Saturday, April 29, 2006

Two Photographers

...........I have an idea. We can be standing on a boat to show the business is buoyant. We can be in front of Pulls Ferry to show we support traditional values. And Charles can be on the outside to show we're shoving him overboard once the annual figures are out.........

Do We Really Look Like This - Fighting The Tripod

"..................Alright luv, can you just moisten your lips a little? Just a bit more and lean forward a touch - you want to show off yer assets don't you. Thats right and another. And now just one last one for my album................"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Wham's Law

Two Bongoists, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

It seems unfair and breaking my own rules to use street performers as proof to a theory but "In any duo there is always the smiley one and the cool one."

This is known as either The Law Of Wham (after the group of that name) or the Lennon effect named after Saint John Lennon who was, however, famously a member of a quartet.

The only exceptions to this rule, that I can think of are
The Proclaimers and The Allisons. Even this statement is unfair as the former are identical twins and the latter were pretending to be non identical ones; Both used or use the similarity of their physical appearance to disguise or blur their own personalities.

Bongo Fury

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Tom decided that this time the Hullaballoos would not be able to chase him

NORFOLK QUIZ: The title of this photograph and this entry makes reference to a famous novel set in Norfolk. What is the title of this book and who wrote it?

Making A Sow's Ear Out Of A Sick Purse

Shopping and chopping.
St Alban's Church, Lakenham, Norwich. Done using PaintShopPro with the Clarity plugin.

The inner rectangle is the finished 'product'. Like so

Monday, April 24, 2006

Young England

In 1914 Saki (Hector Hugh Monroe) published a novel When William Came a fantasy in which Germany invades Britain with hardly a murmer of opposition from the supine ruling and aristocratic classes. The social whirl continues much as if nothing has happened. The first true resistance comes, at the novels end when the Boy Scouts are due to parade in honour of the German Kaiser.

"Under the trees at the back of the crowd, a young man stood watching the long stretch of road along which the Scouts should come. Something had drawn him there, against his will, to witness the Imperial Triumph, to watch the writing of yet another chapter in his country's submission to an accepted fact. And now a dull flush crept into his grey face; a look that was partly new-born hope and resurrected pride, partly remorse and shame, burned in his eyes. Shame, the choking, searing of self-reproach that cannot be reasoned away, was dominant in his heart. He had laid down his arms -there were others who had never hoisted the flag of surrender. He had given up the fight and joined the ranks of the hopelessly subservient; in thousands of English homes throughout the land there were young hearts that had not forgotten, had not compounded, would not yield.
"The younger generation had barred the door.
"And in the pleasant May sunshine the Eagle standard floated and flapped, the black and yellow pennons shifted restlessly. Emperor and Princes, Generals and guards, sat stiffly in their saddles and waited.
And waited...."

In 2006 despite the number of people flying flags of St George from BMW and Audi cars Germany has not invaded and on April 24th which, as any fule knos, is both St Georges Day and the anniversary of Shakespeares birth and death. The Norwich District Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, Cubs and Beavers had their annual march through the City of Norwich to present their colours to the Lord Mayor.

"Do y'think they'll ken we're not English"

England is not very good at this kind of patriotic event; something symbolised by the Scouts utilising a Scottish Pipe Band to play the music. If you counted the insignia on the musicians uniforms and instruments there were more St Andrew's Crosses than St George ones. The participants did not just march out of step to each other and the music they more accurately strolled out of step to each other and the music. They walked through the City in this manner talking to each other out of the corner of their mouths and you felt that if someone had spotted a special offer on Gameboys in one of the shops there would have been a mass detour to investigate. It was a glorious sight and far more heartening then any clockwork manoeuvring Trooping The Colour in Whitehall. I went to scoff but came away touched.

This Chap started off waving the flag quite bravely but by the time the parade arrived his arm and the flag had dropped (or even drooped) behind his push chair. From time to time after that he would give the odd imperceptive flick of the wrist as a gesture towards the day.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An Ugly Building With A Terrible Past; Lets Tear It Down.

Lets start off with an unequivocal statement; Norwich Castle is one of the ugliest buildings in England.

It is a square stone box perched on a manmade mound looking for all the world like a broken tooth looming over the City of Norwich. It was built by the Normans within a few years of the conquest of England and was meant to be a very raw demonstration of military and civil power. It was designed to fill the populace with fear and awe not with wonder at its beauty. It can be best compared to the KGB's Lubyanka headquarters. Most multi-storey car parks, to be honest, are more attractive than Norwich Castle. It has absolutely no aesthetic virtue.

