Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Zen and the Art of Blagging

Blagging: The Art of obtaining by clever talk or lying.

My latest quest in the name of Blagging is to obtain a press card. I'm not sure quite how to go about this yet and it's "work in progress" but it seems to me a press card would be a grand aid to blagging.
For instance in my capacity as a faux photo journalist, I regularly get invited by the European Space Agency to such junkets as the launch of rockets, or I get invited to the Cambridge Folk Festival and all I have to do is produce a Press Card and I'm there.
So you can see how important this is for me. I started Blagging early here's one of my first adventures .
With press card in my possession the world is my oyster until I discover the next "must have". Like a winning lottery ticket.
So in the meantime I'll continue to take photos in nightclubs and of young hopefuls with guitars and for your delight nubile young laydees.

Rock on Dudes

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Wading through the Mud

I'm quite pleased with this. I took it today whilst wading ankle deep in mud at an English Nature reserve near Peterborough. It's nothing special but I love the fact you can see the trees in the back ground through the drop of water. You got go in close, click on the picture it gets bigger, click on it again and it gets bigger still.
But after all that wading I can safely report that there are no signs of spring yet. Plenty of mud though.

Rock on Dudes Posted by Picasa

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Friday, January 27, 2006

The Little Finger Game

I have a new game at the nightclub where I take photos. It's called "The Little Finger Game". The girls love me to take their photos and ask how I want them to pose. So I've been telling them to put their little finger in the corner of their mouths and look cute. Some get the idea others haven't a clue. But it's all good fun and they seem to love it. So I thought I'd give you a selection of images from "The Little Finger Game." I'm thinking of holding a Little Finger competition at the night club.
But I'm worried that that might quickly get boring so if you've any other suggestions of how the girls can pose and I don't mean Gynaecological shots here, let me know and keep it clean please.

Rock on Dudes Posted by Picasa

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Age Rock & Roll

Some people would call this dancing. I call it some pissed bird falling over. Oh joy! This is what happens at a New Age Music and World Arts Event. In fact it was a stonkingly good night. Great music, not bad art and loads of lovely people. If you want to see the art and the performers who played da musik they're all here. I'll put some of the audience there later. Maybe. Normally in between acts we get treated to some Drum and bass grooves specially for the Peterborough Massive, which quite frankly I find tedious at best and mostly boring beyond belief, but last night between acts the DJ played some really cool Jazz and other unexpected stuff like Doris Day. Now it's not something I would have chosen myself, but it was so different it made the evening somewhat special, gave it another life away from the usual stuff.
I subscribe to a Newsletter for professionals in the Music bizz. Last week they advertised a DVD entitled "How to make it in the Music Industry". I asked how do I go about obtaining a copy? The reply was as follows...
"If it's you then we post one to you, if it's not you then you buy it at Virgin or HMV."
I wrote back to tell them I was me. So they sent me the DVD for free. It's a triple DVD full of little nuggets of information on how to make it. Unfortunately the subject matter was all DJ Shaggy shagtastic and his down town crew, MC Mo diddly, DJ spiffy, DJ Fuck off you bastard I'm bored, you get the picture. The third DVD features an hour long bonus track of DJ's rapping an moving with the groovin. I fell asleep. But in between these DJ types shouting "Yo" and "Younoworrimeeen innit" there's some useful advice. The most important being "You've got to be better than the next guy." Hey I can't argue with that. Posted by Picasa

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fahrenheit 911

I found this on the internet. It's Google Videos copy of Michael Moores Fahrenheit911. I've never seen it before due to complete laziness. But it is an eye opener. The picture quality isn't great, but the message is.

Tonight I've got to do a photo shoot at somewhere new. It's a New Age Music and World Art event. Not sure what to expect but it should be interesting.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

