Saturday 30 September 2023

Shutter nutter

The Paul McCartney exhibition capped off my London awayday quite nicely last Saturday. Little Venice and the walk along the Regent's Canal to Camden, followed by Covent Garden & Soho were all great stepping stones before landing on the National Portrait Gallery for Macca's Eyes of the Storm collection.

Leaving it till late afternoon meant that the gallery wasn't too busy, so at no time did I feel rushed when walking from room to room. Macca's trusty Pentax (the camera of choice for all four mop tops) recorded the kind of intimate and candid photographs neither the press or indeed anyone else could possibly have recorded.

Every image in the collection captured just what it must have been like to be on the road with a phenomenon the kind of which nobody had witnessed before or since.  It was then a visit to the ubiquitous gift shop for a couple of trinkets before sliding out into London's early evening bustle for a well deserved pint of grog (in a hidden away gem of a pub just off The Strand) before a short tube ride back to St. Pancras. A perfect day.

This is CBS's piece on the show.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Shameless 2

I've just received my latest batch of Moo
MiniCards - small individual rectangles hewn from high quality card (350gsm) that for all sorts of reasons put a smile on my face. I only hope that those on the receiving end feel the same. Probably not: "Sociopath," they'll probably mutter to themselves whilst simultaneously blocking my number and deleting my contact details. In my defence, they're just a bit of fun.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Time yet?

If I don't get a move on I feel I may never get to see Sow of Hands live; my fault entirey, not theirs. I mean, they've only been knocking around since 1986. Steve Knightley, Phil Beer & co. really do, to paraphrase Neil Diamond, make a beautiful noise. Maybe next year the planets will align... 
In the meantime, this folk classic has been whirring around around in my head incessantly. 

Show of Hands - Cousin Jack (1997)


Wednesday 20 September 2023


I've only gone and got tix for Paul McCartney's
Eyes of the Storm photographic exhibition on Saturday! It promises to be a bit special; everyone says so. And it's at the National Portrait Gallery so I'm a bit pumped up about it. It covers a brief window in time (1963-64) when Macca was travelling the world for the first time and playing around with some really expensive, top of the range, cameras. Photographing Beatles; photographing people photographing Beatles. Like I say, I can't wait. I've got a couple of other errands to run as well, so will report back I'm sure.

It would be easy to pluck a Beatles tune, or a Wings tune, even a solo McCartney tune today. Instead, however, I've gone for one of his more adventurous workouts and a perfect companion piece to both Blackbird and Bluebird.

The Fireman - Two Magpies (1993)

Sunday 17 September 2023

Northern Powerhouse

As someone who is always trying to keep an eye out for new and emerging talent (or new to me), I was pointed in the direction of this lot at the weekend: Sandra's Wedding are a three piece from Goole in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Their songs have a charm all of their own, each one peppered with acerbic lyrics that tell beautiful little northern stories. Not knowing where to pick up the band's back catalogue - they've been going since 2015 - I'm currently dipping in and out of all five of their albums. I'm also quite taken with the accompanying low budget videos: shot mostly in black and white and filmed, it goes without saying, in the north of England. And they're are all mini masterpieces. This one is no exception.

Sandra's Wedding - Given Rain (2023)

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Rock on, Tommy

We live in a world where nothing surprises me anymore. In recent times we've seen satire and parody being issued their respective P45s as fiction has been beaten to a pulp by reality. Strange days indeed, Mama. So when I heard that Thomas Walsh (Pugwash & Duckworth Lewis Method) had recently put out a new single* with Joe Elliott (yes, that Joe Elliott, the Joe Elliott from Def Leppard) on backing vocals, I barely flinched. "Of course, he has," I probably spluttered. 'Why wouldn't he?" And why wouldn't he indeed. As Classic Rock magazine, of all people, put it so perfectly: "The musical equivalent of a flurry of butterflies on a summer evening." I have nothing more to add. Apart from "It's bloody brilliant!"

Thomas Walsh: All This Hurt (2023)

* It's lifted from his first solo album 'The Rest is History' - released 31 October.

The trouble with me is water under the bridge

Found myself back in Hull at the weekend. A few beers on Saturday in the Old Town and a bit of a wander, (& a rather nice pizza) and what better way to round off proceedings than with a few pix of my favourite bridge on Sunday afternoon. I never tire of looking at it (I know, I've told you that before); I'm in awe of it every time I see it (Yes, I've told you that too). And it never looks the same twice. (Yep, ditto above.) I must have fired off a couple of dozen shots at least - many whilst trying to eat an ice cream - and in true spray and spray fashion there were a couple of keepers; the rest will take up residency on my burgeoning photo roll. 

