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Posts by iantimothy1

Understanding?

 

Books Hold Information

Books Hold Information

‘Where Aladdin Cave?’

‘First left, first right, first left’.

‘Where Aladdin Cave?’

‘First left, first right, first left’.

The man could not speak English and although he knew where he wanted to get to, he could not understand the directions of how to get there.  It’s a common problem.  This needing, wanting or desiring to get to a destination and not being able to find it.

Money – Qualification – Emotional – Creativity – Four words which when thought about carefully are realised to be the cornerstones of human security.

Material security, without it problems arise, unhappiness rules and relationships collapse.  ‘Money cannot buy you love’.  Maybe.  Truth to tell poverty breaks relationships.  Its better to be materially secure than not.

Qualification is often the way to material security.  A mother comments ‘My son’s a doctor’. The reality is the son will probably be materially secure. The other side is ‘Sorry you don’t have the necessary qualification’.  And menial work is often the only way to earn a living.  This work is often poorly paid and low wages are very often a source of discord.

Emotional security is like the summit of a mountain and to get to the top one has to climb the sometimes long and difficult pathways known as material and intellectual security.  On the summit the mountaineer can raise a flag for all to see, on the flag the word creativity.  Because the human who becomes materially, intellectually and emotionally secure is free to create whatever is his desire.

Some would call this spiritual attainment. A place where one is with the creative spirit.  It’s interesting that a man can create an idea in his mind and even though many believe all great ideas begin in thought remember they are fulfilled by material effort. The computer I’m using is not only the idea, it’s the thousands of people involved in designing and making it. Without the ‘employee’s’ Steve Jobs would never have taken over the our lives. Innovator yes, however make no mistake, if he had not formed Apple another man or woman would have created a similar product. (I accept this is debatable).

Another example of when thought is turned into money is art. Words on paper, pictures on canvas, words in a song.  These are the artistic thoughts which stimulate the mind and humans buy the story, image or sound.  Yes, there will be thousands of people involved in the production of the medium on which the art is printed. So the creative though brings material security to those who spread the message. But think of this, you see a picture your mind holds the image, read the book the mind remembers the story, hear the song the tune is sung. Art brings emotional happiness as much as any possession. Why else would people travel miles to see a picture, listen to a star sing or watch the latest Bond film?

And effort is needed to find emotional security.  Money and intellectual attainment may bring some security.  But until the man or woman comes to know the feeling’s of compassion, caring, love, and happiness brings to the inner being and the physical body they can never be complete or wholesome within their lives.  And be certain the physical and emotional security is what we crave for.  And this is why the fool chases ‘the ace’ and the conjuror keeps giving the fool a taste of what could be.  The iPhone, the fast car, the big house, these are the ‘aces’ in the magicians bag.  And who are the magicians? They are idolised for the deception. They know the weakness’s of man-cruel and their magic is deception in plain sight.

Fast Car = God To Some

Fast Car = God To Some

Most have an occasional taste of emotional security.  Few enjoy the banquet which comes from inviting the guests of material, intellectual, emotional and creative security to their table.  The truth is the majority find it just to difficult to prepare the meal, preferring to sit at the table in the cheep and unfulfilling fast food outlet.

And what of the man trying to find the hardware shop known as Aladdin’s Cave?  He knew where he wanted to get to.  His problem was twofold.  One he could not speak English and second he was ignorant to the protocol of being polite.  Had he had taken the time to learn just a little more about the terrain he was exploring, his understanding would have given him the knowledge to achieve the objective.

My book, ‘Never Let Anything Worry You’ Expands upon the idea of ‘Selfness’ and living within reality. You can click on the link below to see the listing on Kindle.

Discipline – A Difficult Act in a Hard World

 

A few paragraphs from my soon to be published book ‘Twenty Though’s Two’

Light In Darkness

Light In Darkness

Discipline – A Difficult Act in a Hard World

After writing there comes a time when the ideas are re-read.  Within the re-reading I learn about myself and on occasion have changed the way I think about certain subjects. No doubt my opinions are hard, callous, caustic. Being part of an inhuman race has made me this way. Its not that I do not see good in some people.  There seems to be a meanness in the majority. I’ve been duped more than a few times, misjudged many who I thought were nice and turned out to be frauds.  Nothing more than consummate actors playing the illusion of life to perfection.  I’ve seen the fraudulent ways of these devils and I find it difficult to trust without really getting to know someone. Indeed I feel its often not worth the effort to bring new people into my life. I am frustrated with the sycophantic nature of the human condition. Deception runs deep in societies hierarchy. It is this intentional deception, used to empower those at the top of the poison ivy which concerns me and the ability of so many to follow them and their lies leads me to mistrust those I do not know. The evidence is the voter knows the politician lies and deceives and still votes for them! The lack in discipline and weakness of the majority of humans is the paradox. Believing they are free within their slavery. And voting for false promises prove their ineptitude to make sensible choices.

Forgiveness is not a piece in the jigsaw puzzle of my character.  Be clear, my contempt for illusionist deceivers is so deep there is no desire understand them or forgive them. In truth they are greedy, evil and contemptuous, I see through these fraudsters, I wish I could have done so in my earlier years.  Anyone who has hurt me, even if I am the source of the hurt, will never be forgiven for the pain and damage done to my emotions.  Once I would have said I was damaged, hurt and angry.  Now I have no concern for any other than myself.  I ask for nothing and I’ll give nothing. My previous generosity was seen as weakness and I know I was once laughing stock.  My remaining years are built on a fortress of hard earned wisdom and make no mistake I would pour boiling oil on any who attempt to impinge upon my wellbeing. Strange thing is ‘silence’ is the scalding defence.

It’s the way of many a human living the lieThe illusion is the need to be seen as nice, good, thoughtful, good parent, hard worker, savvy with money, building for the future, social conformist.  I accept these ideals will work for many families and individuals as long as they are within the ‘dream’.  Yes, people say ‘I’m living the dream’. If it’s a dream it’s unreal.  What of the failures? And there are many of them. What cost?  The broken relationships, children running wild, turning feral, adultery, bigotry, lies, theft, smugness, greed, pain, cruelty, tears, these examples and what they represent are hidden behind some facades of happiness.  The hammer of experience continues to strike the anvil of life and it will break or mould the human.  Conform the human.  Beat the human into the requirements of the social system. Or will the human’s metal fracture under the process?

If I’d known why and how malicious and dangerous the human being can be when I was younger and not seen only the good in man, my life would have been a heaven, not the hell once lived in.  Friendships and relationships, were sinking ships, people walked all over me, took advantage with a Fagin smile.  If I’d known the truth, the real truth, I would have worked in bars, travelled the world, taken pictures and written books.  Marriage, relationships, family?  No, these are contracts I should not have signed or become part of.  Commitment to people is not one of my greatest strengths. I am cynic and now trust very few people.  Those who were part of my past are of no consequence to me today.  Many of them stole from me and I write not of money, their thefts made me pauper and in my poverty I became thief.  I describe my past this way…

Old World

Old World

Circles, wheels slowly turning, time passing and returning to the same stagnant time, the clock stops, overwound, anger, breakdown, hatred and being hated, thoughts of suicide.  No discipline, nothing. 

This essay is titled  Discipline – A Difficult Act in a Hard World. And what would the last four paragraphs have to do with the title?  Discipline is one of the many keys needed to live a comfortable life. A disciplined mind will follow a set path to a goal and is able to deal with slight deviations as the journey progress’s.

