonotic Syndrome (SEPS)

I’ve been following the work of Peter McCarey, the author of this book, since I reviewed his online project The Syllabary ( in 2006. The Syllabary is an attempt to produce a poem for every one-syllable word in the English/Scottish language, and Peter McCarey is best-known as a poet, but he’s also an experimental writer, and Petrushka is a work of experimental horror/science-fiction, somewhat in the tradition of John Wyndham. It purports to be a collection of papers from a conference about the alarming spread of a disease called SEPS, in which human beings find themselves sprouting leaves and thorns as they are taken over from within by plants. It’s a bit like Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, but more documentary in style. This documentary approach does have its drawbacks, particularly in the second half of the book where one or two of the papers presented by ‘contributors’ other than McCarey himself – on subjects such as the impact of SEPS on social organisations, religion and art, its legal and ethical ramifications, and so on – get a little bit dry and theoretical. On the other hand there is a genuinely creepy conviction to the book: by the end of it you feel that this, or something like this, is actually very likely to happen as a result of our constant nibbling-away and tampering with the environment. There are a couple of very striking sections – one where an investigative journalist tracks down the first case of SEPS to a Russian villager who has started sprouting parsley, and another where an interview is presented, purportedly with someone from the future who has come back to set SEPS in motion as a means of stopping the human race in its tracks before it can entirely destroy the planet. The ideas are constantly interesting and provocative. There are moments where the combination of creepiness, intellectual excitement and elegant prose reminded me of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.