Thursday, 15 December 2011

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Well that's Christmas sorted pt2

for kids who don't have nightmares ....yet... a cuddly "Uncle" Jacko

Well that's Christmas sorted part 1#

nothings says toilet roll like virgin white snow..

Friday, 30 September 2011

still there

still there
Originally uploaded by BLTP Photo
still favourite tree (pic)by me

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Street Food: my Latest photo project

Why Street food?
Because it’s not just there it’s over there too and under the seat on the bus and on the wall over by the beer off and floating in that puddle and stuck on those railings
Because when it’s good it’s great but so often it’s just not
Because we want it so badly and then we kinda don’t
Because we’ve just started frying with new potatoes
Because we make the best and worst decisions when we’re drunk
Because careful it might be hot
Because we hold it close, closer than some of the people we love and then the next minute we can’t wait to get rid of it
Because forget being never less than 50 feet from a rat we’re never more than 10 yards from its dinner.
Because of salt and shake, salt and vinegar, salt and sauce, salt and pepper
Because traditional or flaky, red or brown, pineapple or egg , thin crust or deep pan, regular or large, eat in or take out, battered or plain, open or wrapped
Because I eat too much of it myself
Because someone somewhere were just bit into lemon flavoured towelette by accident
Because what is actually in those saveloys floating in their “piequarium”
Because of pie and peas, sweet and sour, juice and nuts
Because the guys that sell it look so glum
Because the people eating it look so glum
Because soon you’ll be able to have “kebab meat with Kebab meat”
Because things can be ugly and beautiful and beautiful and ugly
Because I once ate a semi frozen Gingsters
Because of the Codfather, in Cod we trust, the friars plaice, a salt and battered, Power, Corruption and pies, falafel do nicely
Because they give you too many chips at that new place
Because Earl of Sandwich didn’t “invent” anything
Because someone actually told the paperback raita joke the other day
Because jokes about deep fried mars bars are still funny
Because do you know what, I’m not sure I really wanted this after all
Because my brother once had some scraps and they had a bits of fish in ‘em
Because someone ate some sushi, a low fat bean salad and had a mango smoothie and then left the wrappers wedged down the side of a bench
Because I once saw someone licking a tub of margarine in the street
Because the 3 second rule doesn’t apply to ice cream
Because of greasy Graham, Harry Ramsden, Mrs Miggins, Colonel Sanders, Krusty Burger, Mr Whippy
Because of: scraps, scallops, parvos, stotties, wallys, cobs, baps, pie slappys, tikkas, whoppers, benders, 99’s, screwballs,cobettes, jubblies, turnovers
Because why would you not want a can of pop out of the fridge
Because: free calendars of the great wall, bags of yoghurty salad, sachets of flavourless pepper, tubs of peas, cloudy jars of pickled eggs, RNLI lifeboat collection boxes, waving golden lucky cats, plastic crabs, salt shakers with peas in them, wooden chip forks, plastic stirrers, evil eyes, old well thumbed copies of Hello, badly tuned portable tellies, those little plastic pizza box table things, blue coloured “raspberry” flavoured panda pop, tomato shaped ketchup bottles, flimsy stripy blue plastic bags
Because have you seen the muffin man, the muffin man
Because cockles and mussels a live a live O!!
Because do the fries go with that shake?
Because hotdog she drives me crazy
Because there’s a guy who works down the chip shop who swears he’s Elvis
Because the guy who works down Elvis’ chippy swears he’s Roy Orbison
Because of Mclibel, McJobs, McMansions, McNuggets, McVities
Because of that sign where the cartoon chicken is offering up pieces of chicken on plate for us to try
Because I’ve no fish left just chips, a pie and I think I’ve got a fish cake
Because of Chicken Hut, Chick ‘n’ Rib, Chick ‘n’ Fish, Chickpizz, Islamabad southern fried chicken, Hygienic Kebab, The Lucky Choice, the Kebab Centres, the Curry Centres and Chicken depots
Because yum yums aren’t
Because we used make little orangey drinks out of empty tic-tac packets
Because people make jokes about Gregg’s but their sausage sandwiches are really good
Because Tesco started selling a lasagne sandwich
Because of chip ‘oles, kebab vans, hot dog stands, ice cream vans, truckers cafes
Because there’s nothing better than the smell of your own Chinese meals but somehow that bloke 3 seats down’s chow mein smells rank
Because you can have chips &: gravy, curry sauce, beans, cheese, beans & cheese
Because kids turn up to school with a box of cold Kentucky for their lunch
Because I wanted to make it look good but still look bad
Because the phrase “grease trap” exists
Because my brother once had a kit kat that was just solid chocolate
Because I kicked myself for not taking a picture of a waterfall of chips I saw one time
Because EVERYONE knows deep fried seaweed is actually kale
Because “have you got any chips left”, “yes love” “well that’s your fault for making too many”
Because the only sweet that MacDonald’s haven’t mixed into a flurry are Victory V’s
Because “who ordered the large cod?”

