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.

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.

Maybe…

My oldest son has decided to crop the hair short. I think it suits him well enough. He has a bit of a peak/slight thinning to the front. Nothing unusual in that.

This concerns me, however. What do I look like..?! Maybe I should be doing the same. But my head is like a clootie dumpling…

Nah – not yet.

A lesson worth learning

I do not travel a great deal, fortunately, as this tale proves. I am also very good at mislaying things. On a few trips I have left things lying when I leave. In AirBnB homes and hotels – even at a Tourist Information site in Segovia miles from anywhere!

In all these cases I have managed to get the items returned – the honesty and effort of people never ceases to amaze me.

Twice – while visiting a Church of Scotland manse in the Inner Hebrides – I left items. It is a shared manse for visiting preachers and my friend is a Church of Scotland minister.

Once I left an iPod – I remember clearly on the kitchen counter. Recently I left a brand new Amazon Kindle – we had to rush to catch a Ferry to be sure of a crossing.

Those two times – after all the trips and times I mislaid items – in a building I know well and have friends would pop in to pick the items up – only on those two occasions have the items disappeared.

Just saying…

The road to digital nirvana…

..is littered with people spitting hate, venom and bile. Amen to the closure of Alex Jones’ stinking profiteering from distorting the “truth”. What a contemptible liar.

This type of “channel” has proliferated. This is not exclusive to digital media, either. The scale and the hidden nature by which ‘digital’ business profits from selling access to you – that is new. They push the content and inflate the importance of other people’s libel – then step back and say “don’t blame us – we are only the delivery boy”. They fuel these bigots and inflate their audience. These businesses are valued in the billions of dollars yet struggle each year to identify anything plausible as growth except “sell more advertising” or else “buy someone else’s business”.

Please note: This link does not direct to Jones’ venomous and hateful website. It links to a story about him and the closure of his publishing platforms.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45083684

Restoring my faith

John Williams and Julian Bream. Hokusai. A day in the Life.

T.S. Eliot. Bach and Britten’s Requiem. Mozart Piano Concerti – especially 20.

The things I return to. Crutches when I feel weak, tired. Or low. Or all three.

And Bessie Bighead. Bessie always reminds me of the precarious balances. Happy and sad. Alive and not.

Alone until she dies, Bessie Bighead, hired help, born in the workhouse, smelling of the cowshed, snores bass and gruff on a couch of straw in a loft in Salt Lake Farm and picks a posy of daisies in Sunday Meadow to put on the grave of Gomer Owen who kissed her once by the pig-sty when she wasn’t looking and never kissed her again although she was looking all the time.

Dylan Thomas,
Under Milk Wood

With friends like these…

A Commander, imagine a Queen or a King, turns up before a huge battle. Think along the lines of Elizabeth I or Wallace in Braveheart.

The troops need a rousing speech. They are ready for battle but they are anxious.

Imagine, now, if Jeremy Corbyn had written and delivered it in the style of his rousing European campaigning at Brexit referendum time:

“Troops – as you know – I am really not in favour of this battle. I have no quarrel with the enemy. Indeed I do not trust many of our allies in this battle. However, I recognise that you lot are keen to fight for your beliefs. That being the case I am prepared to support you. Best of luck. Hurrah.”

“You did get that, didn’t you? I said Hurrah”

Then to his Lords and Lieutenants: “Ok – job done. Where next?”