At irregular times and on unpredictable occasions I will add things, ideas, notes, pictures to the scrapbook





Writing on the wall (or on the ground): one of my favourite subjects, language and signs that remain unintended, unnoticed, unwanted on walls or surfaces, maybe graffitied, printed, scratched, written, or just old signs that have lost their purpose or are broken, scraps of poster or pictures torn away, announcing something from the past, stuck over each other or washed away, conflicting messages addressing no one in particular (one assumes) or unfathomable public declarations.

     I have a sentimental attachment to old shop fronts, drop-outs from the commercial life of a street. I have countless such shots that go back a long time. Many of these flecks of language are now erased from their original settings, except here. Just a few recent examples...


RECLAIM THE FLEETS! was the slogan of the moment mid-summer 2021 as lockdown was being eased for live cultural events in Hamburg. Westwerk went outdoors and staged a three-day festival of art, performance, projections and music on and around the canal backing onto the Westwerk building. The canal called the Herrengrabenfleet (hence the title) was transformed into an amphibian amphitheatre with a large floating stage, a big screen for projections and a nice PA which filled the area with the sounds of the bands performing from late afternoon to late at night. Each day the audience bathed in the golden weather, immersed in the pleasure of being able at least to mingle and socialise together for the first time in over a year. »Reclaim's« programme echoed the diversity of Westwerk's usual schedule of art and music.

     Among the many, mostly local based acts performing from the pontoon stage were The Heffels playing a set with a smooth amphibian ambient. »Take the Boat« was the evening's signature tune.

MARCH 2019

If you go down to the woods today you're in for a big surprise. For all the elephants gathered there... Living in Hamburg, I miss the stange tastes in design in England, though it's probably the same all over the UK. The way things are arranged, in homes, in public spaces, on the streets, in gardens, in parks and by rivers, an eclectic mixture or clash of shapes and colours, blends of history, quality, materials, styles, textures, provenance, sometimes elegant or sophisticated, often improvised and instinctive, or just haphazard – "stuff", decoration, anything that goes beyond the functional (and sometimes even contradicts the functional) and evokes mood, emotional attachment, strange loyalties, a sense of belonging or attitude.

     All this I miss. However dilapidated and poorly cobbled together certain things and places might be, I still feel so profoundly drawn to this that I wonder if all this touching weirdness is the well of ny mostalgia. I rarely find it here in Germany. At Christmas it gets even more pronounced, maybe a bigtime opportunity to go theatrical, time to invent new scenery and masks. Everyone joins in, even people who came from faraway places with elephants, whether generations ago or recently arrived, all seem to enjoy this brilliant make-believe, from the garishly exaggerated to the sober and seriously secular.