Tag Archives: addiction

Looking at the world in small rectangles

In 2013 I undertook a photography challenge. The task was to post a different photo each day to Facebook and that it had to be a photo taken that day.

By October/November time it really was a challenge and was also bordering on an obsession!

There’s only so many different things that you see in a normal humdrum day.

However, I completed the challenge and would encourage any aspiring photographers to give it a go sometime.

The legacy of this photography endurance event is that I still have that mindset to be looking for my photo of the day.

If I’m out for a walk, as is my usual want at lunchtime, I’m constantly looking at the world around me in small rectangles.

I am also a creature of habit. You could almost set your watch by me!

This means that I walk the same route most days at lunchtime. (I confess that over the past month I’ve been taking a longer route but that’s primarily to get my step count up as part of the annual GCC challenge to complete 10000 steps per day for 100 days)

Every day I take two precious items with me – my iPod and my phone. Phone means camera. Camera leads to photographs and so it goes on.

If you walk with your eyes wide open to the world around you it’s amazing what you can see. Whether it’s a boat sailing gracefully down the Clyde or a seagull biding its time on the railings or a starfish lying in the path, every day is different.

These lunchtime meanderings are good for the soul.

I’ve not undertaken a long term photographic challenge since 2013 but I could be tempted to do another one. Someone has already suggested taking a photo of the same view from the same point every day for a year to catalogue the seasonal changes. It’s a thought…..

For now though, here’s a selection of views from my lunchtime wanderings.

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Hanging Out In The Memory Bank

Sometimes when the “real” world gets too much you need to escape into the “Memory Bank”.

The “Memory Bank” is crammed full of precious memories from life.

Some of them are songs. Some of them are food. Some of them are photos

You get the hint.

For various reasons way too private and person to go into here, I’ve spent a lot of time browsing the “Memory Bank” over the past few days.

(And before any friends start to panic, I’m fine. No need to worry. I just needed to get my head round something.)

It’s been fun “hanging out” at the “Memory Bank” while recharged my emotional batteries.

Yes. Some of the memories in there are bittersweet. I’m not going to lie but even they have their own “vault” within the “Memory Bank”.

There’s a few sad ones in there too but I tend to skipped past that “room” in search of happier galleries.

Occasionally memories “skip” rooms as the “real” world twists and turns.

There’s been a degree of memory “sorting and filing” over the last few days too.

Before this becomes maudlin and I’m delving back into the dark recesses of my mind, I thought I’d share a few totally random memories from the dim and distant past.

I mentioned a moment ago that songs conjure up memories. One slightly reckless but precious memory springs instantly to mind whenever I hear the original Guns ’n’ Roses version of Paradis City. Before the intro is over I’m mentally transported back about eight or nine years to a hot sunny morning spent on the town beach at Cape May, NJ. The kids and I had been dropped off by mu uncle for a couple of hours on our own on the beach. I desperately needed a few minutes of music and “me time”. The kids were about six and eight at this point. While they ran off down the crowded beach and played unsupervised in the ocean, I lay in the sun listening to Paradise City on my son’s mp3 player. For those six minutes and forty eight seconds I too was in Paradise. (No children were harmed due to lack of parental attention at that time)

Meringues from a local bakery are another source of early childhood memories. As a wee girl, I remember visiting my mum’s old auntie several times a week. She was a fabulous old lady and she adore children. I must have made the mistake one day of saying I liked fresh cream meringues. On a regular basis thereafter until she passed away, she bought me a fresh cream meringue from the local baker’s. I clearly remember kneeling up on the chair at the table in her small flat, eating my meringue in front of the budgie’s cage. (I’ve no idea why his cage lived on the table)Poor woman sickened me of meringues. Forty years later and I still can’t eat another one but the memories of her kindness and eagerness to please are so sweet.

fresh-cream-meringue

The ”Memory Bank” is pretty stuffed full with photo memories. Mt phone is pretty full with photo memories. My sideboard has a whole section full of photo albums and there are many more in another cupboard and on the book shelves. My laptop too (and external hard drive) has more than its fair share too.

Yes, I admit it, I hoard photos!

It would be virtually impossible to share them all.

