Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Gates Of Delerium

Morning - 'scuse the title folks, but a hero of my youth died this week - Chris Squire - an incredible musician whose early work was unfettered by all the mores of his time - he wasn't just going to play four on the floor bass . . he was going polyrhythmic AND melodic. An extraordinary approach to his chosen instrument laid down a whole new substrata of music. He was a man who wasn't afraid to tread his own, very distinct, path. A true individual.

Anyway, enuff o' zat - you'll have to bear with me, because this isnt going to be an article about photography, and yet it is an article that is ONLY ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY . . . but maybe not in the sense of snap away, 20 billion frames a second, current photography. 
Y'see, at the end of the day, as I have stressed many times, it's all well and good having eleventeen billion pictures on a memory card, triple-archived on hard drives, securely backed up in the centre of a Swiss mountain on military grade whatever . . . but if you haven't got a photograph in front of you, IN YOUR HAND, you haven't got a photograph. 
Remember a time? 
Laughter, tears, hilarity, greasy fingers, grains of salt from peanuts, drink spills, more laughter . . . yeah, wasn't so long ago was it.
The Print. 
The Snap
Where are they? 
They've vanished from folk memory like mist from a field. 
No one does them anymore - it's all fecking Facebook, fecking phones, fecking anything but the thing that matters.

Ali and I were talking last night about birthdays, and that set me thinking, it's always about the birthee not the birther.  Hail to mothers everywhere. 
I always remember my Mum on my birthday - she made a double bus journey to the hospital in the throws of early labour, and all she could think about was having an ice-cream at the end of it.
Our talk set me running to my study, flinging open a drawer in my desk, opening a folder of my 'proper' archival monochrome prints. 
Stored in there with them is an unsupposing little envelope, all safely tucked away with the big boys.
This is it.


Y'see a number of years back, I asked my Mum if she could look out some baby photographs of me - she had oodles of family photos - so she did, and bought them up, in that envelope, the last time she visited us - and in that they have resided ever since.
She's dead now.
You know, there's something about relics of your parents . . . I have an address label from a pre-paid slide processing packet written by my Dad in the 1970's and it is a precious thing. You see when your parents are gone, tiny, stupid things like bits of real writing, actually take on the burden of memory.
So, yer blog today, is a dedication to her and my Dad, and the sheer common sense of keeping pictures in envelopes (or albums) where you can easily find them without thumbing through miles and miles and miles of images only to thrust your phone in someone's face and say 
"'Ere, cop this!".

My Mum - she was always laughing

So here, in no particular order, is a history of the early life of one H. Sheephouse Esq. B.A. (A.R.S.E.)  of this parish, rendered clearly in that wonder of wonder, The Snapshot.

Dad and Me - Circa 1962

Mum and Me - Circa 1962

Droopy Undies and a Pen?
Fortelling the future methinks.

The Family Snap - again Circa '62

Dog Attack.
I remember this quite well - for some reason we were at a boat yard.

Alien Attack In Cornwall - Circa '67

Birthday at Newbury Close.
These were all friends from Barantyne Junior School in Northolt

Another birthday at Newbury Close.
Again, all friends from Barantyne, Northolt . . . and my cousin Dougie.

Zoning out after 23 slices of Cake.
My outfit would look at home on a current Doctor Who

Ah - Boy's Brigade Summer Camp, where 23p could purchase 251 tons of sweets.

My BLUE Spacehopper (for the stouter figure).
I loved that Spacehopper.

OK - maybe baby was stretching it a bit, but that was up to about the age of 11. 
And there they are, in that envelope, just sitting there, a bit dog-eared by time and lots of handling, but really, archivally, pretty damn sound.
I wonder if you can say that about a bunch of early inkjet prints? Doubt it very much.
You see what is being lost? 
Even the CEO of Google, Vint Cerf, for whom I have to say thanks for the wonder of Blogger and so on, says we are losing stuff - you can read it here
Yep, sadly a whole several generations worth of happy, wonderful, thought-provoking, warm, loving, vital, human, stuff is being shifted into an arena where you have no idea if, say in 50-odd years time, you'll be able to look at it! 
My Snaps will still be around though if they're looked after . . .
Sad isn't it.
But anyway, that is a divergence, because in the envelope, beside my treasure there was treasure of Ali's too. She was as cute as a button as a kid . . . here she is. 
She is younger than me, hence mostly colour . . 

Circa 1971/72

My Father-In-Law looks so much the boffin in this!

Ali says she loved that dress

Family Snap.
No matter how many photos you see of my Father-In-Law in the '70's, that shirt is omnipresent.

I still see this look - amazing how things are set down when you are young.

Now that's a funfair ride.
We recently re-enacted this on a proper, restored, Victorian Merry-Go-Round.

And then they were over . . . but wait, there's one more in there - this:

Left To Right:
Patricia Van Cauteren (now dead - a very generous and nice friend of ours)
Dinosaur Jon Hoad - Pure Enigma, still alive and the world's finest Dinosaur Artist (look him up)
Me and Joe
This was outside the entrance to our first proper, bought, flat.

And so a circle comes around again, and maybe in 50 or 100 years time someone will find my Snaps and wonder at them, maybe long after the words I am typing here have vanished in the ether.
Maybe they'll laugh, maybe they'll consign them to the skip of forgetfulness, who knows. All I do know, is that here and now, mine have been carefully placed back in that stupid brown envelope and have been tucked away with the big boy's prints.

Get your Snaps out and have a laugh and a cry and a reminisce and realise that these little pieces of human existence are the true gems of the modern world.

Bonus find - My Mother-In-Law.
This Print was tucked away with our snaps.
It's from 1946 and has been handled about a trillion times and is as good as new.

TTFN. Now where's that Victoria Sponge . . . .

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