A couple of years ago I went down to Aldwick, near Bognor Regis for the summer to house-sit a relative’s house. I ended up being stranded there due to a lengthy train strike. Robert Smith of the Cure is probably the only famous local resident. The owner of one of the local shops told me where he lived, and I went along to see it once out of curiosity. The house was dull and expensive looking, but the beach it stands next to was much more Robert Smith like, with windswept shingle like Dungeness and rare sea cabbages. I never bothered to look at Robert Smith’s house again, but I made many trips to the beach because I liked it so much. I was usually the only person there.
Here’s an illustration of a car park in Bracknell. Like the one I did yesterday, the original artwork was a pen and ink drawing, and the colour was added digitally. It’s available as a print in three different sizes, from £6 to £24.
Earlier in the summer I went on a ghost tour of Cambridge via work, and I took these notes.
I didn’t have a very thrilling pre-Halloween weekend. I was struck down by the bug that’s been going around locally, and stayed in and watched Stranger Things instead. I was tempted to get a pumpkin to carve, but building work next door has displaced mice that have tried to come into my flat. At the moment they are deterred by cotton wool and strong-smelling orange and lemongrass essential oils, but I’d rather not tempt them in with a large ready cut pumpkin to eat.
In the summer I went on a ghost walk in Cambridge via work. The guide told stories of mysterious cloaked figures on roofs, and Black Shuck the giant black ghost dog, and also pointed out this spot, at the back of Peterhouse College, where it joins onto a graveyard, as the most haunted place in town.
I often like to get some fresh air in my lunch break by walking along the canal near my work. There’s not a lot there, just some houseboats and a small lock, and a lot of lunchtime joggers and the odd person eating sandwiches on a sunny day. I’m a big fan of canals, and I think I’ve walked along pretty much the whole length of this one at various points.
In the days when I worked at Hampton Court I got to go to quite a few of their special events. They had a roster of actors who could portray the various monarchs who had lived at the palace (and two Henry VIIIs) and would do special days with re-enactments based on various time periods or themes. On one of the days they had a day based on science in the time of Charles II. I found some photos when I was tidying up the computer the other day.
A little while ago I went to visit my pál Erika (sorry, can’t resist the terrible pun) in Surrey for blackberry picking. Her friends Stephanie and Katja came down too, and we went out on a sunny day into the woods and picked some berries and had a picnic and drinks (for N. American readers, British woods aren’t very wild). Blackberries grow everywhere here at the end of August and most of September. They don’t belong to anyone, and it’s safe and legal to pick and eat them. I used to pick huge amounts of them when I was growing up. They’re also good for jam, pies, crumbles, coulis and wine-making. We made jam this time. Foxes also like them as much as humans.
I went to the Tate Britain the other day. I went there planning to go to the Folk Art exhibition, but realised I didn’t have the time or money to do it justice that day, and what I was actually in the mood for was post-war modern art. So that’s what I looked at.
A while back I went to Fishbourne Palace. In the 1960s engineers digging a new drain in a village just outside Chichester discovered some Roman mosaics. When they were excavated, they turned out to belong to the one of the largest Roman palaces outside Italy. My thing I wrote for Storyboard this month is based on it (and yes, the building really does look like a swimming pool). No one is one hundred percent sure who it belonged to, the most common guess is Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the local chieftain / Roman ally / client king, but there are no inscriptions or historical records either backing it up or proving otherwise.
I also went to the Library of Birmingham. Initially I went to see the Daniel Meadows exhibition, but the building was so large and impressive that I ended up spending a lot of time there, and didn’t end up going to the City Museum. It has nine floors, multiple exhibition spaces and two roof gardens.
While I was in Birmingham, I visited the Pen Museum. Because I gave a small donation, one of the kind volunteers essentially gave me a personal guided tour.
While I was walking around the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, I saw the most amazing car park inside a demolished building. The roof and front wall were gone, but the side walls and floor were still there, with fire exit signs hanging off the walls, and cars parked on top of chipped floor tiles.
Last week I went to Birmingham for the day. I got some cheap train tickets in the sale, it was only a fiver each way. I had bought them at the same time as my tickets for my ill-fated Glasgow trip the week before (got tickets to see my friend Chloe in Glasgow for £30 return, missed the train by 1 minute due to transport holdup, and Virgin wanted £140 for a new single, so I had to forget about it). Every time I’ve been to Euston recently, I’ve thought “hmm, I haven’t been to Birmingham for over a decade, it’s not far away, I should go there”. So I did.
