You ! Pack it in !

I had a lovely time last Friday evening at the Anti Trump demonstration in Sheffield and briefly met some lovely people. There was a turn out of about, it was estimated 2,000 people and a very small counter demonstration of about 7. A counter demonstration always adds a bit of frisson to these things. I remember one time years ago a mate and I came across a pro Shah of Iran demonstration in London accompanied by a sizeable and vociferous counter demonstration. That was interesting !

The bloke in the Trump mask wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get a decent image which was a shame. In the interests of impartiality I felt it was important to document this aspect. It’s important to document these things.

Let’s be honest though no amount of demonstrating would make much difference to Donald. He thrives on it. He’s immune to it. I’m beginning to find him quite funny in a surreal way rather than a Stan and Ollie way. He swaggers into town in his boring blue suit, squinting his eyes into the daylight and pouting his lips, rattles a few diplomatic cages and swaggers out again leaving someone to shovel up his shit like someone walking behind a horse with a bucket and spade. Nobody knows what he’s going to say from one moment to the next and frankly neither does he. It’s all a lot bizarre and somewhat parallel universe. It’s like some character has stepped out of a weird Hollywood b-movie and is now running America. As I write this he’s upset Senior Republicans and the FBI. Surely not ? Very often we get what we deserve.

We have a similar character here in England. His name’s Boris Johnson who rumour has it is vying to be the next Prime Minister. Very often we get what we deserve but the English don’t like extremists of any creed be it political or religious. Many intellectuals believe and have documented that the English are “conservative with a small c “. It’s probably true, unfortunately.


My search for the perfect Pork Pie

There’s an excellent photo exhibition on at Quad in Derby ( UK ) at the moment. Mark Neville’s Battle Against Stigma is a project which aims to challenge ( don’t they all ? ) the stigma of mental health problems in the military and to encourage attitude change. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that kind of thing. My mate Clive was in the army and we were talking about this one day. He reckoned that what the Army needed to do was provide somewhere where when they came home from a Tour of Duty or came out the Army they could go to and come back down to earth all together. Some place where they could get pissed, relax and just be together and talk about their respective experiences to each other. Instead they find themselves back in civilian life trying to come to terms with experiences that the rest of the population neither know, could possibly understand or particularly care about.

The problem with Quad in Derby is that it doesn’t seem to be able to make it’s mind up with what it wants to be. Is it an Independent Cinema, a Gallery space, an Arts Centre with Educational provision or a watered down all three. It’s partly the design of the building which is the problem. The Gallery space isn’t big enough, the Café and Bar area  is neither one thing or the other and the shop is just a token gesture to such a thing. It tries to compete with the other big Art Spaces in the country but so far has failed precisely because it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It pays only lip service to local artists and creatives who desperately need somewhere like this to unleash themselves.  It wants getting hold of by the scruff of the neck and shaking about but alas !

I was working ( yes I have to work ) in Sheffield yesterday at a Steel Melting plant. It was a visually  interesting space and I’d love to go back with my camera and document, particularly on a day when they melt. I’d like to meet the Melting Manager too. Just up the road was Beres Pork shop where for lunch I got the best pork pie I’ve had in bloody ages. The egg custard wasn’t bad either. Beres came here from Budapest back in them days, the time when all those Brexit voting idiots want their country back. Ya see if it wasn’t for Immigration I wouldn’t have had that absolutely superb pork pie yesterday. I can’t imagine Russian  billionaire Roman Abramovitch doing much work in this country anyway ? Not like clocking on and clocking off kind of work like what the rest of us do. This idea of him losing his work Visa ? I smell Government bullshit ! Can you smell bullshit ? Take my Poll today, it’s just for fun.


It’s only Rock n Roll but I like it !

It’s taken me years to remember which one is which. Liam Gallagher is the gobshite one with attitude whose doing very well for himself as football thug lead singer of a rock n roll band and Noel Gallagher is the marginally less gobshite one with attitude and a bit more intelligence whose doing very nicely for himself as football thug turned mellower introspect lead singer of a rock n roll band. Supposedly they don’t get on but cynic me thinks it’s all part of the act. Like Lennon and McCartney, Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Morecambe and Wise they were better together, ( well Lennon didn’t do so badly) as Oasis.In fact neither of them in their respective bands don’t sound much different even though Noel is trying to be a bit more creative. Liam can be quite funny until he starts his football terrace act extolling the virtues of supporting Man City. I used to know boys like him at Sheffield United, some of whom are dead now. One was shot in the head while sat in his car as part of some drug feud. Another died of a brain haemorrhage; the last time I saw him in Sheffield he looked like he’d been pumping himself with body building steroids. He certainly didn’t need to be any more aggressive, he was a nasty piece of work already. He once tried to pick my pocket, they called him ‘Dodger’. My brother says I look a bit like Pep Guardiola, I ought to get myself over to Manchester with an “I’m Pep Guardiola” t-shirt ? My wife says only when I wear my red reading glasses.

