Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Camera Lucida

I sold an old camera on eBay at the weekend, to a guy from China. This phased me at first, when bidding had stopped and the necessity of despatch began. Why does someone from China want to buy an old TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) from someone in England? Is that the beauty of eBay, that a camera bought by my Grandfather in 1965 for £35 can be sold for not much more and end up on the other side of the world? It probably came from Japan in the first place. Thus it completes a circular journey; creation to death, or maybe he will just sell it for more money to an American.
I hope he enjoys it, uses it, thinks of my Grandfather as he presses the shutter, rewinds (manually - what do you expect for £38.50!) the 35mm film on the shaky spindle, removes the film and gets the prints developed. I will probably have spent the money by then, so above all that, I hope the bloody things come out.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Waving not drowning

Took my little boy to school today. Recently, he insists on waving to us all the way in, the last wave taking place as he stands in the doorway of the classroom, not looking sad but instead smiling a toothy grin. Still, you would think I was leaving him at the very gates of Colditz. Or the train station for a first term at some distant boarding school. That will never happen, of course, but it leads me to thinking – do we make things too comfortable at home? Is that the reason for this protracted goodbye, or is it really us that he is missing? Looking at him, I also wonder - is it possible to love someone too much?

Mmm, I don’t think so.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I've been going through some poems, tidying parts up, preparing them for the ritual of submission. It occurs to me that a lot of them are about death. That's not because I'm overly worried about it; on the contrary, death seems to me the catalyst for life. Put it this way; if no one died there would be no room for new life, new people (or whales, to follow an earlier post). The world would be full of nursing homes.

We need to look at it differently: life is for the living. Take more out of each day, instead of grasping at unknown futures. Yes, you might win the Lottery - chances are that you won’t. Yes, you might be run over by a bus - chances are that you won’t. The living are resilient: animals, plants, human beings all cling to life, as if it must mean something. As it does. So enjoy it while it lasts.


A coughing, spluttering fit;
a nervous, high laugh.
A sign of spring - bird song;
a sign of winter - long scarf
wrapped around the throat.
A sharp frost, a dull pain;
there are signs of life in me,
signs of death too, age
creeping up, as winter does
then leaves, as life should do
by transition, not by this sudden
snatch of death, the soul away
the body cold, the crocus old;
end of the short, short day.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fringe benefits

Talked to my friend Ruby last night. It seems that the citizens of Bury St Edmunds are to get a fringe festival to supplement the annual version that runs for two weeks in May. The idea is for local people to offer events outside the main ones (John Williams! Toyah Wilcox!) We thought we would put our names down to help. I can play the guitar, recite good poetry badly, do startling things with graphical software on an Apple Mac. Ruby and Mr R. will take photographs and laugh. I'm sure the fringe will be a great success. Why? Because we are getting involved! Enough said.