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Everything I know I learnt from POP.......

Went to the YSP again the other day and had another look round the Jaume Plensa exhibition. One of the best  pieces is the gong room. It's darkly lit room with circle of huge gongs hung from the ceiling. They let you into the gallery in 5's and you get to hit the gongs not in full Bombardier Billy Wells mode but in a wonderfully echoing throbbing rumble. Incised into the gongs are passages from what worked out must be "the Song of Solomon" but it was only when I got this one did I have a head slapping moment . I never heard the song of Solomon in Sunday school but I heard it on top of the pops!!

So Pop not just for getting through the journey to work, or ready to go out on the lash, or through the long dark nights of the soul but the world's best University!

Did you know Rasputin was "a cat that really was gone...."

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Amy Winehouse 1983 2011

Amy Winehouse 1983 2011
Originally uploaded by BLTP Photo
After Elvis' death Colonel Tom Parker , asked by a journalist what he would do now, Parker responded, "Why, I'll just go right on managing him!".

To add to the mountain of words about Amy for what it's worth I always liked this song the best .

"Sweet reunion Jamaica and Spain,
We're like how we were again,
I'm in the tub, you on the seat,
Lick your lips as I soap my feet,
Then you notice likkle carpet burn,
My stomach drop and my guts churn,
You shrug and it's the worst,
Who truly stuck the knife in first"

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Top Deck Art

Top Deck Art
Originally uploaded by BLTP Photo
Well what wonderful day, I bit a bullet at work, had easy ride through to Wakey for Artwalk.
To see Fundada's excellent Faff2011 film showing a great mix of quality short art films ranging from narrative pieces to more abstract works. Films with humour and some with a more serious edge. All wonderfully unpredictable.
Meanwhile upstairs Wakey's smallest a best Pub was open serving some lovely Osset Yorkshire golden ale a quite excellent evening even before Bob from the Milk Two Sugars gave me this wonderful Sailor to take home. Thanks to everyone at Westgate studios for a great time.

Friday, 8 July 2011

space shuttle- God speed star sailors

I remember the first shuttle launch we were allowed special dispensation to watch it in the Library at school. Now I've just seen the last one. I'll probably say this too often but I miss the future. find out more here

Taken from Brooke-Bond Tea card Album the race into space. illustration by Roy Cross (?)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Tetley's RIP.

Tetley's RIP
They are finally closing the Tetley brewer in Leeds's today (here's what I wrote when it first broke it more fully expressed what I want to say. An event htta seems to have happened with a whimper, hardly amention in the national press. It's shameful I imagine if a French Champagne house closed it's doors it would get more coverage in the UK than brewery closing. Oh sure they'll be brewing it elsewhere but frankly that's not the point and never was.
This lamp hangs outside a another closed pub the "The Butchers Arms" In Monk Bretton I know life is constant change just that one imagines it usually for the better, recently we seem to been turning of the lights on a whole culture.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Originally uploaded by bltphoto
I heard the sad news of Martin Rushent's passing and as is the way of these things listened to "Dare". Which is brilliant in so many ways and then I thought I little people tribute was in order. thanks martin and everyone else for this wonderful music.
and apologies to Philip & Adrian who came up with the original cover design.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Marmite strikes back

marmite strikes backThey come over here with their Danegeld , their silver nosed astronomers, their imaginative story tellers, their pioneering brewers and lurpak and try to stop us importing Marmite!!! What's wrong with vitamins, bits of dead yeast and some salt ay Mr & Mrs Viking?