I’ll pick one.

Eleven summers ago I took the kids to the USA to visit our American family for the first time and, as part of the two week trip, we spent a day or so in Washington DC. I’d been there as a little girl and was keen to go back to visit places from my own childhood memories. Before we left home, Boy Child, who was only six at the time, had been playing a driving game called Midtown Madness on the X-box. As part of the game, he could “drive” around Washington, DC. Repeatedly he drove his vehicle of choice into the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall. I commented that we’d see the pool while we were on holiday.

The day we visited the Mall, the pool had been drained for cleaning. Lo and behold, its base was covered in tyre tracks. You’ve never seen a little boy so happy to see “his” tyre tracks in real life.

USA 2004 122

Happy memories!

credits to the owner of the GnR video. and to the owner of the Google image of the fresh cream meringue

It’s Been So Long That My Hearing Has Fully Recovered…….

It’s been seventy two days since my last fix. I’m growing twitchy!

Having checked the calendar, there’s still seventy seven days to go until my next scheduled fix. Tragic!

If my maths are correct that is one hundred and forty nine days without a fix!

Far too long! Far FAR too long!!!

I’ll have completely forgotten my way to the 5.25 train to Glasgow by the time 12 November comes around.

Some of you are possibly scratching your heads and muttering “What’s she wittering about now?”

Those of you who follow this blog and those of you who happen to know me or even on occasion accompany me will have guessed.

I’m suffering from a severe drought of gigs! It’s quietly killing me. My hearing’s been almost perfect for weeks now!

The last was Tremonti at my favourite O2 ABC on 15 June.

My next scheduled gig is Crobot at The Cathouse, Glasgow on 12 November.

Daily I’m keeping my eye on the various social media sites for updates on long hoped for tour news.

I’ve scanned my O2 Academy app looking for potential shows.

I’m scouring the music magazines for tour news on a weekly basis.

(Yes, I know, there are countless bands out there touring and playing fantastic shows but a night out at a gig isn’t a cheap night out and I am perhaps being a little picky on economic grounds.)

My diary where I store concert tickets for up-coming shows is very, very empty. There are only my Crobot tickets for November and my Carnival of Madness tickets for Glasgow for February 2016 (still waiting for the Manchester ones to arrive)

Sighs sadly…….

So until things pick up on the live show front, it’s time to plug in the iPod (ok, ok, it’s always on), attempt not to download too much music (Can you actually have too many tunes?), explore new bands/albums and reflect on the memories of shows gone by.

Here’s a few of the special moments that are keeping me going.

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Blue Jeans and White T-shirt….there’s a song in there!

It had been six weeks and two days since my last fix. A long six weeks!

Last Tuesday night I boarded the 5:25 train to Glasgow, praying that Boy Child and his friend would catch the train a few stations further up the track. They did! Whew!

We were heading for Glasgow’s art deco O2 Academy to see The Gaslight Anthem in concert.

The boys hadn’t eaten so when we pulled into Glasgow they went off in their separate directions in search of food with strict instructions to meet back under the clock in the station. Boy Child arrived back first with his Burger King bag. No sign of his friend.

Great! We weren’t even out of the station and I’d lost one of them! Teenagers are worse than small children at times.

“Has anyone seen a lost teenager in blue jeans and white t-shirt?”

Boy Child’s phone rattled. The missing wean was in McDonalds more than a block away! I’ve yet to figure out why he went there instead of Burger King but at least he hadn’t reappeared with a loaf of bread.

It is worth pointing out that this “wean” is apparently highly intelligent…..hmmm….

We found him a few minutes later and I watched as he practically juggled his drink and burger box, refusing all offers of assistance, as he attempted to eat his dinner.

I had a sneaky suspicion that his white t-shirt wasn’t going to stay white for long

By some miracle he managed to consume his meal without wearing any of it. Moral victory!

The walk down to the O2 Academy was  quite pleasant. The weather was warm and sunny making a welcome change from the last time’s pouring rain and howling wind.

