Wednesday, February 27

Photographic disasters – part I

My first and probably worst photographic disaster happened when I was in the sixth form. A long, long time ago. A friend of mine had a collection of dresses that she had made as part of, I think, a foundation arts course for a college in Worthing. Sadly my memory is a little hazy. I agreed to photograph her in the dresses for her portfolio and the venue for the photoshoot was set as Mewsbrook Park in Littlehampton. We did consider the Maldives, but the local park seemed more authentic and edgy.

Anyway, after much inconvenient costume changing in bushes, etc. I shot maybe a dozen pictures of various dresses with my trusty Pentax ME super. After the first shot, the camera wind-on mechanism seemed strangely effortless compared to usual but as I just knew that I had a 36 exposure film in my camera and plenty of shots left, I didn’t think much of it.

Imagine my surprise (etc.) when I got the film developed to find that it was a much shorter roll of film. For the park session, I had immediately tore through the spocket holes and had been shooting fresh air for the whole of the afternoon. Not a single shot.

Oh well, at least we’re still friends - happy birthday Janice!

Monday, February 25

Southampton – the city that cloned itself. Part I

A few years ago, I hopped onto the train to Southampton, intending to take some photos of the busy city centre and have a general mooch around. After several hours of wandering, I started to become puzzled. I had seen shopping centre after centre, chain store after chain store, but where was the, erm, interesting stuff?

Southampton has some pleasant parks, and some interesting historical remnants around the fringes but the city centre is a pretty depressing place. Not even run down – in fact it’s all very modern and clean and prosperous. But so linear and dull and homogeneous for such a large city. Not even a quirky/trendy/irritating quarter like, say, Hockley in Nottingham, Park Street in Bristol or the whole North Laine area of Brighton.

No, Southampton has a city centre where the shopping centre and the identikit chain store is king. I swear I wandered into one shopping centre and emerged from a completely different one. Either I had found a secret passage in the consumer–space continuum or the repetition of shop fronts had induced a mild state of hypnosis.

Anyway, after a couple of hours I spied a non-chain bookshop in a road off the pedestrianized main drag. And it had just closed. For good. Oh well...

Friday, February 22

Quote of the day...

"All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful: but the beauty is grim."

- Christopher Morley (1890 - 1957)

Tuesday, February 5

New phone

I have the very latest in modern technology - a pay-as-you go mobile phone that cost me all of £15 from W H Smith.

Problem is, I had my last phone since 2001, and in those six odd years, I didn't manage to memorise the number.

How can I memorise this new, exciting number: