2016
May
Sony MDR-V700 headphones
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not child proof

Last night I was on the phone to my friend Ben talking about various nerdy things – I hadn’t spoken to Ben for a while and it was great to catch up. He asked how I was and what I’d been up to. I said I have kids and so nothing much interesting happens to me, it’s all about them.

I went on to say that sometimes it feels like they exist purely to make me suffer. This was a mistake.

Because you see, they know. They hear and know everything. I don’t know how but I am sure of it in a way that I have never been so sure of anything else in my life. They work together to ensure no such comment or statement goes unpunished.

My penance for those particular comments? Ray woke up at 03:30 screaming his head off, which never happens. I calmed him down and went back to bed. Then at 05:30 Bruce woke me up by tapping his finger directly on to my eyeball through my closed eyelid. And so starts another day.

And that’s not all. I have a set of headphones.

They have been my headphones for sixteen years.

They are Sony MDR-V700 headphones which I got back in my nightclub house music DJ period.

They were quite expensive when new, before the days of Beats by Dre when spending £150 on headphones marked you out as a weirdo rather than being the norm.

They survived through hundreds of DJ gigs across the country, some of which may have involved some impairment on my part and a corresponding lack of care.

They survived journeys to Japan, America, Africa, Dubai and many other countries.

They survived everything I ever threw at them and kept on sounding amazing.

Here they are!

Sony MDR v700 headphones
Sony MDR v700 headphones

You know what they couldn’t survive? A three year old playing with them for around one minute.

Broken 3.5mm Stereo Jack plug

Here you see why – pictured next to what a headphone plug should look like – the end of the jack plug has been broken off. How you might ask? By pretending to plug them into his toy wooden kitchen. Thanks Bruce!

So now another talent I must develop as a parent is that of electrical repair. Better break out the soldering iron and get busy…

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Pottery paints
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painting pots and climbing towers

I’m not a huge fan of travel by rail – but kids love it so we all bundle on a train to head off to Bristol for a day trip.

After gobbling down a tasty lunch (fish finger sandwhich for £10, ouch) we head to one of those places where you can pay money to decorate some pottery item. They glaze and fire it and you collect it later. You sit at a table and there are paints and brushes and all the paraphenalia of the artist.

Pottery paints

You have to write your name on the bowl so that you can identify it when you go back to collect some time later.

rays_bowl

So there’s painting – surely the kids will enjoy this?

Well, they did, for all of about 5 minutes. Then they got bored but not before Bruce had added enough different coloured paints to his bowl that it was basically a uniform brown colour.

Ray on the other hand was a little more measured in his painting

painting a bowl
Pottery Painting by Ray

So what do two bowls and an hour of painting cost? £26. No price on making memories except OH YES, THERE IS A PRICE, IT’S £26. FOR TWO BOWLS.

Next up a wander into Brandon Hill park and Bruce manages to throw himself in stinging nettles. Let’s distract him with a trip up Cabot Tower, what a good idea!

WRONG!!! What a terrible idea. Negotiating an increasingly narrow set of spiral stairs with a three year old. On the way up just about manageable, on the way down an out and out nightmare.

Once at the top, no chance of getting a photo, just try to stop the child flinging himself off – what fun!

Cabot Tower
Cabot Tower
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Panorama of Sandy Bay near Exmouth
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eXmouth marks the spot

Away we go in the car to a place called Devon Cliffs and Sandy Bay where we stay in a caravan because kids love caravans and it is cheap and all round good old fashioned family holiday fun.

I say fun, but little boys waking up at 5:00am in a caravan is not actually “fun” in the strictest sense of the word. As anyone who has stayed in a caravan will know, if one is awake, all are awake.

But we soldier on with not enough sleep and maybe slightly bleary eyes from one too many beers or gin and tonics and we go swimming, to the beach, and to the all out horror that is a childrens disco complete with huge characters like roary the tiger dancing and screaming at maximum volume from the giant sound system.

All in all it was a fanastic weekend and we enjoyed it very much, and for once I am not being sarcastic!

Anyway, I took some photos, mainly of the kids.

playgroundbruce_2

playgroundray

playgroundray_2

ray_biscuit

playgroundbruce

What never ceases to surprise me is the level of detail my D800 can generate in a photo. For example, in the photo immediately above Bruce has some sand in his hand. The camera actually captures the individual grains of sand.

detail_grains

Last up, a panoramic of the beach at Sandy Bay, because I took it so here it is. Click for a bigger version, if you so desire.

Panorama of Sandy Bay near Exmouth
Panorama of Sandy Bay near Exmouth

One thing that is hard to reconcile with sitting in the cliffside bar in the sunshine is the sound of automatic weapons fire that comes from the military firing range to the left of the picture above. Which happens pretty much all day, every day. Rat-a-tat-tat MOTHER F****R

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Holga 120 Kodak film
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holga!

As I mentioned previously, I had some films processed. Some of them came out of my holga 120 camera and I just wasted an hour of my life scanning and cropping them.

Now I’m wasting more time posting them here. They are dull and uninspiring and I don’t like them, but I do like to share, because I am nice like that.

holga_kodak_slide038 holga030

holga031 holga_kodak_slide039

What I’ve learnt from this – film doesn’t benefit from being sat in a drawer for 5 years.

Also, film is insanely expensive now. Once upon a time you could pick up 10 rolls of expired 120 slide film for about a tenner. Now, people are asking forty or fifty pounds for the same thing. No thanks – so I guess that’s the death of my Holga as well as my pinhole camera.

Oh well!

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Pinhole image Ilford XP4 film
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pinhole-io

Back in 2011 I wrote a blog post about how I didn’t really enjoy my pinhole camera and I wanted to stop using it, so I promptly did.

Last week, I found a handful of rolls of unprocessed film and sent them off for processing. I was reminded why shooting film is not as much fun as it might initially appear. First, it’s incredibly expensive at around £9 per roll to buy and process – then find you’ve shoved it through a crap pinhole camera and at best you have one photo that is not totally terrible.

Second because scanning and processing the images takes almost the entire rest of your life, and is mind numbingly boring.

Anyway, cool story etc. Pictures.

pinhole_ilford_river

pinhole_ilford_coppermines (2)

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Bruce shot with Nikon D800
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film-a-geddon

I have one of those random drawers in my house that is full of assorted weird things, mostly sunglasses and old phone chargers that I don’t throw away because YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED THEM!

In this draw I recently found four rolls of exposed film, two rolls of 120 film and two 35mm

I have no idea what is on these rolls, so I sent them off for processing, so it is costing me £18.70 to find out. I really hope they aren’t just photos of my hand and a mug in my kitchen… Time will tell.

In other news, I don’t have any other news, so here is a picture of Bruce. For once, not in the woods!

bruce_at_thatcham_2

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