I’m a traveller and soon I will be on a journey which should have begun years ago.  And even though age is a draw back, technology has made the future easy.  MacBook, Canon camera, a voice recorder will enable me to wander Earth, record my thoughts, write my madness, angers, loves and frustrations. This is my time to write whatever I like, in whatever way I wish. A free-flow of words taking me from one paragraph to the next. Thats how I want to live.  One episode to the next, see where it takes me and I have the disciple to do it.

Man is a pilgrim on the road to the cathedral of ‘success’.  This is the route many fall by the wayside.  Birth – Education – Application – Success and Failure – Accumulation – A time for rest – And Death.  Many believe this to be the perfect formula or religion to happiness.  Living within the control of the ‘Establishment’ and still believing themselves to be free.  Looking at the success of their families and saying ‘I did this, their success is down to ME’.  For me it’s boring, mundane, pointless. The writer should study his fellow humans and he will discover his or her truth.  Do not think, I wish I were rich, famous or genius, this ‘chase’ seems a long odds gamble.  I spent some time in Hollywood and Burbank last year and watched thousands of tourists looking at the film studios, stars homes and the walk of fame.  I was bored with the glitz interested in the tourists. A Visit to the large and beautifully tended grave yards high above Los Angeles with the deer wandering through the trees was fascinating.  Small headstone epitaphs of once famous stars, just a name, no flowers. I asked a young man ‘Do you know George Raft was?’ I already knew ‘NO’ would be the answer.  If the famous are forgotten what hope have the minions?   You may argue ‘They’re remembered in their films’.   I’ll answer ‘Thats entertainment! Not life’.

‘Building a Castle or Playing a Game?’

Building Castles ?

Building Castles ?

‘Building a castle or playing a game?’

On Sunday I had an interesting half hour with my friend Richard Abbot.  When in dialogue with him you can be certain of an intelligent, thought provoking and humorous conversation.  We covered some interesting ideas and I was reminded of two ideas worth careful reflection.

I agree with Richard. When younger we’re more resilient to emotional and intellectual conundrums, certainly the teenage years are tumultuous times.  A man can become renegade, addict or famous.  He may marry too early and stifle his future. Or he may become involved with a life long project of security.  Truth to tell most of us can overcome any teenage difficulty. I do not include terrible traumatic situations, rape, abuse or violence within this essay, these are difficulties many struggle with through their entire life.  My belief is in line with my friends opinion, when younger resilience is stronger and we’re more able to move on.

In the twenties it becomes a little more difficult.  The mind is building a circular wall, the draw bridge is open, the moat is not too deep.  We can become defensive and we know when to throw the invaders out of our castle, which incidentally is still visible, in this decade few need to hide anything.  So life is teaching us lessons and a fortress of confidence is being built. The castle is becoming or almost hidden behind the defences.

Into the third decade the moat is deeper and if all is going well family live in the castle, friends visit and if one is sensible the drawbridge is looked after and kept strong.  When the difficulties in life fire the catapult or attempt to batter down the door and if the ‘plan’ is working the fortress stays strong and defeat is never a word considered.

For some, the attack is too much, the drawbridge falls, portcullis breached, walls climbed and the family broken, confidence breaks.  A Cromwell style army of ‘professionals’ blow up the defences in order break down the threat. And now repair becomes more difficult.

The need is for a new beginning in a time when the fallen knight or maiden believes there is no more. Life is on the homeward journey. Four decades passed, years wasted.  Reflections of what was, could have been, and realisations which are difficult to face.  Who has not said or thought,  ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’.  And here many will stay, in the ruins, becoming bitter, blaming others and building a facade around their lives.

In my conversation with Richard I was reminded of an exception, a turnaround.

Sometimes when the darkest hour has dimmed the soul and the light of the spirit is so low its like a glowing candle wick.  We will meet a fountain of life, another human who will talk not with compassion or false hope.  They will talk of the realities.  Show the way to future and help us to walk away from the past, and walk away from the past looking forward.

Many walk backwards into their future.  The keep looking at past situations, people and what if’s.  As they walk backwards into their future they cannot see the opportunities or obstacles ahead in time.  If we meet an individual who can literally ‘turn us around’ the future becomes a reality. We collect the beneficial and walk around problems.  Yes, we all have met or know a navigator who’ll guide us back onto the right path. Truth to tell we often do not like them!

The Navigator understands ‘The Needs of Life’. And though the ascension of life attains the grade called ‘Adept’. He or she combines wisdom and understanding which becomes knowledge.  The Adept does not concern his or herself with the situations or difficulties which they see as they have a clear separation between external situations and their selves.  They continue to learn about the certainties of life, experience, skills, facts, information, which when combined with happiness, pleasure, freedom become the love of life.

There is nothing other than their right way.  And the Adept does not advise or show a ‘way’.  The Adept leads by example.  Believe me when I write, ‘If you follow a fool, a fool you will be’.  The Adept follows no man and knows he has created his world, no one to blame, no one to forgive, no one other than his or herself.  And the Adept has the wisdom to understand that he will effect other other lives in a beneficial and beautiful way.  No talk of magic, cures and riches.  For the Adept will cast his own spell for himself, hard work, sensible material choices, living within his limitations.  He will not be in fear of death and illness. He knows the difference between riches and wealth.

Far, far from being restricted by age, if we become Adept we can refocus our attention upon the right, good and accurate archives of knowledge and wisdom our memories hold in safekeeping.  Think about this mantra, ‘I know now, what I know now and this is more than enough’, if you wish to remove the oft repeated and negative mantra ‘What a fool I’ve been’.

Every human can be Adept! The majority are walking backwards.

Acting The Fool ?

Acting The Fool ?

If you’re a writer its worth considering that the understanding of the ways of your fellow man is as important as the building of a character.  Alan Sillitoe’s character Arthur Seaton is a lathe operator in the Raleigh Bike factory in Nottingham.  Now, if you read the masterpiece of human observation ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’, you’ll discover Arthur is an Adept.  He knows the truth of his life, the reader may not like him, but during his narratives there is no mistaking his material, intellectual, emotional and spiritual beliefs and convictions.  As far as Arthur is concerned his lathe makes his fortune and the way he can achieve the best possible return on units of bearings produced on the lathe against the effort needed to ‘turn them out’  is central to his working life and he excels, making a great wage.  Intellectually he does not like the rich, as he understands their motivation of greed, although the astute reader will see he has fallen to the same trap! Outwardly he seems childish as he amuses himself with strange stories and practical jokes, truth to tell he knows the system and ridicules it. Emotionally he understands pain, cruelty and the ‘ways of love’. He preys upon married women in unhappy relationships, indeed he is badly beaten for his exploits and even here his philosophy is endearing as he accepts the ‘punishment’ and moves on.  The book is a wonder of accurate human observation which has a plausibility to it.  Because the story is being lived today, in every town and city the world over.  Money, adultery, revenge, uncertain outcome.  Nothing is new and its easy to reflect upon the fiction. However if this story becomes a reality and if the actors in the play are not too careful, when the game is over, they will find themselves to be walking backwards into their future.

The question is, ‘Building a castle or playing a game?’

Happy Birthday Richard.

Murderous Thoughts

My fellow commuters know me to be a jovial, kind and generous man, indeed the delightful Miss Penny (A telephone receptionist) once asked “Mr Bruntingthorpe, how can you be so happy”? I looked into her violet eyes and with honesty I replied “It’s my wife, my dear” And she settled back to her romantic novel, secure in the knowledge she was in company of a delightful man.

A paragraph from the short story ‘Mr Bruntingthorpe’ which can be found in my latest book ‘Flash Fiction and Short Stories’.

