Monday, October 31, 2005

Photoshop

My son was giving me yet another of his Photoshop master classes. Yet again we chose Abi as the experimental subject matter. This is what we came up with tonight. This effect is called "liquify". It makes this photo look every inch an album cover. I'm sure this effect can be over done but as a one off it's pretty cool.
Meanwhile at University Gemmalah is making an animated film about "FoxGirl" a pathetic anti heroine, who tries to right the wrongs of the world but always manages to fuck it up. So that's going to be an Emmy winner.
Oh yes and I've bought a new camera. It's a Canon EOS350D. 8mp.
Del has booked me to photograph his new kittens, Sooty and Sophie. So that's another rock and roll photoshoot. If I can I'm going to photograph them peeping out of their igloo cat basket. It'll be so cute. If you like cats that is. Personally I don't give a shit. Are they good on toast? That's all I want to know. Meanwhile...

Rock on Dudes

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The rich get richer....

God bless the Eastern Europeans. They save me so much money and trouble. Why because they take away my rubbish for free. In this modern age there's so many people and organisations who are after your hard earn cash. Everyday someone thinks of a brand new way to syphon off your money from your pocket into theirs. For instance we have a contract for the bin men to take away our rubbish. Great except there's certain things we're not allowed to put in the skip even though it is rubbish. We have to pay extra for this. Surprise surprise.
So it's with great joy that I find the Eastern Europeans come round with their baby buggies and load up with all the scrap machines. Then there's the pikeys. Oh lord bless us and save us. They come round in their flat backs and heft huge lumps of scrap metal onto the back of the truck while their husbands wait in the cab. Not really, the husband does the lifting while the wife with her six inch diameter earings, sits in the cab holding a bald headed baby. Later she can be seen slinging a used disposable nappy into the gutter before they drive off. Well it's disposable isn't it?
Talk of the devil here's the pikeys now... Damn! He wouldn't let me take a photograph.

Rock on dudes

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Hallelujah I'm a bum.

Last night after going to the cinema to see Tim Burtons "The Corpse Bride" which incidently was pretty good I toddled off to the Fiddlers Elbow for the Unity Gig. This is Elgin it's the first time she's played live. She was very nervous and made loads of mistakes and started several songs which she didn't manage to finish. BUT received massive applause and is obviously very popular. Either that or the audience at Unity is very very generous and forgiving.
Then there was this guy who played some amazing jazz style guitar.
Later he put down the guitar to do a rap number.I can't remember the name of the band he's in. I made a mental note last night. It was an easy name to remember, so easy that I didn't bother writing it down. Now there's a lesson for us all. I'm getting old. As usual the place was kicking. I arrived at the door and this woman grabbed my arm as I walked in.
"Three pounds please."
"I'm the photographer."
"So? Three pounds."
"OK tell you what. You explain to the landlord that I didn't take his publicity photos because you wanted to charge me three pounds to do my job."
"Oh I guess that's alright then."
Tom O'Brian was next up. All evening he'd been sitting quietly on a bench not saying a word to anyone. I hadn't a clue who he was and then he got up to play, his brother is the sound engineer and his sister was also in the crowd being supportive. He wasn't bad he played a great / competent version of "Creep" by Radiohead. Star quality? I don't know. It's a bit early to tell yet. He was obviously nervous, hands shaking as he put on the capo. But hey! I've been there too shaking like a leaf.
Abi was singing too. It always makes my night when Abi sings. She's brilliant to watch and brilliant to photograph. She told me last night that my photos had been chosen and sent to America. Other photo's were kept back for future use.
So another interesting night.

A friend of mine died last week. He was in his early 50's and ran a shop like mine. Like me he never stops. Always on the go always doing something. He had a massive heart attack that killed him. It made me stop and think. Perhaps my rock and roll life style will be the death of me. But you can't let that sort of thing destroy your life by dwelling on it. If it's time to go it's time to go. Until then.....

all together now....


