Searching for Inspiration…

Whilst I seem to be spending more time on my photographic practice my other art, such as it is, is taking a back seat.  I have written in the  past about having only a certain amount of creative RAM available at any one time well if this is true photography is consuming almost all.

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A welcome relief…


Oh Brexit, Brexit, Brexit – so good they named it?   This sentence makes no sense nor does the current Brexit position.  Here in Britain we a currently the laughing stock of most the rest of the world.  However, the one good thing that can be taken from the debacle in the House of Commons this week is that our elected representatives probably adequately reflect the mood in the country at the moment.   We all know what we don’t like but we just can’t agree on what we do like.   In a funny way that is rather reassuring.   All over the place Brexit preparations are under way and grand plans are being rolled out.   All of them, of course, are hopelessly optimistic in the their goals and painfully lacking in any real chance of delivering as they have all been left far too late.   On the 30th of March we’ll all be in the same boat and then perhaps minds may well be concentrated to find some solution to this mess.   Perhaps the greatest sign of hubris has been Michel Barnier taking a lap of honour for the great job he has done for the European Union.  There is talk of him replacing Jean Claude Juncker which I suspect may well get filed in the same file as the election of President Macron being the saviour of the EU.  Life has a funny way of bursting bubbles.

Away from Brexit the winter grinds on in a grey dull way.   On the TV there are reports of incredible amounts of snow falling in central Europe but here in the East Midlands all we have got are grey skies and the occasional drizzle.   For reason best known to other people we don’t really do excessive weather in this part of the world – when storms ravage the west of Britain we might get a few fence panels blown over.   Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining too much but it does mean the opportunities to get and make some photographs that interest me is a bit limited at the moment so I have to make the most of the opportunities when they present themselves.   So here are a selection from the last week or so when the cloud has parted and some sun has appeared, even for a short time, to lighten an otherwise dull day.

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Are we losing all sense of perspective?

Well it seems that things are getting more and more crazy by the day (and I didn’t think that that was possible!).   Today’s Sunday Times is screaming out about a …Very British Coup…

Now I am older enough to have read the book from which this phrase has been lifted and it doesn’t really fit  however it does make a great headline.   The cynical side of me would suspect that this was leaked by No. 10 to try and scare MPs into voting for Theresa May’s dea. If this was the case then it really underlines just how weak she is and just how far we have descended down the  rabbit hole.   We are now in a position where there is no mechanism to get rid of the Prime Minister for the next 12 months: I don’t believe that even if Jeremy Corbyn got his general election he would come anywhere close to the numbers need to forming a stable government and I doubt whether Labour will get more seats than the Conservatives – that is just how crazy the world is at the moment). So we are stuck with the crumbling May government because the Conservatives can’t remove her for another 12 months – nice one Jacob.

The other person on the front page is the Speaker of the House John Bercow who is now being seen as threat to the Government.   This is incorrect.  The only reason that John Bercow has any real influence on any of this is because Theresa May threw her slender majority away in a pointless General Election in 2017.  To be fair to her everyone thought she would greatly increase the majority and it did take a special kind of political talent to turn all the predictions on their head and lose your majority.   Welcome to Theresa May’s unique skill set.

Now I don’t want Brexit but also I don’t want the turmoil that will follow should any attempt be made to delay or stop Brexit.   What is quickly forgotten is that  one person died because of the last referendum and denying the clear will of the people will open even wider the wounds caused by this damned process and goodness only knows what will come seeping out.

We voted to leave the EU in 2016. Both of the main parties, who got over 80% of the votes in the 2017 General Election, ran with manifestoes  that said they would honour the  result of the referendum.  I can’t think of any clearer way to judge what the British public want.  I don’t think leaving the EU is the best for the country but nonetheless we should do so and we should do it on the 29th March 2019.   We then have to deal with the world we find ourselves in on the 30th March – whether it is suboptimal or not only time will tell.   When you ask the people their views you have to accept the result – after all it is their country as much as the people who work in and around the Palace of Westminster.

Finally, on a much brighter note I have decided it is time to make a new digital painting if you no other reason that it gets my mind away from the lunacy above.   It was also driven by examining the battery percentage usage over the last 10 days – I hadn’t made anything using my Apple Pencil.   That will change – hence the new painting and strange coming together of hard facts and creative talents.  Exactly everything that Brexit isn’t!

