Here in the UK it’s a Bank Holiday (Public Holiday to those outside of my little island) and I have decided to use it to catch up on all the blogs I follow and find out more about the new followers I have received over the last few weeks. So please comment with links to blog posts of yours I should be reading so I can; catch up, comment and follow!
Tag Archives: blogging
I have been musing with the idea of writing a blog post about what I would say to my younger self for a while. It’s a scenario regularly visited by soaps and sitcoms when they run out of ideas but it poses an important notion; if you could change anything in your past what would it be? I was going to include a photo of me at 15 but hell no one needs to be put through that torture.
“In 20 years, you will be more disappointed by what you didn’t do than by what you did” - Mark Twain
There are a few things I would tell my young self but one that has always plagued me was what would I do if I could change one decision I made in my past. One yes turned into a no, one left turned into a right. Mine would probably be to carry on acting; it is one thing I miss in my life now and I always wonder how far it could have gone. It would have more than likely turned into nothing but regret is a beast that eats away at undiscovered choices.
I would probably also tell my younger self to say no to eating that Chicken in Jaipur – that did not end well.
So my question to you is what choice would you go back and change? What would you tell your 15 year old self?
For those regular readers who have been wondering where James is and why he hasn't posted anything of late the answer is: I'm in India. I feel that it answers both of the questions! Anyway I am lucky enough to have an iPad and a decent internet connection so I thought I would post a small piece to keep you all amused. You troublesome lot, you!
Sadly though, it's not so much an amusing blog post but more of a grumpy old man piece.
As most of you know I regularly travel to India, as much as I can really. However, it has been two years since my last visit and while the mountains are the same and the brilliantly bonkers people are still here there has been a shift in the culture of travellers. Before, if you were travelling alone, you could walk into a restaurant or cafe and strike up a conversation with another fellow traveller over a chai or whatever your tipple is. Now you would struggle and the reason? Technology. I walked into a restaurant I have been going to for the last seven years were there would always be a little group of fellow travellers, a cacophony of different accents and now you only hear the technological click of buttons. I sat there sipping my hot Honey and Lemon (delicious by the way) feeling somewhat mournful as if something of our spirit of adventure had died. We were sat in the shadow of the Himalayas and as I sneakily walked around the customers I saw two people playing Angry Birds, one texting, another watching Homeland and at least ten people chatting on Facebook. People would rather be face down in a pile of Apps then witness the true majesty of nature. I drank my now slightly tainted drink and left, choosing to buy street food and chat to the shop owner then stare longingly at an apple logo.
I thought perhaps I am just being cynical and that it's not happening all over, but as I stared into each coffee house and restaurant along the road they were filled with people on their laptops, their iPads and phones. What a sad people we have become when rather than getting out there and experiencing incredible India we would still rather Instragram our lunch half way across the world. The hotel is the same, where once was a throng of people sat downstairs around the guitar, now they surround the wi-fi connection, like neanderthals around fire choosing to ignore the likes of me, dying to hear about their travels. Travelling is all about sharing experiences. So man next to me, please stop listening to Taylor Swift songs on Youtube and chat to me!
My yearly ritual of posting twelve songs that have either defined or been the soundtrack to moments that have made my year has come around again. I have put some up with links to blog posts that are the reason they are up there so have a click on those underlined.
Thank you all for being such smashing readers, heres to another year of this!
Without further a do, here goes….
Had this in my head the whole time I was in Paris. Now it reminds me of my brief but brilliant trip to that wonderful city.
2. James Blake – Case of You
A Joni Mitchell cover that out of all of these songs I urge you to listen to as its quite simply beautiful. Reminds me of reading my book on Hampstead Heath in the bitter cold.
It still hurts to think about that run!
Listening to Tibetan music makes sure I never forget where my heart truly lies, back in India.
This was very much the soundtrack to choosing and preparing photographs for my first exhibition.
The official song for the BBC coverage of our Olympics.
7. Karima Francis - Wherever I go
A stunningly warm and emotive voice, saw her live at a music festival this summer. Well worth a listen!
Reminds me of the stupid amounts of train journeys I have taken this year!
Possibly the most cheerful song in the world! Never has failed to caffeinate my spirits.
A song that has kept me warm on many a long photography walk.
A song that has been on a constant loop on many occasions. I love it not only because it has coffee in the title but how it reminds me how lucky I am.
I made a vow that when I got to 50,000 hits on this old thing I would post a photo of my desk as a way to say thank you to all you brilliant readers and so you could see where the magic happens. So here it is in all it’s, ummm, glory.
It is a literal manifestation of my brain; quite a bit bonkers, cluttered and full of useless thing. For the keener eyes in the house might notice some of the many weird and wonderful things that adorn my workspace.
Now I’ve shown you mine, you show me yours…
It’s my guilty pleasure and one that goes great with a huge cup of coffee.