Rock on dudes

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Seeking Approval

A while back Abi asked my boy to do a cartoon of her for her website at the record company. He said he'd think about it. What? So I sent him loads of pix to work from. He did nothing. Now cartoons and in particular computer generated cartoons is what he's good at. So it shouldhave been a piece of piss for him. I tried reasoning with him. "Think of the kudos" and "Think of the head start it will give you in your career" all to no avail. Two years ago I managed to get my daughter the opportunity to shoot a video for MTV. It's available on a special edition CD of a band called "Leon". Catch it if you can. That was before she even went to University to study film. She was still in the sixth form of her school. How cool is that for a 17 year old? She even produced a thirty second cartoon video of one of their songs. The point is the old adage "you can lead a horse to water...." Is it me? Is it purely because I'm his Dad and he wont do something because I'm saying it's a great idea? If I forbade him to do it beause cartoons of a beautiful girl is the work of the devil. Do you think he'd do it then?
Father came to see me today. "So you've come to see my famous photos then?" I asked hopefully.
"No."
"What? You don't want to see the photos your son has taken that's earnt him a shit load of money?"
"Not particularly." he turned away.
This is normal. This is what I've come to expect throughout my life. There is nothing I can do to impress the old man. I got 9 o-levels. You could have got 10. I got three A-levels. You could have got better grades. I got a degree in Biology. Why wasn't it a first class honours? I gave up. I just stopped trying after that. I became one of the worlds greatest under achievers. There was no point any more. I drifted from one dead end job to another until I finally got here. I taught myself guitar. He's never heard me play. I won a short story competition got 1st prize. He didn't want to read the story. Now I've taught myself photography. I've achieved something. He doesn't want to see the photos. Fuck it.
I'm actually very proud of what I've done. I am proud of my photos. If nothing ever comes of it. I know I did a good job then. This is for me now not him.
So despite my encouragement and pouring praise on my boy for his talent as an Artist, he can't be bothered. What's going on? Have I gone too far to make sure he doesn't suffer from the apathy like I did.
Anyway I thought I'd try my hand at an Abi cartoon even if he wouldn't. This is what I've come up with. I know it's not as good as my boy can do. But I did my best. I really wanted to do it in a Manga style. But I'm shit at that despite my boy trying to teach me "the method".
Fathers eh?
At least Dels Dad came to see us when we played a big gig at O'Neils Bar. Even if he sat there for two hours sipping half a pint of bitter, looking like he wished he was somewhere else. He turned up. Bless him.
We had to wait until he was gone before we could play what the crowd really wanted "Do you fuck on first date? Does your Dad own a brewery?" and several other songs, that utilised fully, the words "F*ck" and "C*nt".

So my message for tonight is. You've only got one life. Live it for yourself. Be selfish. Don't hold back for fear of upsetting your elders. They may not approve but it's your life not theirs. It's my boys life. He can choose to fuck it up if he wants, ultimately it's his choice. I can only suggest. It's not my life. I have my life and it's grand. I'm having a great time.

So as always... Rock on dudes.

iPod now playing - You only hurt the one you love by Clarence Frogman Henry Posted by Picasa

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The kids of today

You want to know what misery is? Misery is being forced to do "Music and Movement" when you're just six or seven years old.
"Right children now I want you to pretend you're a tree bending in the wind."
"Oh Fuck!"
"Now you're a flower opening up.... come on children on the floor in a little bal and open up like a flower blossoming."
"Fuck off!"
And that's not the worst. No Sirree Bob! The worst thing was being forced to do this in your underpants, stripped naked except for your shreddies (which is what we called our Y fronts in them days) Oh! The shame. Robert Watson with the yellow stain at the front and Emily Cuthbertson with that suspicious brown stain at the back and me with my brothers hand me downs that were a little too baggy so I fell out of them. I could have died.
The girls had the same treatment except they were allowed to keep on their vests which they tucked into their knickers so the bottoms poked out from the bottom like little wings. What sort of pervert allowed this to happen?
Miss Cathcart would be on piano and shouting instructions to us.
It's not good, it's not right. I've been scarred for life. It wouldn't be allowed today. Kids would be phoning "Childline" begging for protection.
It's not cute. It's not liberating. It's demeaning. The embarrassment I felt as a child because of this has stayed with me all my life. I can still remember being the last one to take off my clothes and standing there all self conscious in my baggy pants. I shut my eyes willing the minutes to fly by, if I shut my eyes no one could see me, see my shame.
Here's another thing that wouldn't be allowed today. At that time I lived in Cyprus in the mediterranean. We had swimming lessons which I loved except my school didn't have a swimming pool so we were bussed down to the beach. Then one teacher watched over thirty kids as we threw ourselves into the sea. S0medays it was pretty rough, waves would be knocking us this way and that. But that was OK. We didn't think anything of it. It was great fun. Now imagine that happening today.
It just wouldn't happen now. I couldn't swim then. I lost count of the lung fulls of sea water I swallowed.
"Try again." I heard the teacher shout from the safety of the beach. I did, I kept trying until I learnt to swim. By myself. No one teaching me. If you got out you were thrown back in until you swam. It's a bit like the Swallows and Amazons school of thought. If duffers will drown, if not duffers will swim. And of course duffers are expendable. Duffers are a waste of space and not needed in this world. So you fucking well swam. That was what it was like to be a kid in the armed forces overseas.
Del would have a hissy fit over this sort of treatment of kids. Everything has to be absolutely safe. No element of danger allowed. But then that's his job. He is forced to think as if he's a health a safety officer.
Take this simple activity we did at primary school. We had to make puppets. So our teacher gave us all a lightbulb each. We covered the lightbulbs in papier maché to make the heads of our puppets. When the heads were dry we were given a hammer to break the light bulb then we had to fish out the broken glass with our fingers, and reshape the papier maché head, before finally painting it. We didn't know it wasn't safe to do that. We weren't given protective gloves or eye protectors. Just get in their and do it. What's a bit of blood on your puppet it saves on paint.
I don't know what kids in civilian schools did because I was educated by the armed forces until I got to senior school. We had no bullying. Well not by our peers anyway. Life was tough, but great fun. Life was an everyday adventure back then fraught with danger and risk. No one died. No one was injured. Well not seriously.