Once inside the venue, after a trip to the merch stall, the boys abandoned me, heading off to find their spot centre front. Boy Child was hoping for some moshing; the other wean looked slightly less convinced. I took up position two rows off the barrier over to the left of the room. Looking round at the fans who were rapidly filling the venue, they didn’t look like a moshing crowd.

First band on stage were The Scandals from New Jersey. They played a solid fifty minute set and did their job perfectly. Despite sounding at times like a Gaslight Anthem tribute act, they won the crowd over and had them suitably wound into a frenzy for the headliners. Job done!

The Gaslight Anthem didn’t blast onto the stage as I’d expected. They started off very quietly with Have Mercy then blasted into Handwritten, one of my favourites.

Front man, Brian Fallon, explained a few songs in that there would be no encore, they would rather just play straight through and not waste time going off to come back on again. He then went on to say that they based the set around fan requests and songs they felt like playing. Sounds fair enough.

What a set it was! A full two hours and some 28 songs long!!

It didn’t escape my attention that as the evening wore on the crowd in the centre were beginning to mosh. Boy Child would be happy.

By the time The Gaslight Anthem reached the back end of their set, they were playing their harder, faster numbers and the mosh pit was rapidly spreading across the width of the room.

“Mummy Mode” was engaged as I tried to spot Boy Child in the mayhem. Occasional glimpses of him kept me calm enough to return my attention to the stage. A couple of songs before the end, a rather dishevelled older man appeared through the crowd to stand beside me. I’m guessing but he looked to be in his late 50’s/early 60’s and looked as though he had been dragged through a hedge backwards. I suspect he may have “enjoyed” his first and last mosh pit experience. Poor guy!

The Gaslight Anthem ended their epic set with four of their finest numbers (and were joined by the front man from The Scandals for one). Their set ended with The 59 Sound, American Slang, The Backseat and We’re Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner.

With minimal fuss they left the stage. Boy Child and the wean appeared out of the crowd. They looked intact then I spotted blood on Boy Child’s face. Nose bleed! He’d tripped and smacked his nose off his friend’s shoulder.

A small spray of blood was splattered across his friend’s white t-shirt.

I knew a white t-shirt to a gig was a bad idea!

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A Surreal Music Filled Friday Night

It’s been a while but the “rock mum” came out to play this past weekend.

I’ve come to the conclusion that concert tickets are like buses – none for months then BANG the diary is full and the credit card is smoldering. I’ve got tickets to seven gigs for between now and mid-December with another two for 2015 booked (OK – Girl Child is going to one of them with her Auntie Fi instead)

The first gig on the list was a little bit different and, as it transpires, a big bit special.

For those of you who don’t know, as well as writing this blog and working on my bigger “creative baby”, I also write music reviews for a friend’s website –http://phoenixmusiconline.org

Friday night’s gig was the first one I’d attend where I’d written a review of the band’s debut EP and was also to be the first gig review I would write for the webpage. Add to the already mounting nerves, I was also to catch up with the band after their set.

The band in question here are an amazing up and coming hard rock band called Crobot from Pottsville, Pennsylvania USA. This was their first UK trip and they were playing the support slot for a UK based band.

Girl Child drew the short straw and agreed to chaperone me for the evening.

Having taken the train to Glasgow, met up with the Big Green Gummi Bear for a quick hello and a coffee at his office before he headed home to Boy Child, we set off up the hill to the O2 ABC in the city’s Sauchiehall Street. We arrived at the venue ten minutes before the doors were due to open to be greeted by a suspiciously short queue – ok two suspiciously short queues and yes, we did join the wrong one! Eventually, after a circular tour of the former cinema, we found ourselves in the right room. It’s safe to say that Glasgow’s O2 ABC 2 is an “intimate” venue! (At a guess, I’d say it would hold 250-300 max, perhaps a few more)

When we entered there were perhaps thirty folk there. Gulp!

Girl Child drew me a withering look and retreated to stand near the back of the room, leaning against the low wall that bordered the raised lounge seated area. Sensing that she was best left alone, I wandered over to stand in front of the stage. The “barrier” was already lined with music fans- all 12 of them- and a handful of people were gathered behind. I joined them.

