For those of you who are into photography (and those who aren’t) – please check this out. The UK government (presumably in an attempt to stir up more paranoia about its latest bugbears, paedophilia and terrorism) is planning to impose restrictions on photography in public places. If you want to oppose these planned restrictions, please go and sign this petition here before George Orwell’s predictions really do come true…
Favourite blogs for The Meercats Salute You
February 21, 2007
January 18, 2007
Christ, I’m paying enough for this thing, I might as well use it. Blogs seem a bit more hi-tech these days. Anyway, I feel prompted to write something as it sounds from the min-hurricane outside as if my apartment is about to take off, we’re-not-in-Kansas-any-more style, and this was always a good forum for photos, so why not. I’ll write some more sometime soon. In the meantime, I think that some photos by Fleur and I will be up in the Photosoc part of the One World Week exhibitions, so go check it all out. I’ve got a few new toys to play with – a sweet digital SLR, a Horizon panoramic camera, and a LCA which is a cute little compact thing. So more soon! Here’s a picture of the swans in Jephson Gardens, from the first roll of my LCA.
August 17, 2006
Um… excuse me?
What the hell is going on?!
Well well – I'm in the mood to write a little blog entry. How are you, blog and its readers? I am fine. Things in Bat Country are looking up as at last Random and I have escaped the bowge of student housing and signed for a proper, real–person flat near Jephson Gardens. And we were at the Summer Sundae weekend festival in Leicester which was amazing apart from Phil Jupitus standing behind us and singing along tunelessly and incessantly to Nouvelle Vague.
Right now I'm back in Ireland which should mean the return of some bloggish humour but instead generates something more along the lines of a desire for some kind of… catharsis (catharsis!!). But I know I can't start writing a cathartic (cathartic!!!) blog entry. Not after two years. But still, I must want to write something, as I'm missing 'Ted Bundy: Natural Porn Killer' to be up here typing. I'm taping it though, don't go crazy.
Anyway. I'm feeling kind of mellow at the moment, with just a bit of a sort of melancholic tinge, a bit Benjamin Braddock. Maybe that's what it feels like to grow up, or something. It's kind of nice but it also makes me feel a little estranged from my own brain which is variously crammed and empty. Maybe it's because I just trekked my way through Dante's 'Inferno' and it made me feel a little crazy. This is getting a bit too cathartic (cathartic!!) – I'd better write about something stupid.
Okay, so my most amazing internet discovery in most recent weeks – not my own discovery, but my appreciation of a mountain already climbed and flagged by Cathy – is that of the fucking ridiculous phenomenon of 'reborning'. For the uninitiated, 'reborning' is, apparently, "taking a doll, vinyl or other material, and totally recreating the doll into a lifelike baby. Reborning involves many steps to the care of the vinyl, from dyeing in some methods to oil painting, and tinting with various artist's pigments. Attention to every detail is of the utmost importance in recreating these ordinary play dolls to look and feel like a real live baby. Hair is added, new realistic eyes are added if applicable. A true Reborn will look like a real live baby when done properly.” Thanks for that, 'reborning' artist Dawn. Well, why anyone in their right mind would want to do this is another matter. It's incredibly tasteless, although I guess it does provide a necessary outlet for the Dahmer–style desires which probably do haunt the minds of 'rebirthers' (at least, I guess that's their name. Reborners? Stupid). I was hoping to provide a selection of the best 'reborning'–related quotes and photos, but instead I thought I'd have to give you a condensed step–by–step guide, plagiarised from a 'reborning' website (please don't sue me) without shame but with much dismay. Here goes:
STEP ONE: PURCHASE DOLL
Ain't she cute?
STEP TWO: REMOVE HEAD FROM DOLL
Woaurgh! That's a little drastic. Though it reminds me of something I once saw on 'I, Claudius'.
STEP THREE: REMOVE EYES
I'm sorry, I couldn't bring myself to post a photo of this.
Dawn's advice here: "Put the doll head into a pot of boiling water until soft, (you can also put them into the 150/175 degree oven - Place a thick pile of poly-fil on a cookie sheet. Place head on top of the poly-fil and gently place in a 250 degree oven for approximate 5-10 minutes) Then, just reach your hand into the inside of the head and poke the eyes out through the front. Note: Vinyl will be hot, but not hot enough to burn your skin."
Are we living in medieval Finland?!
STEP FOUR: APPLY PURPLE PAINT TO LIMBS
No, I don't know why…
STEP FIVE: REMOVE HAIR
And then… "Dip the head into a pot of boiling water with a
tbsp of baking soda for just a moment. This will remove any shiny areas
caused by the scrubbing." Good, good.