 Well the fight back starts here! Give me Marmite or give me.... erm Marmalade or some of that nice black currant jam your Mum makes.....

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Calling all book lovers:

Looks like we got us a reader....
I'm sort of assuming if your reading this you like reading (really what's not to like) . Well if you live anywhere near North London you should check out the Stoke Newington Literary Festival coming up at the start of June. (full disclosure) it is run by 2 of my oldest friends but I think the quality of line up stands up by itself.
There's a whole series of talks on music  including Ska, there's loads of kids events this year, Stuart Lee, Stella Duffy, Rowland Rivron & Alexei Sayle all sorts of people you've heard of and some you haven't but will soon. It's all run by volunteers including myself hopefully. So book early and book often.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

and the winner is

and the winner is
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
Me! The very generous Morgan Howell from Super Size Art ran a competition on Twitter and I won this excellent print. Sorry it's not the best photo but basically Morgan paints large versions of classic vinyl not pristine box fresh records but the sort of bent and creased singles all us vinyl addicts have boxes of. check out their website for better pics

Saturday, 30 April 2011

National celebration what national celebration?

I genuinely wasn't that bothered with the wedding yesterday so went for a long walk mainly to try a snap the blue bells before they die back.

notton woods

On my walk I passed through an ex mining village,a big slightly down at heel council estate , a large estate of newish executive private homes (the sort with new cars and caravanettes on the drive and double carriages etc) and an older rural village with a 17cth church flying the union flag and Geoff Boycott's old house and finally a very well to do hamlet full of gated homes through the gates of which you could peek Aston-Martin's and those bespoke kid's tree houses that cost several grand. The only evidence of a national celebration in this fairly broad cross section of our countries people was one house with a few strings of buntin. I saw nor heard any street parties or any garden parties, I wasn't stopped in the street by people wearing stupid hats I didn't even see any of those pull out and keep "gawd bless the Queen" posters the Mirror etc print up in people's front windows. The odd shop had a few strings of buntin in their windows apart from that it seemed like another day. Especially if you compare it to say the world cup or Halloween etc.

So I'm sure the media especially the BBC will tell us it was a big coming together and a national celebration but it all seemed a bit muted. I'd expected the odd peel of bells and a hog roast outside a country pub, the people in the shops I went into didn't mention it and the talk in the woods was mainly of bluebells and the daftness of lurchers.

It's surprising how these narrative get set up so easily and are often contrary to our own experience of events.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Cake!

The Cake!
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
It had to happen, I suppose the two most tedious hoo-hahs of the last year cup cakes and "the wedding".
Interesting that Gregg's that reliable weather cock of public opinion and taste only starting having these in last few days(it's been easter in Greggs since Valentines day).

So maybe they were unsure how republican we're all feeling.

It's usual to add a caveat that you wish the happy couple well at the end of this sort of thing but frankly couldn't care less what happens to them that's unless William resigns and hands in his crown.... now that would be a happy ending.

Long live the republic!

Monday, 18 April 2011

All I want is a photograph.......

Serial offender that I am I've put together a new website of my photographs. Much as I like flickr etc I wanted something to show them in a more controlled individual way . If you interested please do pop over

Friday, 15 April 2011

I heart local papers: Brassed off

All the news thats....
well any way it makes a change from the tv news with its grimness, hyperbole and hourly updates on the royal wedding. Tales of stolen tins of stella, school prizes, Jam covers bands playing trade clubs and of course young women wrestling with large brass instruments while covering their modesty.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Blast off!

