Monday, 20 October 2008

Wild Billy Childish in the Sunday Times magazine . . .

There I was, describing this article to Leila, and I thought, find it on-line and post a link. Now everyone can find out who this exciting guy is . . .
First there was the headline, then the photo stopped me cold. I still cannot quite make out how the lighting effect was achieved. The article about him (founder of the Stuckists, and 'former' close friend of Tracey Emin) is at
It's interesting as it describes not only an eecentric artist but the mad days of BritArt in the recent past.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Down and out in a cheap supermarket . . .

Yep, I went shopping this afternoon. I only needed a few things, not a big shop.

And I stopped at Lidl. It is not new, but boy oh boy is it ever cheap . . .
Everything in the shop is a loss-leader, by the look of it. There are no frills whatsoever. I spent six pounds, and if I’d gone to Morrison’s (another ten minutes walk farther) it would have easily cost ten quid. So, that’s four quid I didn’t spend. If I did that every other day, I’d have, let’s see, about . . . . hmmm… by the end of the month.
That explains why there’s always a parade of Lidl’s shopping bags down my local high street (Blackstock Road) at going-home time. Are there Lidl’s where you go ??

American Football in London

I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but yes they do play it here . . .
I’ve got a photography exhibition at the local Sobell Sports centre. It’s a golden opportunity for someone like me (aspiring photographer) trying to be noticed above the sea of other snappers.
I’m arranging to take sports images, to make my show more relevant to the sports centre’s users. They play American Football at the local park (Finsbury Park) and if everything works out I’ll start shooting at the club’s training sessions. All I need now is a few more sports venues to say ‘yes’ and I’ve got an exhibition. Shall I ask the guys at Arsenal Emirates Stadium, or do you think they don’t need the publicity ?

Running in the Park . . .

Now, most everyone, including myself until this summer, thinks running in the park is easy-peasy. I’ve just been for my first jog in a year. Earlier in the Blog I’ve introduced you to my Cardiac Rehabiltation programme, all the circuit training and aerobics at the Sports centre. It’s all a phased return to cardiac fitness, and it’s overseen by lovely instructors (Hello Angela and Martin !) Well, I’ve been bugging them to say its OK for me to start running. Not proper fast running, but gentle slow plodding running . . . on Friday they relented . . . so long as I didn’t go any faster than I had last been able to go when I had the untreated Angina (run for 100 metres, slow down and walk, run even more slowly after that . . .) I walked around the park (one mile), I did some aerobic stretching exercises (no-one gave me a second glance) then I got on with it. So gentle that it was less strenuous that the fast walking I’ve been doing lately.
That’s it then. Another barrier down, and I’m that little bit closer to being able run a marathon. Don’t laugh . . .

There's a local police force in North London

The Metropolitan Police do lots of jobs here in London. but patrolling local parks is not usually one of their jobs.

What if the Council disbanded the Parks Police ? Would anyone notice ?
Find out who they are at
Well, shall I ask another question to put that in perspective ? Who knows that there’s a local Parks Police in north London ? They’ve been going for six or eight years. Because the London Metropolitan Police are so busy and over-stretched on the streets and highways they never have a chance to go into the parks. Every borough has ten to fifty local parks, and we have thirty-two local authorities in London. That’s a lot of parks, where the police never patrol. There’s a bit more about the local Haringey Parks Police at .

There’s a nasty rumour that Haringey Council is going to disband this small but effective local police force . That would be a shame, because they do a much-needed job, actually walking and cycling and driving across the parks and footpaths (they patrol part of the London Walking ring [ see - that’s 75 miles long !!]).
I used to work in Tottenham (in Haringey) and the park behind that school was notorious for knife-toting gangs going there to settle their differences. Yes, the Parks Police patrol there, as well as the other twenty-five or more Haringey parks. The ones I visit regularly are Finsbury Park, and the Parkland Walk [ see more at ].
So, when push comes to shove, I’d like the Council to find a way to keep the police force in place. They do too important a job in the community, to get rid of them just to save money.

What if I hadn't stopped . . .

Cruising down the road in a friend‘s car, just at the start of the evening rush hour. And we stopped in traffic; because there was a bus blocking the road. Cars between us and the bus overtook that bus, but it pulled out just as we came up to it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a rag doll lying on the pavement just by a bus shelter. I might have missed her, as we were going pretty fast, but she was wearing scarlet trousers and a green coat. I asked Jerry to stop, and ran back. That’s because I do First Aid, and it seemed like the right thing to do, leap out and see what I could do to help.
You know how it seems at the time : you ask the two women standing over the casualty “Do you know First Aid?” and no-one looks at you. One is busy chatting on her mobile ‘phone, the other is staring at the one on the ‘phone. It seems like minutes pass, but it was only ten seconds. The ambulance screams its arrival, and I leave the casualty (she is quietly having the end of a Grand Mal epileptic seizure. No-one is cradling her head, in case she bangs it on the pavement).
I speak to the Para-Medic getting out of the ambulance; I tell her the score and then walk away. There was now nothing for me to do. The teen-aged boys and girls huddled at the far end of the bus shelter have been texting and chatting quietly, and I guess they’ll carry on after the ambulance leaves.
I feel that it’s the little actions we take that make a difference. Not to anyone else, just to ourselves. What if I hadn’t asked my friend to stop the car. The casualty would still have been OK, wouldn’t she . . .

Friday, 10 October 2008


Anna on my course sent this. It is so bizarre I thought it would lighten your day just to see the wild dancing, on location everywhere.
The WebLink for the video is

Thursday, 2 October 2008

PHOTOMONTH is zillions of exhibitions in the East End . . .

PHOTOMONTH is the 'East London Photography Festival' and it's on now.

I'm definitely going to see Tom Hunter at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. He's also at There's examples of his work, and he talks about his fascination with Renaissance painting and its re-creation using photography.

There's lots of awards going :-
Amnesty International Media Awards
British Journal of Photography International Awards

There's Festival Highlights including Robert Capa at the Barbican,
the Karsh Centenary,
Errol Francis Contemporary Art Projects,
Eve Arnold Magnum,
Angela Stapleford, Photochats,
Stephen Gill, Round Chapel,
and the afore-mentioned Tom Hunter.

And there's seminars, workshops and photo-walks. The website is chock full.

See you there. Several times, at least !!