Saturday 11 November 2023

Marsco Manoeuvres

It's been a week or two of veteran bands making a return to the spotlight. Even The Beatles released their final song which I actually thought was a wonderful finale and liked a lot. The band I want to talk about though is Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark who are currently in the album charts with a new album Bauhaus Staircase. Well, more accurately, I want to talk about the excellent image on the cover of their 1980 album Organisation. An album that I've enjoyed listening to for more than forty years.

The album cover (designed by graphic designer Peter Saville) for Organisation remains one of my favourites. Never has an image visually better summed up the album's dark and moody sonic landscape and yet for years, I had no idea where the photograph had been taken. It turned out that I'd actually visited and never known the connection! It is only thanks to the internet that I now know where it is - the photograph was shot by Richard Nutt and is of the cloud-covered peak of Marsco in the Red Cuillin mountains, on the Isle of Skye.

A quick search online and sadly Richard Nutt doesn't seem to have much of a presence, although it turns out there are plenty of other Richards producing landscape work - myself included! Did the photograph have an influence on my photography? I think most definitely although probably at a more subconscious level than other photography sources. I've always had a soft spot for dark moody landscape photography. Maybe this image is where that all started.

My next visit to Skye will definitely include a visit to see Marsco... and maybe take a photo in homage to the OMD Organisation cover image. Now there is a creative challenge!

Sunday 15 October 2023

Linda's Memorial Garden


Sometimes we judge things before we actually get to see them. I did that many years ago with the photography by Linda McCartney. I blame naïve youthful ignorance and also the massive Beatle hype bubble that will go on existing until the end of music.

I never was a big fan of the Fab Four. Age has made me more tolerant and open to their music but I always preferred other sixties bands. The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream and other big rock acts. I've always tended to avoid things that are too popular. I can do pop as long as it isn't too big or hyped.

In 1998, I came across a great photography book called Linda McCartney's Sixties. Looking through I was surprised and impressed by Linda's documentary style of portraiture and the subject matter also appealed. As Linda Eastman, she had photographed some of the biggest acts of the 1960's. She was friends with many of the acts and especially liked Jim Morrison of the Doors. 

I knew that Linda had a memorial garden in Campbeltown. Both her and Paul had moved to the Mull of Kintyre after the end of the Beatles. The local community accepted them and years later, after Linda's death in 1998 decided to build a memorial garden complete with a bronze statue purchased by Paul.

Sadly I only managed a brief visit but the peace and tranquillity of the place could be felt. My stay was unfortunately interrupted by a couple of women chatting and having a cigarette. I'll hopefully return to Campbeltown again at some point and I'll definitely be soaking up that beautiful, colourful and quiet place that is Linda's garden again.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Old Haunts


Claymore Swords - Edinburgh Castle, 2015

It's been catch-up time over the past few days regarding the blog. A tweak or two to the design and a new background and the site is ready for another few years.

Looking back through the old posts was a strange experience. It was like reading an old diary and seeing a glimpse of a previous life. So much has changed for me in the years since this blog started.

The level of enthusiasm for posting can be seen by the total number of posts for each year. The peak was 2007, closely followed by 2008. I do not intend to get back to those levels, but I would like to post at least once a week if possible.

Finally, I would like to apologise for an issue I came across this weekend. As I checked through the various areas of the blog I clicked on the comment section and noticed 34 comments awaiting moderation. I'd received no notification or emails to say that a comment was waiting.

All of the comments have now been published on the website and I would especially like to thank those people who left some feedback about the Billingham bags and Michele Breton posts that I posted some years ago now. I also received some wonderful comments about the blog. Sorry, it took so long to add these to the site. I will check regularly from now on.

Hopefully, I can get the old blog back to something like its old self from a few years ago.

Thursday 31 August 2023

Changing Track


Maersk shipping container on the west coast mainline network
Maersk shipping container on the WCML rail route - November 2015

It's been a long time since i posted on this blog, but what goes around comes around and the blog isn't closed quite yet.

I've posted on my Darker Skies blog about the changes to Twitter (or X as it's magnificently called now) and how the blogs will benefit from that decline. I'm fed up of social media and have been for some time. The honeymoon is over for me at least.

My plan is to use my blogs much more from now on. Last year this blog published NO new posts for the first time since it launched in 2007. That needs to change.

So keep an eye on the blog for new posts coming over the next few weeks and months. It's time to get back to the blogging :)