A few assorted photos from the bank holiday weekend.
Marillion have a song called “This Train Is My Life”. Well, this train was my bank holiday weekend, in which I spent many hours on board assorted Arriva Cross Country Voyagers.
The reason for all this travel was Mostly Autumn playing The Robin 2 in Biston and The Brook in Southampton. This photo of Olivia Sparnenn’s spectacular hair comes from the show at The Brook on the Sunday night.
And just to prove I don’t take photographs solely of trains or prog-rock musicians, this one’s of the Lymington river just outside Brockenhurst on the Bank Holiday Monday.
I don’t usually do covers bands, but since this one was just round the corner from me, it would have been rude not to. Swallow are the Reading-based classic rock covers band fronted by Crimson Sky’s Jane Setter, with Diane Fox (above) on bass, Nick Martin on guitar, and Ade Ogden on drums. Their repetoire includes songs from Blondie, Uriah Heep, Golden Earring, Jefferson Airplane, and expecially for this gig, Led Zeppelin.
It’s not many gigs where I end up with more good photos of the drummer than of the singer, but pub gigs of this nature can be a challenge to photograph. The “stage” was wide but not very deep, with everyone in the front row. I was impressed with Ade’s drumming, and indeed the tightness of the whole band, as demonstrated by a very powerful version of “Radar Love”, one of the high spots of their first set. As a basic guitar-bass-drums-vocals lineup some songs needed to be played in a stripped-down forum, but the band’s arrangments worked, even managing to do Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’” justice without keys. I liked the way Diane Fox played the piano intro for UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” on bass.
Most of their second set was Led Zeppelin songs, at the request of the venue. Having seen the likes of Karnataka and Panic Room play Led Zep standards as encores, I’ve always thought Led Zeppelin songs work extremely well with female vocals, and the half-dozen songs they played, drawn largely from the early albums proved to be a very good fit for Jane’s voice. Somehow I doubt that Robert Plant could hit the high notes on “Immigrant Song” nowadays. And if Jane Setter could do Robert Plant, Ade Ogden also did a very convincing John Bonham.
While I still prefer to see bands play original material, it nevertheless makes for an entertaining evening, and Swallow do what they do extremely well.
Some photos from a few months back, Crimson Sky playing their home town of Bristol back in May 2012. The gig was a double headliner with Winter in Eden, held in the Sea Mills community centre after the original pub venue went out of business. It was a stroke of luck that an alternative if unconventional venue was available at short notice.
I was an assistant roadie for the band for that gig, and one of the reasons I never reviewed it at the time was because I was focussing on helping load out afterwards I found I couldn’t remember enough to be able to write a coherent review. One thing I do remember, though, was how cold the venue was. At one point I had trouble operating the camera because my hands were frozen.
This was the first photo I ever took with my current camera, taken minutes after buying it from Jessops in Torquay in 2009 after my existing camera died on me while on holiday.
Today came the news that Jessops is to close all stores, putting 1,370 people out of a job. Jessops had been ailing for some time, and there was always a gut feeling that it was only a matter of time before the chain went under. The suddeness of the end still came as something of a shock. Debate rages over whether their downfall was due to the rise of smartphones replacing “real” cameras, competition from Amazon, or simply poor customer service.
The Torquay branch where I bought the camera had already closed before today’s announcment. So had the Slough branch, over a year ago, where I made my last significant purchase from Jessops, a fast zoom lens.
I’m lucky that in Reading there are a couple of other camera shops including a branch of The London Camera Exchange. But there are many other towns and cities where Jessops was the only photographic specialist on the high street. What does this mean for photography?
Posted in Photos
A few more photos from my trip up north in June 2012. This one shows a Northern Rail class 156 at Haltwhistle on the northernmost trans-Pennine line, the one running from Newcastle to Carlisle. The station retains the old North Eastern Railway footbridge and tall signalbox.
So there I was, drinking a coffee at Carlisle station, when suddenly this happened. The jazz combo were Brass Jaw, promoting their forthcoming appearance at The Glasgow Jazz Festival with a set at each major station between Glasgow and London
This was more the sort of photo I was expecting to take at Carlisle. Freightliner Heavy Haul’s 66553 on a northbound train of coal empties, which will probably have come off either the Newcastle-Carlisle or Settle-Carlisle lines, having delivered it’s coal to one of Yorkshire power stations.
Some photos from The North York Moors Railway plus a few of Whitby, taken in June 2012, on one of the very few days that year when the sun actually came out.
They’re not all of kettles; quite a few are of the veteran Class 24 D5061, which is probably as old as the 9F
I do like this shot, taken from the train window, of the long-disused viaduct that once carried the coast line between Middlesborough and Scarborough across the Esk just outside Whitby.
And finally, the ruins of Whitby Abbey, taken at sunset, after first taking precautions against being bitten by goths.
Some photos from Mostly Autumn’s Christmas show at Bilston Robin 2. With the sleigh bells and Santa hats towards the end, it’s very obvious what time of year it comes from. Musically it was superb; as the fifth of six back-to-back gigs the short tour probably peaked with this show, with the band full of energy, playing a setlist drawn heavily from the new album “The Ghost Moon Orchestra” mixed with plenty of old favourites, and of course those Christmas covers.
A few photos from the fantastic gig by Chantel McGregor at The Flowerpot in Derby at the beginning of December. If you haven’t seen Chantel live before, her guitar-shredding mix of blues and rock is not to be missed.
Some photos of Panic Room, as well as the supports Morpheus Rising and Howard Sinclair, taken from the stunning Christmas gig at Bilston Robin 2 on December 2nd.
Preseved class 50 locomotive No 50008 “Thunderer” standing in the December sunshine outside the National Railway Museum in York. It wears the “Laira Blue” livery from the locomotive’s final months in main line service, where it was used as a dedicated railtour locomotive after the class were withdrawn from regular service. It’s a sobering thought that this locomotive has now been a museum piece for almost as long as it was in traffic now.