Flickr have massively changed their website recently, and I took the chance to go through all my old photos and re-organise them a bit, so I’ll be digging up various things from the archives over the next few weeks. Here’s some of Bracknell from 2005.
The other week I went for a walk along the eastern end of the Regent’s Canal with my dad. I used to live down the other end of it, and I’ve pretty much walked the entire length a lot of times. It’s one of the few short canals around here, most of the others are long intercity ones.
Earlier today I met up with my friend Chloe on her way up to Glasgow, and we went to the Souzou exhibition with her old flatmates. When she went to catch the train, I decided to fit in a visit to the Petrie Museum round the corner in UCL too, which I hadn’t been to for a long time. (I tried to say hi to Jeremy too, but his box was closed).
I have been busy recently, and the ever-present backlog of photos and so on I mean to post gets ever longer. Here’s some photos I took of Brighton Pier at some point. I have no idea when I took them, probably when I lived in Brighton, but I scanned them the other week.
I found this film at the bottom of a plastic sleeve full of collage stuff. I’d carefully cut round each picture on the negative, so it was individually cut out with a neat border, and I have absolutely no idea why I did it. The orange mask on c41 film makes it impossible to see the picture unless you hold it up to the light, and cutting the pictures out individually from 120 film is a stupid idea, and I would have known better since I was about 16. I first started using medium format film in 2004, when I was about 20, so I really don’t know.
Last night I scanned about 20 rolls of film. Here’s the first one, some pinhole photos I took in Cornwall a few years ago, using the Diana + (you can remove the lens and use it as a pinhole camera). I think they’re of St Ives and Mousehole. They’re pretty soft looking, because I just rested the camera on a wall rather than use the tripod. Here are some I took using the tripod and with colour film with the same camera, they’re much sharper. I like these monochrome ones though, they’re quite eerie looking.
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.
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.
Here are some pictures from the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. It used to be an almshouse, and is now a museum of furniture and interiors. They have rooms set up showing typical London living rooms in various time periods from the 1600s onwards for families with a medium income, with information about all the objects in the room. They also have a historical garden and restored 18th century almshouse interior, but I didn’t get a chance to see them this time. In the run up to Christmas, they’d arranged each room to show how different winter festivals were celebrated in each era (until the 1800s New Year and Twelfth Night were much bigger than Christmas).
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.
I took these couple of pictures on a visit to Portobello Market a couple of weeks ago. The film was expired slide film anyway, and it went through the airport xray machine twice on my way to and back from Bulgaria, and it ended up with a large red section. Not an attractive red tinge, a muddy red effect that blew out highlights and blurred details. I took more pictures at the market, but they ended up unusable. That’s expired film for you.
These are some photos I took in Little Venice with my old Pentax film SLR a few weeks ago. They call it Little Venice, but it’s really just a canal basin out the back of Paddington Station with lots of houseboats, some nice pubs and a cafe and a puppet theatre on boats. I guess “Little Holland” or “Little East Anglia” don’t sound as exciting. The slide film was much more out of date than I realised, but I like the orange and purple impressionist look I ended up with, some of the photos look more like paintings than photos.
I got some films developed a little while ago, and it turned out some of them are from quite a while ago, and had been lurking around in drawers for a long time. This one is from 2006. I’m not sure what camera I took these with, some kind of box camera or Diana or something.
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.
This is another ancient film scanned. It’s definitely from 2008, but it skips about all over the place, there’s shots of Medway and ATP and Brighton, but I didn’t move to Brighton until the August of that year, and ATP was in May, and I have no idea when the Medway pics were taken, so it seems to have been hanging about in my camera for quite a while. I don’t even know what camera I used. I think it might be a Lomo LCA, the one I got in an Estonian junk shop for £20. It’s since half fallen apart, so I’m glad I didn’t pay those Austrian rip-off merchants much money for it. Whatever camera I used, it’s some really grainy 400asa cheapo Ferrania marked film, prob from poundland
Here’s some photos of St Ives from 2008. They were on the same roll of x-pro’d Sensia as the Lille photos. I think it was the last of my freezerfull of expired slide film I got when I worked at Jessops as a student.