I feel sorry for todays kids. They are over protected. They don't know the excitement that we had. I feel sorry for my own children. God knows I've tried to put them into life threatening positions. But not like we had and they're still alive. I think they grow up thinking that the world is going to protect them. They can't come to harm because there's so many rules and regulations, So they are safe. It's an illusion. I honestly think I am more prepared for this world than they are because I was thrown into the sea, I was told to deal with it myself, I was taught that I am responsible for my own safety not anyone else.

You know it would be great if you could tell me your experiences as a kid. I never went to a normal school. Perhaps your civilian schooling was different. I'd be interested to know. For instance I thought it was normal to move house every two years. Until I went to a civilian senior school and found people who had lived in the same house all their lives. What the fuck? I couldn't get my head around that for ages. So I know you have stories opinions comment me up. In the meantime....

Keep on rocking Dudes

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Photographer to the Stars

You wanna know what job satisfaction is all about? This is it. I get to spend the day with a beautiful girl, in fact several days, and take mucho photos. The bonus is Abi is really incredibly genuine and nice. Those of you who have followed this blog will know I've loved Abi from the day I first met her. The other bonus is the record company are paying me mucho dinero for shots like this. If this goes on I might just give up my day job. Just this one photo shoot alone will pay for a new camera, better than the one I used to shoot this.
I've been learning/ teaching myself Photoshop like crazy the last few weeks, but shots like this don't need much editing if you get it right first time. The words "Album cover" were mentioned today. If one of my photos were used as an album cover then the money starts rolling in. How great is that? Another thing mentioned today, but which I'm taking with a pinch of salt is flying me to Italy to do another photoshoot. The morning light in the Meditteranean is incredible.

Chrikey two weeks ago I was just another pub musician and Electrician/ shop owner. Today I'm a photographer. In two weeks time I'll probably be back to being just a pub musician and a shop owner. But, please allow me my moment of triumph, even if it's just for this day. You will wont you? I mean I haven't changed, I'm still Mike Da Hat. I still need you guys. Especially my best friend Del who peppers my blog with his comments. Strange that they are. So today I'm a photographer to the stars. Tommorow business as usual opening the shop at 9:00am. But until then I'm going to have my moment. ...... and there it was.

Keep on rocking dudes. Posted by Picasa

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Photo shoot

This is one of a series of photos I took of Abi last night at the Pub. Yep believe it. We were watching a band and decided to take ten minutes to shoot some stuff just incase today was rained off. Again I used the Canon EOS300D at maximum resolution, that's 6.2 Megapixel. Backlit with a halogen floodlight and front lit with a regular flash gun. Photoshop 7.0 did the rest. The record company is going to pay me £450 for the series of photos. Thank you God! That will go towards paying for my new camera very nicely.

Keep on Rocking Dudes

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Being a professional

I got a phone call today. Abi's record company want photo's by monday morning at the very latest to send to the U.S.A.. So tomorrow and Sunday we'll be working very hard to get the goods. The record company is actually going to pay me. But there's a downer, which I've discovered, I don't get paid until next March. Apparently talking to other photographers this is not uncommon. So I could be working for nothing for a while until the money starts coming in. Meanwhile a nightclub owner came to see me today and asked what I charged to take some photos. I confess I'm not up to speed yet on this one and said £25 an hour. My photographer friends almost died when I told them. Well it threw me, they said I should be demanding £150 an hour plus expenses. What? So I haven't a clue what to invoice the record company for a two day photo shoot with Abi. They pointed out a wedding photographer would charge £450 for a days work. I should charge the same or more. They said "You are the professional here. You charge professional prices or they wont take you seriously."
But I'm not a professional photographer.
"You fucking well are. The record company has commissioned you to take the photos, so you're professional."
Oh shit!
Meanwhile tonight I went to see Thommo and his band. The above picture is Thommo himself in action. I take photos for my friends for free. Don't tell the real professionals though, I'll get into deep trouble.

To give me a head start on the job I took a few photos of Abi on stage last night at the Unity club. This one has been through Adobe Photoshop and I've doctored it a bit. For instance I've got rid of background highlights that were distracting and airbrushed out the bottle VKD she was holding.
I'm really pleased with the overall effect. The picture was taken using a Canon EOS300D with the ISO setting racked up to 1600 so I could use the ambient light instead of using flash. I've found flash is very intrusive. OK I lose a bit of definition and sharpness but the end result is more immediate, more interesting. The picture of Thommo was taken with Flash. If you have any comments I'd love to hear from you. I don't mind if they're negative comments. Because if it's crap I need to know now. If I'm going in the right direction it would be helpful to know that too. I aint gonna burst into tears or throw a hissy fit if you criticise the photos. I will respect your opinion because after all it's you that the record company want to aim the photos at. YOU have got to like them and be moved by them. They want to shift records, they want to make money, if my photos don't aid that mission then I am a liability and I need to know now. Before it's too late.

Meanwhile if you've got more time on your hands than you know what to do with, you'd do worse than to check out this link http://www.secretwalltattoos.com Everyone knows about bands traditionally trashing rooms. Well here's a new twist, hidden artwork behind pictures mirrors fixtures etc. To be honest some of the wall tattoos are better than the pictures that hide them.

