I've been really busy recently, and will continue to be for a while. I'm not complaining - better to be too busy than not busy enough, as I always say. But when you're a freelancer, the success of being in demand can be slightly offset by the sheer amount of stuff to do. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with to-do lists, and to forget the simple joy of being able to make a living doing something inherently silly, that people seem to want to pay you for. So it's good, occasionally, to do something that will clear the head and put everything in perspective. With that in mind, I spent a pleasantly emotional day walking around my childhood neighbourhood.
I wandered about a bit in the shopping centre where my mum would take me to have a cup of tea in the Co-op cafe with my grandma a couple of times a week. When I was a kid, the Co-op was the biggest supermarket I'd been to and I remember vividly having a dream in which there was a secret staircase at the back of the shop that lead up to the second floor where there was a massive fairground. It's a Tesco now, and there's still no fairground. I went upstairs to check.
Walking around a place you haven't been to for nearly twenty years is a bit like wearing a pair of magic time-bending x-ray glasses. I look at the big peacocks shop, but with my special glasses I can see through it to decades ago where it was Boots - the first place I ever saw security cameras. The big shiny black orbs hanging from the ceiling with cameras inside. I remember asking my dad what they were. Then turning around, and there's a tiny unused shop unit, with the windows painted out and the door boarded over. But through my magic glasses I can see that it used to be the place my grandma would sometimes buy me a 99 flake. And the video game arcade upstairs above the fruit and veg market. Long gone. I was told never to go there because it was full of dodgy characters. It was, but I still went. They had Phoenix, which I was, and am still, pretty good at. In it's place now stands a training and education centre. It always was that to me.
And then I found myself standing in front of my childhood home, and right outside was the old battered green telephone exchange box you see at the top of this post. When I was a kid, that was a lot of things to me. It was my horse when I was a cowboy, a motorcycle when I got bored of being a cowboy. It was a car, a castle to defend, and sometimes just a place to sit to be taller than the grown-ups. Strange how mundane things like that can prove to be the most powerful hooks into old memories.
The rest of week has been, as I said, busy, but completely delightful. I'm very pleased to have been taken on as a writer/photographer for online magazine The Void. My first piece, and interview and photo shoot with Beatrix Von Bourbon can be found here. Hope you like it. I plan to do a few more similar pieces in the future. Let me know what you think.
Also had a great shoot with Ginger Blush. We didn't use the black and white portrait above, but I quite like it. If you're unfamiliar, both Beatrix and Ginger are excellent burlesque performers and well worth checking out if they come to a show near you.
I shot the image below as part of the re-branding of the Bete Noire night at Madame Jojos, and due to some complications, the only place you'll see it in this form is here. The other shot below is a quick and dirty little portrait of Jake, the brains behind Bete Noire, and a lovely fellow.
Remember that advert that I infected your televisions with recently? Well apparently people have been getting in touch with the company with theories about how they faked it, so they made this brilliant little film to explain that it was real, and that the only things I fucked up were my lines..
I'd like to stress that the hair, glasses and awful, awful costume were very fake. As was, truthfully, the iPad. They didn't trust me not to steal it. Probably a smart move on their part.
Also this week I played the saw on stage as part of a band at the RR club. We played a Tom Waits song. It was great. That's another thing crossed off the teenage fantasy list.