Wanted

Wanted ~  Memories and Dates in the Past

Murderous Thoughts

When a character is murdered within one of my stories he will meet his demise by a feasible method.  Baseball bat, knife, strangulation, drowning or poison and his death will usually be a swift one. Real murder is most often a spontaneous crime and the assailant is safer if the act is swiftly executed, so as to make good his flight from the scene of crime.

If one is writing about revenge attacks and murder then, torture and prolonged misery is warranted within the description.  It seems female writers are more adept at describing horrendous and sustained methods of murder or revenge. And male writers are like myself tend to describe the method in a more definitive way. The human enjoys the murder mystery and I wonder why.  The macabre is a popular subject for any writer to enjoy.  Books written about zombies are the biggest sellers of all! People like death.

Who would commit murder?

Some years ago I considered murdering a woman.  And as the source of my anger (one has to be angry to plot a murder) was a matter of the heart I decided a representation of Eros’s arrow by the way of a crossbow bolt was to be the instrument of demise. I envisaged the bolt being released and penetration the heart and as she fell to the ground her last thoughts would be of sorrow and shame.  At this time I had access to lethal poisons.  The other party would die a difficult death as the chemical destroyed the liver and kidneys.  Best of all the poison has a bitter taste, he lived alone and I knew how to get into his house… Coffee jar here I come! Soon my thoughts wandered.  How could I kill the woman and frame him for the murder, this became a far more interesting proposition and for a number of weeks I worked upon the conundrum.  Fortunately, time and new friends are great healers and by the time the plan had been honed to perfection I no longer cared about the situation. There has to be a very good reason to take the risk.

The hatred of the victim must outweigh, risk of detection and punishment. Pre-meditation of a murder and then the fulfilment of the crime really does justify a higher tariff when the judge passes sentence and this deterrent must be effective. This is one of the reasons most murders are spontaneous crimes.  Rarely is the result of killing the victim so gratuitous that the punishment is of no importance, and this type of character can make a story captivating.

Even the good have a breaking point.

A good friend recently told me of his meeting with a man who had made a vindictive comment about his character on a social website.  I had read it, there’s no doubt the words were the strength of sulphuric acid and the scars left although not visible had had an effect. As he relived the meeting I realised the slanderous villain would have been very near to a beating. The kind, generous friend said to me ‘Ian, it frightened me, I really wanted to kill him’ No one who knows this fellow can see him other than a pacifist who genuinely cares for his friends, he continued ‘God knows how I controlled myself, all I wanted to do was to put my hands around his throat and choke the life out of him’. Everyone has a breaking point.

I have known three victims.

One a victim of a road rage stabbing. The second shot by her father and the third is a recent tragedy so I’ll not be writing of the details in this essay.  What I know for certain is the three were kind, happy, truthful and loving, yes, they were superb human beings and it was a privilege to have known them. Two knew their assailants and this is an interesting observation, because in a world where many are in fear of strangers, statistics show people known to us can become our most dangerous foe.  And the effect of the crime is like a ripple from the epicentre effecting many people, family, friends, investigators, jury and the social system.  On a personal level the third murder turned around many beliefs and to my mind  affirmed that the grace of forgiveness cannot always be given.

Lessons learned which the writer may consider.

Live each moment as if it is your last.  Walk away from conflict.  Rise above vindictiveness. Refuse to become involved in petty argument or contribute to the argument of friends.  Ignore public displays of hatred or derogatory comments made by fools, the best way to deal with criticism is to ignore it, as the moment one takes up the sword it is difficult to put it down without being seen to be bully or defeated, either way the knight becomes the loser.

I believe the best authors understand and empathise with the human condition and each time his character does not walk away from conflict, does not rise above vindictiveness, becomes involved in petty arguments, the writer has the story!

The successful writers understand the mind. How did Colin Dexter make Inspector Morse such a powerful character?  He made him, the crimes and methods used by the murderer/s believable.  It seems to me that the hard hitting excess in some stories can quickly become boring.  Working the plot and giving the characters difficulties to be overwhelmed based upon feasible parameters makes for excellent and powerful reading.

Man’s most evil act

It’s interesting to me man’s most evil act – That of taking another mans life is the subject of one his most enjoyed pastimes.  Murder mysteries, stories, serial killers, homicidal maniacs.  Is it violence, right defeating wrong (sometimes) or the conundrum of solving the mystery which appeals?

The crime is fictitious and does not effect the reader. The crime is reality and the reader finds it horrific. If the taking of life can effect the sane man with disgust, why is it acceptable within fiction? Does fictional murder serve another purpose?  Is the ability to watch and explore a drama help with being able to cope with other situations?  Does play acting and attempting to solve the mystery help when we have to:-

1. Understand.

2. Accept.

3. Reason.

4. Care.

5. Forgive.

6. Forget.

…The realities of actual events within our lives.  Is this the crux of fictional writing?  When the reader becomes immersed into unreal situations which are paradoxically attuned to inner fears is the reader more involved in the drama?  Does the drama train the mind, exorcise the devils within the psyche? The writer who can harness this thought will make the story lines sparkle.

What happens when you think about your greatest fear and write a story around it?  It becomes alive because you understand it.  Could the enjoyment of the murder mystery have another aspect to it? Could the murder story represent other situations?  What happens if the killer represented global warming, destruction of the rain forest and the victim is the human race, the planet Earth? Is the drama a powerful reflection upon society?  Its even possible the drama is a gateway to the acceptance of the annihilation of cultural traditions.  The realities are unseen killers, global warming, over population, poverty, these are all killers many humans seem to accept as an inevitable consequence of the play of existence.

When the politician talks of peace he’s often taking about war and death.  We live  within an ever changing environment on a planet which is a victim terrible neglect, are we not all murderer’s? Is it possible the minds conscience use’s fiction as an escape valve?  If you are a writer this is an aspect worthy of consideration.

I give copies of my short stories for my friends to read and after reading a story called ‘The Meal’ I asked my critic what she felt. ‘Oh! I hated her, I knew someone just like the hag, and I was so pleased with the stories end, I feel better for reading it’ !  If Di is the only person who enjoys the character I’m happy.  We write for ourselves and maybe writing is about freeing ones own demons.

The writer who understands and takes time to work out how to connect to a man or woman’s inner fears, so as the reader can experience them though their imagination may not write a masterpiece, he will write work which stays within the mind of the reader.

The Plague Infected Doctor

The Plague Infected Doctor

Over the last few weeks I have meditated upon my life.  Within the mind-scapes I sometimes saw images of individuals had I disliked and I discovered they now have no effect on my emotions.  As the situations of the encounters were reviewed in the cinema of my mind, I watched myself and saw a fault to my persona.

All humans at some time or another have enter into conversations aimed at breaking a reputation of a foe. I used to be a devil for it.  It’s a fact I relished the opportunity to ‘level’ any of my enemies.  I realised this negative attitude was a reason that sometimes my life became restricted, or even collapsed in failure.  I’m not joking, what must people have thought of me?

It’s a difficult, even painful realisation, that conversations where elements of disparagement, spite, vindictiveness, hate, or any negative thought is the essence of the dialogue, it’s the conversationalists who are the victims not the subject. What fool was I not to have listened to myself more carefully? Not doubting the damage caused I wonder just how much the effect this negative trait has had to my happiness.

My self reflection came at a time when I was non too well.  Recovering after a second operation and having to undergo another in the future makes one think about ones whole life. I do not care who you are, what you think you know or how much money you have. The most important possession is the body and if it is ailing the perspectives of life change. As I repair, I look around my environment and realise (with certainty) every single interaction will have an effect upon our very being.  And being able to exorcise (or do I mean expose)? Ones inner values is an incredibly powerful exercise which helps with recovery.

