London becomes a fortress

Terrorism is a fact of life, well a fact of my life anywhere. When I was 7 the IRA blew up the toy-shop I used to buy Action Men in, which was next to one of the pubs that they attacked in Guildford Surrey. When I was a teenager, I remember going to see the broken windows at Harrods following the bomb that the IRA placed there in 1981 or maybe 1982.

In the 1990’s I saw French soldiers hassling a man of North African appearance after a series of terrorist outrageous in Paris. At the same time I remember the complete disappearance of public waste bins after the IRA, again, had taken to leaving fire-bombs in the railway station bins. London’s streets really suffered after these outrages, the streets were filthy.

I have been at the edge of latest bought of terrorism, when I was at Edgware Road tube station 2 hrs before the 7/7 explosions and then had a really difficult time trying to reach my darling sister who worked in the City at the time.

So, it should really come as no surprise to see anti-terrorism measures around London. But, but, but, despite seeing anti-terrorism measures on nearly every London Bridge over the Thames, I was terribly shocked and stunned to see anti-terrorism, anti-suicide and anti-wild driving barriers around Leicester Square.

Concrete Blocks Leicester Sq

The blocks are somehow beautiful, somehow terrifying, somehow stunning. It makes me really sad to see them.

For me, Leicester Square is a centre of fun. When I was 18 I went to see my first X-Rated film there, Risky Business – Tom Cruise (It’s really not that racy), I have been clubbing in the Square, met friends in the Square and bought theatre tickets in it to. There are also pretty nice public loos there too. Leicester Square is also the spiritual home to The Burly Photographer. I have shot Burlesque Idol umpteen times at the Hippodrome Casino. I have probably taken something like 20,000 images there. To have the Square barrackaded like a fort seems almost obscene.

It is obscene, but it is logical

Concrete Blocks Leicester Sq

But – lets look at this another way round.

Leicester Square is a centre of entertainment, it is fun messy, smelly (sometimes) and the place where fun begins. We should want to defend the ability to have fun, if we cannot have fun, have a laugh, get pissed and make fools of ourselves, then terrorism has completely won.

So we have to defend it – the fortress is unfortunate – but it has to be done – Es Liebe Madness……..

Guitar on the Street

Last week, or maybe a couple of weeks ago I went to see the Don McCullin exhibition at the Tate Britain – Again. If you haven’t been you really should go.

Anyway, I was feeling inspired by McCullin’s people and street photographs. I was wandering in the streets behind the Tate looking for a Boris Bike to take me to the Extinction Rebellion demo and I heard a guitar playing.

I thought I would investigate and I met Francois, who was happy to let me take his picture while he played. I hope that I have done him and his playing justice.

Francois With Guitar behind the Tate
Francois With Guitar behind the Tate

Anthony Gormley – Caged

As you know I am a bit of an Anthony Gormley fan. Today however, I am a sad Anthony Gormley fan. I found the Gormley that is housed in the Tate Modern on the South Bank.

After having seen the Gormley’s at Margate and Folkestone its like seeing a Tiger in a zoo. It was caged, bound and emasculated, a mere reminder of what the other Gormley are like.

If you haven’t seen the others, in the ‘wild’ so to speak, then you won’t be impressed and will probably not understand what all the fuss is about.

AG1

Burlesque Idol Oct 2017

As you can see I have got a bit behind on my posts.

October Burlesque Idol was an astounding event, there are no words really. The spectacle and the power of the performances was just amazing. How can you describe the show? Frankly, I don’t know but I do know that a picture tells a thousand words so lets stop talking and start showing the pics.

The winner Lady Fitz Von Tits

Lady Fitz Von Tits The runner up Miranda Lee Miranda Lee

The amazing House of Burlesque Dancer Trixie Trix

Trixie Kixx The extremely flexible Lady FTP Lady FTP

This is my fave pic of the whole evening Miranda Lee again

Miranda Lee

 

And now you can see the whole set of pics – just click on the image below to see the whole set.

 

Burlesque Idol Oct 17

Objectifying Men

I am probably best known as a photographer of Burlesque shows and of women. A friend of mine challenged me about this and I started looking at my pictures of men. This got me wondering whether photographs of male subjects might not be a more interesting portrait than the pictures I usually take.

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I have started to study the male face and to objectify that to see what I can learn. I am still on my journey of taking pictures of men. I try now to always include shots of male figures at every gig I go to. I have been collecting the pictures into a folder and present them here below.

I have to admit at a couple of the pics are of me and were taken by someone else, but the processing is mine and I wanted to include them in the set.

Anyway enough talking here are the pictures, what do you think?

portrait

Man on the South Bank

I recently went to a talk by the photographer Don McCullin who showed some of his portraits of men sleeping rough in London. He talked about their strength, humanity and how he felt that their story was etched in the faces of the people he photographed. I was in London last week and I saw this man asleep on a bench on the Embankment, near the South Bank Centre. He was being left alone by all those that walked by, he seemed free but imprisoned by the benches and fences around him. A powerful sight and improved by the excellent editing by @joolsabel.