Oh yeah and don't forget... Rock on Dudes

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Unity

Tonight I had a photo gig. Richard asked me to take photos for him and the local paper. They are doing a story on Richards club "Unity". It's based on my idea of a new talent showcase but Richard is doing it much better than I ever did. I arrived with camera in time for the "Unity Jam" this is where everyone and his dog just gets up on stage and does something. The guitarists come and go. The bassist changes. The singers take turns and all the time there's this tribal beat going on. Relentless and infectious. It's a throwback to the sixties. It's raw it's passionate.Everyone is in the groove.... and the beat goes on. The guy in the photo is mad Pete. He is as mad as a bag of snakes. (Sorry Del I wont mention snakes again). But the atmosphere is incredible. It's flower power. It's getting into the groove, with people just dancing and having a great time. On the basis of this gig, I've been asked to photograph another Saturday night. Life just doesn't get any better.

This is James (Below) from the band "Two point four Pistol" they used to be called "The kidnaps". I booked them two years ago for one of my new talent showcase evenings. The previous evening they'd won the "Battle of the bands" competition. The landlord was not keen on heavy metal so I told them they had to play their set accoustically. They did and they were brilliant. It's amazing how electric guitars and effects pedals hides any talent anyone has. When you strip it all down to the basics, that's when you find out who can cut it and who can't. These guys can.

My good friend Charlie played tonight. Now this is a boy with star potential if he didn't stay off the drugs. He writes the most incredible songs and plays them with passion. What struck me tonight was the audience who seemed to know all the words and were singing along as if they were at a U2 concert. But Charlie was wasted. He did good don't get me wrong . But he'd had far too much to drink and maybe something else. I can't be sure. He played on autopilot to great applause. I'm not sure he's going to remember anything tomorrow which is a shame.
Then there was the "Wake" normally a four piece band. But tonight and tonight only for this one time. A two piece acoustic set. They were competent played well. I'd certainly be happy to go and see them again.
But they don't have that star potential. You know that magic something that sets them above the rest. You'll know it when you hear it. It's almost undefinable. They've either got it or they haven't. I haven't. That's why I will be a pub musician and nothing more. I accept that. Trading on other peoples talent.
And then I got home and this guy was sleeping at my back door. Christ on a bike! I don't need this. So I gave him a kick.
"Who the fuck are you" He rasped.
"I live here."
"Oh sorry Sir I didn't realise. I'm very sorry."
"That's OK.But I need to get into my house."
"I didn't think anyone lived here."
"Well I do."
"Do you know any safe places to sleep round here?"
"Right here is as safe as anywhere. Just shift out the way and let me get into my house."
"Yeah no problem. Look I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I'll be gone and I wont make a mess."
"That's OK then. Sleep well buddy."
"Thank you so much."
As I write this I can hear his gentle snoring through the door.

Rock on dudes stay safe.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Euro English

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

Rok on duds

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blackpool Illuminations

I can't help it. I have to share this with you it's the funniest thing I've heard all week. My ex phoned me. No that's not the funny thing. In fact she phones me quite a lot for a chat. We have laughs together. But she phoned me in all seriousness this morning.
"He's got to go."
"Who?"
"M." (He's a funeral director)
"No why?"
"He took me away for the weekend. To Blackpool."
"Yeah? But isn't that a good thing?" I said imagining her putting on her best frock and heading for the bright lights that is Blackpool illuminations.
"Well it would have been except we were going to pick up a body...."
Well I'm sorry I just fell about laughing.
"Don't take the piss." she says. I couldn't talk I was laughing so much. "It's not funny..........." more hysterical laughter. "He's got to go."

Rock on Dudes

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Messiah and me

This is another photo I love. It's all blurry I know but it's the shiny bits that are attractive. This is Jason lighting a fag, stage right. The fact that it's not sharp and detailed to me is irrelevant. It's the reflections of the light on the equipment and the smoke and the kaleidoscope effect. I'm posting this because the band themselves have got all the conventionally good photos for their own use.

Meanwhile I've just spoken to Richard. He wants me to take photos of him and Abi playing as an acoustic duo for publicity purposes. Also if you remember I used to run a music Showcase evening for new talent in the music bizz. Well Richard has asked me to help out running a new version of it at a more central city venue. Fiddlers Elbow. It's a small bar dedicated to music. Get thirty people in there and it's packed. The local paper wants to do a story on it and I'm taking the photos. That'll be this Thursday evening. Life? Life is great. Give me more. I can't get enough of it. There's so much to do and so little time to do it.
I asked Jamie Da Hat (my son) if he wanted to come with me. (He loves Abi) It was like getting blood out of a stone to get any enthusiasm out of him.
"It'll be great. We'll have a great time."
"OK if you want."
"No, what do you want?"
"I don't mind."
Shit! I wish I had a dad like me. Some one who took me to see bands, someone who introduced me to famous people, got me back stage passes. Put me on a foot hold in the music business.
(actually my Dad is really great even if he has absolutely no interest in what I want to do) But you know it seems like it's the wrong way round. I should be the one who's saying "I've never heard of this or that band." I'm an old fogey now. But I could bet next weeks wages that my children have never heard of "The Arctic Monkeys". The next big band.
So what am I to do? My children will be wearing slippers and cardies and getting old before me. Hopefully they'll read this and leave some horrendous and indignant comment. We'll have a major row about me insulting them, and I'll feel great because I know they're alive. They have passion. But somehow I doubt it. Sometimes I feel, as a Father, it's my job to provoke them. Stir up some rebellion in them. Make their blood boil. I know it sounds cruel. But I'm looking for passion. Not indifference. I know my children wont be clones of me. But Hell! I'm going to poke and prod them until they react. I want them to share my enthusiasm for life. If not for the same reasons. They can go their own ways, but I want them to do it with passion. I don't want them to limp meaninglessly through their lives.

