So I moved back to Kent…

So I moved back to Kent last week. (I’m knackered after travelling round Germany for three weeks and then moving house back-to-back). To Margate in particular. I grew up in Medway, a little way to the west, but left when I was eighteen to go to university, as it didn’t feel like there were any opportunities for me. Nearly fifteen years later, here I am. A lot has changed in that time. London is not a desirable place for young people to live any more. Not because of crime (going down all the time), or pollution, but because it’s so impossibly expensive and offers such a poor quality of life.

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Slide film photographs of Whitstable

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I used to do a lot of photography, but I don’t do half as much now, which is a bit of a pity. My flickr account (which I started in 2007) has 376 albums and 4976 photos. I thought I’d do some regular posts with photos from some of the older albums. I’ll tag them as “from the archives”, especially as a lot of them are from well before I started this blog, or moved it from blogger to wordpress. Here are some photos from a trip to Whitstable in January 2008. It was my birthday, and I went on a trip to the coast with my friend Bryony and our then boyfriends. I had this Kodak slide duplication film I’d got in a giant bag of expired film I’d got for 50p per roll a few years earlier, and kept in the freezer. I’m not sure if it was taken with a Lomo LCA or an Olympus XA2. I had both at the time. I still have them in a box under the bed, but they’re both slightly broken, because I got them very, very cheaply second-hand (I think they were both about £15). I should get round to fixing them at some point. I think they’re fixable. These pictures were cross processed in C41, and then scanned. The pictures on my flickr account are a little small by modern standards, but screens were smaller then, and storage space on Flickr limited. I still have the negatives filed away, anyway.

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Bryony doing some beach-combing.

Signal to Noise

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On Sunday night I went to my friend John Newman’s sound installation at the Deaf Cat in Rochester, put on by the TEA people. There was a Damo Suzuki improv gig the previous night when I was away. I’m sure they organise these things when I can’t come specifically to spite me. I also went to watch at their band dating event they put on on Thurs. They got musicians to fill out a profile, then assigned them to a band, gave them 2 free rehearsal sessions, then they played whatever they came up with on the night. It all worked out very well. There were soundscapes and something that sounded like a Talking Heads rehearsal.

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Werebitches and devils

On Friday, my friends Tukru and Louise had their first gig (for Tukru in 10 years) appropriately on International Women’s Day. The band only formed a couple of weeks ago, so it was a bit nerve-wracking for them, but everything went fine. I tried to take some photos, but it was in the cellar of an old restaurant/bar, where you could touch the ceiling and there were no stage lights, so I didn’t get anything much usable. On to the next one! I don’t know if they’ll come to regret being called Sean Bean Death Scene in time.I also really wanted to see the headliners, Whitedevilwhitedevil. Three of the members, Adam and the Boast brothers, used to be in a local band called Let Our Enemies Beware who I really liked. They didn’t disappoint. It was immense.Here’s the song I particularly liked of their set. I also like how the artwork has the lyrics, and the end line of the 2nd song is “Fuck what everyone says. I eat snakes.” This kind of stuff is one of the few pleasures of spending time in Medway. I suppose the pure unrelenting grimness of the places produces intensity.

The world is not my oyster

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Here are the other photos from Whistable. I took more of the boats, seashore etc with my wide-angle lens on film, and I haven’t had it developed yet. I much prefer my film SLR to my digital one (70s Pentax cameras just feel so nice to use), but I’m too broke lately to use much film, and I still have 5 rolls sitting around that need developing. I didn’t eat any oysters while I was there, because I’m vegetarian, but I did have a really great mascarpone, truffle and rosemary pizza.

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Smooth down the avenue glitters the bicycle

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I’ve always had a soft spot for 30s suburbia. These two pictures are a place called Twydall, near where my mum lives. I went along there to buy some wool, and I wasn’t disappointed, the area is full of old ladies. Also, the fact that the wool shop is called World of Woolcraft and is run by what could be the brother of the Comic Book Store Guy made me laugh.

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Effecting my disguise

Last Saturday me & Tukru decided to go to a party on a boat at the last minute. I saw that a friend of mine, Rob Bidder, who I hadn’t seen in person for a looong time, was doing some music at the event, and it would be good to see him, and the party looked like fun anyway. Being on a boat, and near Hallowe’en, the dresscode was aquatic, so I had to come up with something to wear in an afternoon (and Tukru in even less time). Good old Costumes for Plays and Playing came to the rescue. A fish hood/cape with scales for me, and a button-on mermaid tail for Tukru.

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I got some offcuts of fishy fabric, sequinned trim and some eyes from a local fabric shop. Total about £7. There’s 50cm of the sequinned stuff, and 25cm of the other stuff.
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Abandoned school science lab

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I was doing some residential teaching for the last 2 weeks. A group of year 9s from Chile came on a school trip, and I gave them lessons about English and British History/Culture and took them to various historical places like Cambridge and Canterbury. I was working in the middle of nowhere, in this old manor house in the middle of a national park. The house had been a boarding school from the 1920s to 2005, and the company I worked for was only using part of the building.  We were the last school tour to be there before it was going to be handed over to the new owners, who no-one knew much about, but didn’t seem to be using it as a school. There were lots of locked up rooms that had been used by the boarding school, but weren’t used for the language holidays, like the science lab, and they had piles of school stuff lying everywhere. The attitude was pretty much feel free to explore, just make sure the kids don’t get into anywhere that could be dangerous. The caretaker gave me the keys to the science lab, and later on, when all the kids had gone back home, and we were cleaning up, I explored the attics. Apparently all the school stuff was going to be sold off on the 10th of October in huge job lots, because the new owners wanted a clear building. I have a lot more photos, and some interesting things about the house that a local historian told us, but I’m going to start with the science lab pictures.

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Enfolding sunny spots of greenery

I haven’t posted here for a while because life has overtaken me a little, and I’ve been dashing from place to place. I’m in Palma de Mallorca right now visiting Marcos’ family, with a permanent move to London on the cards for the end of the month (it can’t come too soon). I’ve got a backlog of photos to work through.

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In July I worked at a summer camp at this place. It’s an old manor house that’s been converted into a boarding school and wedding venue. When the school is on holiday they rent it out for activity and language camps, which is why I was there. It was only a few miles from where my mum lives, but was a total pain to get to via public transport. It was fine to get home, and involved a leisurely walk through green lanes, apple orchards and fields to a tiny rural train station, but somehow the connections just didn’t work out to get there, so I had to arrange lifts for the morning.

These are some photos I took one day on my walk to the train home. It’s just kind of generic pretty English countryside, but I guess it could be exotic if you come from elsewhere.

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