Hi, thanks a lot for coming to my aid, I’ve a bit of a dilemma. My last blog before Christmas, maybe of the year and I can’t decide on a title. I’ve got a few, four in fact, Alright, ready?
Title 1: Lepidopthurrah!
Because of the moth, you see. Cream. The lovely cream coloured moth. Dead. It was my son who saw it first. I’d asked him to switch on a lamp. An angled floor lamp. He’d switched it on then jumped back momentarily. Laying in the inside of the lampshade, was a moth, wing-side up, about a thumb-nail and a half in size. Dead. But such a perfectly even rich cream colour, I’d never seen one like that before. The light illuminated it beautifully. Were you lactose intolerant, you may have felt queasy, such was it’s bright creaminess. I thought it was lovely. Not keen on those big grey, mad bastard self-harming ones that bounce of the walls. But this one looked elegant. In repose. And I found myself hoping that it hadn’t got stuck in there and been toasted alive by the 40 watt bulb. I looked at it closely, didn’t touch it because when they’ve been dead for a long time they easily turn to slivers and dust at the slightest touch. I left it there..I didn’t want to brush it away cos it’s perfectly preserved, lightly ridged magnolia bod looked nice and peaceful every time I turned the lamp on. Then the other day, the bulb popped. It needed a screw-in bulb but I only had bayonets in the cupboard. Two weeks passed during which I was either too ill to go out or when I did, I kept forgetting to buy bulbs. But finally the other day. I remembered to get one. Back from the shops, exhausted, really exhausted, M.E symptoms full on, I was not in the best of moods so I roughly stuck the bulb in, not really caring whether I bashed old creamy knickers to bits or not.. Now the moth is gone and I wish I’d taken a photo of it. A little show and tell. But I never thought to. Too late now, all because I was being heavy handed and sullen when I changed the bulb. There is one more thing to say on this subject though, but I’ll get back to you with that in a minute..
Title 2: The Giant Space Waffle is About to Land
Hey, guess what? I took a photo recently, and it looked like a Giant Space Waffle About To Land. (1) And that is really all there is to say about that. It seems a pity though, to throw away a phrase like that. Maybe we could use it. Yes, as a euphemism for when things are about to take turn a turn for the bizarre; when there’s rum things afoot. For instance, your in-laws are coming to stay for Christmas and their car has just pulled into the drive. You might then look at the kids and say, Strap in, you lot, The Giant Space Waffle Is Coming in to Land. Or maybe it’s a boy or girl thing, as in, you’ve just met a new one. But there are complications. Aren’t there always? You feel elated but vulnerable. The your arse and elbow are beginning to look similar, your head and heart are giving each other confused glances. Your emotions turmed in oll. Again. You look in the mirror, Oh boy, you say to your reflection, The Giant Space Waffle is.etc
Section 44 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act,according to articles I’ve read, categorizes all rail and underground stations as ‘sensitive buildings’. The Giant Space Waffle was spotted at my local tube station. Maybe the anti-terrorism is a cover up for the real truth. That West Acton is the British Roswell. Hey, now I think about it, someone did recently send me a link to a site that propses that people with CFS.M.E are, in fact, alien abductees.I haven’t looked at it yet but i’ll let you know what it says. Sheesh (altogether now)..The Giant Space….
