Friday 1 April 2011

First Friday Photos(hop)

Well it's really getting quite surreal in Libya now. If it wasn't already. In 2009 Silvio Berlusconi presented Gadaffi with the gift of a white lion called Romulus. His brother, called Remus was transported to Berlusconi's estate (the one where he held his infamous 'bunga bunga' parties). Gadaffi feels slighted by the Italians so threatened to release Romulus into the wild and in a move yet to be sanctioned by the UN, the Italians sent in a crack team of soldiers to rescue it in the early hours of this morning. Barking mad. Absolutely. No it's not an April Fool.

Anyway, it is April 1st and it is a Friday, so I've dug out some photos I've taken this month. If you double click on them you can see them full size

These two were actually taken in January 2009, but I was playing with Photoshop, and realised just how easy it is to completely change the nature of a picture. The first one has been altered - a late autumn on parched soil. As opposed to the second picture, the original, which was taken on a misty, snowy, cold winter's morning. Surreal. Some of the other pictures have been 'enhanced' as well...I wonder if you can guess which ones?

This is a piece of work by Ben Eine...we walked around the East End with some friends. Art or graffiti? I think it's very pleasing.

In Norfolk, I came across this tumbledown outhouse...really atmospheric

A shop in Shoreditch...ful of kitsch...the sort of thing you'll find this restaurant is decorated with. I love it.

More decay in enormous abandoned house

Same place

More Roa - an indoors had to walk all round it and peer inside to see all the work. Fascinating

I'm not a Royalist...these teabags were given to us by The Boy's German exchange student...they are a lot of fun, and we'll be re-using them on THAT wedding day

Lovely beach huts in Norfolk

Roa...absolutely my favourite street artist

I was just taking a picture of the child's footprint, when the dog came along and stuck his nose in

I asked this lady if I could take a picture of her and her dog...

Really pleased with this shot of geese

And finally more beach huts...nothing quite as quintessentially English as a beach hut

Thursday 31 March 2011


Against all our best hopes, it seems that in Fukushima, things are getting worse. Fortunately it doesn't look like it's another Chernobyl, but if as suspected at least one if not more of the reactors has gone into meltdown then problem is not going to go away anytime soon. In my head I have a vision of a glowing lump of molten goo slowly burning its way through to the earth's core. Of course, that's nonsense, but it does show what happens when mankind starts playing with things it can't really control. There's also talk of the evacuation zone being extended...which is all very well, but I'd have thought that common sense would have meant that an earlier evacuation would have been better...even recognising the quarter of a million people already displaced by the combined earthquake and tsunami. I am pretty sure that when history is told, this will be the more significant event when compared our rather sad and dishonest attempts to dislodge a petty dictator in Libya.

Back in my own little world, last night we went to see Legally of the most popular shows in the West End this year. I've not seen the film, but all the reviews have been excellent and Sheridan Smith has been lauded for her efforts in the lead role. I wasn't sure it was something I would like, but one of The Boy's teachers saw it with his family a little while ago, and as I respect his opinion, I thought I was being narrow-minded. So off we went.

Oh my oh my oh my. Where do I start? It's so lightweight it makes candyfloss feel like concrete. Vacuous plot, vacuous songs, vacuous acting and vacuous singing all makes for a hideous concoction of total (pink) crap. Unless of course, you're a fourteen year old girl in which case it's brilliant. The auditorium was full of those, so there were cheers, whoops and screams throughout. Not surprising as the lead character is modeled on Barbie. I wanted to punch the character that referenced Shakespeare...something close to sacrilege. Anyhoo. Not quite my cup of tea....apologies to The Cat who occasionally reads this. She's 16, not 14.

I wouldn't want you to think I don't like fluffy. I do. I can eat a whole packet of marshmallows in one go. And regularly do. It's probably the marshmallow in it that makes Pfish Food my favourite ice cream.

And talking of Fish, I've been using their deodorant as it works well, smells nice and comes in a nice piece of packaging. Except, that the last two cans have stopped working after a week. I'm not that sweaty and smelly. Really I'm not. I dropped a note to their customer care line and was pleased to get a response...they asked me to let them know which brand as KMI Brands evidently owns lots of them. So I let them know. Absolutely no response whatsoever. So from that I can only conclude they have lots of problems and don't want to deal with them because it's a crap product. So if you see a shiny blue can of Fish deodorant in Boots. Save your money and buy marshmallows instead because Fish stink.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Hair today gone tomorrow

