Thursday, 23 June 2011

Walkabout in Covent Garden and Camden Town

St Pancras Station
I recently took up photography after a break from it for a few years and decided I would take a trip into London on a Sunday morning to see if I could get some pictures of market traders setting up. A 6.30am start at Leagrave train station would get me into the Covent Garden area of London for about 7.30 but I hadn't banked on the rail replacement services after an overnight power failure on the line. So rather than a quick train ride into London I had a leisurely coach ride taking in the sites of north London before the coach dropped us off at St Pancras International Station. I needed a coffee by now so before hitting the tube to Covent Garden I stopped at one of my favourite coffee shops just outside the British Library and then headed for the tube.

"Apple Market"
Life was buzzing at Covent Garden when I got there - a leisurely Sunday morning had turned into an almost frantic need to get the camera ready and start taking pictures. Baristas were setting up for the morning breakfast trade, market traders were moving carts around and setting up their stalls with their product - all oblivious to an excited, back at it, photographer. This pair were having a chat while putting their trinkets out in Covent Gardens "Apple Market".

After taking a few pictures at Covent Garden I decided to go to Camden Town via Embankment Park where I had another coffee at the cafe just outside the park. It was more leisurely there with people having breakfast, one particularly guy was having a full english and checking meeting minutes - not my idea of a Sunday morning treat but what floats my boat probably doesn't float his. I didn't have the guts to ask him for a picture - he looked far too busy so I left him to his minutes and his sausages and beans.


Attitude (x2)
Camden Town allows for perfect photographic opportunities ! There are all your usual tourists - an awful lot of people carrying cameras and I decided to get a photograph of a young guy holding an advertising board for a tattoo parlour - this guy must have been very used to people asking for his picture because as soon as I got close to him, camera at the ready, he looked at me and just said "pound a photo" - once he posed I realised he indeed was very used to people asking him for a picture. I love the attitude in this picture - not just Mr Advertising Board but also the free attitude on the left of the picture.

The last picture is one I've had quite a lot of positive feedback from since I posted it on my other blog a few weeks ago and it will be appearing on the cover of a volume of Take-It-To-The-Streets-Poetry which will have one of my poems in and I will be handing out to someone I meet on the 1st July as part of the TITTSP Project - you can see a video of the first (this is the second) TITTSP project on youtube here.




Embankment Tube Station



Please feel free to leave a comment about anything here or post some of your own pictures on your blog and let me know - I'd love to see them.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A big thank you to John Hegley !!

I’ve blogged in the past about how nervous I get when I stand up in front of people and talk – it’s here – and that I was hoping to continue going to the poetry group I started going to a few months ago and try to expel the demons. Well tonight was one of those nights: tonight was a workshop organised by Dick, our leader, and John Hegley was giving the workshop. John doesn’t just run workshops, he performs poetry with his little ukelele, makes everyone laugh and then gets us to write something. Tonight’s themes wereconfessions and then decisions but first we wrote a corporate poem – a line at a time passed around the table until we had a poem – beginning with and filling the blanks as here - I need you like a …….. needs a ………. . Then with the spin of his pen John chose the corporate reader  - which happened to be me. This went OK – still a bit nervous but I got through it – with a degree of blusher and sweat added mid-flow.
The evening carried on with John performing more of his poems and more laughs with all those that hadn’t read their I needs reading either their confession or decision poem. After everyone else had read there was a little bit of time left for the I need readers to read their poems – so that was it sink or swim – and I bloody well swam (well I did better than I’ve done in the past). I belted it out like I’ve never belted anything out to anyone while stood in front of them and I’m chuffed, over the moon and all of those feelings bundled into one. It’s not over, I know I haven’t all of a sudden become a performer but what I have done is leapt the first hurdle of a steeplechase – and I’m so glad I went tonight. Here is my Confessions poem for you:
I confess to the Lord Almighty -
I confess I don’t believe in the Lord Almighty -
I confess I’ve tried to believe but -
I confess I don’t believe in God.

His son – if he did in fact
come from the Lord Almighty -
I confess I believe in Him
and I believe He died for the Good of us.

I’ve confessed – the Catholic Way and
I confess I didn’t tell the truth -
I did what everybody else did and I wish
I could have confessed to Little Nicola Love – not the Catholic Way.

I wanted to finish with a laugh and I did get the laugh I was hoping for – so thank you all at Toddington Poetry Society, Dick, the visitors from Ware, Vere Poets and ID Poetry but most of all thank you to John Hegley for making the evening enjoyable and for me, a small personal triumph. Thank you very, very much.
John’s website is here http://www.johnhegley.co.uk/ if you’d like to find out more about him. He travels a lot, there’s a good chance he could be in a town near you very soon – go along I guarantee you’ll have a good evening !

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Early morning photography - but how did I get locked up ?

So I was at Gravesend for work early this morning: I usually get to where I'm going early, I hate sitting in M25 traffic and would rather get to where I need to be early and chill than sit nose to tail. I spotted a sign for the marina in Gravesend and headed for it thinking I'd get a few decent photographs on a still sunny morning - the camera now lives in the van.

There it was, in the sun, all calm and serene: so itching for a couple of decent photos I pulled into the car park and jumped out of the van, camera at the ready. I got a few shots, or at least they looked fairly decent so I walked back to the van - the van was never out of my sight throughout. What I didn't notice was the car park gate - yes I saw the sign that said "DO NOT OBSTRUCT THIS GATE" on the entrance to the jetty but in my excitement to get "a good shot" I didn't see the gate for the car park I was in. In the 10 minutes I was taking "the shot" someone had been and shut - and padlocked - the gate.

You know that feeling, the sinking feeling of realisation, when you know you've been a twat, and then the other feeling when you think you might be stuck here for some time. Council workers, passers-by and the phone number on the gate all got my inquisitive "Do you know how ... Have you got a key?" - until after about an hour of near panic - the morning was getting on - the first site would be open soon - a friendly boat owner, who'd probably seen me walking back and forth like a lost dog popped his head up from his boat hatch, rubbing his eyes with a key in hand. What a star, I was free and off to work I went, whistling as I went, of course. Anyway, here are a couple of "the shots", hope you like them ! Do leave a comment if you like them, or you, like me, have had a similar experience.

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Tilbury - near Gravesend
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View from Tilbury Docks
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Gravesend Marina
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Gravesend Marina
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