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Jonah on a Bike

angel dogCycling home, shadow
Looms, as road whale swallows me
Up – from behind – whole









This is not a whale, or a cyclist, but current street art in Hackney, E9 (and that child looks ready for plankton).


There was a novel by Meera Syal called Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee which I didn’t read.  I thought I’d seen the film, but when I just read up on the plot, it didn’t really ring any bells, so maybe I didn’t watch it either.  The title however has stuck because it contains a truth, even if, in my opinion, it would trip off the tongue better with two extra syllables (an extra Ha and a Hee).  Life isn’t all…  is it?

I thought of this this morning because it is that momentous day in the school calendar called Back To School.  The shops start reminding us of the hideous fact immediately the kids get out of school in July.  I was once a kid, and I never wanted to go Back To School.  Old feelings die hard it seems because I would prefer it if my children didn’t have to either.  They, on the other hand, are rather sanguine about the whole thing (and I keep my own feelings to myself – aside from publishing them on the internet of course).  For the first time ever, the Back To School mission is staggered because the eldest is off to Big School.  (I was forbidden from calling it that months ago, even before the David Walliams comedy of the same name aired.)  Anyway, the eldest went this morning, the youngest goes back the day after tomorrow.  There is no middle child.

There are two narratives I could relate about this morning and the events prior to it.  One is quite Ha Ha Ha, Hee Hee Hee; the other is not.  This is a brief attempt  to navigate a course straight down the middle of that particular dual carriageway of life and a displacement activity from wondering how the child gets on 46 minutes into her first day at Big School.

There has been a staged intake by the school of their new year sevens.  They arrive, mainly with parents, although we saw one girl we know with her elder brother, and congregate en famille around the front door of the school prior to the allotted arrival time of 9 a.m.  We park round the corner.  I cannot get out of the car because I am not fit for public consumption, even with my sunglasses on.  My daughter finds my morning mien an embarrassment (so do I frankly) so we slump in seats (more Walliams references if you’ve seen the offending show) and appraise the children in their new blazers trotting to join the throng.  Well my daughter does, I try to be the voice of reason.  She has taken against her blazer most violently because It Does Not Fit.  I remind her that she was there, in the school outfitters, and we tried them all on.  She is Between Sizes.  It cannot be helped, it is, surely, a temporary situation and anyway she will soon have other sartorial matters to worry about, like the standard issue tie due to be doled out this morning.

Whilst she fulminates that even, ‘Bob’s blazer fits,’  ‘Bob’ being an exceptionally short 11 year old, I mention that, ‘all the girls have gone for what look like sensible shoes…’  My daughter, who prefers to interpret the uniform list to her own satisfaction, has been issued with a last minute set of emergency plasters in case her shoes rub because to my horror she has refused to put on any socks or tights.  Fair enough it is hot today, but still.  I hope she does not bring the wrath of the school uniform gods onto her head on day one.  I tell myself that it is better that they learn some of their lessons straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, than a parent ruins their whole summer arguing about such matters…

I have done what I can.  She has been issued with the mini first aid kit in case of inevitable blisters; she has ten pounds for some fingerprint-based monetary system that is too new-fangled for me to understand and also a new eyebrow pencil (don’t ask).  She will survive.  As we watched a friend of hers disappear round the corner with her mum (who was wiping away a tear), the step-father, the younger brother and the dog, I knew that we have a certain kind of approach to these things (minimalist on the surface and a lot of angsting underneath) and other families their own.  There is no right way of doing it.  I  do hope she is alright, but she is on her own now, for another five hours and three minutes.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll buy her some pop socks.  It will fill some time.

viana street art


Before I post the results of Space to Create, which was a lovely day despite some of my evident conceptual and manual dexterity difficulties, I just thought I would credit yesterday’s street art piece and post another someone kindly emailed me the other week.

Stik is a street artist closely associated with the place where my heart lies, Hackney. You can see more of his work here. It seems that although all stick people are created equal, some are more artistically endowed than others.

Scriven St E8

Scriven St E8

Hoardings: a visual antidote to ranting

The last post had me stirred up and I needed to balance the blog up a bit, so…

I have a bit of a thing about photographing hoardings. When you get the photos home and fiddle a bit you can uncover layers that you couldn’t see with the naked eye. I think the coloured squares must be painted onto the wood to hide the graffiti, otherwise why would so many hoardings have these squares on them. Why would anyone care anyway, except me. Basically I’m uncovering what’s hidden under the paint, on here. Unhiding things, yes, that’s a bit of me I suppose. The graffiti isn’t worthy or interesting, it’s not even tagging really, but I can relax when I’m working with the images. On this occasion the image with the blue line on the edge was the one that got me the most. No matter what, the blue line, some sort of oil-based paint I think, always gives the appearance of hovering over the wood, not being painted on it. You don’t get the sense of this at all in situ. I might go back and take some more of that.

Perhaps I need a new blog devoted to photos of hoardings. Now, that’s an antidote to nearly everything…





Snappin da hood ~ day 3

I’m being controversial and leaving out the apostrophes today.

Taken in the *middle of the road about 50 yards from here, outside the water company’s yard.

*I was at risk of being squished, so it was one hasty snap and done.

Snapping the ‘hood ~ day 2

Now I think this short series should perhaps have been titled ‘Snappin Da Hood’, but never mind.

This is about 50 yards from my house, on the door of a boarded up pub. The pub has been bought and the purchaser has applied for planning to develop flats. This seems to be the way of the world now. It’s a lovely Arts & Crafts building; I’d like to get in there and take some black and white photographs some time.

Snapping the ‘hood

For the rest of this pre-Jubilee week, I am going to keep my words to myself (if I can) and concentrate on taking photos of things to be found in my immediate neighbourhood.

I am starting with Marilyn, who is going to be a hard act to follow…

I papped this celebrity about 75 metres due north of my house.

Still got ♥ for the streets

I’ve had the tune in my head this afternoon. I bought Dr Dre’s CD ‘2001’, as you did in 1999 (how quickly things change), in New York and played it all the time when I got home. I can’t stand the video, but then I can’t stand the video to another of my top ten hip hop/rap tunes, ‘California Love’, by Tupac (also with Dr Dre) either.

It’s all about the choons. Here are some pictures that will take care of the visuals, in place of the videos.

Sing along if you want.

I’m listening…

…To the Art of Melancholy by Marcella Detroit