When it rains I love nothing more than being in a warm coffee shop with a blistering hot cup in hand and a look of absolute smugness as I watch people dash from A to B with newspaper hats and unfurling umbrellas.
You imagine their lives and the thoughts flooding their head as the rain floods their shoes. As I am sat in a London coffee shop I can guess that most of their thoughts include, “Get out my way I am far more important than you”. Nonetheless, I thought I would share with you all a bit of prose to describe the truest of guilty pleasures; people watching.
I watch as the rain creates a distorted view outside, life altered while the heavens are open. Roads turn to rivers, people turn to snails leaving trails of water as the trudge through my -now filling- coffee shop and smiling people collecting money groan under the weight of their buckets filling with water instead of funds.
My bitter coffee slides effortlessly down my throat as a sprinting commuter slides on a greased paving slap, pulling off a perfect dismount from his self-respect. I smile wryly while the heat of my cup starts to penetrate my gloves, the warmth clearly preparing me for the heat of hell for this oh so guilty pleasure.
The legions of black suits and grey faces, bustle past one another regarding the weather with nonchalant distain. Eyes down they wade through their colleagues, a power-walking competition played out at every tube station. Black cab doors fly open as people flee the deluge and mark the cost down as a necessary expense.
But there are some, the unsuited civilians, who caffeinate my imagination better then the coffee flowing through my bloodstream could ever do.
A couple pass hands clasp tightly, white knuckled, perhaps she is holding on for fear of letting go or, more likely, for the simple enjoyment of hurting the one she loves.
Two strangers share a lighter as they cower from the storm under a shop’s awning. A short sentence and a nod and they become strangers again, stood together.
A soaked man bimbles past. He walks with a swagger and a smile, all the while his clothes are becoming more water than material. Is he happy or crazy? It’s a fine line…
The rain has eased and my coffee drained. I gather my things and become a character in someone else’s window gazing. I wonder what they might think of me as my umbrella turns inside out.
I am trying to shift my 2012 stock in preparation for a whole new lot of prints and products, so this means reductions….
If you click over to my facebook page you will see in the album marked ‘Christmas Sale’ the full list of products in the sale and trust me they are a steal! Whats more since you all have been such brilliant readers over the years I am going to throw in a 10% discount just for you lot! When you email me with the product you want, make the title the name of my first blog entry that I wrote on here. I can deliver for Christmas and even drop some off for people in the UK, depending on where you live.
In other news, stay tuned on here for a few festive snaps I have coming your way.
I, like everyone else in Britain, am suffering from a break-up. We had a long, beautiful summer together the Olympics and us; we laughed, we cried and more than once we begged her not to leave. We felt like a better people with the Olympics by our side.
But now she has left us for a more exotic country. Apparently she moves on a lot.
Before she arrived it was safe to say we all had our doubts, safety being the main one. The day after we were bestowed the vast victory of securing the games, London was changed. Timetabled and quiet London was left scarred and scared following those acts of evil that cracked London’s veins. A question swarmed around our silent lands after 7/7: “who are we now?”. The Olympics has helped many people get over that day, especially Martine Wright.
Wright was running late on the morning of 7 July because she had stayed out the previous night with marketing colleagues celebrating the Olympic win. Her journey that day caused her to lose not only both legs and 80% of her blood but, her life as she knew it when Shehzad Tanweer’s suicide bomb detonated 3ft from her on a Circle line tube train at Aldgate. She competed in the Paralympic GB team from volleyball and, despite not winning any medals, she did something so much greater; she showed that we as a nation can not be terrorised.
I was lucky enough to get tickets to two events (one in the Paralympics and the other the Olympics) as well as a ticket to wander around the Olympic park. I can’t put into writing all that I felt and all that I still feel for those fleeting weeks. I’ve tried for so long and failed every time in every sentence.
One thing I will say is that it has re-instilled British pride.
We have a swagger about us now, so many doubters now left dumbstruck. We were told we could not match the money explosion that was Beijing. We didn’t match it, we conquered it. We showed ourselves as a proud nation, a funny nation, a successful nation and a nation with great heart.
Our Prime Minister once called our country ‘Broken Britain’ and the Olympics went a great way to glue it back again. It was perhaps a remedy rather than a cure though, for our nation divided. Our flag, the Union Flag, flew for exactly that; union. While the united elation was strong then, in the eye of the storm, even now it starts to weaken. The question that fills me with trepidation is: how do we keep this feeling rolling? You can only ride a wave for so long before it comes crashing against the shore of everyday life.
We were separate people from countries worlds apart. Yet we hugged and cheered together, strangers embracing strangers for another stranger whose name we will soon forget.
So she has moved on and we are left with photos of us together; they adorn our mantlepieces as a reminder of our summer love. Though she may be gone we will always have London.