We spent ten days in England, visiting my parents, being a family. The sun was a constant presence. I found myself gravitating to old haunts, like an old dog instinctively nosing his way home after being abandoned at the beach.
Top, flowers in my local pub at dusk and bottom, Gerda and Sofie in the grounds of St Albans Abbey one very warm day. A few more shots here.
I don’t know what went wrong but the roll of film I shot on my wedding day was a dud. These are the only shots worth sharing – two beautiful, talented girls, both doctors. (Sonja is also a talented musician playing in Choir of Young Believers and Selvhenter - check out the latter, they’re big in Japan).
In London, we visited Kew Gardens. The journey there includes an overground section of the District Line. As the train winds through increasingly affluent areas, the passengers thin out. By the time you arrive at Kew it’s just you and other tourists, perhaps a resident or two, or, in our case, a Kew guide. We followed him toward the gardens along a road of beautiful Victorian villas, the sun beating down. Range Rovers, Audis, an ice-cream van gaudy by comparison, but at the same time fitting.
Inside, we were among the youngest visitors. We paid the extra fee and boarded an electric bus that takes you on a guided circuit around the gardens. The driver points out follies, memorable views, and he details historical trivia. Fellow visitors hop on and off at the various stops. If you’ve seen any of Stephen Poliakoff’s TV, you’ll have a feeling for the mood of Kew.
In the Palm House, I had a peculiar sense of historical connection. I felt strongly like I’d been there before but I’m almost certain I haven’t. A walk around the iron balcony, among the uppermost foliage, dense in places, threatening dominion, is to my mind one of the most wonderful experiences to be had in London. I went up alone and met just a few other visitors. A couple passed me and I overheard a snippet of conversation. Their voices trailed off. I took these pictures.
Haven’t felt this excited about a band since The Strokes and that was in 1999 – a time before the Internet had reshaped civilisation in its self-regarding image. You would occasionally ‘go on’ the Internet to check your email but there wasn’t a whole lot more to do.
A true story about The Strokes; I somehow managed to get their manager’s email address and lied my way onto the guestlist of one of their first London shows claiming to be the editor of an influential university music periodical. Then the drummer broke his hand or something, I got bumped to the Oxford show a few days later, and then my +1 was revoked as every music journalist in the land wanted a piece of the action. I didn’t fancy driving that far on my lonesome so I gibbed it. They were apparently amazing that night, as well.
A beautifully simple idea for a music video, elegantly and unfussily executed.
Channeling Colonel Kurtz. (Pic by @scrivnick.)
Had a lovely morning here on Saturday, despite the despairing looks on folks’ faces. Got some nice old books for Gerda and some toys for when she’s a bit older.