Bang on time Crobot walked out onto the smallest stage I’ve ever seen and, appearing totally unfazed by the distinct lack of audience, launched into a storming six song set. Right from the off, they performed as though they were playing to a sell-out crowd. Kudos to them!

A quick glance round told me that Girl Child had retreated even further back and was now curled up on a velour covered seat in the raised area. She was messing with her mobile phone. Definitely best left alone!

Standing among such a small audience made me feel surprisingly self-conscious. I almost felt as though I was intruding in a bizarre kind of way.

As Crobot started their final number audience numbers had swelled and they left the stage to an audible round of applause. Considering the situation, those guys did an awesome job out there.

With my ears ringing, I went in search of Girl Child who reluctantly admitted they had been ok.

A few minutes later I went up to the bar and spotted two of the band members standing chatting to some folk near the merchandising stall. With slightly shaking hands, I went back to where Girl Child was sitting and declared it was time to take the final leap of faith and introduce myself to Crobot.

Any of you who know me well will fully understand just how far out of my comfort zone this was taking me! “Rock Mum” persona was firmly painted on as we approached the band’s front man.

I needn’t have worried.

The band’s singer turned to face me, his face lit up as the sight of a familiar FB face and he embraced me like a long lost friend, declaring warmly, “You made it.” My nerves vanished. He then turned to Girl Child and hugged her too. The look on her face was priceless!

A few moments later the bass player joined us with a high five and a friendly if mischievous grin.

Two nicer more friendly guys you couldn’t hope to meet.

With the ice broken we chatted for a few minutes, struggling to hear each other over the headline act on stage, and posed for the obligatory photo (Yes Girl Child messed up the first one!)

The venue was now about two thirds full but the star act of the night had been and gone and done it. All those latecomers will never know the talent they missed.

Quietly Girl Child and I slipped out into the night in search of some dinner, leaving the headliners doing their thing. (I’ve never left a gig early before!)

A slightly surreal but wonderful experience!

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Oh and what do you talk to two heavy rock stars of the future about? Why – their trip to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the fact that you have actually been in and around their home town back in Pennsylvania. Small world!

Time to come clean- I’m an addict

My name is Coral and I’m a photo-holic. There I’ve confessed!

I never leave the house without a camera of some sort, invariably my phone. If I go for a walk I usually take at least two cameras. I can’t go for a walk – or anywhere for that matter- without constantly looking for that special photographic opportunity. It drives my family insane!

I love photographs both taking them and browsing leisurely through them. My personal 2013 creative challenge was to produce a Facebook photo album – 365 Days of 2013- featuring a different photo taken each day of the year using the camera on my phone for convenience. I was proud to complete it- first New Year’s resolution I’ve ever stuck to. As the  year wore on I feel that the standard improved and I learned to look at the world around me  in a different light. Now less than two weeks into January 2014 I’m missing taking my “photo of the day”.

It was only recently I discovered the true extent of my photo habit. I was fortunate enough to be given a new laptop for Christmas ( thank you Big Green Gummi Bear) and spent quite some considerable time transferring across nine years worth of digital images from my dying netbook.

Before the digital photography age I still shot more than my fair share of photographs. I must have spent a small fortune over the years on developing costs and photo albums. Do you remember the Doubleprint envelopes that fell out of Sunday supplements and were found on stands in airports? Truprint? Bonusprint? Yes- I’ve made good use of them all in my time. I loved the Doubleprint ones – a 6×4 image plus a wallet sized copy.

I have a tendency to be OCD about my photo albums too and have religiously chronicled my trips to the USA over the last ten years. When the munchkins were little I shot at least one roll of film a month- frequently more- and have memories their formative years stored in album after album. I’ve even wallet sized albums for the wallet sized copies from Doubleprint.

It was discovering one of these tiny albums of precious memories that inspired the poem below. (It was was also my first poem to make it into print)

Passing Childhood

Photos found at the back of the drawer.

What was I actually looking for?

A smiling toddler with white blonde hair

Fond memories swirl round in the air.

All the long years have now flown by

My white blonde boy no longer shy.

A smart young man who excels at school

Now facing a world that is his to rule.

And just how many digital images found their way onto my new pc?-   32356 to be exact and I treasure every last one.

Now where did I put my camera……