Here’s the story of obscenity, a balloon, and witches.
By Jove! Some frightful brutes are accusing one of discordance! I must flee! Which wasn’t something I was overly keen on doing considering it was so hot my underwear had glued itself to my bottom. Running would’ve caused enormous chafing. I’m a keen photographer. I was photographing a building, and some youths came marching out of the premise screaming obscenities at me. Nowadays, photography is like mime, there’s no love for these arts anymore. Remember when people enjoyed being photographed? It was an honour to be cemented in history, to be a part of a grand old art. I’ve never been so frightened in all my life. I was only taking a photo. Is there really any need for a hoard of angry shouting? You just can’t photograph people anymore. So there’s a top tip for you. If you’re interested in becoming a landscape photographer, make sure you can take being sworn at and have won a medal in a running race. Preferably gold. Also, wear steel-capped boots. If only one attacker is present, you can throw it at him. Or if he gets too close, kick him in his special area. What? They started it…
It was a car garage. “OI! WE JUST WANT A LITTLE CHAT, YOU DICKWEED!” My first thought was, ‘What the hell is a ‘dickweed’?’ We’ve created so much foul language, we’ve started throwing words together. That’s easy. “OI! COME ‘ERE YOU KNUCKLE-WENCH!” It’s insane. A dickweed sounds painful. Like nipple-moss. All I did was take a photo. And they weren’t even in it! This isn’t the first time. I’ve known many photographers in my life who suffer abuse all the time. It’s enough to make you want to hang up the camera and give in to these thugs. I’m all for the whole ‘dying for your passion’ thing, but dying in the name of photography is a pretty lame way to go. It’s up there with ‘choking to death on a muffin’.
Secondly, ‘little chat’. At what point in human history has ‘little chat’ meant anything other than bad news? Heck, even if Elmo asked you for a ‘little chat’, I guarantee it would end with a broken nose. I was about 200 yards away from the angry gang. It was like a scene from 300. I nearly crapped myself, but I couldn’t have anyway because my buttocks were welded shut thanks to the heat.
With all the misery in the world at the moment, I thought a nice quiet Friday afternoon engaging in my favourite hobby in the summer sun, with my brand new camera, would be a real treat. Instead, it turned into a homage of Reservoir Dogs.
I ignored them. I carried on my way. I got the new camera for my 24th birthday. One week into 24 and I’m nearly killed by the cast of Mad Max. Of all the crap I’ve endured over the years (falling through the shed roof, falling out of the attic hatch, setting oven gloves on fire, etcetera), I was going to die in the most un-humorous way imaginable. At the hands of lunatics. I don’t want to go like that. I want to go accidentally walking into the firing line of an impromptu melon throwing contest.
Is there something wrong with me? Is photography dying? Are people in this world so incapable of joy they can’t take being part of a little photograph? Sure, I didn’t get any of the garage workers in my shot. But that’s not the point. The abuse we get is heartbreaking. Even if most of it is non-verbal, a look of ‘what a plonker’. Imagine a really stern gym teacher. Army-esque. A screaming 200 pounds of hardened muscle and secret drunken melancholy. Imagine somebody who makes tiny ships in glass bottles. Now imagine that person doing that whilst the gym teacher screamed at him. It’s not pleasant.
But I carry on, and I’m not being egotistical, you know me, I never am, because I genuinely think my photos have at least a little merit. If you enjoy doing something that is perfectly legal, one should not, ever, let anyone in this world force you to quit. This world is too full of shit to let shit pour shit on the candles that flicker joy into the darkness that has enveloped this world.
Of course, the police are an issue. Not the band, you don’t need to tell me they have issues. I was photographing our new police station whilst it was being built, a few years ago. I do that a lot. I photograph many new construction projects. And I had a police officer come up to me, telling me to ‘cease my illegal activities’. “No, no, pot is my natural musk”, I was tempted to say. He was, unbelievably, referring to my photo taking. This has happened, and continues to happen, up and down the UK. Apparently, it’s illegal to photograph an active police station because of the ‘anti-terrorism laws’ brought in after 2007. Jesus wept. In fact, it doesn’t mention that in the laws at all. It wasn’t even an active police station I was photographing. It hadn’t been built yet. So next time a member of the fuzz tells you to put your camera down, tell him to stop being a dickweed and carry on.
I’m not a having a good 24. And this heat is not helping. I’m not kidding, roads are melting in the north west of England. Seriously. I kid you not. Roads… are… melting. On the plus side, it does now mean the north west is a witch free zone…
We’re not used to heat. Our clothes sticking to our pale and flabby flesh. And we can’t walk around naked because we’re British and I’m sure that’s illegal. Thankfully so. 23 Celsius might not sound ‘hot’, but for us, that’s exactly the same as Canada having a five day heatwave where the temperature doesn’t drop below 50 Celsius. It’s that much of a jump. I bet Canada wishes it had a heatwave. The amount of things they must have lost in their permanent 30 foot high snow dunes. “AH! There’s the wife!”
Despite the heat and miserable photography subjects, I had a good birthday. I got a really fancy, professional, high-end, top model bridge camera. And some local history books. And a balloon. I can’t understand why I’m still a virgin. I had a homemade burger in a homemade bun and chips in an adorably cute tiny tin bucket. Outside on a picnic table, with the family, outside a very remote café on top of a very tall hill. We have many of those here in beautiful North Yorkshire. Living the dream, me, dear readers. Living the dream.
They say those of us with a happy disposition in life are insufferable oafs. There’s gloom everywhere! True. People are chastising you for trying to enjoy a hobby! True. It’s too hot! True. But seeing good doesn’t detract from the bad. It doesn’t make the bad ‘good’. It doesn’t negate it. It’s a coping mechanism. I had a good birthday with family. I got some good photos, I feel. And I got a balloon. It’s easy not to see beyond the bad. Very easy in my case, my nerves are still shot. But for me, the good will always outweigh it. Because if you don’t believe in the best life has, no matter how small, then you don’t believe in yourself. This is what humanity is. If we don’t have that, we’re as bad as the bad in the world.
I’m 24. I’m a big boy, now. I can handle the hate. I can’t feel sorry for myself. I have to stand on that hill, burger in one hand, raised high into the air, and proclaim, “This is me, world – take it or leave it!” And if you ‘leave it’, then you are nothing but a knuckle-wench.
Whatever the heck that is…
American photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), once said, “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Peace Out :|:
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