Band of the Week

My notebook & pen while writing my Band of the Week post

I’m increasingly enjoying the process of blogging. There’s something about the act of sitting alone with my notebook and pen that’s very freeing. As someone who’s generally smitten with the digital age, it’s come as a bit of a shock to find that I just can’t manage to write on a laptop – I need a pen in my hand. It could be because I’m not the fastest typist, I can certainly write quicker than I can type, but whatever the reason it just doesn’t flow so easily from the keyboard.

There’s nothing a music geek likes more than trying to persuade someone else to listen to the new band they’ve discovered.

My laptop wile writing Band of the Week post

Just as I’d begun to enjoy the process I came up against what I assume every blogger must at some point, what exactly should I write about? My photography is always going to be at the core of what I talk about here. Trust me you don’t want regular missives from my subconscious.

Sooo, I have been listening to a lot of new music recently and I’d love to share some of it. There’s nothing a music geek likes more than trying to persuade someone else to listen to the new band they’ve discovered. Bear in mind this is a middle aged bloke talking so quite how ‘new’ this music proves to be may be open to debate – but most of it will be new to me.

I finally understand John Peel eulogising over music made by bands 30 years his junior.

I remember the excitement as a teenager in discovering a new band – even if it was via BBC Radio One, so technically half the teenagers in the UK were ‘discovering’ the same band at that exact same moment. Well, the news is that feeling can be just as captivating, different, but still captivating as you get older. I finally understand John Peel eulogising over music made by bands 30 years his junior.

All this leads me to say I’m going to commit (to attempt – just covering myself) to write about one band each week. I’ve decided to snappily call this new feature ‘Band of the Week’ – impressive huh, I’ve been working on that a while! The bands may not always be on the bleeding edge of cool, but it will be what I’m enjoying at the time. I’m aiming to get the first post up next week, so keep an eye out (or you could subscribe – it’s over there on the right).

I also really like the idea of featuring guest posts, hearing what you’re listening to, so if you’re interested please get in touch.

In the meantime keep enjoying the new.

Lists, changes and optimism

a seascape from the island St. Ives

I intended writing a post about the rather unremarkable subject of Camera Manuals, and that is coming. However I started wondering whether the location in which I write effects what and how I write. Generally I don’t think is does, however in this instance, as I’ve abandoned the intended subject to talk only about this location and the emotions it stirs, I can only conclude the answer has to be a resounding yes.

I’m writing perched on a rock off of ‘The Island’ in St Ives, on England’s south-west coast. Because of that I’m writing, for the first time in a very long while, with a pen on actual paper. It seemed vaguely ridiculous to drag my laptop along the coastal path, past the assembled tourists, surfers and the odd distressed artist, as though I was heading for a day in the office. My rock, as I now think of it, is below the footpath by some 20 feet, so I’m hidden from passersby. I can occasionally see the shadow of a head on the rocks in front of me, but that’s the limit of the intrusion.

Every year about this time I sit on this very rock and write, in a notebook remarkably similar to this one, a list. I’m very much a list enthusiast, I write lists for every activity and every possible occasion. There are the usual work related to-do lists, lists for the supermarket and the DIY store, lists of things I need to do around the house and in the garden. This particular list though is not one of those, mundane workaday lists. This list is the big one. ‘The List’ with capital letters. It’s the list I suspect we all draw up whether we actually commit it to paper or not. It’s the list of changes I’m going to make to my life once I return home from holiday; the list of things that are going to be different; this list is a statement, it says “I’m no longer the old me I’m going to return home a new man and start afresh”.

The disheartening thing about my list is that it has been virtually the same for as long as I can remember, yes, the details change but fundamentally it’s the same.

There may be a contingent amongst you, dear readers, who at this point is thinking “here’s a man who’s recently passed his half-century, although he doesn’t look it”. Nice of you to say. “Surely if you’ve not done it, whatever it is, by now then maybe you’re not going to?” A part of my brain accepts that, you may right but I just can’t allow that thought to linger. This year’s list may not be written yet, but it will be, you can be sure of that.