World Record Club DJ Mix

I don't think I mentioned this before but for the last few days I've been coverering the World Record Club DJ Mixing attempt by this guy DJ Urb, for the Evening Telegraph. . (His real name is Dominic). He started mixing Wednesday dinner time last week. But early Saturday evening he'd broken the world record of 73 hours continuous mixing. By the time this photo was taken he'd well and truly smashed the world record and got to the 84 hour mark.
I went to see him again dinner time Sunday and while I was there he crashed through the four day mark, 96 hours. Incredible.
At 96 hours when this photo was taken I asked him how long he intended to keep going.
"As long as I can. It's going to get messy. I won't give up until I collapse, they're gonna have to carry me out."
Respect.
And carry him out they did. After over four days without sleep and being almost continually on his feet he finally collapsed sometime early Sunday evening. It's going to take some beating. Apparently there is another guy in the UK who is planning to beat the record himself. I think he has a serious challenge on his hands.
Meanwhile, Del and I have a problem, this is Del, he's miserable because we've lost our drum machine. You can tell how miserable he is from the photo. So to cheer him up we need someone to send us something so we can lay down a drum track so we can continue recording our latest album.
I'm hoping Mick In the UK, is going to come up trumps or Bromman.
We were using the drum synth on Cake walk but it don't work anymore and I don't know why. So have a heart and get the big fella off my back. Give us some drums.

Rock on dudes

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

My Version of the Potters Wheel

So while I think of something intelligent to write, here's a picture of my favourite singer. Or you could go and visit my good friend Robert Swipe and have a read of his comedy blog, it's all lies libel and filth, which is perhaps, exactly what we want. I mean if the idea of Kiera Knightly and a can of Golden Syrup perks you up, then the Swipester is your man. Tell him I sent you.
Or you could go and visit Petite Anglaise I really don't know why I haven't a link to her. I always get to her in some convoluted roundabout way via Zoe then somewhere else. I should just put in a link of my own.
Failing that go and congratulate JohnnyB on the arrival of his new baby girl. Life and times in a Norfolk Village in his Secret Private Diary.
Or you could say hello to anyone on the list of links to the right.
Meanwhile I've done a deal with a glossy mag who are publishing some of my music photos in next months issue.

Rock on dudes

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why I hate Renault this week

So I'm really pissed off with Renault at the moment. I had a nail through my tyre. No problem just get it fixed at Apex tyres. They're very nice there. So I drove my Renault scenic into the bay and wandered off only to be called back a few minutes later with "Have you get the security nut socket?"
"What security nut?"
"The factory fitted security nuts one each of the wheels."
"No."
So we searched the car. Found nothing. Went to the car dealer where I bought car. Nothing finally went to Smiths Renault where some smarmy twerp told me the sockets were obsolete.
So I couldn't get the wheels off if I wanted and bloody Renault weren't about to help me, even though it was their own fucking factory fittted security nuts.
Went to City Tyres. More nice people who said "No problem. We'll drill them off, and fit lovely new non security nuts, and fix the nail in your tyre."
I like to think I don't have a problem with the French but at times like this I could be swayed into hating them.
Hope you like the picture it's of the quiet one in the band, Armitage Shanks.

Rock on Dudes Posted by Picasa

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dysons

Look I wouldn't say in public
that Dysons are crap. I wouldn't even say that they don't deserve the hype. I'm not going to advise you not to buy their piles of crap, because that would mean less money for us guys who have to fix them. But hey! Do we have a shit load of them in for repair or what? A prize for anyone who can spot a hoover or an Electrolux in this lot. So without me saying a word. does this tell you anything? Posted by Picasa

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Curious Cow

Hello. Here's a shaggy cow that's taking an undue interest in my camera. Before that it was taking great interest in a fisherman which is why I stopped the car and rushed over to take the shot. But said cow lost interest in fisherman and came over to say hello to me. Before slobbering cow spittle all over my lens. Bugger, where's the lens cleaner when you need it?
I took this action shot of a rugby match despite freezing to death and the shutter speed being slightly too slow and maybe the ISO setting too low as well. But I did remember to put the White balance to cloudy. I wonder if there's a setting on my camera for bleeding freezing/I want to go home?

er.. has anyone seen my dog? It's black and answers to the name Satan. I seem to have lost it somewhere. It seems a black dog IS just for Christmas.

