A Disparate List

1.    When people tag pictures with #nofilter, increasingly my first reaction is, ‘oh, that’s a shame – a carefully chosen filter would’ve made your okay photograph really pretty great.’ It comes across as judgey, and so I judge right back. The camera you’re using is a humungous filter – never mind that you chose to frame the shot, and there’s the application you chose to share it in. So, y’know. Next time, filter some more. Put the leg-work in.

2.    I’m not getting this bike shelter built anytime soon. The design of it is on my mind, but it needs to be – crazily – movable… and that’s what’s slowing the whole process down. That, plus I’m not wholly convinced that the old bitumen coated felt is the way to go. Even though there’s a fat roll of it in the shed, and my project budget is zero.

3.    Last week I met for coffee with a very demonstrative person. That’s to say someone big into acting out the anecdote they’re telling you. I get embarrassed, a little claustrophobic. People look over at the gesturing and the various voices being used. What can I do, I get self-conscious? I’ve known a few people over the years who like to do this. Like, pretending to hold and speak into an invisible phone if the story involves a call. What makes some people take this approach? I’m not aware that it’s something I do when telling a tale – the actions and the expressions; the… pauses. Do you know someone who do this?

4.    Tables are great, aren’t they? I mean, really great. If you’ve got the room for them, I think you should have them everywhere. Indoors, I mean. I love sitting at tables, me. Sometimes when people get up from the table to move elsewhere, I’m like, ‘oh…’

5.    Years ago – and I mean like back in the late 80s – I was super-obsessed with taking photos off the TV. I liked the chance aspect of it. Even with video pausing you never knew how the lines were going to behave. I think about that occasionally now as I’m constantly pausing these Sky Box Sets. And how back in the day it was pretty much Kylie and Julie Christie I was trying to capture in a frame, and now I’m only hitting pause (see below) when I see a characterful kitchen or a really nice old car.

6.    For these past two days out of this window to my left, I have assumed that the sudden glimpses of a vivid pink through the trees has been the fluorescent hi-viz jacket of someone working on the massive old firs over there. Today I realise it’s a last tall rose, heavy, leaning and bobbing on its stem. A solitary huge pink flowerhead creating quiet mayhem in the trees.

Photographs off the TV

Photographs off the TV. Or ‘life after Kylie.’

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A Short Rhyme for Missed Rain

The egg cartons, milk bottles, were dry.
And they were delivered at five.
So the rain must have happened
Sometime before then.
When we were asleep. But alive.


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Illustration Friday: Orange

So, last Friday’s topic popped up as ‘Orange’. Here’s my submission. This one’s made me happy from the start, with its folksy old flatness and fruit.

First up – the full square of it, with the painting in the background. I later cropped the piece to have just a hint at a canvas there. I think the painty brushwork of it may have been interfering a little with the block flat surfaces of the other elements. That said, I do like a painting in a picture. Anyways, the cropped, and more ‘posterly’ version, is below. Hope you like!




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We’ll See the Year Out…

well-see-the-year-out-1 I grabbed a line that struck me. From the Swedish TV series, Ångelby. (That’s Angelby with an accented ‘A’, in case WordPress no-likes the symbol.) A lovely story told in characteristically dream-like photography, and starring, as did the beautiful Thicker Than Water, Joel Spira. The fairly unremarkable line of dialogue, spoken by Jesper’s father, the coach, in Episode 3, somehow landed with me. I liked its unspecific boldness; the conditional diluting of a huge idea. I wrote it down and thought about it all week.

How would it look on what might masquerade as ‘motivational posters’? Roughly-scamped, with photos chosen almost at random from my stock. And how would it make anybody feel, applying it to their own lives?

We’ll see the year out…



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North Song

Churches the colour of rye bread
Those very verdigrised roofs
Take me to a sea
With its quiet hyphens of cargo
To live with my back to the world


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Blur: This Very Wet, Rainy Town

An ice cream cone is held aloft; a torch still carried for Hong Kong.

Skipping the street grid of the television’s guide, I chance upon New World Towers; a last year’s film about the band, Blur, and the making of The Magic Whip album. Perversely and reassuringly I like how I simply often miss things. It makes them more special when they’re found – instills in me a trust in the mind as a healthy radar (Koestler?). The film is a story of discovery and self-discovery in Hong Kong; of creative partnerships and lasting collaborations. And fate. As a bonus, there’s a characteristically low-key cameo by producer-genius, Stephen Street.

Other streets I recognise also. From these many thousand miles and thousand years I feel comforted by a familiarity in the Hong Kong steps, the steep alleyways. That rain.

Within 24 hours I have the album in my hands; loaded and playing over the barking of the last-of-the-holidays neighbourhood. It’s a beautiful, easy collection of songs with an understated-ness, maturity, I find inspires me more than music has in a long time.

I’m on a ghost ship drowning my heart in Hong Kong.

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Chicago Notes, 5. Brolly

So, I reckons probably this is the last of the Chicago Notes series.

I was thinking, there, about the getting lost and all, and things not always turning out quite how I had them imagined beforehand. And I thought, why not make something of this, or about this, as distinct from… having a moan?

So I made this note in a bar (where the welcome, la chaleur, if you will, was not as great as I’d imagined, etc etc)…


And when we got back home and before the work came in, I made a start on I Am Brolly. It’s a bit of a tease here because the final frame is not complete. When it is I’ll bob the full story up. Meantime, get the inky-stylistic monochrome gist of the thing from these snips and crops: a clumsily anxious, introvert umbrella with dreams beyond what the world wants of him. Plus a slightly annoying omniscient voice.

1 CROP 1

FL Collage


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