Well THAT was an eventful week, one which has raised my spirits enormously casting the rather sullen month of May well into the distant past! A week of music, drama and a return to photography amongst various things.
Monday had me knee deep in my photography archives, wading through various shoots from the last year and it proved to be quite curious. Whenever I do a session, I go through the results at home, cast aside the best photos which I preserve in both uncompressed JPEG and RAW formats and the rest… they get compressed a little to save hard drive space. What was surprising was there were far more photos I didn’t think had made the grade now revealing themselves to be genuinely good. We are our own worst critics. My last shoot had been on 22nd April, the St George and the Dragon performance at Hawthorne Park in Thornton which I felt was one of my very worst shoots I ever did to the degree it shook my confidence and in addition to some other factors, I lost all interest in photography… that was a pity because the final performance of that show in the town centre would have made for some fantastic photos, but… Revisiting the Hawthorne Park session lately, well… there were some goodies in there after all though in most cases one had to look at them a little deeper for the finer details to emerge. Either way, I did feel a little better again regarding my antics as a photographer and an old familiar itchy feeling began to make itself known…
Tuesday – as always – was a busy day. I was on my way to the choir practice when I heard some Trad Jazz music in the distance and lo and behold, there was some procession heading towards me. I jumped into documentary mode, whipping out my mobile phone and began filming what was going on. It was a pensioners’ march tying in with their yearly convention in the Winter Gardens. Unfortunately they’re obviously not media savvy as I had no idea this was gonna be happening and neither did my fellow Blackpool based photographer pals so I somehow managed to get a bit of an exclusive. The hot topic for them was the BBC’s callous decision to scrap the free TV licence scheme for over 75’s the day before. I saw some tweets about this and one hit the nail on the head beautifully as the BBC had just spent several days going on about the heroes who served as part of D Day only to then kick those very people with their nasty scrapping of the free licence. I was absolutely horrified to discover that DJ Steve Wright is one of the BBC’s highest earners as for me, he’s one of the very worst people ever to be employed by the BBC and it’s sickening he’s being paid half a million quid a year… all paid for by licence payers. Definitely NOT value for money.
The choir rehearsal itself was… arduous. We had 4 new pieces to work on and unfortunately, I’m not a movie buff. I have no time for Disney or CGI animated features and faced with 2 songs from such movies I’ve never seen and never will see, it was rather daunting trying to learn a pair of songs I’d never heard in my life. I’m sure they’ll prove popular with a lot of people who encounter the choir in performance but I couldn’t help but feel lost and a bit like an alien struggling with those.
The evening drop in drama session was another deal entirely, probably the most fun session I’ve had yet. We’re working towards a public performance next month so we were exploring a host of ideas which saw me engaged in a variety of roles that bordered on lunacy! The best moment was undoubtedly when I began singing a very well known song and my colleagues all sprang into action to dance along to it! Whether or not that will find its way into the final show, time will tell but it was a lovely moment to witness and had me grinning from ear to ear.
Wednesday had a brief encounter with my good pals Dawn Mander and Kate Yates. Unfortunately we were all in a hurry – they had a bus to catch whilst I was on my way to an appointment for a natter with my poet/artist friend. It was nice to see them and give congratulations in person as they’ve had a few triumphs lately getting the good work of Blackpool photography out there into the world!
The old photos continued to be unearthed and reappraised but back here at home that was split with something completely different as I had come up with some bizarre concept for a possible EP or album project… and began constructing new backing tracks. I’m not gonna reveal what that’s about or my methods but let’s just say a lot of experimentation and fun involved and I now have 3 completed backing tracks awaiting me to ruin them by dubbing on my vocals! Kinda interesting timing as musically, the last creative spurt I had was in Summer 2015 and before that, August 2001. Coming during the week of the 30th anniversary of a major session for my first album back in 1989 was kinda interesting. You might have seen the blog entry about that and curiously, I had no interest in listening to any of that vintage material on the day of the anniversary. My past doesn’t really interest or excite me at all, especially the crummy stuff I was doing back then just before I left school so you can probably guess from that attitude, there won’t be any deluxe anniversary edition reissue of that… some things are best left locked away! The main point I’m making is, I’m too busy working on NEW things to be wasting my time listening to what I was doing all those years ago… I wanna hear what I’m gonna be doing next.
So, this recording project has been running along in the background the last few days and is set to continue for the forseeable future and if I do decide to unleash it upon people – it’s certainly probable I may perform some stuff from it live – then I think it will raise some eyebrows as well… I’m a contrary sod… and that’s all I’m gonna say about it for now!
Friday saw me back at The Bootleg for something a bit different, an Altruism evening hosted by photographer Claire Walmsley-Griffiths which was interesting. Nice to catch up with Jill Reidy whom I hadn’t seen in a long time and ironically I would run into Jill the following day on my way to indulge in the mundanity of shopping. Claire tried out a curious idea – having us play ping-pong tennis whilst trying to network with two opponents during the game. Unfortunately me being me, it takes me all my time and energy to focus on one task and with my crap hearing, it’s fair to say it didn’t really work for me, made all the worse when all of a sudden halfway through me trying to shout through an attempt at a conversation LOUD MUSIC began being blasted out and I was sunk. The ping pong was a nice idea, interesting to try it out but I don’t think it worked. I do hope there will be future events of this kind which I’ll gladly support and participate in, hopefully minus the ping pong!
Saturday saw more recording and the aforementioned chat with Jill which I enjoyed. She was having a break from capturing the Northern Soul fans who were in town for the events at the Winter Gardens and whilst this would have been an ideal photo opportunity for me, I passed on figuring today’s music run would be more ideal.
So, this morning I went out with my Nikon for the first time since April to see what I could capture of the music run. I’d taken shots of the previous one last September so had an idea what to expect. I hate to admit this but I was dismayed by the distinct lack of MUSIC this year. I saw just 2 stages – the one on the Comedy Carpet (which was inaccessible) and the bus at Manchester Square. There was nothing at South Pier. There was some caravan that was blasting out music near Waterloo Road but I was disappointed not being able to encounter much in the way of LIVE MUSIC.
Despite THAT, it was still a fun experience thanks to this bunch…
Courtesy of Warrington Tri the “IMUK Oompa Loompa Alley” were certainly an amusing sight to behold as they indulged in dancing to all manner of cheesoid disco toons near the Start/Finish line. My fellow photographer Ant Clark was also present and was good to have a natter with him as we both went about capturing this Oompa Loompa madness. I had a load of shots then it struck me… this is BLACKPOOL. They’re near the iconic Blackpool Tower so it was imperative to get a shot of them with that in the background. However, I am fussy. I could do this as a portrait shot featuring one or two Oompa Loompas shot from a low angle… but I wanted as many as possible and the only option – as I wanted to get the whole Tower in the shot – was to lie down flat on my back. They saw me laid there and to my surprise and delight sprang into action playing along bounding over to me which resulted in the wonderful shot above! I knew I’d captured THE picture of the day and it was a delight to get it. It’s daft, it’s unusual and for me marked a memorable return to photography after a lull. I did get some other good shots throughout but THAT one made it for me.
Phew… so that’s this week just ending. Next week… well, more stuff to come, more recording, more drama and a brief break from the choir as I have a meeting scheduled to discuss one of my BIG IDEAS which I hope to inflict upon the good people of Blackpool… hopefully, more will be revealed very soon. Fingers crossed…