Anyway, that's enough of my confessional. Feel free to share your obsession(s). What building, place, object, do you, above all else, hold dear? You may not photograph it every time you see it (though you might); you may not even have told anyone before about this passion (though you might). Either way, drop me a comment below. If you don't, then I'll know - I really am a crazed loner.  

Dodgy - Water Under the Bridge (1993)

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Hackney Diamonds?

The Stones (what's left of 'em) have released a new single. Everyone's getting into a bit of a lather about it. Maybe cos it's 60 years since their first 45 hit the shops.

What's it called? Angry.

When's it out? Now. 

Is it any good? (Shrugs) S'alright. 7/10; the video's better.

Alright then, the video? A solid 9. See for yourself.

The Rolling Stones - Angry (2022)

Monday 4 September 2023

You can put your life to rights

In 2020 Trampoline's Jack Jones was picking up his little cousin from school where she had just painted a paradise in which animals and humans lived in harmony, but had mistakenly called it an abattoir. He jotted down everthing she told him and came up with this beautiful spoken word classic. His mate Pete Doherty chimes in with the backing vocals. Jones shot the accompanying video on his phone on a deserted Swansea Bay beach during Covid (Doherty did the same in France where he currently resides). I have to say, this song has been a constant companion to me during the last couple of years and I really felt it was high time I shared it with you. 

(She won't be reading this right now, but this is for Alyson. Please get well soon; it's quiet round here without you. J x)

Trampoline (feat. Pete Doherty) - Uncle Brian's aAbator (2020)

Saturday 2 September 2023

Think Pink


Pinkney 'Pink' Anderson (1900-1974) was a blues singer & guitarist from South Carolina; not a legend, as such, but by dint of his name, together with fellow bluesman Floyd Council (1911-1976), unwittingly gave Syd Barrett in 1967 the perfect portmanteau for his new group. Very little archive footage of Pink exists, so feast your eyes and ears on this relic:

Pink Anderson - She Knows How to Stretch It

Friday 1 September 2023

An imposition?

Welcome to Installment #9 of 2023's Photo Challenge. Following August's amazing collection of phone boxes I asked you for, and I quote, ''Imposing edifices; tall buildings, masts, towers, obelisks. You name it, if it's imposing, I want to see it.'

And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, you didn't disappoint. So, without further ado...

Rol kicks tings off tis month: 'Hi John. Nice easy one this month. Attached are two pictures of the Emley Moor TV & radio transmitter, the tallest structure around these parts. One from below, with the sun behind creating an eclipse effect. 

The other in the distance on a day when the top of the tower emerged over low cloud. 1,047 ft, in case you're interested. Take care, Rol." Thanks, Rol. I kind of knew Rol would come up with this. I told him that many moons ago I worked in an office that overlooked it. I also told him that in 1969 it fell over. True story.

Next up my good friend The Swede aka TS: ''Hi John. I hope all's well. This is The Copper, located on 1st Avenue at E 36th Street in New York. Its two towers lean away from each other, though are connected by a three-storey bridge 300 feet up and were designed to appear as if they are dancing with each other, which is rather lovely don't you think? The facade, as the name suggests, is formed of live copper, which, over time, will oxidise, eventually attaining a natural green patina. I took the shot from the East River on a cold day in March. All the best..." Wow! That's all I've got. 

David runs the Nottingham branch of the Be Bop Deluxe Fan Club and has recently returned from our nation's capital. His quartet is rather wonderful... 

1. Victoria Station

2. The gentrification of Elephant & Castle

3. City extending into Shoreditch

4. One of the livery halls and 30 St. Mary Axe aka The Gherkin. David says "I guess there's some good juxtaposition of public buildings and mafia-like corporate expansion. And the livery companies and their political influence in the City of London was the original corporate mafia, second only to the Royal Family." Quite. Thank you, David.

My blogger friend Khayem has been out and about with his Box Brownie: "The Knife Angel has been toured around the UK and stopped briefly in Gloucester earlier this year. It's 27ft tall and has been 'sculpted' from 100,000 blades seized by police. A beautiful, thought provoking and moving artwork."

"Next up is the Kyneburgh Tower in Gloucester nicknamed by locals as either the CD Rack or the Kebab Stick..."

"But stand in the middle and look up and I'm immediately transported back to the 1970s and the opening titles of Doctor Who!"

"More from Gloucester - this time the docks. The art world would love you to call this piece The Candle..."

"The locals, however, had other ideas and nicknamed it The Rusty Needle! Sitting next to it reminds me of a rocket about to launch."

"This building isn't imposing because it's especially tall or uniquely designed but because it was the only building that remained standing in the area around Hiroshima following the atomic bombing of the city during World War II. Mrs. K and I visited there in 2005 and it was an almost overwhelming experience which we've never forgotten."