And that goes for you too. I know you're reading this. The stats tell me. Don't think you are getting off the hook that lightly. I know it's easy to sit back and let things slide. But this is your one chance to do something. You finish work, get home and slob. It's been a hard day. Well so fucking what? Every day is a hard day. Just think what do you want to achieve today?

Well get out there and do it...................

Rock on dudes

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Monday, October 17, 2005

The All New Adventures of Jesus Christ

Saturday night I did my first paid photo shoot. I took well over 100 photos. This is one of them. Unfortunately I wasn't using the Canon EOS300D, but the results were'nt that bad. The ISO settings were at the max on my old digital I was using. But I got some interesting shots. The band is The Pulse and this is Jason the lead guitarist.

Later back at home Charlie and I were batting the breeze and then we played football in the car park. Loads of people were about getting their post night club munchies from the takeaway. Suddenly there was a big crash of broken glass. That unmistakable crump of a car window being smashed. We turned to see what was going down. A guy had put his fist through a taxi window. (he'd asked the taxi driver to take him home but the taxi was already waiting for a fare, who was in the takeaway.) They guy pissed off that this "ignorant" taxi driver wouldn't take him home. Smashed his window for him. The taxi driver leapt out and tackled the guy. There was a scuffle. The guy struggled to release the taxi drivers grip and lost his leather jacket. The taxi man got another grip on the guys shirt, the guy wriggled out of that too. He was wearing leisure trousers so when he finally legged it upm the road he looked like he was running away naked from the waist up in his jim jams. Charlie said "What a wuss." Girls on the pavement looked at the wussy guy in disgust as he ran back to mommy. Charlie took the opportunity to try a few pick up lines with the cute girls on the pavement.
Meanwhile another chap was wandering around telling people "It wasn't me, I didn't have anything to do with it" and "I don't even know the guy".
Within two minutes the road was gridlocked with taxis arriving from all over the city. As each taxi arrived the new chap was telling each of the taxi drivers that "It's wasn't me...etc". Eventually one of them got fed up with him and told him to go away (sort of). The guy punched the taxi driver in the face. A professional punch, quick and solid, with follow through. The taxi driver went down like a sack of potatos hitting his head on the pavement. Everyone looked on shocked by this escalation of violence. The guy grabs the taxi driver by the shoulders and sits him up and stands behind him propping him up with his legs. "See? He's OK. Why doesn't anyone listen it's got nothing to do with me."
Blue lights flashed down the road. The guy steps to one side letting the taxi driver fall smashing his head for the second time. "I'm off." he says "It's always me that gets the fucking blame for everything."
He doesn't run he just ambles slowly off melting into the crowd.

Charlie and I are grilled by the police "What were you doing during all this?" Our answer of "we were playing football." (at 1:30am) raised a suspicious eyebrow. I'm not sure he believed us. The guy in the photo is the Taxi driver. He was unconscious for ten minutes after the police arrived. Even then he didn't know where he was or what happened. The ambulance left at 03:00am.

Rock on Dudes

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Getting old

OK I've got to 'fess up. I'm not as young as I used to be. I'm not as young as I try and convince myself I am. I can't be doing with sleeping on the floor anymore a la Steven Segal. Not even with my camping bed roll. My bones ache and I don't sleep well. It's not pleasant. Yeah Yeah yeah I used to wake up on countless floors after parties when I was a student. I even slept on concrete during my grand tour of Europe. I slept in luggage wagons and corridors of trains, I've slept on the beach. But I was young then. It's a sad fact of life that old age doesn't do you any favours. You begin to appreciate the comforts of life. Not only that my sex life is taking a dive because my shag buddies refuse to sleep on a hard floor with me. I don't blame them.
You may have noticed I've had offers of a bed during this difficult time, but I fear that screams of "Yes! yes! YES! oh Mikel Yes!" wont go down well in the household. I've also had offers of other arrangements which I will not go into for fear of destroying my street cred.
But one of my more practical sympathisers has come up with a folding bed for me that packs away to the size of a suitcase and can easily be hidden. What's more it's comfy. So job done. Except it's a single so unless we play double deckers, it aint gonna work and I'm still gonna be having sleepless nights.
So the conclusion of this is if anyone is after a shag with an aging rock star / photographer you'd better invite me round your gaff. Oh and get plenty of Jack and Coke in. We'll make a night of it.
I'll be in Lincoln this Sunday on the next part of my world tour and will be available for interviews and autographs.
Oh I can still here my ex's voice ringing in my ears....
"Mikel, grow up for chrissakes."
I have children more grown up than I am. Perhaps I should stop drinking that probiotic inner health drink and put away my roller skates and face up to facts; I'm old.
The thing is I don't feel old in my head. I'm still full of enthusiasm and excitement and I want to do stuff all the time. The only problem is my body doesn't agree with me.
Here's a test for you. Remember how you used to jump out of trees and off walls. Well try this, climb on a chair and jump off that. A young person will just bounce lightly onto the ground. An older person will hit the ground stunned because his/her knees didn't bend quite as easily as they did.
Your next test for being old is the skin pinch. Pinch a fold of skin on the back of your hand and let go. If it snaps back into place you're young. If it slowly goes back into place you're showing signs. If it stays in a fold after you let go order your coffin now.
Other signs that you may need to be thinking of a visit to the co-op funeral directors is if you smell of piss, have white stuff at the corner of your mouth, smell of TCP, (or lavender) forgot where you parked the car, and still think if you give the grandchildren 50p it's going to get them all Ice creams.
There's probably more signs and I'm sure you'll have a few suggestions of what to look out for....