Happy Yuri day everyone!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Cafe society: star spotting & fish cakes

Tales from Town: Stella Street Kendray

In he walks a shortish bloke with a large thick brush of spiky brown hair, a small caterpillar of a tash and an impressive collection of rings and necklaces. Tagging along with him is his plainer sheepish looking mate; they both may have had slight learning difficulties. They greet the staff loudly and their jokes are treated in the friendly manner cafe staff often manage.

They order and sit at a table near mine, after a minute or so the chap with the rings starts joking with chef /owner that he looks like Mr Kipling. This goes on for a while until he catches my eye and drags me into the banter.

“He duz dunt ‘e, 'e looks like Mr Kiplin’?”

Feeling more honest than usual I scrabble around for an answer before offering that I wasn’t sure you ever saw Mr Kipling and that “wasn’t that the point of the Ad? He pauses and thinks

“blimey tha might be reet there, well who am I thinkin’ of?”

 a pause

“Hang on I’m thinking of ‘im off of KFC”

His mate chips in “tha means Colonel Sanders!!wi ya blumin' Mr Kiplin!!” they both laugh loudly .

“That's it Colonel Sanders”
we all turn and look at the owner who doesn’t look like anyone much let alone the grinning fried chicken salesmen. There’s perhaps a hint of Harry Gration from Look North about him, at a push.

“Where’s our fishcakes Colonel Sanders?” is the new cry. Half listening the waitress brings out their food. I turn back to my tea and my phone before I’m baptised “Simon Bates” or ”Colin Montgomery”.

The pair tuck into the food which holds their attention for a while until.

“Jim Robinson!!”

“what the chuff a tha goin’ on abart now” the quiet one, slight exasperatedly

“the other one, he looks like Jim Robinson” says ring man pointing with a red sauce covered knife to another staff member. “and I should know he use to live near us”

“what?....Jim Robinson from Neighbours use to live near thee?”

“Yes, I think he was doing panto in Sheff”

“WHAT! Jim Robinson was living in Kendray?!”

“ay he was livin in them new houses up t’road”

This seems to settle it.

“alreet I think tha should finish thee chips na ”.

And so it went on every new person who came in was “Christened” with some arcane showbiz name, “Mrs Doubtfire” or “ken Barlow” and most bizarrely “Pat Roach” “Tha, nos the one who use to be a wrestler”. This is all good natured and often raising a smile from the “Christened” and looks of puzzlement from others .They still were doing it as they finished up and left for the bus station, probably spotting “Richard Whiteley” and “Una Stubbs” outside Fulton foods and being driven home by “im off of Knightrider”

“ What David Hasselhoff?”

“ nah the one wit’ white ‘air tha nos.... Kit”

Thursday, 7 April 2011

On the bus: The fickleness of tattoos

Tales from Town:#1

A young bloke gets on the bus its cold but he’s only wearing a baggy white t-shirt and tracky bottom, he’s got the usual bed hair gelled locks. He lopes up the bus followed by a more warmly dressed girl. They are obviously a newish couple, the bus sets off and after a few minutes their conversation turns to his tattoos. He’s describing them loudly enough for most of the single decker to hear. There’s a large “Tribal” pattern on his left shoulder
“fella int shop said it were based on a shark god”
his beau nods her understanding.
After perusal of some letters on his hands he turns slightly away from her and pulls down the neck of his shirt to expose “DADA” written in florid letters on his neck.
“DADA?” she quizzically reads out (said with short “A’s)
“Nah” he says with laugh. “That’s funny that coz everyone allus thinks it sez that”
“It rilly sez D.A.D. 4” he spells out
“ya, see it’s “D.A.D.” for me Dad and a “four” coz I'm ‘is forth kid” she nods again less sure this time.
“but it looks like DADA?” she replies with a weak smile.
“I knows that but it’s a four!” he continues this time a bit annoyed
“of course I had it done afor we knew about his wife and kids in Derby”.

