Jun 25 2011


Tag: Photo ChallengeKal @ 12:58 am

JC wanted a picture of where I go to unwind.

And this is exceptionally boring.

But this is it.

My Couch

When my head is too busy, or I’ve had a bad day, or I’m just plain tired and need to recharge, what I want is solitude.

I’ve been like this as long as I can remember.

It’s not anti-social.

At least, not actively so.

It’s just a reflection of how hideously socially inept I can be.

Its allowing my brain to not worry about what I’m saying to whom and what they might be thinking and whether or not they’re alright or if someone’s offended or maybe I’m saying the wrong thing or being not funny enough or insufficiently good company or maybe I’m doing that thing I do where I like someone’s company and so make deeply offensive comments to them, like calling their granny a cunt, or suggesting they’re into animal porn or something.

That’s always awkward.

Even at work I find sitting in the cab with someone for a full shift a real challenge, even if that person is a good a friend as Pally, or EvilOnTheInside, or BTD. You could be my best friend in the world and I’d still, after some time, need to escape from you and hide out on my own for a bit.

So this is where I do it. With a coffee and a guitar and a games console.

And sometimes the outside world intrudes, like last night when I heard a shout and leaned out the window to see a guy kicking a woman in the head on the pavement. I’m a responsible sort of guy, so I made sure I had a good description of him as he legged it up the street. I passed that description to the police officers on scene and then one of them came up and took a statement, sitting in my living room, during my time when I’m trying to be alone.

Rude intrusion, rude as broken glass in jam or shell in your omelette or an open sharps bin in your underwear drawer.


Jun 23 2011

Pigeons and Bananas

Tag: Photo ChallengeKal @ 10:31 pm


“A pigeon eating a banana” said Carrie.


Thus began my day of “Going out to take the photos where I’d read the original brief and gone “Awwww, fuck *off*, seriously?””

I wasn’t convinced that pigeons would eat a real banana, so I went to LicketySplit, the lovely little retro sweet shop in the middle of town and bought a bag of foam bananas instead.

Exactly why I thought that pigeons would prefer to eat extruded chemical foam over organic matter, I have no idea.

Shut up.

I was under a lot of pressure, right?

So, armed with a bread roll from Greggs, I found a couple of pigeons on the High Street, just outside my old office, in fact, and piled the bananas up on the pavement. Then I started flicking crumbs towards them to try and entice the birds to pose next to the sweeties.

It was a little dark in the corner I’d chosen, so I rigged up an external flash on a tripod. And clearly, had my camera on a tripod too.

So, you know, to an independent observer, it would look like a pretty in-depth, professional sort of set-up.

And that’s becase I’m a pretty professional, in-depth kinda guy.

What I hadn’t factored in, though, was that by doing this RIGHT OUTSIDE WHERE I USED TO WORK, I might bump into ex-colleagues. And indeed, so I did.



“What are you doing?”

And I was so flustered, I said:

“I’m taking pigeons of pictures…I’m, ummmm, I mean, pictures of pigeons. Yeah….”

And she looked at me.

And I said

“I sound a bit mental, don’t I?”

And she looked again.

And I tried to explain, about Louis, and a wheelchair, and how by taking photos of pigeons I was helping buy a kid a wheelchair. And then I tried to take my phone out and show her a picture of Louis, so she could go “Awww, that’s sweet, he looks lovely” and we’d all be on an even keel again.

But instead what happened was that I gibbered at her for a bit, fiddled with my phone while she spoke, failed to find the photo and then smiled awkwardly as she walked back to her office.

Thanks, Carrie. Thanks a bunch.

Jun 22 2011

The Most Scottish Thing In Edinburgh

Tag: Photo ChallengeKal @ 10:27 pm

That’s what Alison said.
That’s what she wanted.


So here we have a little bagpiper on a haggis supper (with salt and sauce) in front of Edinburgh Castle.

That there is pretty feckin’ Scottish.

All it’s missing is some heroin.

And social deprivation.

Jun 21 2011


Tag: Photo ChallengeKal @ 10:20 pm

Rabbits, as requested by Amaranthine


There are two rabbits that live in our house. They’re called Maud and Siobhain.

They met at Greenham common in the 80’s and, aside from a short break when Siobhain left to set up a Nu-Wave Punk/Physiotherapy Arts studio in Bremen in early ‘90s, they’ve been together ever since.

They both eschew the term “wife” and state that “partner” fails to express what they have together, claiming it’s a product of a society that’s so afraid of its own desires it is forced to emasculate its own language to empty gestures.

Siobhain calls Maud her “Life Companion With Significant Benefits” and will tell you, when you visit their house in the bottom of our living room shelves, that she’s not staying here long, that she knows a man in Stoke who wants her to collaborate with him on a series of Eco B&Bs.

Maud’s seen his picture on Facebook. She thinks he looks like a Communist.

In the meantime, Siobhain makes political cupcakes and sells little framed watercolours on Etsy. She doesn’t make much from the sales, but Maud keeps her in batteries.

The good ones.

The ones that the rabbit sells on television.

Maud won’t talk much about the future.

She knows when she’s onto a good thing.

Jun 04 2011


Tag: Photo ChallengeKal @ 9:27 am


Louise wanted “dancing” and I thought hard about photographing a ceilidh. But I’ve had this idea in my head for a while and wanted to play with it, so here you go.

Let it be said that I am not a dancer.

I’ve been to a dance class once.

I hurt myself.

At a ceilidh, where the movements are predetermined, great. But ask me to dance at a gig, or a festival?

Worse, ask me to dance in a CLUB.

