Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Flickr's Explore: I want in!

Today 17 of my photos are in Flickr's Explore. Non of them however are very recent. Apparently Flickr have changed their secret algorithm so it's much more difficult to be considered "interesting". No longer will adding your pics to lots of groups make it more likely to fall in, quite the reverse in fact. This is annoying because I'm pleased with my most recent additions...a new tactic is needed!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

E.Y. Harburg

Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.
--E.Y. Harburg (Edgar Yipsel) (1898 - 1981)

Fade Away

...I won't be afraid
Just because you don't need me
I will not be ashamed
Just because you don't believe in anything that I say
Now I turn and I walk away from you

I won't fade away
I won't fade away again

I find you down the road that I have walked before
And I know you're alone again
You try to find a better life
Somewhere far away from here
But I need you to believe in me

You try to make me fade away

(Fade Away, 12 Stones)

Monday, July 16, 2007

But you don't see me...

For you, I will always be waiting
And it's you I see,
But you don't see me
And its you, I hear,
So loud and so clear
I sing it loud and clear
And I'll always be waiting for you

So I look in your direction,
But you pay me no attention,
And you know how much I need you
But you never even see me
(Shiver, Coldplay)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Picture This

Channel 4 are currently advertising for participants for a new flagship art series called Picture This. The programme is looking for Britain's best new digital photographer and would be contestants can enter through filling out an online application form and entering their three best shots (portrait, streetscape/landscape and "what's important to me") from their Flickr gallery. Those with Flickr accounts can also vote for their favorite photos by visiting Picture This' upload galleries.

I've entered, so if you happen to be browsing the galleries and you like my photos, please do vote... it will probably amount to nowt, but you never know owt 'til you have tried!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Realm of the senses

The best thing to do in Marrakesh is to give in without a struggle. This is a sensual, colourful world, with a pounding heart and where even the most sensible people go mad or become artists. So much to take in, like the sunset, the snake charmers, the endless cups of mint tea, scolding your tongue on a tangine, the throbbing souks, the evocative atlas mountains, it's residual hippiness. It's a mixture of the exotic and the downright bizarre all revolving around it's main square, Djemaa el-Fna (although so huge it's sort of not a square at all, more like a sunken extent of sky). In this gay-intolerant country, men go there after dark, dressed up as women and perform dances for the entertainment of other men. People tell stories while others sit in a circle, listening, rapt. A man with missing teeth sits with a tray of 100s of teeth and dentures posing for mock dentist photographs with the tourists, pigs heads are skinned and boiled whole for a special tasty treat. The equivalent of the British pub in Marrakech is this square, and it is fabulous; although I didn't really like the snakes, and found the monkeys on chains a bit upsetting. It can be a little tricky, too, if you're a Western woman unaccompanied by a man; the pinching of bottoms is quite fashionable here. But a good put-down (eg "haram" - forbidden) sorts it out. But all in all it was surprisingly hassle free, I felt safer here than I have felt in many European countries.

The hammam (public baths) experience is one for the brave. I was assigned a big woman in wet knickers who spoke no English who put me in a steam room until I was about to pass out then proceeded to rub me with the famous black soap and what felt like a scouring brush. She rubbed me hard. She rubbed me everywhere. She rubbed me in places no man has gone before. She was scraping off sheaves of dead skin in huge quantities - I was, apparently, embarrassingly filthy. I was in pain.

Next came the "massage", which involved some very mean kneading on her part. She rolled me over, pushed me about - the hammam echoing to the not unkind laughter of my fellow hammamees. She made me stand up, and then she threw a bucket of ice-cold water over me; I screamed and the whole place erupted. Believe me, you must be prepared to sacrifice your dignity. Needless to say I felt wonderful afterwards.

So my advice is to give in to weird and wonderful Marrakesh, compelling spectacle and sensory overload that it is, don't follow the guide books, it's simply impractical to get a firm grip on it.

Have a look at my other Marrakesh photos on Flickr