just a load of steps

Time for some France pictures perhaps? Having said that I would post some, other than saying that I would, I can't think of a clever reason to do so right now, with a nice story that goes with my best shots of the trip. I guess the problem is knowing where to start, with just over 1,000 images to still sort through (having thrown away the best part of another thousand).

So, anyway, in no particular order

Puplet actually suggested that our talent is wasted posting on obscure blogs while frittering away our time in Hull and considering that Cahors hosts an annual summer photography festival we should be showing our work out there... He has a good point, when we were there we saw this exhibition:

and decided that we could do better. In ten minutes. And still charge € 80 for prints.
Back to Cahors next summer then?

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finir a toulouse

that could well be the case. Yet again Agora Fidelio slapped me nicely round the face while I was in France. An EP released to keep fans, music lovers, patient or impatient people everywhere happy while they perfect that difficult third album... An EP that without trying, imperceptibly, and entirely as expected became my record of the week. And this week. And probably next month too.

Difficult to find at HMV, but forget that, it is available through iTunes.

I have to give a special thanks to Yohan - merci beaucoup - for letting me steal his copy on a flying visit to Toulouse. I hope that Murray has replaced it already. I only wish it was possible to get a copy of the first album. One day maybe?

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and pictures?

I drove back down Cottingham Road, through the orange-lit trees under a deep blue storm sky. And the power that music has to change an instant into a moment lasted 3.44 seconds (track 3, "Lived in bars"). Sitting on the comfortable creak of red leather with a soundtrack that makes the mundane memorable is rather grand. I did wonder (briefly) if I could extend that feeling to the rest of my life with the use of leather trousers and an iPod.

Probably not.

I had just been round at Den's and we looked at some of my pictures from our French trip. Then we looked at them again. Then we got into this a bit in a rather nerdy way and looked at the same pictures on his (identical) PowerBook. Then we looked at some of his and then we looked at them again on my (identical) Powerbook and we understood. We understood that even when you have uploaded a clever third-party tone curve using the special Nikon software and then decided on the optimum in-camera sharpening (yes, do read the instruction book...) and then traded up from a rather awful Sigma to a rather good Nikon lens. And after working out that the 99p UV filter is doing far more (nasty dingy, yellow tingy, light sucking) harm than good and going all out (after a nice conversation with a friendly mountain biking camera selling old acquaintance in Cahors) for a B+W replacement, that at the end of the day looking at pictures on any old monitor just will not do.

Den's monitor is carefully calibrated using a fancy bit of hardwareandsoftware technology trickery. Mine is straight from the factory. And whereas I was still - yes, after all of the above - a little dissatisfied with muddy tones and blue casts and lack of detail and definition in really dark colours and saturation on the brighter end of things... was it just down to the manner in which the monitor was showing me everything? Having seen the same pictures on a same but different laptop, I do think so to some extent.

And so it all comes round to not simply the question of what makes an image great rather than good, but whether it is actually possible to make it perfect. And despite technology and trickery and fine technique and wonderful subjects to shoot, I could put a picture up here on my blog and it might look to you, wherever you are, nothing like the image I thought that I created. Goodness, it might look rubbish.

But wouldn't it be sad to let that stop me sharing pictures with you? So just as the camera does lie, so does the monitor... and to end a silly post, a silly photo.

Or is it three?

All just an elaborate excuse for imperfect photography then? Just how does it look to you?

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de retour

Well, back in Hull and having had a first day back at work and a catch up dinner, I feel that it is time to blog. And I would most of all like to thank all those who welcomed me so warmly on my travels. Friends who I might not have seen for months and even years, but with whom - as always - it was if we had only just said fairwell.

It made me realise just how much time with friends is precious to me. Because true friends know the real stories enough to see beyond those months of events rapidly related to know what is really happening. And I am sure that wherever they might be now, distant or close, just the knowledge that they are at the end of the phone, a click of 'reply' away, makes the lives that we live so much more worthwhile.

And of course, there is always time for fun stuff - and that should always be at the centre of any friendship. So here is to all my friends. Those that I saw in West Norwood and Dulwich and Limehouse and Guildford this weekend and those who are elsewhere or otherwise engaged. Thank you for just being who you are and I look forward to seeing you soon or in a year or whenever our paths may cross again, I love you all enormously.

France came and went in a thousand (or two or so) images and there will be some of that in the posts to come. It was fine there too.

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au revoir

Well I am off to France tomorrow, so I am not sure when I will get to blog again. Not that it matters, there will be far more exciting things to do... In particular I am looking forward to seeing my brother, Murray. Here are some pictures of his band in rehersal that I took when I was over in Toulouse earlier in the year.

They were difficult shots with the dingy Sigma 18-50, in an ill-lit, dark yellow-walled rehersal room. But it was fun to hear Aeria play and I hope to see them again in more attractive surroundings one day soon.

I am leaving behind a Hull that is full of bitter sadness at the moment so it will be great to have a change of scenery. But I guess that Hull knows I will not be far away, especially in my thoughts. So long for now.

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two cat street

Tobias was quite upset to look out of the window when I got in, only to see that Friendly Other Black Cat was sitting right against the glass. He actually growled. Quite a lot, but in a funny way.

The main thing that I discovered was that it is virtually impossible to take a picture of two black cats, on different sides of a window, in the dark. Yes these are bad pictures, but ones that also highlight the need for lower f-numbers. I also found out that once Tobias was happy that his growling had seen Friendly Other Black Cat off his windowsill that enjoying a good lie down in the comfort of his home was just fine. He was not really that bothered about the Other Black Cat, so long as he could sleep undisturbed in the comfort in his own bed.


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Is this the best album ever? Probably not, but if I had to pack myself off to a desert island right now without an iPod full of stuff, this would be the one record that I would chose. It is why the best music has to be played loud, why the electric guitar was invented, why I am happy enough to just sit here and listen. Despite everything.

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about me

Weeks and months turn into years and who knows what surprises a new day will bring? As shelves fill with more songs, dust collects, memories accumulate and we pass through the lives of others, sometimes pausing, sometimes pulling up a chair, sometimes moving on. Thinking that tomorrow is going to be like yesterday. What do we know? I just like words and pictures, so why make excuses for collecting those either? But some things will never change, the sad songs will always be the best ones.


old old old

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