Bear with me I’m experimenting with this Poll thing. Have a go !

It aint your picture, it’s mine !

Chinatown – London

I really enjoyed What do Artists Do All Day on BBC Four this week featuring photographer Dougie Wallace or Glasweegee as he’s sometimes known. I knew it was going to be a hoot when he got out of bed naked and the first thing he put on was his hat, such swagger. If you’re interested in street photography then check it out on line somewhere. It’s one of the best What Do Artists Do All Day I’ve seen. Highlight for me was when this uber rich veiled Muslim lass demanded he delete the image of her he’d just taken and he quite rightly refused. Of course we don’t know where this lass was from, I mean she could be a bona fida British citizen with a British passport which is fine by me but if you’re going to be uber filthy rich and arrogant with it at least familiarise yourself with the laws on photography out in the public domain. I have a problem with the veil actually but that’s another discussion for another time. Another laugh out loud moment was Dougie asking a bloke to move out the way so he could take images.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve had one or two scrapes myself including a fight with a thick teenager in which the only way I could prize myself out of the bear hug he had me in was to grab hold of him by the balls. It doesn’t take much for them to let go of you then I can tell you. Another occasion I had an American tourist request I delete the image and threatened to call the police. I offered to actually take him to the police station myself to discuss the matter further.  When he realised he was on dodgy ground he put his own camera back in his pocket and pissed right off. As Gary Winogrand once said in a clip I saw when a bloke asked him why Gary was taking his picture “It aint your picture it’s mine”, he was so right, best response ever.

I don’t think Dougie whom I’m connected to on Facebook, yes we’re Facebook friends (whatever the fuck that means), would be irritated with me if I said his work is the secret love child of Martin Parr and Bruce Gilden. Dougie’s image taking approach and technical approach are very similar to these two photographers and there’s nothing wrong with that. What I like with Dougie’s Harrodsburg project is the very fact he’s documenting the super rich whose world is often hidden and closed to the rest of us. His images exude a ‘let them eat cake’ feeling to them layered with cultural ignorance and poor taste in rich clothing, lipgloss and jewellery. Some of these people need lessons in presentation from our own English aristocracy for whom vulgarity is a cardinal sin.

Bye for now !

Do More – Say Less


Well a  very hopeful and brave New Year to all my followers and random readers and a special warm welcome to my 300th follower of this blog. Although  I don’t like the term ‘follower’ very much. Jesus had followers and I ain’t no Jesus.

I’ve not been on here for a while. Before Christmas my Laptop Hard Disk crashed. Fortunately, friend, neighbour and computer geek helped me get up and running in a relatively painless manner and saved me some cash in the process. A new hard disk in the same laptop against a brand new laptop at a fraction of the cost. What was disconcerting about the event was that it  brought home to me just how dependent  on having a computer and being attached to the World Wide Web I’ve become. From having to pay bills on line to just being in touch with friends and a multitude of other things.  It’s a dependency I can’t say I’m happy with oh no.

I’ve resisted the urge to do a Review of 2016. I haven’t got that much to say about it that probably hasn’t been said already. Like a lot of people I know, for me personally,  it was a pretty bum year and I’m glad to see the back of it. My father in law passed away at the end of September after an 18 month illness. Much of 2016 was spent helping the family to look after him.That’s him in the above photo which I took back in 2009 for my project on Englishness. He died of what we categorize here in the UK as an “Industrial Disease”. Actually it was Mesothelioma, commonly known as Asbestosis. As a Pattern Maker for the local Iron Foundry he’d worked with asbestos back in the late 70’s early 80’s. Doing a job he loved to provide for his family but a job which eventually would kill him. I’m glad I made the effort to make this image of him and his wife in their back garden, one foot on the path and one foot on the English soil.

On the subject of English soil I didn’t vote for this country to leave Europe. I didn’t believe it was in the nation’s best interests, economically or socially. Certainly not for the majority of us anyway and I’ve not seen anything yet to change my mind. Now the deed has been done and we’re waiting for a soft, hard or semi erect Brexit I hope, very much hope that it will all turn out alright in the end and I’m wrong in my opinion. I suspect we’ll not know for about  30 years by which time I’ll either be gone or too old to give a shit. One of the men to blame will be Nigel Farage and he’ll be long gone too. When Trump won the election Farage went over to congratulate him and have his photo taken with him. Like Trump, Farage is one of those people who abuses anyone who doesn’t agree with him; a political bully.

Meanwhile over in the USA !

What is there to say about Donald Trump that hasn’t already been said ? There’s a part of me that thinks he’ll not actually achieve much, if anything at all. He’ll be the most ineffectual American President in history. He strikes me as a dodgy business man who’ll say anything to anyone in order to sell something. I’d be interested to hear and see him perform in front of an all black American audience in one of the Southern States and compare that to an all Hispanic audience. Might be alright as a business man running your own Companies but quite different as President of the good ole US of A surrounded by lots of intelligent bureaucrats who have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to delay policies that don’t fit. Here in the UK we have the Civil Service for all that malarkey. You’ve got to laugh at the Democrats though haven’t you. I mean if they didn’t write dodgy emails in the first place then the Russians wouldn’t have found them to leak. Give someone enough rope and eventually they’ll hang themselves which is kinda what I hope will happen to Trump.