Title 3: Three Encounters of the Close Kind
I don’t want to appear insensitive but I have to admit that I do, indeed take a lot of photos at a lot of stations.(2-8).Over the last few weeks you may have noticed there has been growing publicity and numerous news stories, radio phone-ins, a demo even, about the stopping and questioning of street photographers by police, a lot of whom seem to have a very loose grasp of what their powers are in this regard. It’s complicated and discretional. I’ve been stopped and questioned a couple of times. Sat 17th Oct. Ealing Broadway. 17:30 Approx It’s an ongoing problem but at least the word is spreading. Photographers are fighting back. And recently I’ve had three more close encounters, each time being asked the same question: Why are you taking photos? But interestingly, only one of those incidents involved the police….The First Encounter – Saturday Afternoon, Tottenham Court Rd Tube Station. I was taking some photographs near the station, which is next to the Centre Point building (9). I’ve walked past this countless times, always considering it to be a bit drab but in this shot, with the light doing it’s thing, I think it looks rather magnificent. Gosh, think, I do hope this is not me experiencing the first fledgling flush Objectum Sexuality. Ever heard of that? Well there was a TV documentary some years ago about this phenomenon whereby some people, I’m pretty sure they were all women, but don’t quote me on that, form strong, loving sexual attachments to specific buildings and structures. Some even get wedded to them. The programme was called Married to the Eiffel Tower. The title is self explanatory. Some of these women were head over heels with famous ‘celebrity’ structures whilst others were getting up close and personal with plain old bits of fencing, and things. I found the documentary’s opening sequence on YT. It shows some nice footage of a bridge and the VO goes thusly:
I am a woman. And this is a bridge. And despite our vast differences we are very much in love. I am in love with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. And the Golden Gate Bridge is very much in love with me. –
The documentary initially provoked a lt of sniggers and finger pointing, but as it went on it became clear that some had had their lives ruined by these obsessions and you felt for sorry some of them. Well. I did anyway. But fret ye not, I can assure you that I have no inclination to shag or marry the Centre Point. Having said that, it does scrub up well, don’t you think? What the hell, yeah I might take it for a drink or something, no harm in that. Oh oh.. look, The Giant Space Waffle Is Coming Into Land..
Opposite the Centre Point is The Dominion Theatre where the Queen Musical, We Will Rock You is showing and the late great Freddie Mercury stands aloft, looking down on the shoppers and Theatre goers. (10). I caught him just as a little bird flew past. Then down into the tube. London Underground Stations are pretty interesting to me these days. No two look the same, some are smarter than others, but all they offer something unique, visually. Tottenham Court Rd is not a favourite but it does have some nice looking mosaic tiles on the walls.(11,12) I was standing at the bottom of some stairs taking pics when a couple of young guys, aged about 20, started up the steps, they paused. One said to the other, not looking at me. …that’s what I mean, why would you want to take a photo of that? He sounded a little drunk or stoned as he slapped the wall quite aggressively. I paused, waiting for them to disappear up the stairs. When they didn’t ,I carried on taking photos but then the drunk sounding one bent down and thumbed his nose into the camera. I stopped again, waited, growing a little annoyed. Now they were both staring at me and I back at them. The second guy, who seemed straight, not drunk, said bluntly. What are you taking photographs of that for? I was vaguely aware of some instant calculations going on in my mind. This could be trouble, but then it is the daytime on a crowded platform, not late at night on a deserted one. Yes but when did that ever stop someone getting a kicking? But then again what if…What’s it got to do with you? I heard myself say. There were several silent beats. I stared them at them both coldly. And they back at me. (I mused later that it had been my own little Pulp Fiction Pop-Tart moment. If the mobile phone in my hand started ringing, it woulda been perfect).Then Drunk looked at Sober and smirked. Sober said, softening a little. We’re just wondering, that’s all. I responded in kind, softening back. The colours, I said, I like the colours. Sober one nodded, Drunk said cockily..Oh the colours. I took another pic,ignoring them. They muttered between their selves, then sober said Sorry mate, we didn’t’t mean anything by it, no offence. I nodded. Drunk one was about to speak, but Sober ushered him up the stairs. Gone. Moth-dust. The 2nd Encounter- Wednesday Afternoon – Ealing Broadway Station I had a hospital appointment in Paddington It’s one stop from Ealing Broadway where I’ve taken lots of photos in the past.(13,14)