Monday, 28 March 2011

March for the Alternative: a World is my country special

Sous Les Pave la plage

I have been "favouriting" the interesting blog posts  I've seen about the March, many of them forwarded by @jackseale. Thought it would be useful to have them in one place. Not saying I agree with every word written I think it's good to have wider stage for alternative voices especially of people who were actually there.
My day in the cells by Adam Ramsey

Show us some respect by @StuartGWhite (Why the media chooses to feature violence)

a nearly successful demonstration by (an actor and marcher's experience of the day)

History repeating itself  by  LostinLondon How some anarchists have always muddied the waters for the change they want to see

Speech by Sam West on Arts funding

A history of defaced statues

Photos by flickr mate Darellkmorris who was at work in centre town so could cat the argey bargey and not the main march/rally nice shots

Oh and I've set up a flickr group drawing together all the shots from demos of " Down with this sort of thing" and "Careful now!"  banners.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

March for the Alternative

turning the corner?

Late last night and sat resting our plates watching the BBC news channel. The scenes on a loop playing out before us didn’t look like the march we went on: leery lads egging on the Met , black clad anarchists filming the police, the TV cameras and themselves, in the background there were smouldering rubbish bins. The March I and 500,000 other people where on was a gentle stroll down the Victoria Embankment waving a host of banners, dancing to samba bands, lots of whistles, cheers and the odd chant of “Lansley is a Tosser”.

It took 4 plus hours to walk to the Ritz via Whitehall chatting with friends and new friends, eating cake and very very little rioting. The violence e was understandably if annoyingly the main news item but had very little to do with the main march. “King mob” has been a part of British politics for centuries in fact it’s none appearance is more surprisingly than whenever it raises its angry masked faces. Are me and the other marchers tarred with the same brush as the rioters? In my opinion no but in many the mines people’s yes sadly. Many of the people who’d dismiss the March would have dismissed it anyway regardless of whether it had kicked off or not. I hope the rest will see through the shock horror of rolling news and newspaper headlines and decide for their selves whether what we were Marching is of value.

So why did you march?
Well basically because the Tories and their placid help mates the Lib-Dems are determined to destroy fundamental parts of our civilisation. Their main goal is to reinstall their century’s long policy of “communism for the rich and capitalism for the poor”. Cameron for all his soft soap wants to get rid of most of local and national services apart from a bare minimum to cover his modesty and get back to doing what the Tory part was founded for maintaining and preserving the wealth and power of the super rich. Be in no doubt that the Tories a grim cabal of old moneys and slimy new in the form of Tories main backers the hedge fund managers and their clients have your best interests at heart.

Cameron and Osborne et al don’t give a stuff for the NHS, for state schools, libraries, local council staff etc for all their weasel words they don’t have much interest in most British industry either. The cuts that Tories have imposed will start to hurt very soon, real people will put on the dole, and real services will be lost FOREVER. All this while the Tories impose wasteful, pointless and politically driven reforms of the NHS and Education. These reforms are designed to destroy FOREVER local democracy and accountability and entrench Tory rule while enriching multinational and Tory funding healthcare and public service providers.

I marched because the progressive socialist trade union non conformist movements in the UK have been the only movement that have cared and stood for my community. Who stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, who have striven for most of the rights and freedoms we enjoy. If these cuts and cultural vandalism is allowed to stand Britain will be horribly more divided, diminished and darker place.

Friday, 25 March 2011

The supermarkets continuing war on satire

and in particular "Half Man Half biscuit".
This week "Netto Chainsaw"

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


It's odd started writing about this myself the other day and then saw this will have to find the book and see if there's anything to add. I seem to be attracted to these sort of places see last post. That or just live in the crummy end of town!! Will have to just keep taking snaps

Tyre Wire

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Things you only see in the country.....pylons

Originally uploaded by bltphoto
I know it's odd but one refreshing thing I've found since moving up North is seeing pylons. Not entirely sure why except they are striking things. I got up close to one for the first time in years yesterday. In the bright blue spring sunshine they are oddly threatening as if all those volts are eagerly waiting the pounce and then there's the threat of someone pulling on the wires and them toppling over like the tripods at the end of war of the worlds.