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All hail the Great Mogg…

A couple of things have happened to me over the past few days to make me realise that I am now living in someone else’s historical research.   The first was when I was watching a  better than expected documentary about how the British came to have polaris missiles as our nuclear deterrent.   During the programme a modern history professor started to talk about the 1960’s as if she was talking about Britain during the Corn Law debates – instead of acknowledging that there were many people watching this documentary (dare I say the majority of people that watch BBC 4) who actually lived through the period and don’t need to be lectured by a history professor about what it was like.  ( I definitely fit into that group!)

The second incident was when listening to the ever excellent Red Box podcast.  This time it was the 1970’s.  A comedian was plugging his new show about the politics of the 1970’s.   When asked as to why he chose that period his answer was well no one can remember what it was like and so any impressions he did would be accepted as correct.   Again I am sorry but I do remember the 1970’s and it wasn’t a far off distant land shrouded in mystery.  I am clearly getting old.

Talking of days gone by I was also listening to yet another political podcast the Spectator’s Coffee House Shots, a view into the upper echelons of the Tory party thinking.   The one thing that really caught my ear was the fact they had had to move a talk with Jacob Rees – Mogg to the London Palladium because of the number of people who want to hear him.   Now whether ‘the Mogg’ can fill all of those 2000+ seats is unclear but what is very clear is that amongst the high church of Tory thinking he is the man of the moment.   This got me thinking.

If, as I fear, we are going to leave the EU without a deal, then Theresa May cannot stay on.  (It doesn’t mean that she won’t stay but she will no authority at all – actually make that no one will fear her but rather pity her – the ultimate humiliation for any Prime Minister.)  There is a window of opportunity between April to July 2019  for her to go with grace. This is because there will be no one on the EU side who would be willing or able to talk to Britain with any real authority as they will await the outcome of the upcoming European Elections and then who will replace Mr Juncker.  This means that the Tory party could then elect a true believer in Brexit.   At the moment all eyes are on the cabinet to find a replacement to May  but I believe that is looking in the wrong place.   This is where the 2000+ people turning up to listen to Rees-Mogg is important.   Few other Tory politicians, perhaps Boris but certainly none of the unknowns who are in the current cabinet, could hope to attract that number of people and so should May go Rees-Mogg has to be a contender and if he were able to get onto the ballot paper, a big if but far from impossible, then I would suspect he would be the next Tory leader and therefore the next Prime Minister. (The two aren’t connected as such but it would take far too long to explain why, at this monet, they are.)

I think this is good thing for a number of reasons:  First we would have a Prime Minister who actually believes in Brexit and so would do his utmost to see it succeed; Second when things go wrong, and they will no matter who was in charge, it would be nice for once for a Brexiteer to get the blame for the mess as opposed their being able to blame someone else; Third it will make Labour try and come up with some sort of resolution to their own Brexit nightmare – the party membership hates it but an awful lot of Labour voters, as well as their current leader,  love it so something will have to give. This could mean that by the time of the next election in  2022 we will have a fight between two parties that will present a stark choice about how to handle Britain’s future.  That can’t be such a bad thing.

Of course this all does make some huge assumptions – not least of which is that there will be a recognisable Labour and Conservative party come 2022 or that the Government can hang on ’til then.   Which brings me back to the 1970’s when a Labour minority government hung onto power for the best part of 4 years and had to deal with economic and political problems which make Brexit look like a picnic in the park.  So perhaps there is hope for whatever Conservative government can be bandaged together after April 2019.

All Hail the Great Mogg

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Dull as Ditch Water…

Another day dawns and this being January it is dull.  Outside the rubbish is being collected but this doesn’t disturb the sense that this is going to be anything other than another dull January day.   We really are in the long month – when days seem to drag on with nothing much to suggest they are different from the last.   With this gloom outside there is nothing more to do than to take another run at the images I captured yesterday at the Burrough Hill Iron Age Fort.

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Freezing on the Ironstone….

So the weather forecast suggested it was going to be a bright frosty morning – unfortunately no one told the the weather !   It was certainly chilly but not as bright as I would have wanted.   No matter as it was still a wonderful watching the sunrise over Burrough Hill iron age fort.

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So now we’re in it….

For better or worse or worse 2018 is over.   I’m not sure what a year it was for me but I have a feeling when I look back it will be a mixture of highs and lows but the one good thing is – I’m still here!   The photo above is one of the last I made in 2018 and you may wish draw whatever conclusions you like from it.

A Christmas present I bought myself was a book called Magnum Contact Sheets and if you wonder what the book contains well the title is pretty self explanatory.   I have always found contact sheets fascinating as they allow the viewer explore the creative process that the photographer went through.   In this spirit here is the contact sheet from my trip to the seaside yesterday.   From this sheet these are the photographs I selected:

 Make of that what you will.   Happy New Year.

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