STEP SIX: BLUSH
Ah, baby's first makeover. I must say she looks delightful.
STEP SEVEN: MANICURE
Yes, you read it right.
STEP EIGHT: DRILL NOSTRILS
Why not? It worked okay for the Egyptians.
STEP NINE: ADD EYELASHES
I think this is the photo which I find most disturbing.
STEP TEN: ADD EYEBROWS
When will this madness cease?
STEP ELEVEN: ADD WIG
Congratulations, you have 'rebirthed' some kind of mutant white Queen Latifah baby.
STEP TWELVE: FILL SEVERED HEAD AND LIMBS WITH PELLETS
I can think of no reasoning behind this other than that it is intended to give the doll a more 'realistic', baby–esque weight. Or just to further its indignity. My God.
STEP THIRTEEN: REATTACH BODY
…And dress the poor wretch in some clothes probably intended for the real–life baby you never had. Congratulations. You now own an unbelievably unrealistic doll which is a cruel parody of its former self, forced now into its last stages of indignity. Why the hell you didn't just buy a slightly more realistic doll in the first place will remain forever a mystery. Let's just re–examine Dawn's initial claim: "A true Reborn will look like a real live baby when done properly.”
Yes, very good.
July 22, 2006
Well now… a month since my last blog entry, that's slacker than Alice. I have rather missed tippytappying away at my old keyboard so now that I've returned I have to say first of all a big thanks to everyone who came to the Lomo exhibition and to Heather, Helen and all the others who helped us to set it up – it was great fun and WSAF in general was a very cool week. Here's a summary update of the last month anyway…
– Going to Holland for a fantastic conference and feeling re–inspired all over again
– Visiting the beautiful Njimigen, Germany and Amsterdam all in one fell swoop
– Our choice of 'luxury accommodation' whilst in Amsterdam. I'm still a little twitchy
– Developing Meniere's Disease (it made Van Gogh cut off his ear! What fun!) whilst in Amsterdam, thus making the whole thing even more of a House of 1,000 Corpses–esque funfair than it probably appears for most visitors.
– Moving house very very very exciting!
– Frequent dizzy spellls making it rather difficult to view new houses whilst pretending not to be on the verge of apparent drunkenness
– Flip–clocks, miniature Mexican wrestlers, ice–cream sundae bowls, giant plastic spoons and all the other nonsense we picked up in Amsterdam
– Crowds and heat. Give it a rest!
– I very much enjoyed the surreal Midlands tropical Jamaica Inn–esque storm earlier which has cleared my dizzy head a good bit and which was a bizarre mixture of afternoon with night. Good work, Leamington!
Right, a blog about something more funny coming up soon. Very soon. Not in a month. Soon!
June 20, 2006
Hey hey all – if you're enjoying the summery vibes of this year's WSAF and have a little bit of spare time on Wednesday or Thursday this week, please come along to Fleur's and my exhibition 'Lomography on the Run'. It'll be held in the Lounge near Xanana's from the 21st–22nd and you can come along any time of the day or evening you like.
Featured in the exhibition will be lots of the sort of pics recently posted on here as well as many many more, including shots from our travels to America, Africa, Berlin, Vietnam and other exotic places, so there will be plenty to feast your eyes upon. Either myself or Fleur should be around at most points on Weds and Thurs so please do come along and introduce yourself, especially if you'd like to learn more about Lomography.
We are supporting the charity LomoKikuyu, which has set up an eye hospital in Kenya dedicated to saving and restoring sight. The charity has published a book full of incredible photos intended to inspire someone with newly–restored sight with the beauty of the world! We have got one of these fantastic books to raffle off and profits will go to LomoKikuyu. If you're interested in learning more about the charity please visit this site: LomoKikuyu
Hoping to see you there, especially if you like the recent photos from this blog. Don't forget to check out all the other amazing WSAF shows and to visit the PhotoSoc exhibition for more great photographs!
June 05, 2006
Well now! It's been a funny old couple of weeks which culminated today in my attending a job interview which was ostensibly for work as a photographer's assistant but turned out to be more along the lines of late–night factory work driving a forklift truck. Turning up for interview in Scumsville, Birmingham, I was more than a little bit surprised to find not the studio I had expected but instead a recruitment agency inside a portacabin, and was more than very surprised not to be handed a light meter but a numeracy test and a questionnaire about vertigo. No work, then, but I am down on the agency list (as 'tall', 'stocky' and 'qualified') so perhaps my luck will be in yet. Goddammit!
