I am a tortured poet
I wallow in life’s mud
I like to think I’m pretty good
Deep down I know I’m crud…
I am a tortured poet
I lost an eye when mummy hit me
It rolled across the floor
I wonder why the world looks flat
It never did before…
(To be recited in a thick regional accent)
Long term followers of this blog will be aware that I lost the vast bulk of my photo archive covering around twenty years’ worth of work, partly through bad luck and bad judgement but mainly due to hard drive malfunction and straight theft. Other factors didn’t help: when the shutter button on my tiny but lovely Panasonic Lumix camera fell off after a botched repair job to the lens assembly I scaled down my photo taking to near zero. I pretty much threw in the towel and said, “Oh well, it clearly wasn’t to be.”
More bad news: my Dad is very ill and will be reliant on palliative hospital care for the foreseeable future. He has been a keen photographer all of his life but has recently lost interest simply because he no longer has the energy or inclination to go out and find things to photograph. He would much rather take it easy around the house and spend his remaining time with his loved ones, which is fair enough. During a recent visit he told me that he would like me to have his Nikon digital camera. I thanked him and told him that I would accept it on the understanding that if he got better and regained his interest in photography he should without hesitation ask for it back.
Turns out that it is a really fun camera to use, with an extraordinarily long zoom, excellent low-light performance and a full compliment of automatic settings and manual overrides. Since I started playing around with it I have rediscovered the sheer joy of going out and finding things to take pictures of. You can see some of the results above. As ever, if you click on the individual images you can see them much larger than is probably comfortable. The images featured here were taken between the 12th and 18th of September. I will probably upload a whole bunch more to my Flickr account once I remember what the password is supposed to be.
On the wall is a large poster of Charles Darwin (one of the famous photographs featuring his characteristic white woolly beard) with a caption underneath that reads:
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882)
CUTTING THE BOLLOCKS OFF CREATION SINCE 1859
This is apparently de rigueur amongst all self-respecting science undergraduates, and, it is whispered, it is quite impossible to obtain first class honours in any discipline without a copy having been displayed prominently upon one’s study wall throughout one’s period of study. Old habits die hard, and Stacey Turnbuckle, currently deputy head of the Met’s Psychological Profiling Division, is proud to display her copy, now slightly wrinkled around the edges and with creases here and there, evidence of one too many careless removal men, but these are badges of honour and to be expected in a world governed by scientific rationalism and the all-pervading principle of entropy, emphatically behind her desk where the kindly old sod can wink down upon her work benevolently from on high.
Ms. Turnbuckle’s current workload has left her puzzled and bemused and in desperate need of the kind of freewheeling inspiration one associates with Great Leaps Forward. Several things trouble her, in no particular order:
1. How can someone who thinks of Majorca and Mallorca as entirely separate places find work at any national newspaper, never mind one of the stature of The Sunday Chronicle?
2. How can anyone who thinks that “regatta” and “dressage” are synonyms for clothing rise to the position of Cultural Commentator at said renowned organ?
3. How on earth does someone so stupid murder five hundred and sixty-eight people in cold blood in multiple locations and then evade police capture for three straight weeks and counting?
Most troubling of all, this is the woman she has been instructed to “do a Myra” on, Met parlance for Psychological Profiling where the subject happens to be female. Strangely enough the male equivalents “do a Fred” or “…Harold” are rarely invoked, leading to speculation in certain quarters that the predominately patriarchal culture at the Met continues to affect the working lives of those unfortunate enough to be born with one too many X and no Y chromosomes, but no matter. Stacey is good at her job, and she enjoys it, no matter whom that might irritate. However there is little in the subject’s profile to date to indicate that she is even capable of boiling an egg, never mind mass murder, which suggests one of two things: that the Met (perish the thought) is wrong about her, or, far more credibly, that the existing records are fraudulent and that Ms. Tempanura’s articles are an elaborate cover representing many long years of deception while she planned her mass murder spree. Having reached this conclusion, which is, after all, the only logical conclusion it is possible to make, Ms. Turnbuckle is now saddled with the unenviable task of sifting through mountains of that crazy bitch’s illogical gibberish in the hope of deconstructing any kind of justification or motive for her heinous crimes. However, if she reads one more line about exactly why every home needs its own chocolate fondue set she might just end up throttling the entire office herself.