Euch. I have no idea what to do with any parts of my body.

My arms hang limply by my sides and I move my shoulders around a lot in slow, languid ovoids.

I might nod my head emphatically.

Someone once said I danced like a mixture of Gene Simmons and Kevin the Teenager.

So I thought I’d just try and throw some shapes in the dark, with a thirty second exposure, and some glowsticks knocking about.

After making some pretty rainbow trails that looked more like a Beatles cover than a physical expression of music, I tried firing a flash in my hand at opportune moments.

And came up with this.

I sort of like it.

May 29 2011


Tag: Photo Challenge,UncategorizedKal @ 10:56 pm

Bannermans, the interior thereof, as requested by Vinaigrette Girl.


A pub in the Cowgate, a basement level street in the Old Town of Edinburgh down which the social effluent of the city flow every weekend. Clubs and pubs line both sides of the street. It’s so busy that in the evening its closed to traffic, such is the volume of pissed-up pedestrians wobbling over into the road.

Sometimes, when I’m bored on an RRU in the City Centre I drive, ever so slowly, down the Cowgate and pretend I’m in a zombie movie. It’s surprisingly convincing and consequentially awesome.

But in the middle of this shit-heap of shit-heads, there’s Bannermans. Built into the vaulted arches that hold up the cathedral and court buildings above it, it’s a low-roofer, snug, welcoming rock bar. With live music. And punters who are not arseholes.

The place was deserted, as you can see, but the landlady was touched by Louis’ story and let me set up the tripod for this looooong exposure shot.

Rock fans aren’t arseholes.

It’s one of life’s unquestionable truths.

Feb 13 2011

Warhol Cat

Tag: Photo Challenge,PhotosKal @ 12:09 am

Gabriel Warhol

Janet asked for “Warhol Pussy Cat”.

I’m glad she put “cat” in there.

Because, you know, that could’ve been a totally different image.



This is Gabriel, who lives with us (I hesitate to describe him as “Tammy’s cat”). He rather enjoys biting people and frequently stalks into my room and wakes me with a low “mrow?” before savaging the shit out of me.

When I wake in the night and peer into the shadows, I’m sometimes lucky enough to spot an eye glinting at me.

It’s like this, but less colourful.

And, thank fuck, there aren’t nine of him.

Original image, btw, is just as scary.


Feb 11 2011


Tag: Photo Challenge,PhotosKal @ 11:47 pm


Graham Devine asked for “Yarnbombing” which, for those of you who aren’t up to speed, is guerilla knitting.

Clearer, huh?

Anyway – last year I was privileged to be asked by my mates Jen and Annie to go up and record their massive Yarnbombing of Inverness. They produced some amazing pieces of work (lots of which you can see by clicking on the image above and exploring the photoset in Flickr).

This shot stands out in my head though, as encapsulating the whole weekend.

Jan 24 2011

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Tag: Photo Challenge,PhotographyKal @ 11:26 am

Clare wanted the Astronomer Royal’s house in the middle of Edinburgh. On the same snowy morning I took Winter Dawn down there, I wandered around the Royal Observatory to try and find an angle by which I could take a picture of his Royal StarGazery’s domicile.

But no.

Big gates, big walls, big signs telling me to stay away from the big walls and big gates and big telescopes inside, in case I, I don’t know, manage to focus it onto someone else’s house just as they’re showering and I get a glimpse of their winky.

That’s why there’s such security.


Anyway, as such I decided that the Astronomer Royal’s house and surrounding grounds looked rather lovely as a sort of foreboding Victorian asylum or some such.

Moody and brooding.


That’s what the Astronomer Royal’s house is.

It’s broody.

Right now it’s down at Mothercare cooing over bootees.

This blog’s gone a bit weird, really, hasn’t it?

Anyway, Clare? Here’s your photo.

Jan 18 2011

Winter Dawn

Tag: Photo Challenge,PhotosKal @ 9:45 pm

Rural isn’t a concept that applies to Edinburgh very readily, it being, you know, a city. So when Piper requested “A snowy rural scene, with dawn or sunset light” I knew I was going to have to make a special effort.

In the south of Edinburgh there’s Blackford Hill, a rounded peak with the Royal Observatory on the top of it and rolling fields with gorse bushes beyond. My only real experience of it is when patients (mostly older dog walkers) trip or collapse and call, letting us know that they’re “on the hill, near the observatory”.

This is rarely useful, the observatory being at the top of a largely circular mount. Ergo, you’re on the hill, you’re near the observatory.

I digress.

The snow that caused us such issues over Christmas was gone by the time i came to take the photos, so when the forecast warned of flurries over night I knew I had to take the opportunity.

Up in the dark, I parked my car on a nearby street when the tires started spinning too fast to climb any further. Hauling my gear up the hill I was gutted to realise I was too far west to get a decent shot of the sunrise. Looking towards an orange smear on the horizon, the foreground was a mass of streetlights, houses and high rise towers.


I’m goin to have to get up again tomorrow morning and headc out to East Lothian to get the hills in the background. Plus, my tripod is broken so I’ll never be able to hand hold the camera in this dusk.

I’m sulking and stomping around the snow, checking out the observatory for an interesting angle when the light kicks into action, silhouetting this sharp wee tree to make me breathe hard.

Twenty minutes later, the snow has soaked through my jeans and long johns and the first of the morning’s dog walkers are starting to creep into frame. I’m breathing easy, standing on the hill’s peak and beaming at the city spread out at my feet.

Its a beautiful morning, the air is crisp, the shops are open for breakfast and best of all?

The shot’s in the bag.

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