Once I actually asked the Station Manager’s permission. On that occasion it was because I’d noticed some large Sunflowers at the end of a platform, behind a fence. Being a good non-trespassing citizen, I knocked on the office door and asked, Could I climb over the fence. The Manager couldn’t’t have been friendlier, saying that that was fine. Just make sure you don’t take any flash photography in the path of oncoming trains. Good point, something I now always remember. So I traversed the fence. Now, to be honest, I struggle to appreciate flowers. I prefer, trees, shrubs, bracken and fungi, the earthier stuff. But I’m trying with flowers, really trying. I like that one of the Sunflowers looked a bit more dishevelled, wilder than the others. A bit Space Waffle. It was Sunflower equivalent of the nutter on the bus..(15,16) On this day, I had a few minutes until my train was due so I took some photos of the overhead wires, liking the patterns against the sky. I heard a banging and muffled shout, looked up to see two policeman on a stationary tube train on the opposite platform. What are you doing? A muffled behind the thick windows barked. Just taking a few photos, I said. What for? I thought it a little uncouth engage in some bellowing exchange so I motioned for them to come over. I mean, I was damned if I was going over to them to explain myself like a naughty schoolboy. But then as I waited for them to make their way over, my train pulled in and I thought, now what? Do I jump aboard which will now look like I’m legging it, or just let it depart and get the next one, I do have the time, after all. So I let it go but felt somewhat resentful that I’d been made to feel like I couldn’t just go about my business and had to wait for them. So these two burly coppers rock up. I speak first. Just taking photos for myself. What are they of? Asks one. I flashed a picture at them and said (my exact words), Shape, colour and light. They stared at me. Well, I tell you, these coppers could not have looked more nonplussed if I’d pecked each in turn on the cheek and said, That’s for me to know and you to find out, big boys, and skipped off down the platform shouting Chase me.. The words hung in he air. Shape colour and light. They now obviously thought that I was as mad as a Sunflower. One says, We have to check because in this current climate. I know, I interrupt, I’ve been stopped before and I tell them about my ‘previous’ outside Ealing nick .Then one says, in a flat monotone. You see, terrorists have to take pictures so that they know where to put their bombs. I couldn’t believe he’d just said that. Good grief. Thank you Officer I thought, for that excerpt there from the Ladybird Book of Anti-Terrorism. The other one: We become more suspicious if you are taking photographs by yourself and not in a family group. Oh great, I thought, now he’s giving me hints for if I ever do decide to go ahead and join a terrorist cell. They advise me that I should ask permission from the staff and then wander off. On the train, I peruse my pics which show mainly sky. (17) Ealing is not an enclosed station. Do I really need permission to take photos of the sky from within it? What did they think I intended to do? Hang bombs from the overhead wires like deadly Christmas decorations? I mean really.. I arrived in Paddington Station.(18) But Section 44, according to articles I’ve read, lists many other buildings, apart from stations, that are considered ‘Sensitive’ but they won’t publicly publish the full list. Hmm..Sensitive Buildings. Sounds like something to do with Objectum Sexuality’
..So did you hear that Jane has split up with St Paul’s Cathedral? Yeah, I did, she’s alright, though, I told her, don’t worry, there’s plenty more bricks in the street. Ooh, excuse me, I’ve just got a text from my other half. Ever so romantic and sensitive he is, look. – I heart U. l8terz. XOX – Innit sweet? I don’t know what I’d do without my Holborn Viaduct..