So in 2017 I’m very much hoping to curtail my dependency on computers and not worry about all those things like world politics that I can do absolutely nothing about. My New Year’s resolution ? Do More – Say Less.

A brave and hopeful New Year to you all.


Caravan Diaries continued….. Six Degrees of Separation Theory

Caravan Diaries 22 August 2016 contd ……..

I see no ships ? ………


The night before we came out in our caravan we were at the Sister in Laws to celebrate our niece’s A level results. There’s something dodgy about her English Literature mark, or rather everyone else’s in the class. They’ve all been given the same blanket mark of a ‘D’. How is it possible that all the class have got the same mark ? I smell a bureaucratic rat ?
My niece’s boyfriend is at the party too and his parents have been invited along. Chesterfield can be a bit of a village at times and as soon as I walk in I think I recognise boyfriend’s father.Turns out we went to the same school together and although he is older than me I was in the same class as his sister Jane. A feisty character she was but I got on quite well with her. As the night wears on we reminisce about some of the teachers we were taught by. Some of the teachers were quite vicious, quite violent, overseen by the Headmaster Squadron Leader Norman Crookes DFC. There was Mr Buckley who’d been a boxer. One time I witnessed him thump five boys around the history class. There was ‘Rat Wells’, you didn’t wanna mess with him. Mr Windle ( whose wife and father successfully won Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game ) called his means of corporal punishment ‘Abigail’ apparently; ” you boy it’s time to meet Abigail’. Headmaster Squadron Leader Norman Crookes DFC liberally dispensed the cane. He saw it as a means of some much-needed trans-formative power, boys into men kind of thing. One of my mates got the cane and I remember him showing me the two red stripes across the top of his backside. Having shot down a number of enemy bombers in the Second World War I suppose Norman he felt entitled.
Perhaps William Rhodes Secondary School’s main claim to fame though was being the school attended by Paul Burrell ( a few years older than me ) the Butler to HRH Diana Spencer. Her who provided Prince Charles with an Heir and a spare only to lose her life in a nasty car accident in a Paris underpass while on a night out with Dodi Fayed the son of the bloke who owned Harrods. Burrell wrote about his time at William Rhodes and Norman Crookes DFC in his memorable critically acclaimed auto biography called ? ………..erm I forget !!  Not long before this seismic event in our history, Diana and Dodi visited ( as reported by the gutter press ) a medium Rita Rogers who lived  the other side of Chesterfield directly across  the road from my father in law. When the press got wind of this Rita Rogers medium story they were knocking on my father in law’s door wanting to know what he’d seen ?  He’d seen the Harrods helicopter and that was about it. I love these haphazard connections !!
Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

Today I don’t think we’ll be doing much at all. We don’t need to go anywhere and we don’t need to be anything.

The wife not needing to go anywhere or be anything….


Pig in a poke

man with bag for life

I’ve been wondering all day at which point our Prime Minister David Cameron decided he’d like to become PM ? Was it after he stuck his dick in a dead pig or before ? I don’t know about you lot but when I was much younger, in my youth, yes I’d go out and get drunk from time to time, but behaving badly with a dead pig as part of some bizarre initiation ritual to join some club was not in my or my mates oeuvre. I did stick a crayon up my nose at infant school when a lass told me to but I was about six at the time and I did learn never again to do a daft thing   just because someone told me to. Don’t get me wrong, I love  a bacon sandwich and nice bit of pork and cracklin when I can get it but that takes the bloody biscuit. I hope he washed it before he stuck it in the dirty git !  I did some pretty daft things in my youth but that certainly was not one of them. Neither was snorting cocaine from my mates very hairy backside ! Then again I wouldn’t have been able to afford cocaine even if I’d have heard about it back in the early eighties.A few pints of well brewed Wards beer was more my choice of fun enhancement.  My mates and I liked a few beers and we could be a bit mischievous but rather than concern ourselves with being bloody annoying to other people we went to see live bands a lot; The Jam, Big Country, Nine Below Zero, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, John Cooper-Clarke, The Undertones etc etc.
Now I’m not one for believing the newspapers and this one certainly takes some believing but it is revealed in some biography about Cameron by some disgruntled ex Tory benefactor who apparently Cameron passed over for some top job in Government. So either Cameron didn’t stick his dick in a dead pig or the Tory benefactor has a somewhat depraved and vivid imagination besides being pretty pissed off that his money didn’t buy him a post. Either way, as per usual neither of them come out of this particularly well and this Eton educated idiot is running the country.

I don’t know this man. I don’t know his name. I don’t know his past and I don’t know his future. The image is not really about the man in the picture at all. The photo above reminds me of my current favourite t-shirt. It’s a quote from a song on the album Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, ‘Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way’.