Singing The Blues

Yesterday Manchester was blue.

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The Ghosts Of East End Children

Taken in the early 1880’s, this is one of the earliest images of the East End of London.

I love the way the children appear insubstantial and ghost-like, which in effect they are. Lingering echoes of lives long lost, wandering along now vanished streets.

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Cross My Arms And Hope To Spy

Another one of those old photographs that I love. A young woman standing on top of a wash tub. At first glance it appears from her stance that she is displaying no little attitude.

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But close up you see a playful smile.

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Maybe she stands on that tub to fit into the shot the plant on the window ledge behind her.

Of more interest, though, is the little girl in the background: the spy; the photobomber; maybe awaiting her turn.

Next in line for a photograph now lost to time’s censor.

However here she survives, perhaps only here: the eternal spy; the photobomber; the girl who intrudes. Pushing herself forward for 21st Century eyes.

Winter Coughs To Announce Her Presence

Officially it is not winter for five weeks or so, but the seasons sometimes blur the calendrical boundaries and fixed points that we like to attribute to them.

Yesterday was the first real cold morning of the year. Crisp and clear, a light frost covered everything, a promise maybe of what is to come. And, perhaps with a sense of the shift in things, it seemed that my Facebook feed was filled with photographs by people drawn to mark this liminal time.

An old school friend by the name of Dave Wright lives up in Inverness, in Scotland. He has two things up there that I don’t have: a decent camera and the northern lights.

He took this photograph as a cold dusk fell upon the land, he himself hunkered down for the night. The tree serves as a point of focus in an otherwise horizontal sweep.

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And then, as he quite aptly described it: the moment the sky danced. 

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Further south, across the English border (how we like to divide and designate, whether with land or time or people) another old school friend, Derek Bates, paused to take in the view from his works window. This was in Duckingfield, a town in Greater Manchester, with light struggling slowly over the bare hills, the low-lying land shrouded in mist.

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To the east of Duckingfield, in my hometown of Middleton, the temperature stubbornly refused to rise. The mist appeared hesitant beyond the trees.

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And then the school run beckoned, drawing us out of our heated home. Ignore that sun, it may as well have been a snowflake.

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“It’s cold,” my daughter exclaimed as we hurried along the main road. “I can’t feel my legs.”

“They’re still there,” I replied. “Keep going!”