Today if someone said to me ‘Hey! Ian Mrs X is a fraud’  I’d answer ‘Are we not all to some degree frauds?’  Fraud is a deception and who has not deceived themselves and others at one or more stages of their life? This realisation takes my mind into differing tributary’s of the initial meditation.

Surly the moment we enter into a conversation with a human we do not like, trust, or even hate, we have entered into a lie or deception?  When working in the corporate world I saw there were many who smiled at the leader and hated his shadow.  Have you followed a man or woman you disliked? Or could not agree with their policies? What real effect did this self betrayal have upon your well-being, confidence, happiness?  Would your inner being thank you if you say to yourself ‘No more self deception’?  Try it, see what happens within your mind.  When you stand in front of someone you do not like and say within your mind ‘You do not frighten me’. Because that’s the answer isn’t it?  Fear.  Fear of disagreeing because one is worried about the effects the truth may have.  Fear of the human you are denouncing, as the moment one enters into criticism of a man you are showing your fear of him? Perhaps, although this aspect is worth real consideration.

What happens when you meditate upon truth?  For example, using mantras like ‘I do not really care about the situation, his divorce, her excess, wayward daughter, son who is a thief, addicted child’?  And go on to make the meditation even deeper by asking – ‘I am my most important person and why should I feel guilty for who I am’? Will my inner-being answer ‘I do not like this truth’?

So must I be truthful to myself or do I make exceptions? Do I play a game of snakes and ladders?  Climbing when I’m in control of my life and descending when another negatively influences me against my nature?  There can be no compromise.  Its black or white.  Truth or lie.  Right or wrong.  Be who I am or fail at being something else.

A girl in the street asks ‘Have you got one minute of your time’?  I answer ‘No, my time is running out and I give what I can afford to a charity of my personal choice‘  And then I wonder to myself.  I ask myself… lets see how this works… And say – ‘Tell me about your charity’ I listen.  The commitment, requirement, kindness (her words) will give a feeling of happiness and you will feel great about yourself for helping someone not as fortunate as yourself (this must be scripted) – The hammer hits the anvil and the commitment is…

…A twenty pounds a month standing order! It is a two hundred and forty pounds a year commitment, a weeks wages after tax!  This is what the charity agent asked me for!  She wanted me to make that commitment, after a five minute conversation in the middle of the street. This worlds’s a crazy place! And people MUST be falling for the sales pitch. This is my truth – I am happy to live within my means, beliefs and happiness. Knowledge is the power to happiness, comfort and peace. Oneness, selfness, self respect, inner comfort are the wisdoms within this knowledge. No man owes me anything, no man is my charity.

Why should I add to the difficulties of others?  I ask the reader to meditate carefully upon this question and perhaps there will be a realisation of the most profound dimension. A Big Issue seller asks ‘Big Issue Sir’?  With a cigarette hanging from his mouth.  The beggar ‘Have you the price for a coffee’? He stinks of drink, dope and no-hope. Why? Why should I have to contribute and place myself in material difficulty and inner conflict? Because of the weakness of an addict, who ruins his life, requires support, stands on the street and demands to be supported.  His life is not an easy, how can it be? Why should I feel sorry or fell obliged to help? The beggars and charity fishers take me further.

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, give him a net and he’ll feed himself forever.  What happens if he does not like to fish and sells the net?  I look around the City’s beggars, issue and charity seller’s and in ten years nothing changed.  Cynical?  Bet your life on it. I am not charitable!  Nor can I be compassionate towards those who are able and will not help themselves. If the body is fit and the mind healthy then in the western world at least no man should have to freeload from another. I will not be subject to charities emotional blackmail, I cannot give that which I do not have.  And I am not writing about money.

I reflect, meditate, my mind spins within the possibilities…  

  1. Those in difficulty who take advise or listen to fools will do nothing other than perpetuate their troubles.
  2. Many ‘advisors’ are not within the happiness they believe they can bring to others.  They seem to be like plague infected doctor treating a patient for tooth ache.  The patient does not wish to visit the dentist and the ‘doctor’ wishes to infect any she can with her disease.
  3. If the healer is not of sound material, mental, emotional and spiritual mind surly they are not qualified to help? Do their own failures prove their inability?
  4. Are the managers of charities plague infected doctors?
  5. Is it in the charities interest to see an end to poverty?
  6. Learn from a winner and success will be the outcome.
  7. Listen to an illusionist and when the ‘trick’ is revealed one feels deceived.
  8. And all of the people I ask tell me it is wrong to be selfish, mean, without compassion.  Why?  Why should I not investigate other aspects of my environment?  Are my personal realisations wrong?

What happens when one decides to relinquish guilt, non-sense, illusion, pipe dreams, even friends who harbour negative attitude?  Initially there is a vacuum or vacancy.  A feeling as if something is missing, as indeed there is.  Because what is known is this.  Being unhappy takes far more effort than being happy. I am learning so much from examining the infrastructure I live in and comparing it to my own life.  Is this why have written about, spite, charity, healers and selfness in this short essay?  I am now questioning all irrational thoughts and ideas. For some reason the word empirical is becoming important to me. No not for some reason, the need for certainty is becoming of paramount importance.

I have learned more about my life during illness than fifty years of health. I discovered my most terrible failing.  It was (and I mean WAS) the disparagement of others. Who could know the damage I have caused myself? I decide to let all men and women be within their own place.  I care not a fig for those who dislike or criticise my attitude, beliefs or thoughts, I write the sentiment ‘Each to their own’ as these four words form a fertile base to find inner peace and contentment.

We can either take the right path or we can form treacherous beliefs and become the plague infected doctor. Thoughts guide or deceive and riddles are solved in meditation and self reflection, how strange the mind is to play such tricks!  Within a deep appraisal of the world around me, my world, for this world is mine, in totality, I’m discovering answers.  And, I am at the centre of my world.  Everything I see, feel, hear, taste and touch makes my world.  That’s the key isn’t it?  We are either concentric, within our world and expand outward from the centre and the circular walls or circles of wisdom, understanding, love, intellect, reason, emotion expand outward from our mind to protect our well being or we are ex-centric and without or out of control of our being, the pressures and influences of society negatively effect our existence. If the World is yours there is control. If the World is someone else’s they control you.

Of cause there is the paradox that even though a man knows himself rich, intelligent or superior.  The truth is he owns nothing, as when the body enters the final sleep all becomes the property of another. And life is used (as indeed you use your life) in the pursuit of what?  Trinkets, homes and people?  Without a passing thought to the certainty that what senses this world, that which reads this essay, is the most valuable possession of all. And if one already possesses the most valuable of all riches, why is it damaged in the pursuit of items which can never be owned?

  1. If I see poverty, I am not the man able to change it.
  2. If I see greed, I’m unable to stop it.
  3. If I see war, what can I do?

All I can be is the centre of my existence and know my opinion is of naught to another.

How can I…

  1. Contribute to a negative opinion of another human again?
  2. Play ‘Snakes and Ladders’ with my life?
  3. Give materially, intellectually, emotionally or spiritually to anything I do not believe in?
  4. Betray my beliefs to advantage my material life?
  5. Become within any form of debt?
  6. Have concern for those who will not show willing to help themselves?
  7. Contribute to something I see no answer to?

In my original meditation the question was ‘Is Your World A Happy Environment?’  My answer is the environment which surrounds me is one which holds pains and unhappiness. In truth, the plights are perpetuated by those who need them. What would happen if men and women said ‘I’m no longer prepared to live a terrible life like this’?  And they decided to live a happy, contented and peaceful life? Well, that is exactly what would happen!  What if the terrorist said ‘I’m no longer going to murder innocent people’ That is what would happen.  All is choice, action perpetuates and cultivates the seed of idea behind it.

Realise a fault, accept it, change it and what happens? We adapt to the new beginnings. Realise the environment is fine. Its those within it who have polluted it, the polluters need to change, not the territory they destroy. For my mind the corporations who bleed the African Continent should be made to feed the starving, pay for the drugs, build homes for the native.  And the western government’s who start the wars within other countries and loan the dictators money for arms. Later a debt is owed for the weapons and this debt enables the suppliers to steal the resources of a country now ravaged by man’s most evil creation. Should I be critic of these evil men and women?  It is futile to ask… I can do nothing nor can you.

What if I write it is my intention to be happy, return to health and wealth and I only work toward these three goals? And to help me achieve these ends I will not contribute to anything other than my personal environment and one previous commitment.  What will be the outcome? In spite of the injustices which pollutes my environment. I will succeed.  That is the way of selfness.

Long Journey – Nothing Changes

Were All Camping on Earth!

Were All Camping on Earth!

Long Journey – Nothing Changes

The mileage between my City and Chertsey in the county of Surrey is around 137 miles.  M1, M25 Junction 11. Turn first exit left at both of the two roundabouts, third right, to the T-junction then turn left the house is on the right. There will be other ways to get to the destination although this is the one I used.  I will never go to the house to collect a photo paper dryer again.  If I were asked return in five years time I could follow the route as easily as ABC. I mention this as maps, routes, journeys are a little like life. Once travelled the journey is rarely forgotten and from my description of the route you could use it too. Our reputations are like routes on a map some encounter or travel with us for a while, some times its an easy road, sometimes not. Indeed the often used phrase ‘Journey of Life’ needs no explanation.

The drive had one interesting moment I’ll remember for some time. It was an exceptionally wet day.  On a fast motor-way the rain produces the inevitable spray from the truck wheels. For the keen observer this wave of water guides to the driving abilities of those overtaking the heavy vehicles.  Hesitation, holding back, indecisive manoeuvres indicate a novice, inexperienced of unconfident driver.  One seemed to be in a trance as I overtake.  I watch the face, a blank stare looking ahead.  Hands are gripped tight on the steering wheel.  As I watch, the driver almost telepathically senses my eyes,  look to the right and shouts at me.  Impossible to hear the words, no doubting they’re expletives of anger.

Rage grips the driver the car accelerates through the spray.  Once in front of me the charcoal BMW cuts into my lane.  And on they go… the brake lights.  Driver  attempting to get me to run into the back of the car.  A second heavy braking and then a third.  The deceleration has taken me and the following traffic down to 30 miles per hour.  Trucks go by in the left hand lanes and one of the professional  drivers looks at me and shakes his head.  The car accelerates away and pulls across the motor-way into lane one.  As I drive by I do not look at the lunatic. From the corner of my eye its clear the driver is still as mad as a carpenter who’s just flattened his thumb with a hammer, still shouting into the void of the vehicles interior. I wonder at the venom this person has within their being.  I’m fascinated by the power of a stare, I, a stranger amongst thousands of strangers has effected another humans life with a casual glance in time.

Fear is a weird emotion. I’m assuming… No I’m sure the driver was anxious when passing through the spray. And when I happened to glance to my left and eyes met eyes the other human believed I saw the fear.  Or was it the incompetent driving?  I saw the incompetence and the driver flipped, was angry with their fear, I’m sure this was the reason for the somewhat risky punishment I had to go through. The action taken was truly criminal in its methodology.  What if my two tonne pickup truck had hit the car?  Pushing it into the barrier or across into the heavy lorries to my left? Other people killed, maimed or injured.  And then the lies.  No doubt there would have been lies. “He ran into me.  I felt intimidated”  And the lies and excuses would have continued.  And then the video recording of the heavy braking and two more deliberate attempts to cause injury or death would settle the argument.  The possibility of one moron driver kills or maims other and initially shouts “Innocent”. The mirror camera reveals the truth… “Guilty”.  And this situation has happen to you at some time, many have encountered the danger breaker.

Was I to blame for the drivers anger?  The answer MUST be no.  Did I do something to seed to the attempted murder? The answer MUST be yes.  The driver knew I was concerned for the way the car was being driven.  Hesitation and light braking are indicators of poor driving ability.  The thought patten is anxiety, fear, anger, adrenalin, flee. Very often once the mistake is made there is a need to find reason for ones failing and the easy way is to blame someone else.

I’m not writing about driving standards.  I do not care how good a driver you think you are.  You are as good as the worst driver on the road.  A drunk overtakes in front of oncoming cars, a driver swerves to miss him and crosses the road and hits another car head on. All in the resulting collision are killed.  Later an investigation concludes that if the driver had braked heavily and avoided impact with the drunk no one would have been injured.  The drunk is never found.

This essay is based upon thoughts of right and wrong.  Control and anger.  Frustration born of ones inadequacies.  Accepting responsibility for ones actions.  Believing others do not see through facades.

At the market a woman slips on a puddle.  Her arm and back sustained heavy bruising and strains in the fall.  The water was spilled by an individual who couldn’t care less for the potential danger of water on a smooth concrete floor.  A safety officer investigates the incident and during the interview he is told “I don’t know what your f*&king talking about.  I would never spill water and not let the cleaners be aware of the danger. F^*k-Off”.  And when he was shown the surveillance video he declared “So what its only a fall”.  His mind set is ‘Get it wrong’… Deny it.  ‘Proven culpable’… It doesn’t matter.  And for good measure he becomes aggressive and abusive toward the man who seeks to discover the facts of the incident, and the search for the facts has nothing to do with compensation, the investigation is being made to help prevent the situation reoccurring.

I write of videos revealing the truth. The recordings are unemotional witnesses, electronic swords of justice.  And if needed can be used in evidence and often are. And yet, the politician makes pre election promises on video, recorded for all to see and listen too.  Three months later the words are autumn leaves of lies falling from the tree of deception.  The promises denied, rescinded within statements like “The situation has changed”.

World leader’s are strangers to truth and integrity.  I ask why do those who vote for them continue to have faith in those who fail to fulfil their promises? Apathetic man who believe in the political men of straw and when betrayed is without the strength to fight to live in a just society.  Is this why ten thousand prisoners can be controlled by 50 armed guards? Blair and Bush killed innocent women and children and no one cares. There were NO weapons of so called mass destruction, men died because of lies. The common man has to put up, shut up or even worse be imprisoned if he speaks his mind and few will.  Because truth to tell there is a cowardice within man and the paradox is when he is scared he fights, destroys, punishes, lies and betrays’ his fellow man. Blind faith or apathy?  Who knows? Who cares? Am I accumulating more evidence to prove the weakness of the human being?  Apologies… I must get off the political soap box.

It makes little difference if one is top of the social ladder or unable to reach the first rung we have similar characteristics. One man’s a winner another a loser and both think they’ve taken the gold medal.  Dogmatism, need to control, be right, deny the truth, bend the rules, recycle inherit hatred and never be wrong seems to be ingrained attitudes or a part of many peoples lives.  On my daily journeys into and out of the city I watch people forcing their cars to be in front of the next.  Cutting up, squeezing in, pushing over into the path of the car in front.  Anyway, anyhow, must have that piece of road, its mine you bastard get out of the way selfish attitude.  And the drivers are every age, colour and creed.

