All posts filed under: Englishness

The Haxey Hood. 2020.

This game, now nearly 700 years old, is held on the 6th of January* each year. Thousands gather in the early afternoon to see the “Fool Smoked” , hear his speech and to watch or partake in the game. The group then moves to a nearby field where the game is to be played. The games start with the Children’s Hood Games where, over a period of time, 12 soft canvas hoods are throw into the crowd. The enjoyment this gives the kids is written over their smiles and heard in their laughter. The adults cheer them on laughing and whooping. Yes it’s violent but there is no anger.  Each throw in of the canvas Hood is performed by the Lord of the game or other notables as well as the Boggins (Marshalls). These children’s games are supervised by one of the fitter and faster amongst the group of Boggins. The kids are a bit quick. This year I didn’t stop for the adult games so I’ve include a  shot from years past. Notable this …

Fairground attraction 1970’s

Back in the late 1970’s, I would wander around my home city of Birmingham, camera in hand. At the time it was all Black-and-White work, self-developed and printed in a makeshift darkroom. I had different cameras to choose from, nothing exotic. I used twin lens reflex and 35mm. These images were from my 35mm camera probably on *400asa film hence the grain. *(I must check as I have the original negatives somewhere) The images below were from a sojourn to an impromptu fairground, many popped up like this around the city. This one appeared in Hay Mills, adjacent to the A45 near to Small Heath.

Differing opinions.

For me, a satisfying image has shapes and layers. I was at the SteamPunk festival in Lincoln on Saturday. This image was from the lower half of the city (where there were fewer SteamPunk attendees). I was drawn by the incongruous hat of the SteamPunker – a white military helmet surmounted and enclosed by an Octopus. I use that as the front layer and slightly out of focus, with shoppers passing in the next layer.  The layer which first attracted me contains the Irish Dance Busker making eye contact with the delighted little girl.  Finally, in the last layer of interest is the shop attendant peering out of the window. I find this image satisfying even though it’s far from perfect containing as it does elements others may believe detract from the image. As you maybe aware, my images are just for me so you may not agree. That’s OK. That’s what makes this art form so interesting – alternative views of the same thing and differing opinions.

A nail in our cultural coffin perhaps?

Designed by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield R.A. The Usher Gallery, on Lindum Hill, was officially opened on the 25th May 1927 with a solid gold key by the Prince of Wales.  The gallery was built as a result of a bequest by Lincoln jeweller James Ward Usher.  Usher never married and devoted his life to collecting, travelling far in search of particular items to enhance his collection. He never sought public honours but was offered the position of Sheriff of Lincoln in 1916.  In 1921 he died at the age of 76, and as was his wish he bequeathed to the City his collection of watches, miniatures, porcelain and silver. He also left a considerable amount of money for a gallery to be built in order to house his collection. Now, in 2019, the County Council wishes to turn the gallery into a wedding venue – despite the fact they do not own the building. This seems to be against the wishes of the original bequest by Usher. It’s certainly against the wishes of …

Do we stay or do we go?

If, like me, you are sick to the back teeth of hearing the word Brexit I’m afraid this piece is not going to help much. But, but, but – yes. it’s worth the repetition – if we relent in our efforts to push back, then we can blame nobody but ourselves, for not trying to reverse what has transpired to be an uninformed, corrupted and consequently, bad decision. One million of us joined together in London yesterday to protest against what we see as madness. I owe it to my grandchildren to try to protect their future. It would be hard to look them in the eye and say I did nothing. That’s enough of the ‘why’ of it. Here are some pictures of how the day panned out from the people walking through London before the march until my crocky old bones could literally stand no longer a few hours later. I didn’t get to the end. Sorry. As to whether we should stay or go… you have your own opinion – and long may that …

What am I doing this year?

This year sees me working on a number of long term projects plus anything which attracts my attention. I started the year with some additions to the “My fellow passengers” blog where people on local transport grab my attention and I make a picture. I shall have to see where this takes me this year. Lincoln. January. 2019.

Lincoln Steam Punk Festival 2018

Each year the ancient city of Lincoln in the East Midlands of England hosts the “Steam Punk Festival”. I’ve been visiting for some years now and the event has grown and grown. Thousands now attend, even from overseas. This year the numbers far exceeded anything I have seen before. There are some astonishing outfits created by the devotees in which they parade around the top end of the city, near to the castle and the cathedral. Those who are dressed in the most exceptional, outrageous even, outfits can hardly move for photographers who buzz around them, most with medium to long lenses. My choice is one camera and one lens, a short lens at that, so I have to get close. For example, this girl was deservedly mobbed. Quite astounding style and technical ability. This man was dressed as a Pirate, complete with a wooden leg. I asked if he had the leg strapped up. He said “I have no legs at all. Even the other is fake”. I saw a bus being filled with …