Rock on dudes

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Gloat Mode

Well friends I am in full gloat mode now. I am more chuffed than a chuffed person at a chuffed persons convention. Here is my first album cover. There's more pics on the insert sleeve as well. On top of that I've put the Black Dog back in it's kennel and I'm in full swing again as Mike Da Hat, no more depression, until next year. I know it's not technically light again, but I put it down to my body finally getting used to the lower levels of melatonin due to lack of sunlight.
On another subject I have to thank Mark for his opinions on photography. Today I have been mucking about with photoshop on some of my archive photos and I'm inclined, nay, totally agree with him that some manipulation of the photos is essential to get the best out of your camera. I have been learning so much more the last few days, about white balance, feathering, contrast and histograms and gaussian blurs, that I've changed good photos into brilliant ones. So ignore everything I said previously. I am a changed man. I retract everything. Thank you Mark for putting me straight. I am not too big to admit I was wrong.
And if things can't get any better Del and I have been asked to play the warm up act for this years charity gig at out local pub. OK it's not Madison Square Gardens but it's a lot of fun. The only problem is, who's going to take the photographs if I'm on stage?

Rock on Dudes Posted by Picasa

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Models and Rockstars

So someone suggested to me that I should continue to play guitar and take photos of gorgeous girls if I was to fight the Black Dog of winter depression.
So this is what I've been doing for your delight and delectation. This particular girl was having great fun posing for me, this way and that I think she fancied herself as a model. Meanwhile the band played on.
This is Jimmy, from the band "Point Seven Pistol".
Nice combination of stage lighting and subdued flash. Apart from cropping I've done absolutely nothing to this photo.
In answer to Marks comment I confess I do tweak the photos a little in photo shop for brightness and contrast occasionally but mostly I tend to leave them alone.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Political Correctness

For Fucks Sake! Can't anyone do anything without political correctness getting in the way. Today I went to "Live Music" to complain about the useless "Elixir" guitar strings they sold me, broke second time I picked up my Ovation. Not good. While I was there, I met Roger, who is opening a big recording Studio in Peterborough. At least five recording studios the biggest being the size of a barn. He invited me to be the resident photographer. Great! My photography career is taking off after only a couple of months. Then he tells me that par tof the business will be "little Jessica", ten years old, doing her Britney Spears demos on kareoke and the parents will want photos taken for Grandma. "No problemo" I said.
Until I got to the pub tonight.
"What you're taking photos of little girls? That's a bit dodgy isn't it?"
I hadn't thought of that. It hadn't crossed my mind and I'm sure it hadn't crossed Rogers mind either.
So Del turned up. He's an expert in this field. He teaches the subject at college. It turns out it's a mine field. You've got to cover your back big time. You've got to go to the police and get clearance to proove you're not a paedophile/ danger to children. You've got to get a certificate. An Enhanced Discolsure Certificate. That costs £60 to £80.
Then you've got to have a form for the parents to fill in giving their consent for you to take photos of "little Jessica" and make declarations that the photos will not be made public and will not be used for any other purpose than what is intended, that is, their own private use. Then you've got the Data Protection Act, where you've got photos of little girls, or boys, on your computer, because they are all digital photos, and that's more grief.
Is it worth it?
You know you can't even video your own childs Christmas Nativity play without someone accusing you of being a pervert. And as for taking cute photos of your own children in the bath... well that could be social suicide.

But I'm gonna be pretty safe in a future gig because I'll be shooting David Bowie AKA Paul Henderson, "Stars in their eyes" winner. Who is so impressed with my photos has asked me t0 shoot his next full Ziggy Stardust tribute gig complete with make up and costume. That's him in make up and costume not me. So I'm looking forward to that.

You know I said I'd been criticised for doing all this work for nothing, that I should have been charging? Well I think it's paying off. I am now being taken seriously as a photographer. My photos are being seen in the press. They are appearing on band websites I have got a lot of crediblity now. People are getting to know my photos are consistently good.

Here's another thing for you guys to think about and maybe comment on. I see these seriously enthusiastic amateurs producing pictures that are quite frankly breath taking.but most of them are photoshop enhanced. I started down that road and very quickly realised that enhancement was not the way forward. I should be taking fabulous pictures in the first place without having to doll them up at a later stage. So now although I have the latest photoshop and all the effects it can give, I shun it. I rely on my own eye for the picture. I rarely, if ever, enhance my photos. You see these breath taking photos, although looking great, don't look real. They are idealised postcard images. I want reality. Crystal clear, focus perfect reality. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