There was a girl in a Honda who would never know to this day how close she got to being dragged from her car and given the beating of a life time.  I freely admit to being the antagonised man who she cut up and then went on to salt the wound with the next few minutes of never under any circumstances giving ground and hitting the fat brake.  She may have though she was a winner.  I write without conscience she was a spit away from a hospital bed.  Her gender was the only reason she was saved a beating.  And I thank her for her idiot driving, her arrogance, her pigheaded stupidity.  As I realise I am not one of these morons. I do not have to own a road which never can be mine. I do not have work to pay a mortgage, finance the car, prove anything to anyone.  I realised she had controlled me, made me angry and full of venomous hatred.  What over a stupid young girl in a car?  What fool was I?

I have no respect for authority and only for a very few friends.  I hope and encourage people NOT to be in my environment.  The world is full of people like the moron in the BMW.  The liar who’s careless action was the reason the lady slipped on the water he spilled.  Or the smug must have everything who will risk everything to be in front of the car behind.  Lets make no mistake there will always be a car in front.  A person more successful.  Someone richer. Another tougher.

And just like the route from my city to Chertsey – I will remember how I got to my destination.  And I can assure myself each time I go sleep I do not need to be anywhere other than where I am because I know…

Complete Responsibility Is –  Absolute Freedom

Illness My Friend

find friends in strange places

find friends in strange places

I’m not dying so don’t go out and celebrate my demise. This essay comes from thoughts I had during difficult and uncomfortable ‘moments’ over the last few months.  I have researched many alternative therapies and my conclusions come from accurate information. A reader can do as they like with their own body, the following words are from MY perspective only.

This short essay has nothing to do with miracles or strange and unprovable methods of physical repair.  For example there is a non sense taught by invisible ink diploma quacks who claim the alkalinity or acidity of the blood can be controlled by food and if one has alkaline blood the body will cure itself of the most terrifying of diseases –  Shame on these shamans of lies – The basic truth is that body controls its Ph by a complex chemical/breathing process.  Yes, a healthy diet will have an incredible and beneficial effect upon the body.  Change Ph?  Its the baloney of a phony.  I guide any who are ill to seek professional advise and diagnosis before allowing an unqualified wanna-be doctor to tip the scales of recovery beyond any possible rebalance.

Illness My Friend

Never was there a better friend.  No companion more faithful, nor potentially ruinous, deceitful and reliable.  An associate requiring understanding and care.  A calculating deceiver who planned for many months and infiltrated my body long before deciding to reveal its intent.

Good food, exercise, rest are part of the deal and faith in the expertise of real professionals seal the contract to recovery.  I would not risk my well-being with the flawed idiocy of snake venom dealers, the majority of whom are most often social failures they have no place in my world.  There are no ‘secret’ or ‘magical’ cures, delusion has no place in recovery.  The ‘psychic’ surgeon is a great magician, the best sleight of hand illusionist and better considered as ‘psychic’ grave digger not miracle worker.

I wonder if many of those who claim to have cured themselves of terminal illness and then go on to sell their ‘cure’ have in truth been ill at all.  Do these parasites have any more conscience than Himmler or Stalin?  There will be exceptions to any rule, if those who are affronted by my statement wish to prove me wrong, give me dates and evidence, not fairy tales.  Realise the reality, my friend ‘illness’ awakens a truth within me and as I listen to my conscience, I have no option other than to verbalise and write my thoughts.  Where health is concerned, now I  question what I am told, I do not have the time to waste on idiots, charlatans, criminals who use the fears of those who are unwell to make their living.

The gripers who chose to disparage doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical companies are guided to relinquish their right to their expertise when they themselves become ill.  My observations of late guide me to certain conclusions.  Two of which are – one – quacks go to real doctors when they are unwell – two – many spiritual individuals fear death! –  Although these masters of universal knowledge and wisdom will deny this to any who would ask.

A mental side effect of bodily decay is the wonder of the mind to become clear thinking and realistic in life observations. Body well, mind can be crazy.  Body ill, mind is stable and sane.

I realized in one of the early morning silences, when, awakened by fear, painful symptoms and nothing other to do than THINK, that I have wasted the vast percentage of the gift of life.  These moments of abject loneliness open my mind to new and realistic ways of thought and I am now observing with more care than at any other time in the last 56 years.  These moments of reflection awakened a suspicion that, not one fight, argument, betrayal, deception, theft, death, person hated, person loved, has taught me more than my illness.  There is a conflict found in this new understanding of myself – I no longer give a fig for what I say and how I will behave, indeed all social protocols are redundant.  By not caring for the feelings of others, I’ve become free to eliminate those who are just plain boring to my psyche and those who’s excessive demands have sapped my will, determination, resolve and happiness. My withering patience will cause more good-byes over the coming weeks.

For a clearer explanation – I once believed it better to be helper and kind.  What a fool, how blind to the truth that excessive demands of others made me unhappy.  I now refuse to give anything to any one, and, with total commitment to myself I have a true understanding of selfness.  Yes, the human is free to ‘give’, although, I harbor a feeling that excessive giving is a ‘own goal’  – The judge called conscience hands out heavy sentences, depression, unhappiness and dis-ease in punishment for self neglect and failing to accept who IS number one.  Our conscious mind may receive short term euphoria when a gift is given or accepted – The personal unconscious mind rebels from the self neglect and lack in self understanding.  Do not misunderstand me, I am not writing of material gifting (money is easy to earn) No, I am writing of the situations when a friend demands too much or burdens a fragile or already weak life with negative situations.  A friend or family member can elicit incredible inner tensions by using knowingly or no the leverage of emotional blackmail. There are those who need illness as a prop or use it as an invisible chain to imprison friends and relatives to their needs.

One can understand why. When betrayer and thief named illness manifests within the body.  Some will wither with fear, many will hide behind self pity and some desire and need sympathy.  Fear – Pity – Sympathy – An unstable trio on which to place the word recovery.

I ask for no sympathy, prayers, kindness or help.  Indeed I have no need of anything from anyone.  My loyalty and obligation are with those who are working to eliminate my illness.   This is not to write that there is no gratitude for the kind words and sentiments received from my friends, far from it.  I would prefer that it is accepted that I will be well very soon.  This is not a hope, it is a certainty and it is fortunate that this is so.  I am thankful to my illness for awakening me to the possible consequences of restrictive disease. I am thankful to my friend for giving me an insight into the difficulties others encounter in their own plight and I understand that there is little I can offer to help anyone.  I’ve neglected myself for far too long and I will not be making that mistake again. My friend has opened my eyes to truths and fueled the power of determination live my life my way without having to make commitments to others or concerning myself with the madness of the world.

Illness is the best teacher and liberator to have come into my life, far from being enemy it is a friend. because it reminds me if one is to become well and repair to health then there is but ONE obligation and that is to understand ones foe and to become within selfness.  This will mean removing any negative situation or individual from my environment.  Once the body enters the final sleep there is no return, no second chance.

There must be thousands of people every day who lay in their death chamber thinking about mistakes made, opportunities lost. It is my intention not to think of regrets, mistakes or failures again. It is easy to build a wall around ambitions and potentials.  Not a wall of bricks or debt, a wall of fools.  Who would want to be with or would trust a man who is surrounded with wasters, incapable’s, spongers, addicts?  In life there truly is living death bought about by association and it is now so very clear to me that the negative attitudes and actions of those who were once within my life space have effected me in many ways.   The wrecking ball is swinging the wall of fools is breached, the reservoir of restrictions flows out of my psyche, personal unconscious mind and conscious thoughts.

The next individual who moans to me of their plight will face a blank stare.  There is no more to give.  The battery in my torch of life is being recharged and in the future the light will only be turned on to guide me when I enter my own shadows.  I care not for any who believe me to be selfish, each man and woman is entitled to say and do as they like.  Would I care for unkindness or spiteful words?  Illness does not care who becomes its host.  Anger and spiteful words do not effect its painful objective.   It will visit, man, woman, king, queen, statesman, pauper it is my most important teacher, better than any Tolle – Hay – Guru.