Calm yourself, she thinks to herself. There is nothing here that you can’t handle. All you need is another coffee and a cigarette break, maybe a little sudoku in the loo, then get right back on top of it.
And with that she grits her teeth, steels herself and dives right back into that unhealthy, yellowing pile of archival newsprint.
TO BE CONTINUED…
I would like to apologise to long-term (and short-term) readers of this blog. Things are going well over here in my neck of the woods and I am definitely keeping creative. I have been working on a number of film projects recently and am currently attempting to knock a feature film script into shape which, unfortunately, has left little time for the kind of random silliness that you and I love so much. Please be assured that I have not abandoned this blog and that there is plenty more to come, including the next chapter of Lord Rokeby’s Repast for which I now have a ridiculous quantity of notes, some of which are really rather rude, so I am looking forward to *ahem* polishing them into shape and posting the results in the fullness of time. Thank you all very much for being so patient.
The sound of me playing around with a mate’s acoustic Eko guitar tuned to open G. Well, he left it lying around, what else was I supposed to do? The bass is my trusty Chinese built black Fender Squire P-bass through my equally trusty Trace Elliot Boxer 15 practice amp both bought super cheap through Loot way back when. I don’t know frak all about basses or bass sound or bass playing but the combination sounds great and works just fine for me. I did two takes for the bass, one for everything else. The second bass take kinda clicked for me though.
This is my immediate post-recording (hands off) mix with double tracked riffage panned hard left and right for the first minute or so. I tried it it in other configurations but think that this, messy is as it is, has a charm all of its own that is hard to beat, certainly not without the input of a decent mix engineer.
(As ever, if for any reason it won’t play, click here.)
The ballroom was empty now, just the gentle tap of a dripping pipe to accompany the dust motes that whirled and span in the light streaming in from the broken and partially boarded-up windows high up on the far wall while spiders tended the dry and rubble-strewn bar. “A nice and juicy semi-liquified fly, sir? Coming right up,” and the spiders raced away, egged on as ever by the pulsating dance beat of the dripping pipe in a far off corner of the room.
Two tunes recently knocked up in the early hours. They aren’t finished but I’m not really sure what to do to them to make them finished, so since I quite like listening to them I thought I’d just go ahead and post them anyway.
NICE (as in biscuit)
If you find you can’t get the tracks to play for any reason you can play them directly via SoundCloud at this link.
I thought I’d post this for the future to discover. It is the product of a full day’s brainstorming and followed a series of decent but ultimately rejected ideas. I even did a full storyboard for someone else’s script before the brainstorming team (myself included) decided that all the options we had up to that point were either untenable or unfeasible. This was my attempt to wrest some value from the session.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice one or two changes twixt script and screen. There are no socks or launderettes in the film: I decided to keep the locations simple and socks really aren’t all that interesting to look at. I think the glove makes a decent stand-in though. Handbags, as a rule, tend to get nicked rather than lost, and so featuring an abandoned one would probably change the meaning of the film. Also skulking around the bushes in Victoria Park with two bags full of toys, a camera and a tripod and a handbag might well have raised the wrong kind of eyebrows and/or worried phone calls to the local constabulary. I think it was a sensible decision to leave it out.
Entered the Smoke & Mirrors 48 Hour Film Competition 2011 at the weekend and this is the result:
This year’s theme was “Lost.” The film was cobbled together in about six hours on Sunday afternoon after having spent a full day brainstorming on Saturday only to realise that all our ideas were either unfeasible or failed to reflect the theme in any way (and then heading out to a Halloween party in full zombie make-up where copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, hobbling back home at 5am.) This is a far simpler solution and if I am honest was my secret fall-back option all along. I think it turned out rather well, and having run out of time to come up with any music I think the in-camera sound is quite acceptable too. (EDIT: I have since experimented with a variety of soundtracks but I don’t think any of them are quite as successful as this version.)