C from Sun Dried Sparrows has also ben hither and tither: "Hi John Hope you're well. I'm still not quite right from having Covid, it's a bugger, isn't it?! This month's photo challenge was more of a challenge than usual for me too - there aren't many tall things around here in the flatlands of Suffolk, plus I haven't wandered very far these last few weeks. But I did walk up to the church... I had to crouch amid the gravestones to get this shot of the tower, which is 118ft tall. "

"Not very tall, but taller than me, is the war memorial in the church grounds. It was the woodpigeon proudly perched atop it which compelled me to take a photo." 

"So there's nothing very high around here but a quick look through some photos from last year brought up a distant shot of the UK's tallest sculpture (and longest tunnel slide), the 'ArcelorMittal Orbit' which I took from the train window as it passes by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the way into Liverpool Street. it's 374 ft tall and it takes 40 seconds to slide down the whole thing, with 12 twists and turns, and you can hit speeds of 15mph. I won't be trying it any time soon." 

"Finally, a glimpse of Tower Bridge taken from the moat at the Tower of London during 'Superbloom' (complete with metal dragonflies) last year. The bridge towers are 213ft high. Built in the 1880s but with towers designed to look like a medieval castle, Tower Bridge was controversial and not popular with Queen Victoria, as she wrote in a letter: "To those who say the bridge will increase the defensive strength of the Tower and improve the beauty and historical associations of the place, all I can say is bosh!" Hope these are all ok! C x." They certainly are! Thank you, C.

Swiss Adam next: "From Manchester's ongoing skyscraper boom, a permanent change to the skyline and the feel of the city centre. Opinions vary about the benefits of these buildings, architecturally, visually and aesthetically and also socially- many seem empty much of the time and beyond the pockets of many locals. At a time when there's a housing crisis nationally, the building of imposing glass and concrete skyscrapers isn't necessarily the solution. But there's no doubting the photgraphic qualities of them."

"I much prefer this 1960s building, a concrete frontage from the 60s at Manchester University." Me too, Adam.

Blogging veteran and all round nice guy Martin is next up: "This is the Shot Tower in Baltimore, built in 1828 and standing 234ft high. Molten lead was poured through a sieve at the top and fell into a vat of cold water at the bottom to make lead shot."

Stevie at Charity Chic has two offerings this month: "First up is the Portpatrick Harbour Lighthouse beside the pottery shop which I'm sure you will be familiar with." I am, CC. It's a part of the world I know well. 

"And secondly we have the Langside or Battlefield Monument commemorating the said battle from 1568 between forces loyal to Mary Queen of Scots and forces acting in the name of her infant son James VI Situated above a mile from our house. Both Rachael and I previously had flats in the Battlefield Area. There are also streets and districts named after Fotheringay, Darnley and Mary herself." Perfect, CC.

Riggsby from California (who tells me he gets his kicks up in the attic with his Kodak Instamatic) never disappoints: ''Superior  Court of California in San Diego; imposing because of the purpose. But the building is too attractive.'' It is. And is it?

"USS Midway dominates the San Diego harbor but neither the scale or the size of it comes through on the picture." I disagree! But thank you, as ever, Richard.

The Number One Son, James, has just come back from a fantastic week in Beirut: "'This is the Mohammad Al Amin Mosque. I took some pictures directly below the northeast minaret to emphasise how massive it is! The mosque sits between Martyrs' Square, which commemorates the nationalists executed by the Ottomans in 1916 & the St. George Maronite Cathedral, emphasising the diversity of religious cultures in Lebanon."

Thank you, James. I look forward to seeing the rest of your pictures when we see you next. OM x

To round things off I've gone for a random trio, all straight off the bat; hopefully they demonstrate both the home and away diversity of photos currently sitting on my photoroll. And those three are...

#1. Victoria Centre Flats, Nottingham. These high-rise residential tower blocks from the late 60s/early 70s sit, together with a soulless shoping mall, on the site of Nottingham's other station (the one they pulled down) - the majestic Victoria Station.

#2. Radio City Tower, Liverpool. This amazing radio and observation tower stands at 138m tall and dominates the city skyline. I photographed it earlier in the year when I was in town to play the Monday Club; the purists will hate me, but I've given it a splash of colour.

#3. The Gateway Arch, St. Louis. Standing at 630ft it's the tallest monument in the United States. Last year we took a tram ride to the top. Note to self - before the year is out I really must write about this most amazing (and imposing) structure and post some of the 100+ photos I took that day.

So there you have it. Another amazing collection of photos from around the globe. Thank you to everyone who humours me and sends me their snaps. I'm eternally grateful. Till next time...


I'll post October's theme in the comments section below in the next few days.