I know we supposed to dislike their march across the landscape but I'm tapping away on pc fuelled by their electrical current and the field I was in was filled with GM wheat most likely next to an old canal, between two muck stacks, in sight of  a sulfurous coking plant so why not have this giant Angels of the South Riding gentle humming over head on this bright spring afteron. Here's some more pics

Sunday, 20 March 2011

It's frothy mommy....

Mr Frothy!
Stop me and buy one:

Went to Leeds beer festival in Pudsey on Friday, it was really good, nice and friendly, not too crowded (lots of seats hallelujah!) decent scran and of course excellent beer. Not sure if it’s a regular feature but they had an emphasis on Milds which was interesting and refreshing.

Like I say a really good festival cheers to all who organised it.

Parked outside however was this marvellous vehicle, Mr Frothy’s beer van. A converted 1970’s Fiat Ice cream. It’s from the people who run North Bar and is available to hire I think.

Not sure how much it cost but would ace in the summer comes with pumps etc. Shame they don’t tour the streets of Yorkshire on hot summer evenings, dispensing cool draughts of Belgian loveliness.
Here’s a set of pics .

Friday, 11 March 2011


Originally uploaded by bltphoto
was faintly depressed by how many closed shops there were in Wakefield the other day. Seemed like every other window was empty.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

'Nanna Noo-Noo's Nougat Nicie',

What happend to good old fashioned buns?
the Daily Mash nail it again

update :
and then real life as ever beats satire "cake rage in cardif"

Cup cake madness indeed.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Travel in style...

It would be nice to go travel to Paris, London or Rome ... found this lovely Flickr set full of amazing luggage labels. Love these sort of designs especially in a world of grim corporate boarding passes and print your own A4 concert tickets.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

My new favourite Book .... L is for Laika.

Stumbled upon this wonderful 1960's kids book "A Space Alphabet" by Irene Zacks. Love this sort of simple illustation style. I had look for a copy on line 2nd hand copies only go for about 2-3 quid a page! Oh well Wardomatic has scanned it all in here! enjoy!
Here's my space book blog

Friday, 18 February 2011

1/2 Monty

1/2 Monty
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
Saw this outside a bakers yesterday , all this in a butty is either heroic or suicidal. I once saw a sandwich not far from here that had bacon,egg, melted cheese & Black pudding in it and yet was on the "Lite Bite" menu.

Libraries gave us powe:. update

Libraries gave us power.
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
One of our Power stations has closed sadly

Monday, 14 February 2011

and the winner is....

and the winner is....
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
You don't need to be Mary Porta or even have just watched half an episode of Madmen to know this was going to be tough sell. A cheery little bust of Maggie for your mantelpiece. A snip at 175 quid what it didn't even sell in Guildford for that much hang on lets knock it out in run down parade of shops in Barnsley for thick end of 90 quid up next exports of sand to Saudi soar....

Friday, 11 February 2011

We shall over come

Nobody knows what's going to happen from now in Egypt but the first buds of freedom are always good to see, it's very moving to see it unfold. You can only wish them well and hope their hopes and dreams are fulfilled in the end

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Look I won't say this again stop this cup cake madness now!!!

The gloopy saccharine zeitgeist rolls on as the whole country gets smothered in garish covered butter cream and sickly icing. I return to the subject of cup cakes (or BUNS as they have been called ever since Mrs Bero first turned out a moist sponge). They as I have said before become a gluten plague clogging up our high streets , the over sweet aspirational panacea for Cameron's thieving Etonocracy.
Sorry for the blurry picture but here we have them with the other consumer emollient of age: the slanket.