It cannot even be said to have historic value. What we are looking at is a Victorian renovation job. All the facing stone, I am given to understand, was replaced in the 19th Century. I am reminded of the road sweeper in the television sitcom "Only Fools And Horses" who claims to have used the same broom for 12 years. I have replaced the handle twice and the head three times he explains but it is the same broom.

If anybody came today and said they wanted to build a 120 foot mound in the middle of the city and put a square stone box on top of it; he would be immediately shown the door. The planning meeting discussing the proposal would be over almost before it started. So why do we put up with it? The only excuse I can think of is; we are used to it.

But these days that is not enough. Lets tear it down and build a decent purpose built museum on the site. or social housing or even a multistorey car park.

I invite anyone who reads this to vote yes to tearing down this dreadful blot on the landscape by leaving a note to that effect in the comments at the bottom.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Welcome to Hindolveston, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

After squandering her money on Bonio and Pedigree Chum, Lassie did not spend her time selling her body and generally panhandling on Sunset Strip but came home to Hindolveston in Norfolk where she spends her time guarding a wood.

In truth I do not know how effective a keep out sign with a picture of a Collie on is; we have been taught by Hollywood and by television that Collies in general and Lassie in particular are a mixture of the Buddha (for gentleness) Solomon (for wisdom) and Lancelot (for bravery).

The truth may be that Collies are vicious and pschotic killer dogs who got lucky with their choice of a publicist but that is irrevelant. To those of us who grew up with Liz Taylor and Roddy MacDowell blubbing because Lassie has a head cold this notice is a bit like being threatened with violence by Mother Teresa.

Monday, April 17, 2006

National Stereotypes

French Buskers (yes really) At The French Market, Gentlemen's Walk, Norwich.

Though really they should have striped t-shirts and berets, while playing chanson on the piano accordian. And where are the Disc Bleu, and the rough cut copies of Satre?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mousehold Heath, Norwich

A walk on Mousehold Heath, Norwich, Good Friday Mousehold Heath originally extended from Norwich to Blofield and Wroxham. Much of the trees (and some of the grass) were planted by the Victorians who found the naked heath indecorous. Which leads to the question that besets the whole of terraformed Britain; What should the good enviromentalist do? Should the Heath be returned to its 18th Century state of wilderness or should we preserve what we have got now? In fact rotting material from the trees have so enriched the soil that a return to heathland is probably not viable.

The best idea for the heath I have heard is one that the late Geoffrey Goreham used to push; Close all roads that cross the area.

In medievil times it was held to be a refuge for outlaws and outcasts. It is still used by rough sleepers.

Gorse, Mousehold Heath

"When the gorse is out of bloom
Then kissing is out of tune"

In other words the gorse is always flowering.

The Vinegar Pond, Mousehold Heath

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Last Chance To See........... The Nest, Rosary Road, Norwich

From these photographs you can get an idea of why The Nest original home of Norwich City Football Club was considered to be such a remarkable football ground. Set in a "natural" wooded ampitheatre and commanding a stunning view of the Cathedral and City it was rightly considered almost unique. Allegedly the sound of the crowd would be bounced by the hill behind and carried right across the City as far as Earlham.

This part of Norwich is particularly full of ghosts; it is near where Kett's rebels camped before starting their assault upon the City in 1549 and it is just up the road from the so-called Lollard's Pit a place of execution for protestant dissenters in the reign of Queen Mary Tudor. It is next to the site of Thompsons the ironmongery wholesalers who were once one of the largest employers in Norwich. Bombs landed here in World War 2.

Soon work will begin building houses and offices on The Nest site and so this is really the last chance to get an idea of what the football ground was like in its heyday.

The Nest, Rosary Road, Norwich - Last Chance To See

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bible - St Fabian & St Sebastian Woodbastwick

St Fabian & St Sebastian Woodbastwick - Bible

Sunday, April 09, 2006


It comes to something when you consider innocence as bizzarre.

Bengate is a small village consisting of a postbox, ten houses and a notice board. For some reason the highways department decided that the main Stalham to North Walsham (A149) road that cuts through it would become incredibly congested and built an underpass leading from the village into a field. This underpass is perhaps Bengate's main physical feature.

Now anywhere else in England after twenty years or so any underpass would be first of all festooned with graffiti and secondly you would be wading waist deep through beer cans and hyperdermic syringes. Not so Bengate. This is one of the only two rather touching paintings on the wall; cricket stumps. On the opposite side there is another set. Someone has converted the underpass into an indoor cricket pitch.

