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Posted on 20th November, 2011

Don't look back

in anger.


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Had a great long heritage weekend from Thursday 22nd to Monday 26th inclusive. This was in the West Midlands, mainly to visit Blists Hill Museum, the Black Country Museum, and the Severn Valley Railway. However, I also fitted in trad jazz sessions at The Trumpet in Bilston, and with the Warbash Jazzmen at Halesowen Cricket Club. And as I was based in Wolverhampton, I had to pay homage to the sadly-defunct Mitchells & Butlers Springfield Brewery, before downing a few pints of wonderful real ale at Wetherspoons and the Posada pub in the city centre. So, although Thursday didn't start well, with bumper to bumper traffic virtually all the way from Spaghetti Junction to Wolverhampton, the subsequent events made up for that very well.


Defunct Mitchells & Butlers Springfield Brewery, Wolverhampton, September 22nd 2011


It's sad in a way that for many people, the West Midlands is more of an attraction for what used to be than what it is or could be. And I'm as guilty as anyone else in this respect, as I feel much more comfortable in the atmosphere and environment of our great Victorian conurbations than ever I will in the town of Milton Keynes where I'm currently based. In fact, it was only by moving to the sterile, bland and soul-less town of Milton Keynes that I came to fully appreciate, warts and all, what wonderful places our Victorian ancestors left us. What a pity then, that so many of them have been destroyed in the pursuit of 'modernisation', leaving just the occasional oasis for people to experience. Still, as Noel Gallagher would tell me, 'Don't look back in anger'.


Anyway, a big revelation of last weekend was the Severn Valley Railway, which was running a steam gala. This featured the new-ish 60163 Tornado amongst many other favourites, and I took a rare chance to ride in an observation car butted right up to, and of course with full view of, its smokebox. Very nerdy thing to want to do many would say, especially as they'd also say there's the beautiful Severn Valley itself visible from the side windows. But the sights of the Severn Valley will still be there next week won't they? Equally mind-blowing to a nerd, was the fact that they were running trains all through the night, and although I've been to the SVR many times, I've never been at night before. And, not just for a nerd, but also for a photographer, it's a dream. All those things that you've seen so many times before, and wondered if they'll ever be able to maintain their appeal enough to draw you back, they take on a new life. The lighting, the atmosphere, and the general buzz is amazing, and one I hope to savour again next year.


That weekend does mark a turning point in the year unfortunately, as it's now not so easy to find the next event to attend to take pics. During the summer, it's just a case of looking on the web at UK or London event listings, and being spoiled for choice. From now on though, it needs a bit of effort to find an event of interest. Mind you, autumn does mark the start of the studio portrait season, which I'd normally look forward to. Unfortunately though, last season gave me so many headaches negotiating with models trying to set up dates / times / locations / styles etc, that I dread a repeat this time round. You see, I value my freedom so much since finishing work, that I resent having to lock up several days in the hope that a model may agree to work on one of them. But I suppose that's what you get when you're looking for models to work on a time-for-CD (TFCD) basis, which is why I think I'll condsider paid shoots this time round.


So, we approach the first Saturday for many months when I don't know what I'll be doing, or, if I'll be doing anything at all even. My next blog will reveal all (or nothing). Cue the Small Faces?


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