But what really made despair was when out in Otley at the weekend. Otley is nice, oddly rural (being so close to Leeds) but nice and the market is good . But down a side street there was a shop called the "the Yorkshire soap co" one of those stripped down boutiquey shops . In the window was a display of  bath bombs in the shape of cup cakes. And so the circle is complete; the focus group yummy mummy kath kidsonopocalyse is upon us  , the  two of the main ways to sell crud especially to women , "naughty but nice oh go on treat yourself" sickly treats and because your worth it pampering treats in one pretty package. The whole shop was twee in a that blank eyed way those shops are with it's Glass domes and  hand written signs and yet blandly corporate.

I was given a bath bomb once when Lush first appeared  can't say I was massively won over it produced a slightly artificial smelling bath which afterwards and there's no pleasant way of saying this looked like one of my flat mates had thrown up in the tub, it took 10  minutes to get rid of the bits of petal and oddly persistent foam.

Of course these bombs won't actual be used in anger they'll be admired for a few seconds over coffee and than sit getting dutsy on some window sill with all the other forgotten lotions and potions. Of course anyone with any taste would head across to Geo. Middlemiss award winning shop opposite for a hot pork pie or if they want something that's truly pretty in pink.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Sad News: John Barry RIP (1933-2011)

Just heard that he passed away early today; I think John Barry was my favourite composer before I knew I liked music, the excitement and drama he brought to Bond films and Zulu etc suffused my childhood. A rare talent.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

In praise of Tat.

Mass of humanity
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
I was wandering back through town this week and it was flea market day in Barnsley and was pleased to find a good supply of tat.

It's a bit more formal than Deptford no big mounds of old clothes or really broken bric and brac. But stalls with books and comics, football programmes, one bloke selling piles of those easy listening book sets which always look better than they sound.

I suppose I like tat (some say tut) partly because it's kitsch and nostalgic but also because it's not tasteful and has an exuberance and a faded vitality that stuff cloggingup the shelves in Next interiors or worthy craft shops just doesn't have. Also there's the surprises you get, when were you last surprised in a regular shop? But almost weekly I'm cheered by some ancient badly cast cat come ships wheel tableaux or a mad C&W lp sleeve. Also snapping pictures means I don't fill my house with boxes of playmobile figures and can have the "beauty" without  the mounds of mouldy boxes and musty flysheets.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Beware lonely water

Beware lonely water
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
There's a wonderful stretch of reclaimed canal near our house , lovely except for the end bit that does't half remind me of this "scare the bejesus out of the kids just before Magpie " health and safety gone mad public info film classic

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Sylvia Plath, Cheese and Onion & Ted: A walk up the Hill and back

this way
I walked up to Heptonstall yesterday mainly because I can see it out of my Bro’s front window and I needed the exercise. It’s quite a climb but I kept on. The road up is steep (going from the valley bottom to 600 ft plus in the space of a mile) all the way my vertigo kept leaping up, it’s an odd thing there’s nowhere very dodgy on the road but the combination of high wind, rain, low walls and steep tree lined hills sent me tingling and nervous . Even typing about the climb now puts me slightly on edge (this being said I have been up the World Trade centre and half way across the Humber Bridge but the loft ladders still make me nervous).

Anyway I made the top, Hep’s a little village perched on a hill overlooking Hebden, it’s got a distinctive parish church which you can for miles and the older part is made up of  narrow cobbled streets of stone built weavers cottages (that have dates from the 1600’s carved above their doors).

“Thems fresh cut” the man in post office said of his pre-packaged trading estate sarnies, amongst the usual sparse display of “fruit jam”, short bread and women’s magazines. Picking my way through his modest selection of snacks(I wasn’t feeling flush enough for the Tea Shop), who the hell wants “Cajun Tuna” I settled for a cheese savoury and some crisps and after a longer than necessary peer at my £20 quid note, I’m off out into the drizzle.

