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Monday 28th May 2018
May 2018 is shortly to end and fair to say it's been another good constructive month. There are times when I feel a little impatient and feel we're not making progress fast enough but then I remind myself of what I've done since March in Blackpool and it almost feels like a sci-fi movie compared to what I was doing before then. It also feels a bit strange to be living somewhere where it is guaranteed to be lively and busy on bank holidays. After years holed up in small towns and villages where one couldn't get a bus on Sundays or bank holidays, the contrast feels dramatic. This weekend just gone saw me busy on the streets, wandering and snapping away. Got quite a few great photos some of which can be seen at Instagram but a whole load more to come as we have built up a nice stash of decent images for future use there so do keep checking that out. I'd also like to thank Gisela Szlatoszlavek for her encouragement and support in the photographic realm as she felt I should be getting more exposure and pointed out how using hashtags would be useful! Also, big thanks to Ronald L. Smith for his ongoing support and humour with his comical captionings to many of my shots!
The fun continues with the Electric Sunshine Project's drop in drama sessions as last week had us doing short playlets in which I played the role of a pervert and in some opinions I played it rather well. Eeek!
Lastly for this month, I was delighted to finally hear from Rebekah Bouche. All is fine and well... she simply decided she needed time out from her music and assured me that there will be more to come. I look most forward to it as her album "So Long, Solemn" remains a firm favourite due to it's unique nature.
See you in June!
Wednesday 13th June 2018
Almost halfway through 2018 and the year is racing on by! This weekend just gone was a manic and busy one for Blackpool with so many events going on it was impossible to get around to capture them all. Blessed with hot sunny weather, Blackpool was THE place to be. I felt happy and busy, all the while thinking once again that there truly is no place like Blackpool anywhere else on the planet and I am delighted to be able to call it "home"! I almost missed it all as my original plan was to spend a few days with family, but a certain company called Northern Rail scuppered that with their farcical handling of our rail service and having suffered too many times thanks to their antics last year, I felt it best to postpone my plan as I was in no mood for their stressful games.
I was busy with the camera covering a handful of items which were just a fraction of what was happening. Saturday saw me covering the Pride Parade... that was a crazy task for me as in my left hand I was holding my mobile phone continually filming the parade passing by whilst clutching my camera in the other hand, having to use my little finger to keep zooming in and out. That afternoon I took in a rare guided tour of the Blackpool North Pier Theatre. The pier was hosting major celebrations following vital refurbishment work and I must say the owners have done the Pier proud. Thanks to storm damage a few years ago, it had been looking shabby and sorry, so seeing it spruced up, neat, decorated and looking classy, it was nice to see so kudos to all involved for a stunning job. Sunday, there was the choice of a vintage car show in Cleveleys, the Colour Run at Starr Gate or various events in Stanley Park. I got sidelined by dance troupes rehearsing on the Comedy Carpet and it was too hot for me to be out for long. However Blackpool is home to a host of superb photographers who were all over the place covering events I missed and I think we'd all agree, it was a memorable perfect weekend.
Did I say there's no place quite like Blackpool?
Was a little sad to conclude my participation with the Electric Sunshine Project's "Drop In Drama" sessions last week. This week whilst they host their final session in this current run, I'll be elsewhere attending the start of a Wordpool course devoted to Creative Writing. Our bizarre manglings of the opening scene from "Macbeth" would had made Shakespeare question his sanity I'm sure! I do look forward to working with Melanie Whitehead in the future, a dynamic force of nature devoted to keeping creativity and performing arts live and vibrant.
The Brian Prebble Experience made its third appearance last week at the Pub Poets evening. Due to the weather, the turnout was rather low but that didn't stop us from indulging in the usual mayhem. Hats off to organisers Ashley Lister and Lisa Bower for knowing how to keep a poetry evening entertaining. Prebble once again went down well so another great confidence booster.
The next few weeks look set to be busy as I've enrolled as a LeftCoast volunteer for a one day Wordpool festival and the all day Spare Parts festival in Fleetwood and currently awaiting to hear more about those. The creative writing course is certain to be productive and useful, and all the while there'll be plenty more photography.
Unfortunately, Instagram seem to be wreaking havoc in a disagreeable tyrannical manner. Given they're owned by Farcebook this should come as zero surprise. It is ridiculous they ditched the chronological feed so when we now log in, we have to wade through a whole load of stuff we've already seen over the last few days to see what has been posted today. Instagram claim "users now spend more time" there... of course they will - searching for the stuff they want to see! Furthermore, I have been appalled uploading great quality work to see Instagram compress it badly to the degree the results are in no way representative of the quality of my work. I foresee a parting of the ways very soon and with that in mind, have started up an account at Flickr which you can find at the top of this page. I'm posting the photos I regard as my very best there and you can see them in way better quality than on Instagram.
I have added a new page to this site, devoted to some of the Kickstarter projects I've backed over the last 4 years. One of the first projects I backed was some documentary movie about some retired elder talent who I admired but felt had long been forgotten about. The funding was successful, work got underway and fate took some unlikely twists and turns. "The Ballad of Shirley Collins" has been enjoying much acclaim and it's been wonderful to witness Shirley herself return to singing and performing, gaining the respect and plaudits she has always deserved. The film is fascinating and well worthy of your time.
Another film project I backed is "A Life In The Death of Joe Meek" - Joe Meek is one of my heroes and work began on this film way back in 2002. It has taken such a long time because of various factors as the makers Howard S.Berger and Susan Stahman had a major task tracking down and interviewing as many people as possible in order to tell Joe's surreal life story in the best manner. I witnessed a preview screening of a rough cut in Sheffield back in 2014 and absolutely loved the film plus it was great to meet Howard in person and give him instant feedback. Totally self produced - in the true spirit of Joe's independent spirit - Howard and Susan have ploughed tons of their time, energy and money into the film. Many of the participants interviewed have sadly passed on, the most recent being Robbie Duke aka Patrick Pink who sadly passed away last month. Robbie was Joe's assistant during the final years of his life and was the only witness to the terrible events that occurred on February 3rd 1967 when Meek shot himself after inexplicably shooting dead his landlady Violet Shenton. I had the pleasure of being online pals with Robbie who was always very gracious and supportive of not just Joe's memory but also my own ventures. The film is now dealing with legal issues regarding the all important soundtrack. It sure has been a long time in the making and I'm certain the wait will be worth it as Joe Meek's story is one of the oddest you'll ever hear and see. The man was a genuine Genius, but he was also a tragic figure, crucified for his homosexuality when it was still deemed illegal.
Do take the time to check the Blackpool links at the top of each page, see what some of our other local artistes are up to! One of the reasons I relocated here was to become a part of a community and though it may be rare we ever encounter one another, we do maintain strong connections and support online via social media and it's nice to be a part of a large family of talents as we all go about doing our own things but collectively helping keep Blackpool alive and vibrant.