There is something charming, innocent, pre-war and Just William about vandalism at this level.

Mind you the notice board at the entrance has lost its glass but I reckon that was because of the last high wind they had and will be fixed as soon as the parish council has held an emergency crisis meeting about this event and then raised the money for the repair.
Village Life

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Photographing Buskers

This is a repost of a blog entry I first made on Friday, July 01, 2005. Some small changes have been made

I love photographing buskers in my home town of Norwich. They present a wide range of musical competance and motives as to why they busk.

Some see it as a branch of Show Business; the bottom rung perhaps but show business non the less. Others -fewer than some loudmouths would have you believe- see it as a semi-legal form of begging. Whatever the reasons street perfomers have an instant way of calculating their appeal; it is measured out in pennies. It takes a lot of bravery to do what they do.

I have a number of self imposed rules about photographing buskers

1. I always give them some money first.

2. I then ask permission of them (so the act of giving me permission is not conditional on my giving them money.

3.I prefer to photograph buskers Monday to Friday because weekday buskers do it for one reason and one reason only; the money.

4. The photograph must be the most 'positive' image of the busker that my small skill allows.

A very few buskers -by no means all and MOST DEFINITELY NOT the people in this entry- are very vulnerable and easily exploited. The decision to say 'no' to having a photograph being taken may be the only decision they are allowed to make that day. They have the right to keep their dignity and I feel I have a duty to preserve it. I am never interested in any attempt at objectivity; I want to be a participant.

Hare Krishna Mandolin Player

Another photo from Colonel Blink

Competing textures

The joy of rusty iron on weathered wood......

..................and next to brick

Cross And Brickwall

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

'ullo Kittyvision

'ullo Kittyvision, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Twinkle, twinkle, little cat !
How I wonder what you're at !
Up above the world you fly,
Inside a telly. Are you on Sky?

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, Jane Taylor, the entire English speaking world Rupert Murdoch , Sky TV and anyone else who may wish to sue me.

Below is another example by (presumably) the same artist this time on an inaccessable bit of riverbank. What I really want to know is was it painted from a boat or was the artist held upside down by the heels? Someone has suggested that both pictures are what is known as paste-ups.

If you look carefully on the right of the angel cat as well as on the left of the television cat you will see a small c in a circle presumably to denote that someone considers the design copyright; Will some grey suited lawyer force me to pay a fee for showing them here?

Try To Catch Me - Norwich
Try To Catch Me - Norwich originally uploaded by Colonel Blink

Real gone cat

Real gone cat

Goodbye Kitty

Ding Dong Dell,
Pussys gone to hell
Who painted him out,
Little Johnny Stout
Do not despair though
1. By it's very nature graffiti is ephemeral.
2. It is satisfying when the forces of law and order win out in the end even over a much loved outlaw as in Bonnie and Clyde and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
3. We have served our purpose by photographing it.
4. Everything is change.
5. It was not that good

But the good news is we found a new one.......................

The one true cat

The one true cat

Hello Kitty again.

Here is a link to an obsessive observer of Mr Cat's international manifestations
And a photo by Jiva of one of the Norwich cats
And a photo by vvt of one of the Norwich cats

Which is pretty much the whole story. Unless you know different.....................

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Bishop's Palace Gate, St Martin At Palace Plain, Norwich

Actually to be more in tune with the people the last Bishop but one, changed the name to The Bishop's House -but neither he nor his successors have given up the right to sit in the House Of Lords. Neither has the road name been changed to St Martin At House Plain.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Norwich Market - Andy The Leather Man

Andy has had a stall on Norwich Market since the 1970s. He is soft spoken (in a Bob Harris sort of way) and very gentle. He is one of the constants on the market. He wears pretty much the same kind of clothes he always has and his hair and beard - though considerably greyer and thinner - is recognisably the 1970s model. He started off making and selling the kind of leather belts and bags Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young took to Woodstock and despite the vagaries of fashion he has not seen the need to change anything about his stock since then.

Despite the market revamp (which is the second market revamp he has thus far endured) his stall looks as it always has; as if it has just escaped from Titus Groan's Gormenghast Castle.

He is an enthusiastic photographer (roll film only).

There is also a scientific phenomenon known as the Andy-The-Leather-Man-Effect; you can go to any pub in Norwich -no matter how obscure- and just as you are about to have that first drink you look around and there he is, pint glass in hand, smiling amiably.