The smug know all.  Yes, those who know their way is the only way and who come to hate and despise any who question their opinions are seen for who they have become – fraud – liar – delusional.  These devils of deception hold no true hope for any who are within difficult situations.  The way out of trouble is determination to face facts and to act in a way which clears the debris of misfortune.  The way to the future is to dig deeper foundations of truth and integrity so as a new life can be built from the bricks of the misfortune or difficulties.

Setback, fear, uncertainty literally awakens a troubled soul. And, in these early mornings of solitude the mind can think and reason without interference.  Only the clarity of certainty and truth is listened to.  Asking what did I do to help myself yesterday?  What will I do to help myself today?

Illness is indeed my friend.

e-Bay Wreck

e-Bay Wreck

E-bay Wreck Two

The £11.20 Wreck

My admiration for the photographer W Eugene Smith goes beyond his images.  The man had ‘attitude’ and men with ‘attitude’ are often by default poor.  In between assignments W.E.S was a frequent customer to the pawnbroker.  His cameras became collateral for rent and food.  Often the pledges unclaimed, he lost his equipment.  So, when an assignment came along our genius used whatever camera he could beg, steal or borrow.  He knew, its the method, not the tool which makes the image.

Rust Welcome

Rust Welcome

This writer has never worried about equipment or the name on the pentaprism.  If it has a lens and works, it will be the one to use.  Indeed in the three small Kindle downloads about 35mm photography I have come under some small minded flak.  It seems a few who have read the trio of thoughts believe I’m a Leica knocker!  Far from it, I love ‘em and I dislike the price.  The German wonders have lenses so sharp that you can cut your imaginative fingers in the negatives.

I have looked for a e-Bay Wreck for some time and a few days ago my eyes spied a 8 pounds ‘buy it now’ + 3.20 post.  I knew it would be a chancy purchase, however a weak heart never caught a fair maiden.  £11.20 and the camera arrived 3 days later.

Fungus The Bogey Lens

Fungus The Bogey Lens

The lens could do with a B52 bomber with a tank full of agent orange.  The fungus was just what I needed as it was my desire to show that even the worst of lenses can produce reasonable images.  The ME Super came with the expected gummy light seals and an unexpected jammed inner meter coupling.  Not to be deterred I put 4 minuscule drops of machine oil around the inner ring and waited over night.  The oil had seeped into whatever corrosion had seized the coupling ring and the meter worked again.  A cloth steeped in meths was then used as a capillary to mop up any oil.  Not the correct way to fix the camera, but hey, this is a tough assignment.  The lens was cleaned externally. Light seals replaced and the camera seemed to be alive again.  One real bug is the focussing screen, someone had attempted to clean it and it is irretrievably damaged.  It fulfils its purpose, and one can compose the frame without any problem,  the scratches though are a little distracting.

Mirror Seal

Mirror Seal

Remove Old Seals

Removal Of Old Seals

Door Seals

Door Seals

Clean - ReSealed - Ready To Go

Clean – ReSealed – Ready To Go

Next I load it with film and take it out to play.  It is carried in an old shopping bag, no lens cap only the green-yellow filter and a cheepo lens hood (£3-00 of e-Bay) I wander around the city and take it on a journey to collect an enlarger (the subject of the next blog) During the trip across Lincolnshire I see a few photo opportunities and the little ME Super is put to use.

Nottingham Building

Nottingham Building

The film used is Foma 100 and I now have to make a confession!  Over the last 30 years I have developed thousands of films.  And when I processed the film  used in the ‘Wreck’ I had a brain storm and over developed it by 40% .. As a consequence the grain is far greater than it should be.  So it may well be that the images you see could have more resolution than you can see in this article. I have printed the scanned negatives using a R3000 Epson and please take my word for it the results ARE sharp and pass close inspection.  (click on the images to see the grain)

Pallet Gate

Pallet Gate

Well, there it is a £11.20 camera, a roll of film and pictures to be reasonably pleased with.

Permit Required

Permit Required

The next blog is very similar to this.  We will look at a £10 e-Bay deal of a Durst enlarger and I will see if I can use the wreck used in this blog and the Durst to take and print an image which I will attempt to sell and get my money back!

Composition Is King

Composition Is King

Is the modern photographer bound to use image manipulation?  It seems to me most images are subject to a tweak or two.  Seeing a manipulated image is fine for a time and soon becomes a little tedious.  High Dynamic Range imagery is like looking at a picture painted by a colour blind artist, no matter who takes the picture the digital filter overwhelms the composition.  The recent articles on Van Gogh and his apparent colour blindness makes for fascinating reading, his work is instantly recognisable, a troubled man following his own path of art and self destruction are within each firework of colours.  I wonder if a man who knew nothing of Van Gogh’s difficult life could work out from viewing his work that he was a troubled man?  In my mind his work is wonderful and the knowledge that his was a consummate formal artist enhances his later imagery.  Crazy, depressed and alcoholic he certainly painted his emotions.

Picasso seemed to be a man of strong character, who lived life to the full.  I sense the purpose and reason of life in the vibrance of colour used on many of his canvasses.   His paintings are wonders of art when one realises that he also was an incredible formal artist.  What he created were abstracts of bright and powerful content and colour which at first glance seem to be random child like imagery.  Nothing could be further from the reality, the objects, faces, animals and shapes within each picture is perfectly positioned and composed to form incredible symbolic distortion of reality.  Picasso could easily have produced facsimiles of the world he painted. One could think of his work like algebraic equations .  That’s the magic (and it is magic) of the true artist.

The photographer has a difficult conundrum – How does s/he make his work stand out from the crowd?  S/he fails at the first hurdle if there is a belief that the camera and lens will achieve this for them and many fail if they believe the electronic photographic filters (Image manipulation) can achieve this. The promises of the latest cameras and software are like pots of rainbow gold.

I recently wrote a series of three Kindle publications centred around 35mm film photography.  In the title ‘35mm Film and Print Processing’  the reader is guided to use simple techniques to produce good quality black and white prints.  The three Kindle Publications have a common thread, which is that the printer/photographer should work with basic equipment and concentrate upon composition more than the processes and the equipment.

The three pictures below are taken from the top of a high disused railway tunnel near the city centre.  The first image shows the car park to the left and the high wall of the approach to the tunnel on the right where the car park and grassed areas was once railway tracks.  Look carefully in the bottom left hand corner and there is a pigeon-just about to land.  The other two pictures are close up images of the tunnel wall focusing on the foreground bricks, the background a smooth blur.  No masterpieces with no additional processing.  The old Canon 5d in program mode. Colour – neutral.

Above The Tunnel One

Above The Tunnel One

Above The Tunnel Two

Above The Tunnel Two

Above The Tunnel Three

Above The Tunnel Three

When printed out the two ‘close up wall’ images have nice 3d effect.  Of the three I prefer the portrait image.

The next three images are of and from a simple wooden wall which surrounds a recently demolished building.  Similar to the last trio a long and wide angle view and two close ups.  I find the lights vandal covers to be an excellent and interesting design.  The wall and the avenue of illumination must surely make an excellent background for a suitable subject.

Black Wall - Many Lights

Black Wall – Many Lights

Vandal Protected Light One

Vandal Protected Light One

Vandal Protected Light Two

Vandal Protected Light Two

The final images are self explanatory.  This time the temporary wall hides building work and presumably protects equipment from vandalism and the risk of theft.