Here’s some b&w pictures I took in Bath a few winters ago. I finally got the film developed after finding it in a drawer. Pentax ME Super + 28mm lens + Ilford HP5. I’ve been to Bath a lot, both as a Classics student to look at stuff in the Baths, as a tour guide, and visiting my ex’s family, who were from a village not too far away. It’s stopped looking exotic to me.
Here’s the rest of the pictures from where I took the panos at the Riverside Country Park. There’s a promontory which goes out to an island in the river, almost at the mouth where the Thames and Medway meet, with narrow beaches with reedbeds and abandoned boats along the edge and woods and pools in the interior. I used to come here a lot. I particularly love it in the winter when there’s practically no-one there except me and some water birds.
Today it was sunny and I had the day off, so I went to the Riverside Country Park. It’s where the Medway meets the Thames Estuary. It’s one of my places. I experimented with making some stitched panoramic pictures. I also took some normal pictures. I’ll post them later. I’d love to have one of those turny Russian panoramic film cameras, but I’m too poor.
At last, some sunshine. Today me & Tukru went out for some coffee and drawing. It’s the London Zine Symposium on Sunday, and we have stuff to do. We didn’t actually get much cafe time, because we forgot how early stuff closes round here. I’ve got some new stuff up my sleeve, but I don’t want to show it until it’s done.
The other day I was round my dad’s. It was a sunny day, and I didn’t fancy spending the whole day cooped up indoors. I got my dad to give me a lift up to Kit’s Coty, a strange isolated place nearby, which has the remains of a Neolithic barrow there. The barrow isn’t very evident these days, but the gate into the tomb is still there. There are more houses round there than I’d thought, all detached with big gates and long drives and beware of the dog signs, and on unpaved roads. It was totally quiet and a bit David Lynchish round there.
I’ve got a whole load of unscanned negatives here which I’m slowly working my way through. There was a whole film of pictures of this place with a lake, but I have absolutely no idea where it is, or when I took the photos. I also have no idea what camera I used for these, but the film is Kodak Ektachrome 160 Tungsten, cross-processed. The pictures are pleasant but bland, and I’ve got a real feeling this was a test roll to see if something worked right/was any good (charity shop camera? lens found in someone’s loft and given to me? who knows). Whatever it was seems to work fine.
My ex-boyfriend’s family used to go to Cornwall every summer, and we used to join them, me usually lugging a whole load of photo stuff on the train down. These were taken at Tintagel.
On Saturday morning I did a zine workshop for the Brighton Popular Education Collective who run a day of free classes and lectures on things like bike mechanics, sewing and local history one day a month. It was the same workshop I’ve done loads of times, and it always seems to go down well. This time I had both a lady in her 50s and a very enthusiastic boy of about 7 there.
On Saturday I went to White Night rather than doing anything big for Halloween. It’s an all night art festival in Brighton on the night the clocks change. I knew some people who were doing stuff in it, and there was plenty of interesting stuff to come across anyway.
Here’s some pictures I took in Broadstairs last summer, they were languishing on my hard-drive until this weekend.
Earlier today me & Vicky planned to go to an Alice Tea Party that was advertised in a vintage clothes shop. We dressed up Alice style, her in a grey dress with a bow and white tights with black ballet shoes, and me with a chequred skirt, silver and black stripy jumper, and silver ballet shoes. We got there and the “tea party” turned out to be a shop assistant on a small table with some styrofoam cups of tea. Very disappointing
Fisheye photos from various occasions on the beach. With help from Madame T.
A couple of weeks ago I took my cheesy 70s kaleidoscope filter to the pier. I didn’t really get the shots I wanted, and I dropped my lens cap between the slats, but I managed to get a few ok shots.
When Chris was down the other week we went to the aquarium because I had a half price voucher. I love aquariums, and I’m going again on Monday evening for a work thing.
I went for a walk along the beach whilst waiting to meet up with my cousin, who’s just moved to Brighton. There was a haze on the sea that day, and the pier looked like it was floating on nothing. I never get tired of photographing the seafront.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to trawl back through forgotten photos on my hard drive/negatives folder and post-process them. This was one of the first untouched folders I found. Back in September, I went for a walk along the beach along Hove Lawns, right up to Portslade. It was a beautiful day, and there was hardly anyone about, because it was the middle of the week, and the tourist season had pretty much finished.