2020

A new decade. I find it strange to still be here! As a child I could not imagine reaching the year 2000. That milestone now seems an eternity ago.

Hopefully we will begin to put people before politics this year. I would also like to develop the ability to change base metal into Gold.

I confess that the Alchemy seems more likely as I write this.

Note to future self: Social media is delusional. Boris Johnson has dissected society and performed a Europectomy on the nation in order to get into Downing Street. Apparently the public look at the hunched, bedraggled idiot and see a Prime Minister. I see an extra character from Fraggle Rock.

Social Tedium

I like Andy Murray. I admire his tenacity and his achievements.

Several years ago I took lessons and had some casual games practicing with his Mum at Next Generation in Edinburgh. I have only ever won a single sporting “prize” in all my life – a Tennis competition arranged by Judy Murray.

So watching his ascendancy and his flourishing career was always of interest. I really enjoyed Tennis.

So when I saw an image of Andy and an online “article” link from a popular newspaper website I thought I would give it a read. It was a regurgitation of old stories designed to add some comment on a quiet day. Nothing new. No interview or revelations. I then made the mistake of reading the comments: He deserves applause for surviving childhood trauma … he is “playing” on his childhood trauma … he loves Britain … he is Scottish and so he must hate England … he is nothing compared to Federer … he is the GOAT from a British perspective…

Utter tedium and utterly predictable and a complete waste of the few minutes I spent perusing them. I suspect that there are many people in claggy jogging bottoms who spend their lives being experts on Formula One, Politics in the UK and the US, Tennis, Football, Gaming, Misogyny, the BBC, Airline safety, the Legal system, History, Sci-fi, cinema-noir, Scandinavian heavy rock music, Coding, Photography …

All this expertise across such a broad spectrum and so often all stored in one, flaky, flabby, prematurely balding, wrinkly, red, spotty skull.

So many of them. All of them socially interacting on their own against other people who are even greater experts. These folks seem to have friends who were in the SAS or they were once “victims” themselves. Many of them even played Tennis at some time.

Social media will evolve – it is improving on some platforms. Twitter is my preferred social drug of choice. I detest Facebook. I do not have the lifestyle to fit into Instagram. I believe there are others, too.

The polarisation of it all will lead to conflict. It will lead to social change. Much less pervasive communications throughout history have and frequently did lead to division, revolution and change.

This revolution just feels particularly bland. The Tedious Revolution.

12th March

On this day in 1994 – a Saturday – my wee brother Craig set off for a football match in Motherwell. He was a Hibs fan.

He did not pass away that day but he never made it to the match. I don’t think he ever knew the outcome of the match. He was a passenger in a car which crashed on the way to the game. He died over a year later never really recovering from the catastrophic brain injuries he suffered.

He was twenty six when the crash happened. One other friend died in the accident that day. Another survived but he was driving. He was left with the crushing weight of losing a friend and a member of his family.

The result was a 0 – 0 draw. I suspect it wasn’t that much of a match. I never knew the score until I looked it up today. I suddenly felt curious.

Rest in peace kiddo.

A visit to Tomatin

Christopher – my son – has settled in Tomatin. He and Sandra are starting an exciting new period in the Highlands. The house is lovely, they are fantastic and the scenery is beautiful.

I believe the village name should rhyme with Tomato but I cannot help myself pronouncing it like Tom as in Tom and Jerry.

Some snaps from this weekend – an early morning walk with Chris. I loved it. Thanks for a lovely time, nice chat and great food :-) xx

Chris over the River Findhorn
A woods
The Findhorn viaduct next to the A9 flyover
Walking through a field near Tomatin
The A9!

10th January already. Slow down 2019.

I believe I have come to the conclusion that in order for photography to have any lasting impact upon me it is required to be several things.

Most importantly – it needs to be printed. I require it to be presented. The presentation can be in almost any form – poster, framed, gallery. So long as it is not on a screen. Even if that screen is expensive and it is in a gallery…

Presentations on a screen are in need of audio and narrative.  As a silent, static, carousel they do not work for me. I have over-indulged and it was a saccharin diet.

Additionally, the blogging and presentation of things needs to be edited. Not necessarily “curated” but some level of selection is needed.

This morning I walked Badger and I liked the light and I liked that I had a couple of hours to spend with the dog in the countryside.

The birds were making a lot of noise. One wren in particular was very vocal. I recorded it on my phone. I took a snap on my phone. I tool several snaps before the walk was done. The GPS on the phone recorded where I was.

But the benefit of this to me is a record. A personal record. Every wren in Britain made a similar song this morning. Everyone in east Scotland saw the same light. On my brief walk I passed 10 or more walkers doing the same circuit.

To me, however, it represented an escape. I had fresh air and Badger dog and I could hear the world around me.

The way the world now works is that it is believed we need the ‘hit’. I should post the photos and the audio – heck you can see ‘exactly’ where I was. The hit, however, is banal and inconsequential and now only an addiction with no pleasure taken and no appetite satisfied.

What made the experience unique – at least for me – was the editing of it through my yes and my emotions. The words I chose to represent it. These are the moment far more than the actual photographic evidence, the wav file and the GPS position.

The images on this blog – on websites – surrounding us – they are evocative snapshots. They make us want things or shock us and they are images but try taking time to look at real, ‘boring’ prints.

I recently saw the Press photo images printed and displayed in Edinburgh. Many I had seen before. The impact was so much greater as a print. Immeasurably more visceral.

In 2019 I hope to be able to put together a photo book. This means a couple of things. Overcoming the embarrassment of deciding “I value this photograph” and showing it in that context and slowing down, occasionally, to view the things around me and choose what I want to say.

Let’s see in 12 months how I did.