Anyway, other than that, life is very sweet – preparations are in the offing for the photography exhibition which will be Fleur's and my contribution to WSAF (pics on display in the Lounge near Xananas on the 21st and 22nd June, so please come along if you like our stuff and / or are into experimental photography). A–speaking of which, here are some piccies taken on Fleur's new ColourSplash (another nifty little device which has in–built colour filters to act as an internal cross–processer) – these all taken at the funfair which I accidentally stumbled upon whilst seeking inspiration for my b&w portfolio – some of the b&w shots have turned out well and have that funny sort of late 80s social realism / French textbook feel, but a funfair needs colour!
Aaaaand all of these pictures from our mega Leamington–to–Lymington road trip (which involved me losing my Little Chef virginity to a microwaved pancake. Never again). We love the sea! Even when it is full of swans.
May 15, 2006
Wow – my attempts to return to the old blogging world were rather abortive. But I'm going to make an effort again, having seen a veritable smorgasbord of grotesquery over the last few weeks which I feel it my duty to share with you. Firstly though…
What on earth have I been doing?
A good question. Well, things have been pretty busy over the last month and a halfish… teaching music in primary schools around Warwickshire is a very new experience, and good fun. I'm taking a photography course at Warwickshire College which is great… I'm still volunteering at Oxfam, and have got a conference paper to write and some work to do on a WSAF photo exhibition to which I'm very much looking forward. Fleur and I took a trip to London a couple of weeks ago to see lovely lovely lovely Konstantin, Ruth and Rod which was fantastic and which must become a more regular occurrence! (Although the 'Megabus' we travelled on could only be classed as 'mega' under the assumption that 'mega' in fact means 'being reclined upon by a noisy Spanish woman with a hairy back'.)
Some of my favourite blogworthy things in recent weeks have been the following:
1.) Getting a quote for car insurance, I was asked to choose from a list of occupations (that's 'occupations', not 'workplaces' or 'randomly–selected items'...) which included….
'Armature rewinding shop'
'Boxer' (I only include that to highlight the absurdity of the rest of them)
'Corrugated and solid fibre boxes'
'Distilled Liquor except Brandy'
'Folding Cardboard Boxes'
I could go on but let's just say my favourites were 'Special', 'Other' and… 'Shellfish'. I was going to go for 'Earth Moving' but it was 'Student' in the end. Hmm.
2.) This week's issue of 'Pick Me Up'. It's been a while since a poor–quality woman's magazine has prompted me to write a blog entry, but this one really does contain some sterling nuggets of wisdom. 'Top Tips' include the following:
'In those awkward-shaped containers, like Marmite jars, it's hard to get the last bit out. Try standing the jar upside down. You'll be amazed at how much is left!'
Yes, very good. And this:
'If you haven't got time to warm your plates in the oven before tea, just sink them in some hot water. They'll be hot in no time!'
Yes, much less time consuming. This week's 'Pick Me Up' also contains articles with such titles as 'Drinking Your Own Wee: The Pros and Cons', a poem entitled 'The Checkout Girl' which includes the delightful couplet 'Put me coat on, grab me bag / Aaah at last I can have a fag' and one of those flowchart quiz things which can be followed as such:
'Have you felt this panicked before?'
'Does your chest feel tight and constricted?'
'Get help straight away. It might be a heart attack.'
The same medical advisors also advise us to check out a bowel cancer website in order to find out 'how your bum works' – and, best of all, Jeremy Kyle has his own problem page. God I love these magazines.
Anyway, more of all that later, no doubt. Here are a few recent pictures for those of you who like that sort of thing. Some double exposures from the little Holga…some of them have turned out pretty interesting. The reddish ones were cross–processed (in the chemicals normally used for slide film). Will keep experimenting!
April 27, 2006
…wow – this definitely must be my longest hiatus from blogging. What can I say – it's been a funny old month and a busy one. No excuses, really. So back to our regularly scheduled programming with a brief rundown of the last month…
– Easter trip home to Ireland with beautiful sunshine and more chocolate than is believable
– Volunteering for Oxfam on Warwick St, Leam – come up and see me, make me smile – and buy a camera, goddammit
– Finding out that lovely Warwick is funding me to take a PhD in Film Studies starting in October
– Taking and passing my theory test after only, er, about eighteen months
– Upcoming trip to Holland for a conference
– Upcoming photo exhibition as part of WSAF - very exciting!