Meanwhile

Rock on dudes

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Being English

I've been asked to take photos of "England" to send to America. Bit of a tall order, but it made me think, what is England/ Great Britain? What makes us what we are? What is it about this place that makes it typically English? Is it the red phone box? The thatched cottage? The country pub? I guess Americans will have an idealised view of us. Think Miss Marples and the 1950's, double decker buses and the changing of the guard. Is this what we are? I'm not even sure it's what we were. Have we ever been the picture on a chocolate box? It's the toytown pre school vision of the world sans realité. So what do you think? What images would capture the typical English character. Posted by Picasa

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

In At The Deep End

Hay-ulp! I need your assistance. Sometimes you find yourself in the deep end. I've been commissioned to Photograph and write the copy for a story on The Reverend Robert B Jones legendary blues/ gospel singer songwriter who is playing near Peterborough on the 20th January. I got the job because I said what I always say when asked. "of course I can do that." So jumping in with both feet I made claims that I'm not sure I can fulfil. So I am begging you guys if you know anything at all about this "Famous" blues artist let me know because I am going to appear a right twat if I go and do the interview and take photographs and know nothing of the back ground of the guy. Mind you I've got through most of my life so far by making outrageous claims about my abilities and so far I've got away with it. For instance when I applied for my first ever job I was asked "Can you drive?"
"Of course I can." I didn't even have a licence.
"Can you type?"
"Oh yes brilliantly." I could type with two fingers... slowly.
".and it says here you are a keen ornithologist."
"Absolutely." Anything big and black was a crow, small and brown a sparrow and anything white was a seagull. I got the job.

Meanwhile to please Del who hasn't commented in ages,here's a picture I found on the net that will please him no end. You know his preference for the larger laydees... Enjoy and achieve.
Rock on dudes and don't forget I need your help. Posted by Picasa

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Getting there

Well it's been a busy weekend and I've finally got to shoot the album cover for....... Dr A's Blues Consortium. This isn't the final cover shot, it's one of the experimental shots we tried. You see a CD cover shot should be effectively square. This long line of idiots isn't square, so useless, unless they have a banner over the top of the photo for the cover. Anyway I think the photo chosen is pretty good and I'll reveal that when the album is released. But it was bleedin cold doing that photo shoot. Half an hour earlier it had been snowing and we were all freezing and the guys were trying to look nonchalant and laid back as we froze our collective bollocks off (all except Karin who doesn't have any).
So then Friday night it was down to the pub to shoot these guys...
... "Armitage Shanks" all the way from Hunstanton, Norfolk. They are the nearest thing to "The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band" we've got right now. They played a load of Madness, Spike Jones and Temperance seven covers, so no original stuff then. But it was a great stage show complete with flame throwers and other pyrotechnic effects.
Then last night I was photographing David Bowie. Well not exactly David Bowie himself but this guy who won a TV competition as a David Bowie impersonator...
...Laydees and Gennulman, let me introduce, the one, the only ....
Paul Henderson. OK in this pic he doesn't actually look like David Bowie but he does a good impression. That's Carl Stones in the background on lead guitar. ..
Finally I found this cute little fella was in a grave yard in Thorney near Peterborough, today as I worked on some photos to send to the US of A.

Maybe now I'll get some sleep. OK maybe after I've sent pictures to the paper and written the copy to go with it.

Rock on Dudes

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Friday, January 06, 2006

You couldn't make this up.

My brothers, partners niece died suddenly a while ago, they all went to the funeral and sat down in the church the coffin resting on a couple of decorated "A" stands. The vicar in his white surplus walks in the door at the back of the church and staggers down the aisle toward the stage. He is drunk and trips over his long surplus and falls forward. he puts his hand out to catch himself on the coffin which with the sudden jolt crashes to the floor. The nieces mother faints and the mourners scream, while dazed the vicar picks himself up and looks round for help to put the coffin back on it's stands....... after the service they go to the burial, unfortunately the hole the coffin is to go in is a fraction too small and the end of the coffin gets stuck on the edge of the grave. The drunken vicar puts his foot on the end of the coffin to encourage it to it's final resting place. The earth gives way and the coffin plunges suddenly downwards. The vicar follows headfirst onto the top of the coffin. The sudden increased weight snatches the ropes from the hands of the attendants and the coffin and the vicar both plunge to the bottom of the grave. More screams and tears. The vicar was not invited to the wake. This happened two weeks ago. You can't make up this stuff.I wish I'd have been there I'd have laughed my socks off, unless of course it was a relative or close friend of mine then I'd be suitably shocked. It all depends from which perspective you look at it.