Picture On A Wooden Wall One

Picture On A Wooden Wall One

Sign In Signs

Pictures On A Wooden Wall Two

The three groups are all to be found within a 200 meter radius. We do not have to go far to find subjects to photograph.

What can be learned from this short blog?  If I write that taking, three or more pictures of a somewhat subdued subject (the tunnel exit) can add interest and even the simplest of designs (vandal proof lights) can provoke the mind into finding alternative uses for it.

What alternative use?

I feel the lights and the black wooden walls would make superb lighting and backdrop for an urban portrait.

The last two images confirm my ability to frame within the viewfinder.  I learn that with my 50mm f1.4 lens I can achieve excellent depth of field and by turning only a few degrees to my right the whole aspect of the composition changes.  Each day I record images and every one is taken with care and thought, proof prints are printed and I learn from even the most mundane of images.  Going back to basics, using simple cameras is not restrictive, it is progressive.

Van Gogh and Picasso were brilliant classical artists before they turned their work in other directions to create the unique masterpieces.  If a photographer wishes to learn how to stand above the crowds even a basic understanding of how to compose simple imagery takes them in the right direction.

Composition is King – Believing cameras and software will turn any snapshot into a W Eugene Smith work of compositional genius is pure delusion.  Most viewers of the manipulated image see through the illusion…

Jacques Tati

Jacques Tati

The Genius

The Genius

100% Genius –  100% Fool

If you like reading about strange celebrities this book is a must – Mine cost three pounds including postage, there are plenty to be found on the ABE Books web site.

Book Cover

Book Cover

I suspect some will not know who Tati was.  Jacques was a mime artist who managed to bring his art to the French cinema.  He made six films which have to be considered as unique – The School Postman – Jour de Fete – Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday – My Uncle – Playtime – Traffic – A sextet of strange mysteries, interesting, confusing, funny, sad, as you watch the films they seem to be without fixed story.  I feel his films are social commentaries, observation of the human crisis which is inadequacy, lack of confidence, bewilderment and ignorance.

The principal character in each film may be given differing names within each script but all who watch, know in some ‘psychic‘ way they are watching Jacques Tati‘s loneliness, spirit, soul and questioning mind. He has a name, Mr Hulot. There is no doubt many will find a resonance with actual life.  The struggle to live in a right way, doing the very best we can and circumstance takes away hope and inspiration.  When attempting to discover why failure follows failure, debt compounds debt, relationships dissolve, we realise the truth is there is no reason for the setbacks other than life itself.  Mr Hulot is a man who seems to be in the wrong place, needing to act in the right way and each desire to succeed is cruelly snatched away.

On Set

On Set

Tati tried to bury Hulot, fans adored the kind imbecile.  So unique and powerful is the character, either liked or disliked, none who watch him forget him.

Tati‘s early films made substantial amounts of money and due to contractual arguments for some years the profits were held by the French courts.  This changed in the early sixties and the Frenchman became a very wealthy man.  An award of an Oscar in 1958 for best foreign film (My Uncle – Mon Oncle) gave him cult status in France and its fair to say that from this marker the man became aloof, arrogant and selfish.

With an incredible income arising from the royalties from his work he began to make almost unbelievable errors of judgement.  As one ploughs through the book (I read it in two days) the incredible stupidity overwhelms the artist, actor, writer, director’s work and achievements.  Poor investment, the buying of the rights to numerous silent movies which he wanted to renew by adding new soundtracks.  An interesting concept which never materialised.  He invested in various other film ventures which failed to see the projector’s lamp.  Beginning project after project without completion and constant procrastination with employees over new films and scripts.  Many of the employees left him, due to low wages and lacking of respect.  Tati never forgave anyone who left his organisation.  His lack of forgiveness became dislike or even hatred for people who supported and inspired him.  The inevitable result was as he slipped down the ladder, there were none to help him when he hit the ground.

Playtime

Each of the bricks to his folly were worth their weight in gold and would sink him like divers’ lead weights.  Its name Playtime –  a 124 minute film which took three years and 17 million francs to produce.  During the filming he fell out with practically everyone, he fell foul of the financial backers and made the most monumental mistakes.

At the planning stages he appointed a designer to plan the set who, after considering Tati‘s requirement, suggested that rather than build a film set of the two skyscrapers needed, it would cost the same to build actual buildings, use them for the film and then sell them at a substantial profit at the end of the project.  The great man would have none of it.  His choice was to rent a large area of waste land on the outskirts of Paris (earmarked for the new Parisian ring road) and then build two massive fake high-rise office blocks, complete with roads, traffic lights and roundabouts, damned with ill-fortune (his whole life was a series of setbacks) the first disaster came as heavy winds blew the structures down. Tati filmed it on 70mm wide angle film stock, a poor choice, the process is expensive, difficult to film and, believe it or not, difficult to watch.

I should write that the choice of 70mm panoramic film had a long term consequence as it makes it difficult to produce good video or later, DVD copies. This would not have been a consideration for Tati at the time. What was, was the full impact of the style of filming was either not accepted or properly explored by Tati – Watching a 70mm panoramic film is not well suited to movie stories, the viewers’ 46 degree angle of ‘focused’ vision makes watching the panoramic (as opposed to wide screen) film a tennis match affair!  70mm works well for long shots, landscape and fixed conversation documentary, any subject where the audience become deeply involved with a slow moving and factual subject will benefit. Fast moving story line simply does not work.  The viewers look to the right of the screen to see one detail and miss the information on the left!

A life long desire to make everything his way and an almost psychotic obsession with perfection, costs time, money, friends and the success of the film.  When the money ran out he deceived his mother out of her home and family savings, his sister of her family inheritance, he borrowed from, and as a consequence lost, most of his friends.  The betrayal of his wife, an affair with the principal actress sealed the maestro’s reputation as thief, con artist, deceiver, no one trusted or respected him.  The film was released and …. disaster.  With no American distributer to be found the inevitable indignity awaited like the sleeping snakes venomous fangs.  Bankruptcy.

Tati

Tati

All is lost, film rights to earlier films, the large mansion, possessions and commercial property – In his darkest night there were three lights – His wife and two children, goodness knows how or why they supported Jacques Tati.  One can only speculate as to how his mother coped with losing so much –  His sister was supported by her husband, however what should have been a very comfortable retirement for her turned into years of difficulty and worry.

Jacques Tati was an artistic genius.  He created incredible stories and by using a difficult acting technique – mime – he captivated audiences the world over.  He failed to realise his formula had a sell by date.  What’s more, he believed his artistic genius to be mirrored in his business acumen.  Stubborn, arrogant, difficult, Jacques Tati was simply unable to take criticism or advice.

The story is nearly over.  His last film – Traffic – was a reflection of his life.  In the film the ‘star’ Mr Hulot has a product – a camper van –  which needs to be delivered to a motor show in Amsterdam.  The film follows the hopeless journey with delays, setbacks, accidents.  The inevitable outcome is that the show is over by the time they arrive and for Tati the show was indeed over, critics slated the film.

This writer sees Tati’s work as unique.  Yes, there are those who copied the style.  There is only one Jacques Tati.  PlayTime and Traffic (Trafic) may have received poor notices at the time of their release, however, today I can only see them as wonders of artistic experimentation.  The films need to be revisited, each viewing gives a little more information.  Each an observation of the minutiae of the human character.  Laugh with them and you will laugh at yourself.

Don't Look Back

Don’t Look Back

Its easy to call Tati a fool, I’m not sure he was, preferring to think of him as a blinkered genius, like some many human beings believing their success is proof of their intelligence, genius and higher position on the ladder of society.

The book?  Brilliant and worthy of any film lover’s book shelf.

Next Time ‘Photo Exhibition’

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