Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More wedding pics

Despite my attempts to stay out of the wedding pictures by taking a scary-looking camera that people wouldn't ask to borrow, some people had brought their own cameras. The swine ;-) Anyway, here's one taken by Heather in which you can see my strange, silvery outfit:

Click here to see the rest of Heather's photos.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wedding Photos

I went through to Edinburgh for Katie and Adam's wedding yesterday. I caught the 10.30 train with Heather and Richard and we headed off to the mini-choir rehearsal, running foul of a gigantic taxi queue full of hen parties at Waverley (note the people with pink, fluffy ears - that was the hen party, not us):

However, the wedding was lovely and, despite the generally awful weather we've been having, the sun came out in time for the photographs and milling about with champagne.

Click here to see the rest of the photos.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One Light Burning

Here are some photos from the launch party for Donny O'Rourke's new book One Light Burning, with illustrations by Harry Magee.

Donny reading with Dave Whyte, who sang some arrangements of the poems, in the background. On the right is Jim Gracie, whom I didn't get a chance to meet, but who kindly emailed to fill in the gaps in these photo captions.

Harry Magee explaining about the illustrations.

Some graffiti I saw on the way from the Underground.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Songs and Stuff

Alison and I went to see Franz Ferdinand at the Grand Ole Opry last week (usually the haunt of folk dressed like this guy).

We were a bit worried that we'd be picked out as irredeemably un-hip (too many years playing in orchestras and string quartets) as we stood there nodding and saying things like "Verily, it has a groovy beat." But I think we got away with it.

It started out with The Royal We, who broke all the rules of support bands by being really good - with actual tunes - and only playing for about twenty minutes. In my (admittedly limited) experience the support should be dire and play for what seems like three days.

After that Franz came on, had beer thrown over them (I think this was seen as a sign of affection), and played some new songs (and some old ones). The new songs sounded good - they definitely don't seem to have lost the place and done a "Kid A". There was one that mentioned a snake, and another that might have been about a murder (I can't remember the names - how do professional reviewers manage this? Do they take notes or just have really good memories?)

One of the new ones that I particularly liked was called "An English Goodbye", which they explained was a German expression meaning saying goodbye without actually ever saying goodbye. The Germans think only the English could be so rude.

I can't say I remember ever being on the receiving end of this (apart from one notable exception), but one thing that did annoy me when I was living in Cambridge was the ability of a number of people I met to be incredibly rude while sounding polite. This never happens in Glasgow; if someone is rude to you here you know all about it. Which isn't great, but at least it lets you assume the moral high ground. The English approach leaves you with the nasty, wormy feeling that you want to crawl under a stone, but you don't know why.

Obviously only a minority of English folk go in for this sort of behaviour, the rest are thoroughly nice people. Or suffer from the opposite problem: being so polite you're afraid they'll shatter under the strain at any moment. Also rarely a problem in Glasgow...

Monday, June 11, 2007


Well, the 35mm Holga experiment turned out pretty much as badly as I'd expected. To the extent that Boots didn't charge me for developing the film and printing the only two - very shoogly - pictures they could see on the negatives. Most of the film was wildly overexposed, but there were definitely Things there if you looked carefully. For example, this is obviously some trees and a swan with a rose superimposed on them:

Boots lack imagination. But "sprocket" is a good word.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I'm still trying to scan negatives (the scanners that do it are terribly expensive), and this time it's colour ones since I've run a colour 35mm film through the Holga. This is likely to be a disaster, particularly since I'd forgotten to take it off the bulb setting after the last batch of night shots. But I thought I'd have a go.

Anyway, the idea is to end up with photos that include the sprocket holes like this one or this one. The black and white would be okay, as I could do a contact print of it myself, but I don't think Boots are likely to be set up for this and I can't be bothered having it sent away to a lab.

Here are a few attempts, some of which came out better than others...

Friday, June 08, 2007

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

Oddly enough, when I was wandering around the web today I found out that it's exactly 118 years since one of my favourite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, died (of Ireland - he didn't like it at all and then caught typhoid from the water).

He was never published during his lifetime, probably because many of his poems seem odd even today, but his friend Robert Bridges (who was by that time Poet Laureate) published them about 20 years after Hopkins's death. Although he doesn't seem to have been entirely struck on them either. His introduction to the collection boils down to: "Hopkins was a lovely chap and very clever. He would probably have grown out of the freakish things he was doing with rhythm if he'd lived a bit longer."

I'd like to think he wouldn't have though, as the freakish things with rhythm are what makes the fantastic poems fantastic. (Some of his work does sound like that of a Victorian Jesuit priest, but since that's what he was you can hardly hold it against him).

My favourite one is That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection (which, really, you would have to like for the title alone). It's particularly impressive in terms of rhythm, starting off slowly, then fairly battering down the page in the second half, only to pull up and turn on a sixpence in the last line. Even if you don't share Hopkins's beliefs, it's still stunning:

CLOUD-PUFFBALL, torn tufts, tossed pillows ' flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ' they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, ' wherever an elm arches,
Shivelights and shadowtackle in long ' lashes lace, lance, and pair.
Delightfully the bright wind boisterous ' ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare
Of yestertempest’s creases; in pool and rut peel parches
Squandering ooze to squeezed ' dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches
Squadroned masks and manmarks ' treadmire toil there
Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, ' nature’s bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest ' to her, her clearest-selvèd spark
Man, how fast his firedint, ' his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indig ' nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star, ' death blots black out; nor mark
Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time ' beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart’s-clarion! Away grief’s gasping, ' joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. ' Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; ' world’s wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, ' since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, ' patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hold the front page...

Today's Herald features Julie on the front page!

Click here to read the article...