Anyway Rock on dudes you're a long time dead so make the most of it now. Posted by Picasa

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So it's another night at Unity and first off we are entertained by Nick Brooks, a newcomer to the Unity fold. Posted by Picasa

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

But is it Art?

Everyone should have one. Well any self respecting red blooded male anyway (and some pretty cool girls I know). Everyone should have a box of bits. This is mine or one of them. I have several boxes of bits, they're great fun. After a few years maturing these boxes can be an endless source of amazement. You can find anything from a spring to a rivet, self tappers of every size and nuts and bolts. Not forgetting the weird and wonderful stuff that "just might come in useful one day". I started off this by thinking would this make good art? Then I remembered the firebricks in the Tate gallery and decided "Yes this IS Art give me loads of money to develop the idea further." Posted by Picasa

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Miserable Mildred

I'm taking the advice of my good friend Mark and I'm continuing to take photos of gorgeous girls for your delight and delectation. This one is the Famous Miserable Mildred who at one time could be seen flaunting herself shamelessly in the window of the flower shop next door. But the new flower girls have decided she must go. She's too miserable. So put your bids in.
Meanwhile here's Rebecca Clamp who by coincedence has just released her new album "Nocturnal Leaps". She's lovely. No really, she smiles like this all the time. During these dark days of winter my camera has been a good friend to me forcing me out of my dark moods and going out to meet people. For instance tonight I'm doing the usual Unity shoot. Tomorrow night I'm shooting "Armitage Shanks" the nearest thing we have these days to the legendary "Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band". Then saturday I am finally, after several cancellations going to shoot the album cover for "Dr A's Blues Consortium" and at the same time do some publicity shots for "The Hinge" a heavy rock band. Not content with that Saturday night will find me shooting "Aladin Sane" the "stars in their eyes" winner who does a David Bowie tribute. So it's all busy busy busy and fun fun fun. I'll think I'll leave the black dog at home this weekend.

Rock on my dearest dudes

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Zen And The Art of Being Placid

Wow! I've just had my fourth photo in the newspaper in as many weeks. This is not one of them, but could be in the future.
This is one of the sculptures at Burghley House near Stamford Lincs.

Let me introduce you to a new character in the life of Mike Da Hat. Marcus. His name shall herein be called Twat. He professes to be a photographer. He has a six thousand pound camera, state of the art equipment. Can he take a photograph? No. Why? Because he's a Twat. I was doing a photoshoot for a band and he came to speak to me to tell me all my settings were wrong. I shouldn't be doing this I should be doing that. So I gave him my camera and said "Go one then take some pictures." He messed with all the settings and took 15 pictures. I had to delete them all, they were rubbish. Why? Because he's a Twat.
No sorry I'm being unkind. I shouldn't call him a Twat that doesn't do the guy Justice. The Christian lobby will be after me for not being sympathetic enough. You will hate me for being intolerant of a fellow human being. You'll be thinking this isn't Mike Da Hat, he's kind and considerate. But you know it's true this guy deserves more. So I'll willingly rephrase it. He's a fucking moron. He's got the imagination of a 1960's block of flats. The brain of an ant.
he tells me his photography will be his pension. When he retires he will sell all his pics. If he lives long enough to reach retirement age. Before some chav floors him for being boring beyond belief.
Oh yes this other pic was also taken at Burghley House it's called "Two birds".... and while I've got the black dog and I don't care what I write, don't you just hate artists who spend six months on a work and then call it "Untitled". What's the matter with them haven't they the imagination to think of a title for their work? Or do they just think it's cool to call it "Untitled"? They may as well call it "I couldn't be arsed".
Yes I'm in a mood today. Don't mess with me. But the good news is the lovely Mike Da hat will be back in just two weeks time if everything goes as previous years. Where's me valium?
Anyone want to buy a life sized female shop mannequin with realistic boobs and everything? A wig will be thrown in. The flower girls next door want to sell it. Otherwise I'm gonna put it on Ebay for them, so some sad fuck can pretend he has a girl friend. Unfortunately she's rigidly in a sitting position and does not have "Three life like orifices". Apart from that....
put your bids in....

Rock on dudes

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