meanwhile....

Get out yer zimmer frames and Rock on Dudes.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

There's good and there's bad

C.I.D. came to see us today. They busted the guys' house this morning. The caught 'em bang to rights. Arrests were made and confessions obtained. They could hardly deny anything being as they were surrounded by stolen goods.m The court case comes up on the 18th of this month. Result!

Today I had a phone call. It took me by surprise.
"Hello is that Mike Da Hat?"
"Yes."
"How much do you charge to come and take photos of our band? We've got a gig this weekend. We'd like you to take some photos."
"er... I ... er... um... I hadn't thought about it."
"How about we just keep you in beer for the evening then?"
"How about you give me £25 and I'll take as many photos as I can and give you a CD after with all the photos on it."
"Cool."
So I've got my first commission. I could have charged more but then I know what they are getting paid to do the gig. My share equates to the same as the band members get each. And I don't have to play.
All I need is for Mick Jagger to ask me to photo one of his gigs and I'm all made up.

Charlie turned up tonight. he helped me move the last of my furniture out of my "flat". In return I drove him to his "hot" date. We stopped off at the cash machine then an off licence to get a bottle of wine. As we pulled up outside the house his "hot" date was waiting for us. She was really cute. Jet black hair and very slim, far too young for me but I can have my fantasies. I left Charlie to his rampant sexual adventures with the hot chick. I came home and proceeded to fill several black dustbin bags of stuff to either sling out or hide.

It's a shit game I'm playing. But it's a matter of survival. I don't want to move out of my home. but the penalty is I've got to appear not to be living here. So tonight I'm sleeping on the floor. I've done this hundreds of times before. But then I was young and supple. My bones moulded to the various surfaces I found myself on. Now I am older and more used to comfort. It's going to be interesting. I'm like Steven Segal except without the muscle and the martial arts skills. He rolls up his shirt into a log shape and lays on the floor and sleeps to attention on his back. There's no curling up into a ball on his side with this guy. No he's rough, he's tough. He's not normal. I feel like a student again. Rebellious.

You know that's the thing I am rebellious. I could easily find a new place to live. I have the money. I have the contacts. But it's become a matter of principal to me. Why should I move out just to please some authority figure. Just to comply with rules and regulations. Rules were made to be broken. Laws made to be bent.

I am making a stand. Not for anyone in particular but for myself. I can't advertise what I'm doing. I'd be found out. So this is just for me. This is me taking the piss out of the establishment and coming out on top.

I thought I had plenty of time. I'd worked it out that I had til next tuesday. A friend phoned me tonight and we discussed the situation. She said "Surely 21 days is tomorrow"
"No it's next Tuesday."
"No work it out."
I worked it out. Shit! I was a week out. Mad panic to get everything hidden. I can be inspected anytime tomorrow onwards.
So now it's past 01:00am and I'm knackered. I'm pleased Charlie helped me. The rest I had to do by myself.

So goodnight dear friends I'm off to sleep on the floor a la Steven Segal....
In an empty room. Ooooh It echoes choe choes choes

Rock on dudes

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Culture shock

We got a visit from the old bill today, not just your average plods but C.I.D. It seems they are very pleased with my brother who witnessed some chavs nicking something. Being a nosey git he made a note of the car, the colour, the make, registration number, description of the perps and what they took.
The old bill are very interested in these two chavs, because they've been very active recently, nicking stuff from all and sundry, but they've got no hard evidence on which they can get a warrant to search their house. Now they have thanks to bro'.
Tomorrow morning at 05:00am they're going to break down the door and arrest the two guys. Then have a good nose around looking for stolen goods.


