Tobias has just gone out into the grey, and stopping on the step at the back of the house, he is now staring up at the overcast sky. The heavy gloom hanging over our rooftops is like the low ceiling of an early autumn. And all because I have been listening to Anathema this evening.

So take me far away...

But later, in a minute, I am going out. To catch up with friends and go to a party in a different house, on a different street where there will be laughter, happy songs, piano or guitars maybe. So hang on, let's not get too down about all this. It is going to be a great evening.

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surviving the years

I am surviving. Thanks to my friends, and my friend, my D100. It was an interesting Wednesday evening. Den phoned just after 10 and while he biked over I walked round to the 7-11 (sorry, just watched Clerks again) to get some beer. And that is the sort of thing that makes it all OK for now.

mmm, lomo

His brother has blown just into four figures on a new D200 body, as an upgrade from his D70, and Dennis and I had chance to spend a little happy time over 1664 comparing some early shots from the D200 with my D100 and his from the Oly E-1. So the D200 is a 10 megapixel camera, and I am not going to even try and give a comprehensive review, but I think it makes sense as the way to go from a D70. However we looked at some portrait shots taken with each of the three cameras that we now own, and from very different bodies come very different results - though not the ones some of us would no doubt like to see.

a D100, a tree

So actually the 10MP sensor did not seem to make that much difference, at least from the first pictures that we had to play with. I stand to be corrected, bring on the real shots and prove me wrong... I am feeling at the moment that the camera I managed to pick up at the start of the year for a fraction of it's original cost (once upon a time this was a $2k camera) still has a whole lot of potential that I have yet to open up. 'Just' 6 megapixels and without some of the features of the new model, and indeed a far less sturdy CF card door, does not seem to hold me back to any real extent (yet?).

And it is perhaps at this point that it is useful to step back and think a little. I think that the camera that I have, while not a full on professional model, was often used as a second body/back up by some pro's. And so then here I am thinking that there might be even the remotest of reasons for an amateur D100 user (like me) to upgrade. No, absolutely no, no need! I mean, these shots from the E-1 clearly demonstrate how good the thing can look, here is a typical D100 user just a few weeks ago:

A D100 user, somewhere, taking pictures

And despite it being a whole 4 years since it was launched, there is of course little really to differenciate it from newer models. There is a relatively steep curve in terms of dSLR R&D going on and new models appear to have more to differentiate them from outgoing ones in relation to film cameras. But both in terms of how the thing hangs on the end of an OP/TECH strap and how the pictures that come out of it look, only the eyes of a camera nerd would spot-the-difference when more than a few feet away. So the D100 can't do 5 frames per second, so it doesn't have the broader ISO capabilities of the D200 (but in terms of how I manage light, I feel that there is a lot some wider f-stop lenses could bring to my pictures. And while bodies come and go, the glass will remain the same...) and I don't feel the need for 6 more autofocus points. So who am I to complain, for there is little in my mind that gives one more of a sense of purpose in one's stride, than a high quality dSLR in one's hand?

Thank you to Puplet for all shots featuring D100s and D100 users on this blog. He is a fine, yet small and soft (but not that way inclined) dog and it is always great to chat about cameras with Den and him.

my friend Puplet, pastis time, (the third beer is of course Den's)

Yes I love my D100. We can stop the world in its tracks, controlling light and indeed darkness to make something that suits us. Is it real? Who cares? For no matter how much of a liar any camera is, what really matters is knowing what it is likely to fib about.

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even more

Last weekend I was on the south bank of the Humber and as I looked across the great estuary I was thinking of all that is good about Hull. I could see the hot July sun shining on The Deep, Holy Trinity church and a parade of tower blocks, the docks and refineries in the distance.

And then I wrote "OK, so Hull is not exactly a city that lines up great achievements, monuments, attractions and cultural diversity." Oops, so I was a little mean about Hull in my last post and if there was ever a place that needs to be a bit more upbeat about itself, to throw a better light on the assets that it does have in order to pull itself up with other great cities of this country, then Hull is it. Grumpy foreigners like me don't really help.

Hull has a wonderfully colourful, eventful history. It has been a hard working city, but has suffered some of the worst bombing any city has ever suffered and is rebuilding itself to this day. Equally, Hull is recovering from the loss of traditional industry like many other places in Britain and possibly struggles because of its' location at the end of a road to nowhere-else' (even if it does have a huge bridge that links it with the vast expanses of Lincolnshire and a port link to the rest of Europe). But although there is a perfectly formed museum quarter, in the cobbled streets of the old town down by our underdeveloped waterfront, where on a fine day it is a pleasant stroll from the historic Olde White Harte pub (where, in 1642, the English Civil War was triggered when Sir John Hotham decided to bar King Charles from entering the town for a pint of Wold Top) to one of the country's most successful millenium celebration projects, The Deep, far too little is actually made of all these attractions.

What we need is an enthusiastic Hull blogger to take on the mantle of a Hull Picture A Day, where we see the beautiful buildings that survived the Luftwaffe and the 1960s, the lively covered market and probably Blueberrys on Trinity House Lane, the finest restaurant for miles, possibly years. There are things to shout about, stories to tell I have no doubt. So I am sorry if I my blog has given the wrong impression, I don't dislike Hull, but I fear that it does that job itself sometimes.

So, perhaps this week will bring more goodness of Hull? While we think about it, how about a friendly beer at The Lamp?

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more Hull

So, there has been a bit of a mission going on in my head over the past few days to ascertain what really is good about Hull. And I mean genuinely about Hull itself. Just what does make it unique, the things-that-are-not-to-be-found-anywhere-else-in-the-world kind of goodness?

