I went to see Mark Ronson tonight at the local Greenwich Summer Sessions and had a blast. Â Given the death of Amy Winehouse in the past week, with whom Ronson had worked extensively – apparently she called him the “sister she never wanted” – the evening was very much a tribute to her. You can read a good summary of it at GigwiseÂ and the BBCÂ and an amateur video of the final Valerie.
Anyway, here are a few photographs I took to remember the evening and put in my 2011 personal album.
The show opened and closed with “Valerie” – a song which Ronson and Winehouse recorded together. Â The opening version was sung by Ronson and its writer Dave McCabe and the closing one by an expanded band including musicians and singers from Winehouse’s band. Â McCabe said in the Scotland on Sunday: Â “I could tell you I was inspired by gazing out across the Mersey or walking past Macca’s old house, but the truth is I got the idea in a cab on the way to my mum’s. The whole song was written before I got there, so 20 minutes, max.”
A friend and I last week went to Aberdovey for a relatively quick visit. Â It looked amazingly similar to the small coastal Queensland seaside town where I grew up, especially in the colour of the water and nearby pine trees. I hardly took any photographs, except when we went on a dog walk to nearby Tywyn.
Photographer friend Helen Bartlett ran London Marathon yesterday and we estimated her ETA about the 10-mile mark, at the end of Deptford High Street. I took a camera – theoretically to photograph her – but as it turned out, missing her completely in the busyness that is tens of thousands of runners. Here are a few of the day. I found out, through the wonder of Twitter and Facebook, that the person inside the bear outfit for Action Medical Research was a fellow photographer from Southampton – Lee Collier (twitter id: @LeeCPhotography). His Twitter stream showed he survived the marathon day.
These two guys are brothers, raising more than Â£3000 for Action for Kids.
There was at least one casualty from the day.
Afterwards, I went to the nearby Gallop Cafe for some Monmouth Coffee in their art installation style eatery. One of the owners joked yesterday to customers that they used whatever they had to fit it out – “like Wombles” – but the effect is very lovely, clean and chic with items on each white table: mine had a white toy Ferrari and a David Ogilvy biography hardback. The cafe has aÂ miniature film booth behind a hidden door and is hosting this month’s Deptford Film Club.Â The coffee was delicious – had to have a second cappuccino – the cakes looked scrummy and the bread and jam received a huge approval rating from the little girl with long eyelashes sharing a table: she demolished a plateful, leaving her mother a very tiny piece after much negotiation. Thanks to local blogger Deptford Dame for the tip-off about Gallop.
I’ve been using the Hipstamatic iphone application for a couple of months now and it’s a fun touristy way of remembering where I’ve been. This week, I’ve had several meetings in Dulwich, where I met George the five-year-old basset hound in Romeo Jones delicatessen and loved the Easter-themed window display of Hope and Greenwood.
Don McCullin, a photographer known for his war images and more recently for landscapes, talked about these two aspects at Christ College, Oxford, as part of the Sunday Times Literary Festival, which finishes today. He seems a very resourceful character who, at 75, lives with his ‘shadows of memories’ (hundreds of negatives and prints) at his home in Somerset and wishes he had done something else with his photography. He showed many images from his book Southern Frontiers: A Journey Across the Roman Empire, with text by Barnaby Rogerson because McCullin said “my photographs don’t speak enough”. There may have been some people disagreeing with his view, but the delightful Mr Rogerson added historical context to the presentation. Funnily enough, Mr Rogerson and I had been on the same train from Reading to Oxford; he’dÂ been feeding bits of his chocolate croissant to a bird on the station platform while waiting.Â It’s a very small world.
This morning, I felt like rhubarb (in the cooking it to have with cream and toasted flaked almonds kind of way), so headed for Blackheath Farmers Market. When walking across the heath, All Saints parishioners were walking the other way with palm leaves to mark Palm Sunday. By the way, these mushrooms really were purple.
My mother and stepfather Bill have been visiting the UK from their home in Australia – to meet their new grandchild – and to have a break. They invited me on their week-long canal holiday from Bath and I was able to go with them for a couple of days in the past week. We set off in reasonable weather, mastering a swing bridge early on in the trip, then had a day of miserable cold and rain, hunkering down in the cabin for games of cards, crosswords and the papers with mugs of tea.
On my final day, we had the most wonderful cold start with mist rising off the water and a clear blue sky. Cyclists, runners, dogs and their owners all use the tow paths alongside the canal and it’s great to be surrounded by ducks, swans and other birdlife. Apart from one near miss when another canalboat skipper seemed to have missed seeing us, it was a peaceful trip with incredibly still canal water that ended just after going through our first lock at Bradford-Upon-Avon. This took about 45 minutes, including filling up with water and we could relax at the nearby Lock Inn for an all-day breakfast.
I’ve just spend this weekend in Abergavenny for its annual food festival, which is billed as the best food festival in the UK.Â Since I haven’t been to any others, I don’t know how true that statement is, but I had an absolute ball.Â The sun was out for the entire weekend and we found ourselves part of it from early Saturday morning with a singer/guitarist serenading all day in the street below – luckily the place I was staying was right in the middle of Abergavenny.
I hadn’t taken a ‘proper’ camera, but had the iphone on one of its first outings for these photographs. Part of the sellout party entertainment at Abergavenny’s castle on Saturday night was Little Rumba, formerly known as The Tango Band, so I was well pleased.Â Dad was celebrating his birthday and became part of entertainment with the Cosmic Sausages with the band singing him Happy Birthday and dressing him up in a blonde wig and pink feather boa for The Swedish Song.