Meanwhile this Jamaican dude came into the shop looking for a cheap microwave. I sold him one. I delivered it to his shop. The first thing that hits you as you walk in is the smell of coconut. It's very intense, then there's the unmistakable waft of Marijuana coming from somewhere. The shop is empty. I shout "Hello!" nothing.
I shout again "Hello! I'm going to steal all your stock."
There's a shuffle at the back of the shop. I stand there waiting and beyond the racks of Plantains, Yams, Sweet potatos and melons, a door opens a crack, someone peers round the door at me.
The door is quickly shut again.
More shuffling. I look around the shop. Cannabis lollypops are on the counter and packets of dried Jerk beef hang from a shelf. There's bottles of exotic fruit juices on top of the shelves.
The door opens again, a waft of smoke comes out and a lady steps into the shop. I glimpse men in the back room and as soon as they see me look in their direction the door is shut firmly again.
"You have my Microwave? Good. Can you put it in here?"
She motions me to a side room, containing more exotic products and a fridge. I stand the microwave oven down on the floor next to the fridge and take a look around. There's no windows. One solitary unshaded lamp lights the room. At the far end of the room is a curtain hung on a wire. It's not fully drawn and there's a bed behind it. What do they need a bed in an afro caribbean grocery store for? She hurries me out of the room.
"This mus' be so strange to yoo." she says.
"Not really."
"All dis stuffs."
"I've seen it."
"You have?"
"Yes I used to live in Kingston, Jamaica."
"When was dat?"
"1981." I say.
"Oh King-ston. Dats a very bad place, all dem mudders an killin's. Where you lib?"
"I lived at Beaulie Heights at the top of the hill, you walk down past Desnoes and Geddes book store on the cross roads and then down the road into Kingston town."
"Das not a good place fo' you white boys."
"It was cool. No problem. I even caught the bus. I was the only white boy on the bus."
"No."
"Yes after five minutes I had loads of friends on the bus."
We finished up talking and I walked out the store. Outside sitting on wicker chairs these black dudes eyed me suspiciously. I guess they were the muscle for the operation. They sit there all day everyday, doing nothing. I say nothing, occassionally they strike up and pull on a bottle of strong Jamaican lager. Teenage white girls dressed in next to nothing, halter tops and mini skirts sit on the brick wall outside batting the breeze and whiling away the time.
The main man bounces up and down the road, he's dressed in a white baseball cap with a Foreign legion neck protector down the back, he's sporting designer shades, an oversize brightly coloured t-shirt over the top of baggy jeans. He tosses me a grin. I catch it and smile back but he's lost interest already. His minders, always close, dress in black. Black dudes in black clothes. They never smile. They just sit watching.
A vauxhall nova pulls up. There's three chavs in it. They swagger to the store. Thew first one scores a high five with the main man the other two shuffle on in behind him. They go in the shop. They don't come out with carrier bags full of plantains and sweet potatos. I can't see them having any use for Afro-Caribbean hair products either. Instead the first one is sticking something small into his jeans front pocket. The other two crowd around him excitedly. "come on. Come on." I hear them say. "Divvy up"
"Wait." he says sensibly. And they make for the Nova and climb in. They tear away with a screaching of tyres. But it's not their tyres that are screaching.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

None stop 'til eternity

Some of you seem to have got the wrong end of the stick. I'm not homeless. I'm not going to be homeless. I have my flat. What's actually happening is my Landlord wants me out. Because I'm not supposed to be living here. But I'm damned if I'm going to move out. So I'm getting rid of all my stuff into boxes and making it appear there is no one living here. I'm sitting in my empty flat, cross legged chanting "Om Om OM".
Life goes on. Life is a challenge. You've got to rise to the challenge. You have to overcome.
As soon as the heat has died down I put back all my stuff. Job done. So as much as I appreciate your lovely sentiments and words of support...... wel you know what I mean.

Today i went walking in Bourne Woods I found this fabulous specimen of a Fly Agaric (Amanita muscarina). Actually there were loads hidden under rotting ferns.


And then I found this little fella. He even posed for me.



You know life is busy. I have so much to do. I never stop thinking. I can't sleep because I think so much. I have so much to occupy my mind. I play guitar, I write, I take photographs, I run my own business and now I am setting up an internet based business. I don't have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. You'll hear kids moan "I'm bored" and "There's nothing to do" for Chrissakes I could scream.
I've sent some photos to a music magazine today. My horoscope says (if you believe in that sort of thing) that I am incredible I am on the cusp of something big. Don't you just love that word, cusp? Anyway it's a load of bollocks. Hey! Wanna see another photo?


This one is a Field Mushroom.

You see you can sit back and let them get you or you can fight back. I choose to fight back. You can feel sorry for me if you like but really it's not necessary.
Why?
Why am I so confident?

Because....

I'm Mike Da Hat.

Rock on Dudes (if you've enough hours in the day)

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

March to the Grave

What is it about some people? You know the ones. They're usually older. They have this white stuff at the corner of their mouths. Mick the Electrician came into the shop. He had this stuff at the corner of his mouth. He was banging on about some Storage heater he was trying to fix. All I could think about was this white stuff at the corner of his mouth. I wanted him to lick his lips, wipe his mouth, take a long swipe along the length of his arm sleeve, get out a tissue. Anything!!! I can't write anymore on the subject. So..........


This is Andy from March to the Grave. They are celebrating 25 years in the music bizz. They claim to be a punk band. But they're much better than that. Usually when you see an unknown band and they play all original material it's hard work. But with these
guys you don't notice because they rock. Every song is a foot tapper. BTW this photo was taken with a Cannon EOS300D.