So I’m pretty good at handling suspicious train station staff these days. I try and be jovial instead of indignant. That way I can often nip problems in the bud. When one Paddington staff member was bowling towards me recently, I waved my camera in the air, fixed him with a big shit-eating grin and said in a sing-song voice. Just pretty colours, I’m not a terrorist! He smiled. Another time at Chiswick, being eyed suspiciously, I gurned soppily like a children’s T.V presenter. It’s okay, I pantomimed, I’m not planting bombs mate, just a few photos of that lovely orangey bit’. He smiled. Disarming. But the third encounter came from a source I wasn’t prepared for.. The 3rd Encounter- West Acton. Friday Afternoon I was taking photos of some trees near to where I live. There was this, slightly disturbing, Alien Tree, (19) and also Heart Shaped Leaf Lady (20). Do you see her? I also see a second smaller face to her right, one eye closed. I was taking photos, oblivious to passers by when a group of noisy school kids, about 11 or 12 years old, walked past. I paid them no mind but they came to a halt around the tree. A girl’s voice – What you taking pictures for? I look round, a little thrown. Being questioned by bloody kids now, I thought, with some annoyance, the feisty little buggers. What’s it got to do with you? I said. What you taking them for? Another kid, they were all jostling each other and peering at me. Then an inner voice said, Mark! Calm, they are kids for heaven’s sake, stop being so arsy, they’re only asking. The voice disarms me and leaves me feeling a bit Hugh Grant, awkward, bumbling, not sure what to say. I look up at the tree, taking another shot but I can’t shake them off. They all look up too. It’s just an art thing, I say. It’s all I can think of. Another kid pipes up. Are you an artist then? My Hugh Grant morphs into Alan Bates in Whistle Down The Wind. I don’t want to be horrible to these innocent youth but I’m not really sure what to tell them. Yes, I say, still looking at the tree, wishing they would buzz off. Oh he’s an artist one says. Without sarcasm. They don’t giggle or take the piss, don’t make any cocky comments. They just all bound off, chatting boisterously. I hear the word artist, spoken in a light tone and as they disappear into the distance Am I an artist? I will think about this question and it’s implications. I’ll get back to you on it another time. I dunno, bloody kids.. Now, before the last title, some unfinished business… I did say that there was one other moth-related point to cover didn’t I? Ok, so , as I mentioned before, I said, I wished I’d taken a photo of it. Maybe a real arty-farty one as befits my new ‘artist status’ Ha! But like I also said before, it’s too late cos when I’d put the new bulb in, I’d been in a rotten mood, had roughly grabbed the lamp shade paying no mind as to wether I hit it or not. Well, my hand did touch the moth. And up it sprang. Making me jump, as it whizzed past my face. It’s no exaggeration to say that my heart leaped a little. Oh, cream coloured moth, three weeks unmoving in the lamp shade, you are ALIVE! Just playing dead. I thought it might stay in the house for a while, that I’d spot it on the wall, or a hung-up coat, but no. Gone. Alive. I loved it that old creamy knickers was alive. A small victory of life over death.- Lepidopthurrah!
Title: 4 – I Suppose I Ought To Mention Christmas.
Such are the unpredicatble stymptoms of CFS/M.E that I have not been able to immerse myself in the commercial build up to Crimbo. Been a bit bah humbuggy. But in spite of everythinhg, when I have ventured out then i’ve been drawn to the lights. Like a moth, you might say.(21 -25) Its a hard and trying time or a lot of folk; the afflicted, the scabby arsed and the lame. For me, the worst part of enforced inactivity means too much time to think on times gone. It’s not good to dwell too much,but man, we miss them so much don’t we? The ghosts of our Christmases past…And so to you all toughing it out on the poorly front-line, with no Christmas Day No-Man’s Land respite from whatever it is that ails you, I really do hope that one day soon you can release your inner, little cream moth, fly free once more…They come transfigured back.
That’s it then. Just to say I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. Thanks for reading. And don’t forget – For the kid’s sakes, keep smiling, for your health’s sake, try not to get too stressed, and for Christ’s sake help me choose a title for this blog..
P.S. If you’re reading this after Xmas. I tried Popping Candy Chocolate Orange. It had a bit of pop but I prefer Mint flavour anyway. Oh and two words: Crap Telly. Wasn’t it just? Bah and also, Christmas Twitter is crap these days. it’s all bloody Retweets… And finally, I’ve seen em, Easter Eggs in Tescos. Indeed, The Giant Space Waffle etc etc..