Brain space, rainy bank holidays & the answer to eternal happiness*

A view of the horizon over Dungenesss, Kent

Dungeness sky – as open as the Bank Holiday mind

The rainy bank holiday, in the British psyche, is the epitome of British pessimism. The average Brit expects it to rain on a bank holiday because ‘it’s miserable here that’s the worst thing that can happen’, right? Well, as it transpires, no. I like everyone else had been watching the weather forecasts and had bemoaned the approaching weather. So perfectly timed that the worst of it arrives over the 24 hour period that is the August bank holiday, the most prized of the British workers 24 hour passes from the daily drudgery.

As expected I got up this morning to see grey skies and a steady drizzle. To give the weather gods their due it hasn’t drizzled all day. There have been fairly long periods of heavier rain and just after lunch we had what one might call a downpour, but otherwise drizzle pretty much sums it up.

However far from the weather casting a grey shadow over my day I’ve had a really pleasant time. The drizzle, rain and downpours have given me permission – as it were – to hang out, take it easy, to kick back. Don’t get me wrong I’ve not sat on the sofa all day eating crisps and dribbling on to my vest – I’m still too tightly wound to allow myself to do that. I done a few chores, but at my own pace, there’s been no pressure to get something finished by a certain time so that I can immediately move on to the next job on my mental task list.

Just as I was relishing these, post lunch, moments of mental relaxation I realised that, yes, it’s a Monday so I would normally be working but in every other way today is no different from the average Saturday or Sunday. Why did it take a little rain (ok, a lot of rain) for me to give myself permission to relax? Why can’t I occasionally do that on a Sunday, or even god forbid a Saturday. Are we all so wound up with productivity, task lists and targets that we’ve forgotten how to take it easy?

In my idealised version of this post I’d now reel off my three point plan to guarantee a lifetime’s happiness and satisfaction. You’ll be disappointed, but maybe not surprised, to hear that isn’t going to happen – I suppose we all keep striving to reach that higher plane, though I fear that most of us may be moving in the opposite direction.

If you have the answer to eternal satisfaction and are looking for someone to share it with I’d appreciate a call – I’ll be very grateful. Is time for tea yet?

*disclaimer – part of this title may be slightly misleading.

brown sauce or red?

Half a bacon sandwich

Photography is my thing. It’s the thing I’ve been interested in longer than anything other. My lovely wife aside it’s the thing I think about most. Actually now I think about it, I spend quite a lot of time thinking about how much I dislike driving, but that’s only when I’m actually driving.

However, even with an interest as long lived as photography there are naturally down times and this is one of those times. Hence the rather dry spell here on the blog. So I’ve decided to give myself permission to write about things other than photography, it is my blog after all.

Having made that announcement I feel as though I need to actually write on some non-photo related topic, which brings me in an incredibly circular route to Ben Wishaw.

There is a horrible sinking sadness that overcomes me when anyone in the public eye releases a statement that, in the common vernacular, they’ve ‘come out’. Not because of the fact that they’re gay, but because in 2014 it’s still seen as important. Yet it seems even more depressing in the case of Ben Wishaw, because there are so many far more interesting things to talk about.

Here is a 33 year old actor who has already played Hamlet and Richard II, has acted on stage to incredible reviews with Judi Dench, who has a list of film, television and theatre credits far too long to recount here. Yet when interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row this evening there was the inevitable question about his sexuality. To give the presenter, Damian Barr, his due it was very cleverly ’embedded’ in the conversation, but it was there never-the-less. Whether he prefers to sleep with men or women should be, in fact is, as important as whether he prefers brown sauce or red on his bacon sandwiches. As a vegetarian I’d be slightly more interested whether he eats bacon sandwiches at all. However I fear we’re still a long way from that time and so I’m consigned to these periods of disappointment in the human condition as another poor Ben Wishaw or Tom Daley subjects themselves to the ritual examination of their private lives.