Rock on Dudes

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Clinging on

Last night during "Deep Blue Sea" I was packing away all my stuff. Well books and music in particular. I never realised I had so many books. I filled a box then another then another. Del is going to be pissed because I've used up all the boxes that he wanted for building robots for his kids.
Anyway I hardly ever look at these books, I've read them all of course and they're mostly all great books. But seeing them go is like taking another layer of personality from my flat.
It's like peeling an onion, layer after layer is disappearing into boxes to be hidden in outhouses and cupboards. Until all is left is a sterile shell of a room.
I was telling you that nothing phases me I'm always happy and the bastards aren't going to get me down. "I will prevail". I seem to recall saying. But I wasn't really prepared to see my life disappear just like that. It was a huge joke at first. But now it's reality. Very soon it will be like living behind the desk in someones office in a sleeping bag. Everything personal to me will be gone and so my transformation into a non person will be complete. I will cease to exist as a living breathing personality. The last thing to go will be my lovely bed. I'm clinging on to that for as long as possible. I've had a few adventures in that bed. I've been told many times how comfortable it is and I have to agree. So if anyone wants to try out my bed, you've got about a week before it has to go into storage and then I don't suppose you'll be keen on the hard floor behind the desk.
So I'm a little down right now. But nothing a good shag couldn't cure. I will still prevail. I will still win. I am Mike Da Hat.

Here's a blog you might be interested in visiting. It's been written by a 26 year old girl called Jessica who is travelling across the united states in a rusty old Honda. Here writing is very entertaining and she has an ability to write in the accent of the speaker so you can almost hear the voices yourself. Check her out. She deserves a wider audience.

www.theroadrevisited.blogspot.com


Thank you and ... er... ... Rock on Dudes.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Dogging at Southey Woods

It seems I've got to No:6 on a Google search for Southey Woods. Del has being doing some research. (Check previous post comments). Southey Woods is a prime dogging site. Apparently. Well actually it really is. And you all know what dogging is. It's Phil Mitchels (Eastenders) favourite Pastime. Except he was exotic he would go across to the continent with his girlfriend to have sex in car parks with an audience gathered round his car. That was until his girl friend got pissed off with it, left him and told everything to the News Of The World, in glorious detail. Is he still in Eastenders now?
So it seems doggers are logging on to my website expecting photos of rampant sex in a car park and finding photos of wild flowers instead. Bad luck dudes.
So to all you doggers out there. I'm the guy in the hat with the digital camera round my neck. I'm taking pictures of wild flowers. OK?
So less of the dirty looks. You can put away your baseballs bats. I'm not interested in what you're doing. Unless of course a magazine pays me mega bucks to expose your sorry arses. And I mean that quite literally. Then you can assume that it's my diving holiday in Truc lagoon against your dignity. Guess which is going to come out tops? No contest. All I need now is to find some celebrity in a car park somewhere in a compromising position and my pension is sorted.
But until then ignore me. I don't give flying fuck what you do in your spare time. As long as you don't frighten the children or scare the horses.

Rock on Dudes.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Lord Punish Me....

I've been really busy. My life is a non stop whirl of stuff to do, people to meet and places to go. In between, I find time to walk in the country. It clears the head. On my travels over the weekend I found this. It's a Spindle Tree. I love the vibrancy of the colours. It's a most unusual tree. Although once I'd spotted this one I found loads.


The spindle tree

So I was asked to photograph a Charity Music festival, it was a long old day 13:00 - 23:45pm but the standard of bands playing on the day was very high. These pictures have been taken by my old Fujifilm Finepix S5500.
I spent the day using a cannon EOS300D for the actual shoot. Below is one of the more interesting characters the lead singer from March To The Grave (The Stamford Cowboys- but it aint country and western).



March To The Grave

Abbi was there. She's asked me to take the publicity photos for her up coming album. She's being sponsored by the fashion house "Rags to Riches" who have given her loads of clothes and I've got to take photos of her in various frocks / clothes etc. Punish me Lord Punish me....That is unless her record company has already got a photographer on the case. She doesn't think they have yet.



Her record company will pay me of course. But for Abbi I'd do it for free. And of course it's another gratuitous excuse to post yet another picture of her. This tactic wont win me any points with Del who still thinks she's far too thin.
So I was talking to Del last night in between taking photos and he nudges me "That womens giving me the eye." he says
"Really? Which one?" I ask, scoping the crowd.
"That one." and he points to an enormous woman who was so big if she stood up she'd take the chair, she was wedged into, with her.
She sees me looking in her direction and flashes me the most enormous smile. Eeek! Actually it's a very nice friendly smile, genuine, not forced. But she keeps smiling at me. She doesn't stop smiling. Everytime I look she's staring at me smiling inanely. I start getting self conscious, because everytime I turn, she's there. I fiddle with the Cannon. Pretend to be busy. Ignore her. She's not my type, she's Dels type. I ask Del to swap places with me so I don't have to catch her eye. He refuses saying he's quite happy where he is. The smiling continues until I am convinced this woman has escaped and her carers are scouring the city looking for her. It's not normal behaiviour. I run off looking for Abbi. I find her, a ciggy in one hand and a bottle of Vodka alcopop in the other. Life is back to normal and I get on with my work.

Rock on Dudes

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