OK, well in addition to Emma Rugg there is always Fonda 500. (Can you see a theme developing here?) Yes I love music and especially live music and especially-especially when you see a band that plays with as much conviction, enthusiasm and genuine enjoyment as Fonda 500. Creators of not just slightly retro (without being derivative) synth-rock, we are talking a full on Casiotone workout, fuzz-bass, programmed loops and dirty guitars with simple lyrics that make it very clear that the band is not about taking themselves seriously, but even in this macho, posturing, media-enslaved world of pop and rock, actually having a good time. They play real tunes, that - if there was any good taste in this world - should be what the charts are full of (except their recorded material is a totally different deal and not the same genre of foot tapping, head nodding, instant hit material). They know how to put on a simple but very effective show. And I especially like that one of the guitarists plays a Fender Jazzmaster – what fine taste…

I saw them play last weekend in a very hot field at the Humber Bridge Bash – the 25th anniversary of Hull’s very own white elephant (which is rather special in terms of magnitude, but is really pretty useless in most other ways, other than for going to see Jenny And Jason and perhaps getting one of those fine Barton Upon Humber curries. I did sit under it in my car late one night a couple of months ago, that was quite good too. Good for being depressed by, maybe because I felt it could empathise).

Oh my how it looks different in the sun...

OK, so Hull is not exactly a city that lines up great achievements, monuments, attractions and cultural diversity. But it has been a good home and home to many a good friend over the years. One day no doubt I will move on and wherever I go, there are good times to look back on. However it will always be the case that it only costs £1 to cross the Thames at the Dartford crossing (should I want to get to, say, France via the ferry crossing, or perhaps just Kent, the Garden of England), yet at the same time it costs me £2.70 to cross the Humber (so that I can get to, say, Scunthorpe).

And it would only take me 20 minutes longer to go via Goole...

At least it was a fine excuse for some quite loud music.

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for the record

Well I think that this blog and this blog are going to become members of Hull Bloggers that the friendly Lostariel blueskiesfade Aybara has been orgnaising over the past few weeks or so. Hull itself is not a topic that often features here on record collection, so as a kind of tribute and to set things rolling in an appropriate manner, here is one of my favourite things about living in Hull.

Ahhh yes, going to see Emma Rugg play. I usually have such fun and it is great to see and support local artists. Last night was no exception and I went down to the Tiger's Lair with Vanessa and of course Dennis, Ute and the now infamous 50-200mm. There is something nice about hanging out with musicians, especially musicians on a working night. I guess it reminds me of being young and in a band, perhaps on the night of a gig. It reminds me of being in Toulouse with my brother back stage at a Phi One gig, the relative calm in the practise studio with Aeria, or braving the aural assault of the huge levels of amplification involved in a Floid rehearsal ('the second loudest sound, ever'). All quite different experiences, but with a common, passionate singularity. Live music, whether just a singer and an acoustic guitar, or the physical onslaught of a metal band, is possibly my favourite thing ever.

What proved to be the real fun yesterday came after the gig, as Emma was due to appear on the Late Licence just after midnight (some guy called David on Radio Humberside). And despite everyone being very tired - or perhaps especially because everybody was very tired - we lent our moral support and all crowded down to the BBC radio studios. Hi, good evening, yes coffee please. It was all a little sureal for a Wednesday evening (er, Thursday morning actually) but isn't that how the best moments in life should be?

I would like to say a special thanks to Emma for playing For the Record, which might just be my favourite track of hers and bodes really rather well for the new writing that is going on. So as I sit writing this the following evening, failing to get an early night, it is comforting to know that there really are some nice things about living in Hull. Like friends who are determined to stand for what they believe in and who create something beautiful in the process. I can't think of anything that means more to me about Hull than the people that I know through my time here. And they are simply wonderful.

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legends of our time

I have been hoping to post these guys for a while now, and after an exciting afternoon round at Pup's place I finally stole the pictures.

This guy has always worked in camera shops in Cahors. He sold me my Pentax MZ5N 8 years ago. He clearly loves photography. Not only that, but we have seen it out head to head in local mountain bike races years before that even. And when I was there last month, he gave me some sound advice about Skylight filters for the D100 as well as a friendly discount. Pay your money, make your choice...

Only a couple of readers will know who this guy is, though it should be clear from just this photo that he is another legend in his own lifetime. Introducing, Mr Poujade, film star and all round nice guy. It was good to see him.

Thanks for the photos.

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exit, escape

Marching pylons, open skies, super smooth grey single lane tarmac of the kind I adventured along on my Raleigh Grifter as a child. The flatness just outside Cottingham reminds me of where I grew up in Lincolnshire. On Friday evening, we (D and I) were there on a mission.

One: to take pictures. I hadn't taken any photos all week and that is not a good thing really. It is bad because I have a D100 that just needs using. It is bad because I won't get any better if I don't keep taking pictures - hundreds and hundreds of them. It is bad, above all, because I love taking pictures. So, based on the fact that we were heading to Cottingham anyway, I decided that we should set out along Park Lane and escape into a nearby bit of countryside. Even though it is dominated by pylons and a huge substation.

Two: to buy curry (because it is open late at night). When I picked D up, J just mentionned that she fancied a curry and that, maybe, if we were heading in that direction and given that she would provide the funds, might we be able to pick up an order? And this is just an excuse to post a picture of Alishaan, the best source of curry within hot food driving distance of home that we know of. And now that the Rajasthan(i) in Toulouse seems to have gone down hill, that Murray might need a new source of superior quality Vindaloo. hi Murray, come for curry sometime

And so at the end of a long day, a long week - one that brought all that could make a man weary of the world - the open skies, verges full of cow parsley and wild grasses, fields of barley,... even the buzzing pylons and all that is beautiful and ugly, made it all seem OK.

What it is to be free.

And that was only Friday evening...

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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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