Photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson

It’s when you look at the photography of someone like Henri Cartier-Bresson that you realise your own efforts are those of a complete amateur. Cartier-Bresson was the master of street photography, his work had nothing to do with quality of equipment or editing techniques, it was all about capturing the ‘decisive moment’. Whilst that moment was sometimes spontaneous, it was often acquired through persistence and patience, waiting for the right person to enter the frame to complete the image. Continue reading

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Songs That Make Me Cry

I love songs that alter my emotions; that move physically, mentally or to tears. Those that make me weep do so for many reasons, perhaps due to the sheer beauty of the music, the anguish of the singer or the lyrical sentiment, be it hopeful or despairing. Be they tears of joy or sadness, here are my…

Top five songs that make me cry:

  1. ‘Northern Sky’ – Nick Drake

Michelle and I walked up the aisle to this song. Considering the tragic fragility of the author, ‘Northern Sky’ paints the most soft yet illuminating picture of how a loved one’s life is enlightened by their partner. Continue reading

Tony Benn quotes

I have previously lauded Tony Benn on several occasions here, paying tribute to his words, actions and bolt upright stance for fairness and democracy. Now he’s departed, to join his beloved wife Caroline, I cannot let the moment pass without further mention of the man’s brilliance. Tony Benn loved to rock the political boat, and right up until the day he is buried he continues to do so, as his body will rest overnight in Parliament’s chapel before his funeral – an honour only previously given to Margaret Thatcher – a tribute criticised by many parliamentarians. Continue reading

Problems with modern football

I love watching football as much as always. TV coverage is infinitely better than it used to be, before sponsorship, Sky, oil barons, sheiks and royalty injected billions into the game. It’s still 22 men kicking a ball around a field, but all this extra cash means footballers are being scrutinized for far more than their ability to kick that ball. Football has changed massively, some things for the better (and I could/will/maybe write a top five of top things about the modern game), but all this extra cash (excuse the pun) comes at a price. Money ruins some people. If anyone’s primary reason for doing anything is financial, or if cash is the driving force in any business, then fair play may not always be top of a list of priorities. So it is in modern football. Continue reading

Songwriters

Shit, this is hard. Whilst I can, after days of deliberation, narrow my all-time favourite songwriters down to a top five, there is no way I can do so without mentioning a whole heap of others who just failed to make it. Elsewhere in this personal patch I’ve chronicled my musical life inspirations as far as late summer 1980, Dexys have just made their impact and thanks to a newly found school friend, The Beatles are about to take over my life. The previous three years in particular had been a wonderful voyage of musical discovery, but things were about to get serious. Continue reading

Owen Jones quotes

I first became aware of Owen Jones around the beginning of 2012, through twitter I believe. He was re-tweeted by some folk I was following, one thing lead to another, and now I not only follow him but I go so far as to read his articles in the Independent too. Crazy, how social media works. If I were to listen to, read or watch all Owen Jones’ articles, features and public appearances I don’t think I’d have the time to write this mini-eulogy. He appears to be somewhat of a workaholic; a champion of the working class, or a media whore, depending largely on your political standpoint. Continue reading

CND badges

Throughout 1980s the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was more than a political issue. It was, for many impressionable teenagers, a fashion statement championed by singers, musicians, comedians and poets. Red Wedge, a largely musical collective (fronted by Billy Bragg, aiming to engage the younger generation in political issues) led the way, and by the mid ’80s the CND badge was a must have accessory for any forward-thinking teenager. Of course kids in playgrounds can be easily impressed, and for many their interest in the CND movement lasted as long as they thought it was cool to do so. When Michael Eavis took over the Glastonbury Festival in 1981 it became a CND Festival and remained that way for many years, but for whatever reason the public (youth in particular) interest in ‘banning the bomb’ appears to have waned dramatically over the last two decades. Why? Continue reading

Live music experiences

My first live music experience, I believe, was watching the Bachelors at Bournemouth Winter Gardens when I was very young. I had no choice; my parents made me do it. I started watching gigs with gusto when I was nearing the end of my teenage years, with an early appreciation of local (Bournemouth) bands, notably The Spoons, The Swis, The Vibration Doctors and The Agency, the latter enhancing my rapidly expanding love of funk and soul. Glastonbury Festival was first experienced in 1984, when it was easily plundered, non-policed, drug-infested and beautifully friendly. Your car could be parked and tent pitched literally within shouting distance of the Main Stage too. Seeing New Model Army in 1985 as a still naïve 19 year-old at none other than the Bournemouth Town Hall was another early baptism of fire, being as scared by the crowd as I was inspired by Slade The Leveller. Continue reading

Movies from the 1970s

So I like old music, and I like old films. By old, I mean pre-1980s before movies and music took an artistic dip, with some exceptions of course. I blame Thatcher. I was born in the 60s and my earliest memories of TV and radio come from the early 70s (the first film I saw at the movies was Grease in 1978 – a classic), but considering I started becoming rather infatuated with both in my early teenage years, almost all of my favourite bands and films come from a time before my obsession started. I believe the best ten years of ‘popular’ music made came between 1964-1974, and the best movies just a few years later. Why? There was a huge cultural shift in the mid 1960s, freedom of expression exploded and artistic creativity, fuelled by drugs and world and social events, ran riot. Continue reading