Well by some remarkable coincidence, The Gallery this week is about Hare. Which is brilliant because The Cat's Mother collects hares. Yes, sculptures, painting, jewelery, 'objets' long as it's got a hare on she has it. Some people would call it an obsession. That's unfair. It's just a hobby. It's just that you can't turn a hair in the house without there being a hare turning its own beady eye at you. If I put up pictures of all the hares in the house and garden, you'd be here all day, so here is a picture I took. I bought the ring for The Cat's Mother for Christmas against the advice of her best friend and sister...evidently she's a 'gold' person not a 'silver' person. But I liked it, really liked it. And she is polite enough to say she likes it too...I think she really does. Through the ring you can see one of the garden hare fact it's a pair of boxing hares. For the technical, it didn't matter what aperture I put the camera on, or the distance/zoom I used, I just couldn't get everything in focus.

mmm someone has just tapped me on the shoulder and told me the actual theme is 'hair' which is slightly annoying. I can't think why you would want a theme like that. But anyway, here's a picture of the one and only time I cut The Boy's had grown too long at the back, but was fine on the sides and top, so I did my Vidal Sassoon bit. He's never asked me to do it again.

From this:

To this:

Tuesday 29 March 2011

The Lawnmower Man

It's pretty damned hard to get a job at the moment. Not that I need one; I'm lucky. But I know more than a few who would like to get paid for their endeavours. 'Work experience' is all the rage if you're school age. If you've got a degree, then it's often a full forty hours a week for the honour of being able to show a company how good you are even without the incentive of a few pennies in your pocket.

"I remember when I were a lad", pretty much anyone who wanted to could get a Saturday job. Not these days...there's probably a week long residential course just to see if you're suited to stacking shelves. Such is life under the economic cosh.

The Boy and The Cat have occasional baby-sitting duties amongst friends and family to help them afford the little luxuries that they can't scrounge off me or The Cat's Mother. They get paid handsomely for their troubles, but still they come cap in hand.

For UP's 50th birthday, The Boy and I got him a lawnmower. Silence to all those who say it's the equivalent of getting a woman a blender for her anniversary present. What's wrong with that? He needed one and very fine it is too. It came with a little addition. The Boy. Now, for a small sum every fortnight, The Boy gets to mow UP's lawn. He started on Saturday, and made not a bad job of reducing the jungle to something that would only make the groundsman at Wimbledon blush only slightly.

I felt the need to photograph this momentous event. After all, mowing a lawn is something that every man should be able to do. What I can't figure out though, is why he felt the need to do it hopping.

If only we'd had Tom Jones to help us out

Monday 28 March 2011

Going up, coming down

The lift in our office building speaks with the voice of a Russian prostitute. Or perhaps one of those unfeasibly beautiful Russian spies in a James Bond movie. As I'm not familiar with either, it's just a guess on my part. Anyway, I can't tell you just how excited I get when she says, "Going down".

Oh I just have.

It was fascinating to see the pro-democracy pro economic revivalists rioting/marching at the weekend. It was no surprise to see the forces of government oppression moved in using controversial techniques such as kettling to prevent a quarter of a million people give voice to their feelings. I wonder if the Libyans will be imposing a no fly zone? There are reports today that some members of the Government feel the protests should be more firmly it really time for water canons on our streets? I don't think so. We need radical change at Government and economic level, not in policing methods.

I'm not against cuts...we need them, but I suspect that that many of them are being made in the wrong place, and the structure of the civil sector will survive largely intact at the senior end, making it uncomfortably top heavy. It is a measure of the profligacy of Government that the world's sixth largest economy is unable to support itself....that is deeply shaming. Beyond the cuts, the tax burden is being carried unfairly by the likes of you and me...the shallow threats by the financial community and oil companies to up sticks needs to be dealt with...the financiers in particular are once again rolling in hay, ignoring the shit that the rest of us are covered in. It would take international agreement to put them in their place, but then radical measures are called for.

The situation in Libya gets ever-more bizarre. The UK is now suggesting it may arm the rebels. Many of whom are firmly linked to Al Qaeda...and we know where they stand on matters western. Are our politicians absolutely fucking mad? Is the blood-thirsty revenge sought by America and Britain for the Lockerbie outrage and international embarrassment of releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi so blind that we will get into bed with the same people that next year will be plotting another terrorist outrage?

Hope you all filled in your census form (unless you're reading this outside the UK, in which case I hope you didn't). I don't know what you thought, but there was no way we could accurately reflect how we spend our working days, because for both The Cat's Mother and I, the traditional structured working environment no longer exists...and that is also the case for many of our friends and contacts. It asked us about how many cars we have, but didn't ask about motorcycles...surely if it's about planning the transport network, they should have been included? And what about bicycles, surely if we're supposed to be getting more environmental, don't they want to know about that? There were numerous other anomalies that make me think that this is a document designed to maintain the status quo rather than plan for the future.

I'm grumpy. It must be Monday morning. I'm going to step back into the lift.