The village museum is shut until Good Friday so slipping on the rain shined paving, I look for a bench to have lunch. The winds up and no one is around, the church up close is a handsome if bland Anglican affair which is also closed. There’s a ruined of older church in the graveyard surrounded by a flat pavement of older grave stones shining in the wet, their fading inscriptions full of Samuels, Joshuas and Emillys.

Pens for SylviaAlthough not by any stretch my main motivation for coming here it would be perverse not to try find Sylvia Plath’s grave. It turns out she’s in the over spill graveyard across the road, a slightly more plain affair over looked by newish houses, it’s the usual mix of grave stones: Old plain gray, pale white marble from 70’s,the later ones black with gold letters and even a few reserved sharp cut sandy coloured limestone military memorials.

I sat on John Browne’s bench (no mention of where he was or what state he was in) and munched my lunch, flicking the crumbs off, I went for a wander. A few rows over there was a head stone for a RAF gunner and Radio operator who died in 1943, laying over his grave is another stone put there over a half century later for his wife, who passed away in 1998. Ben and Ethel together at last.

In the corner of the churchyard there’s a children’s garden trampoline, as I was examining this odd piece of fly tipping, my Brother rings and tells me this is quite normal apparently the wind picks them up round here and dumps them across the countryside. I am choosing to believe him.

fox poppyI was about to go when I noticed that a grave next to me had a laminated photo pinned to it , which turned out to be Sylvia Plath’s. I had expected more votive tat but apart from the odd pebble, plastic love heart and a fairy doll the main feature was large tub of biros (do famous pharmacist get pestle and mortars on their tombs and what do accountants get?). The inscription is “Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted”.

Walking out of the graveyard I notice Sylvia’s only two rows over from her in-laws (Ted being interned down south). I know there’s all sorts of controversy about SP’s grave, in the end I think most graves are sadly alike and the view from Heptonstall is much better than Poets’ corner.

Of course the Parish church isn’t the best church in Heptonstall that honour goes to the Methodist Chapel. Since I was kid I’ve been wandering round places of worship at first taken by my parents (yes we would have preferred a water park but nowadays I am glad I’ve been to Chartres too) and now of my own accord. I’ve seen big churches St Peter’s, new ones, bleak 50’s brutalist estate churches and small tiny one room affairs in the middle of fields. I must admit I find the smaller places the most involving and Heptonstall Methodist is one of those.

The smell as you enter of dust, hymns books and damp is always evocative for me the tight box pews, the mix and match stain glass windows and wooden balcony above make it a intimate space. We it comes to my view of the place I suppose it helps that it’s where my brother got married but I also find the idea of the people who built inspiring these tough hard working weavers etc who didn’t want to be told how to worship, found some land on the side of this windy hill and built this simple "Modern" before it’s time church. The tight Octagon shape dangerously new for its time. Perhaps too plain for some people’s taste but the function defining the form so that everyone could hear the preacher and that sound of the singing would envelope the singers. Oh and it was open on rainy day (never much gold plate to nick from Methodist) with sign on the door to tell you stop the cats getting in and need some peace.

Rested in mind and shank I wandered down the hill back through Hebden and along the canal only looking back when I got home.

Here's some more pictures the usual forlorn soft toys, catholic snow globes and some flowers made of dusters

After MP

After MP
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
It's not super hi-res as I took it on my phone but here's the same view Martin Parr took of Hebden (25 years ago) main difference is how much trees have grown. Of course his looks like dutch painting and mine looks like a crappy mobile snap.
here's the orginal

Sunday, 9 January 2011

there's been a murder.....

Originally uploaded by bltphoto
The only up side to the clear felling of some local trees, was the sight of an alder stump glowing arterial blood red in the muddy gloom yesterday.
I went back to today and found this chip. The colour will fade but you can see why the Norse , Celts, Saxons all had tales of the alder, its root in water, its wood soaked blood red, its where wood folk lived and danced and seduced the unwary and some say that the first man was made from an alder, his maid from a willow, who's shiny white stump was there next to the alder this afternoon in the sharp winter sun. Most likely they will coppice and grow again, old trees like all stories are hard to kill.