– Easter trip home to Ireland coinciding with the ever-stupid 'Titanic: Made in Belfast' festival which galls me every year
– Suspicions that the horrible 'Spam Up' T.V. advert contains footage of a dwarf wearing a cowboy costume
– Mega mega mega virus possibly obtained from hunting through bags of old pants donated to Oxfam (N.B. – please do not donate your dirty underwear to Oxfam. For God's sake)
Here's hoping that all you blogging kids with examiniums coming up do well (whilst simultaneously rubbing my hands in glee at the prospect of no exams any more ever). Proper blog entry later (but probably a Staff/student one, so sign in to read). Until then, a little picture of Fleur by the Costa del Bangor which makes me smile…
March 27, 2006
Here are the results of the first roll which Fleur and I shot on our brand new Holga:
These ones shot by Fleur:
And these by me:
A few more photographs for all of you discerning blog types!
These ones were taken in the magnificently grim town of Larne on old Mr. Fisheye…
March 24, 2006
March 23, 2006
Following a request by Fleur, here is a picture of a horse in a car. No further comments necessary, although it's a pretty cool horse.
March 12, 2006
Wow. Truly an unbelievable piece of wisdom for you today, quoted verbatim from last month's OCSET magazine. How I love OCSET and its manically spiralling control freakery.
'Beat that Vice'
The code for any craving is stored like a computer programme in your brain. You weren't born addicted to cigarettes or chocolate bars, so you can 'un-learn' your vice, says Paul McKenna. This technique enables you to reset your brain's software by tapping on acupuncture points in a set sequence.
1. Focus on the subject of your craving and rate it from 1 to 10.
2. Think about your craving. Using two fingers, tap ten times firmly above one of your eyes, then under the eye, then on your collarbone, then in your armpit. Now tap on the back of your other hand, between the knuckles of your ring finger and your little finger.
3. Close your eyes. Keep tapping between those two fingers. Open your eyes. Look down to the right, then look down to the left.
4. Keep tapping, and rotate your eyes around 360 degrees clockwise, then 360 degrees anti-clockwise.
5. Still thinking about your craving, hum the first few lines of 'Happy Birthday' out loud. This creates activity in the right side of the brain to help the exercise take hold.
6. Count out loud from 1 to 5, and, again, hum 'Happy Birthday' out loud.
7. Repeat the beginning of the sequence, up to tapping under your armpit.
8. Now stop, and rate your craving again. If it hasn't gone, repeat the sequence until it does. Repeat it whenever you feel the urge to indulge. You may be surprised at the result!
Yes, very good. In conclusion, then – you may not have any more cravings, but you will be an obsessive compulsive loon who terrifies small children.
March 11, 2006
These ones are from a trip to Belfast when I was at home a week or so ago, all taken on my nifty little Fisheye camera!
Some more pics…these are the result of last week's trip to the wonderfully ugly Northern Irish town of Larne. This is the first film I've had developed from my ancient Praktica.
Hello, hello! A few more pics then, this time from an old film I discovered which turned out to be from last year's trip to New York. Feedback appreciated as always, and if anyone wants higher resolution versions of any of these pics for whatever reason, please let me know!
March 08, 2006
>Subject: your crazy (Via 'Talking Behind the Psychic's Back')
>Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 20:19:39 +0000 (GMT)
>just because you do not prefer art from impressionism on up to cubism, does not mean that the art is crap. think about if you had poured your heart and soul into something just to have someone turn around and call it crap. obviously you do NOT know what these particular movements in art were about. you are an insult to the art society and i greatly wish you to stop the awful labeling you have used
Ahh, nothing like some stupid flaming to start the day…
March 06, 2006
A recent update on my ridiculous website situation and a plea for help.
I'm supposed to be editing the website www.folklifestudies.org.uk, which is hosted by some charlatan of a company which shall remain nameless – upon logging into the company site, I have no option to edit my website. Firstly, I was advised to edit it using FileZilla, which doesn't work. Then, I was advised to edit it using FTP via a web browser, which doesn't work – I can see the HTML files and save them, but I can't figure out any way to edit them. Being a pleb, I decided to try using FrontPage, but, predictably, that doesn't work either. On my seventeenth call to the Charlatan Co. helpdesk I was advised that FrontPage etc. wouldn't work on the website as it was hosted by a Linux platform (I don't know what that means) and that I needed to switch it to Windows. Okay, I said, do that. Now, however, I've received another email from the helpdesk idiots telling me that to switch the site to Windows will 'break' it and that I need to use Dreamweaver to edit the site, which costs hundreds of pounds. All of this, as you can see, is INCREDIBLY FUCKING ANNOYING. So, please help me. Does anyone know if it's possible to switch a website from Linux (what?) to Windows (comfortingly familiar) without 'breaking' it? And, if not, what the hell is Linux and can I edit a website on it without spending a zillion pounds on Dreamweaver?
PLEASE HELP ME FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY