Bismuth

 

Hello from the southern hemisphere where I have had a great time in Singapore, Melbourne and Tasmania, and am planning to go whale watching in Botany Bay (NSW) tomorrow. I won’t be back in the UK for another week. In the meantime here’s some new press shots of my friends’ band Bismuth I took a few weeks ago at the original UK Botany Bay. Joe’s sunglasses broke on the drive down to Margate, and I remembered I had these green mirrored ones in a drawer. I got them for a few euros from a vending machine in the street outside this opticians in Graz in Austria a while back. I didn’t even need sunglasses, I have prescription ones, they just looked cool and the novelty appealed. I never wore them, as they are too big for me. They’ve found a new home on Joe, who they look much better on.

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It Came From the Merch Table

So this weekend I’m putting on a little festival in Margate (more info here, and a blog post of band samples to follow). People loved the poster, so I got some merch printed up to sell at the festival, and some local friends to model it in an impromptu photo shoot. It’s currently not available online, but if we have any left after the festival it will be listed afterwards (t-shirts from 34″ to 48″ chest) . Thanks to Claire, Guy and Alex for posing.

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Dachau

On my way back from the Tyrol, I stayed in Munich en route to the airport, and visited the Dachau concentration camp museum- it was the first Nazi concentration camp and served as a template for many of the others. I think it’s important to visit these places, so it’s not just an abstraction in a history book, and to remind yourself that these things can happen again in “normal” places like the suburbs of a large modern European city. I think it’s especially important in the current political climate too, with the rise of the far right, and populist politicians creating scapegoats out of groups such as immigrants.

The museum is free (and compulsory for all schoolchildren in the area to visit), but you can also pay to support it by going on a tour, which I did. These photos are mostly quick snaps which I took in the gaps of the tour.

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Schwartzsee

A short train ride or couple of miles walk outside Kitzbühel is the Schwartzsee (“black lake”). It’s full of minerals washed down from the mountains that give it the glassy black effect. Normally in the summer you can swim there, but there had been heavy rain for the past few days, and so the water was too cold and I settled for a walk around the shore instead.

The lake was also surrounded by alpine meadows. I learnt the German word for meadowsweet that day (the yellow flower in the foreground)- turns out to be the straightforward Mädesüss. The Mäde part is to do with it being used to flavour mead. (Or Honigwein as they also like to straightforwardly call it in German). Since I spend a lot of time in rural Austria and Germany, I’ve been trying to build up my vocab of wild plant names in German.

Under attack!

Even train stations in the Tyrol are picturesque.

Kitzbühel

So here’s a couple of assorted photos of Kitzbühel town. It’s a ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, about equidistant between Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich. It’s a very exclusive and expensive ski resort, with a Cartier shop on the high street, but I was there in the summer to run a school workshop, and the children I taught were from very normal backgrounds, being the children of local teachers, nurses, hotel staff etc, rather than the international jetset. I won’t write a lot about the town and the trip here, as I’m writing a zine about it. Most of the houses (and the hotel I stayed in) in the area were pretty chalet-style, with balconies covered in flowers, like this one.

Even the local graveyard has spectacular views. That’s one of the foothills of the mountain from which I took the photos in the previous entry.

Hahnenkamm

Long time no see- I haven’t updated this blog in a while, due to a family death and dealing with selling the house, legal matters and other life stress. In the meantime I’ve been to Austria and Germany and organised a few gigs and a small festival. More on that later.

In July I went to Kitzbühel in Austria for work. I was there to run a workshop in the local middle school, and the mayor gave me and my three co-workers tickets for the local ski lift. The weather was pretty bad the week I was there, but was fine enough one day to go to the top of the Hahnenkamm, one of the local peaks. Kitzbühel is 700m above sea level, the ski lift takes you to 1200m and then there’s a fairly easy walk up to the 2000m height of the Ehrenbachhöhe.

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Very Friendly

Here’s some photographs I took of my friends’ band Very Friendly (an EP and hopefully album coming later this year) For a while we had intended to take some promo shots with a miserable day at the beach theme, and then the beach was suddenly covered in thick snow, so this happened over a lunch break. Harry eventually got warm again. Eventually.

Editing the photos was actually quite tricky. I took around a hundred, but with the snow flying around there were a lot with closed eyes or grimaces, and colour correction took a light hand. You have snow, water and skin, and you have to balance atmosphere with realistic skin tones.

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Bodies and entitlement

CW- non-sexual nudity in photos, body fascism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual assault. Don’t even think about leaving a creepy comment.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount lately about bodies and entitlement to them. Mostly fuelled by a combination of being cat-called on the street a lot lately, and meaning to start going to life drawing class again but not being able to afford it/getting round to it.

I started going to life drawing classes as a teenage art student, and I think it did me the world of good even outside of the art training. Spending an evening every week staring intently at some naked middle aged hippies gave me a far more realistic idea of what bodies should or could look like than the media ever could, and a lack of concern about taking my own clothes off (aided by a lot of medical appointments over the years that have involved getting naked, and sometimes being watched by a load of medical students). The weird squeamishness about nudity is always something that has annoyed me about the culture of the UK.

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Zilinski album launch

So here are some much more recent gig pictures- from this week in fact. Local label M8s Records held an album launch party for Canterbury band Zilinski. With Lazy Pilgrims and Trash Mammoth in support.


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Marjan

If you keep walking out of Split you end up on the Marjan peninsula. The first time I visited I made the mistake of climbing up to the peak in 35c heat. After that I sensibly took the coast road. I’ve written about it in my Croatia/Slovenia zine as well.

It’s dotted with little chapels and memorials.

Here’s the view of Split from the top.

Lots of pine and cedar trees.

If you walk up the top way, you have to climb through these steep, narrow streets first, which remind me of Naples.

Forest roads.

The rocky coast.