Archive for July, 2014

You Enjoy Doing That?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Photo of my honey taken by someone who thanked me for the opportunity of doing so.

Photo of my honey taken by someone who thanked me for the opportunity of doing so.

This is going to sound incredibly naïve but it took me until forty-something (no need to be too precise) to realize that some people like taking photographs. I had always known that many (if not most) people like having photographs (and I very much count myself in this group), and, it was on that basis that I surmised that the folk who took more photos were simply those who liked having photos that much more. And, sure, I was aware that some people actually took photography lessons and the like, but, again, I imagined this was because they wanted the photos they took to be good ones as then they would like the photos that much more. At no time did I think that the actual act of taking a photo was enjoyable to these people. This is of course what happens when one extrapolates from oneself. I find the act of taking a photo of a memorable experience interferes with the experience, but later not having a photo of said experience interferes with me remembering the experience. A bit of a catch-22, the solution to which, I thought somewhat guiltily, required me to hang out with people who, on balance, favoured photo over experience. But now that I know some actually like the act of taking a picture, I will sit back and let others take the shots guilt free.

Oh Canada

Saturday, July 19th, 2014
So glad saner minds prevailed.

So glad saner minds prevailed.

I’m going to stray slightly from my usual reading, writing, play-going theme to the topic of visual imagery (I say slightly because it is a way of communicating after all). I’m prompted to do this by the Canadian flag. I recently saw it plastered all over a Second Cup (a Canadian coffee franchise) in Dubai, feature on the door of a bathware shop in Istanbul (Canadian owned), and on the door of a pension in Tuscany (ownership unknown). It may be that I, as a Canadian, am particularly attuned to my flag. Traveling Swiss perhaps notice their flag just as often. But I am, for the purposes of blogging, going to assume that away. Rather, perhaps all this flag-waving is because Canadians, likely being no more patriotic that most, have a way cooler flag than most: a simple, elegant, recognizable design, free of the burden of historical references. This then generates a self-enforcing circularity: because we have such a great flag, we want to display it, which then makes us feel that much better about our home and native land, which makes us want to display our flag. Those politicians back in 1965 were onto something.

Those French

Saturday, July 5th, 2014


No joke, Gerard came up in a search for "typical Frenchman".

No joke, Gerard came up in a search for “typical Frenchman”.

On the endless flight from Dubai to Sydney, I watched not one but two French movies – in a row no less. Arguably not good for a person’s sleep-deprived mood since the French are invariably morose. The first, Un Beau Dimanche, was kind of crap. The second, Avant l’Hiver, I rather liked even though it shared with the first that particular brand of French melancholy (don’t let the word “beau” in the title fool you). I was going to say, grey-skied melancholy but upon reflection I remembered that the first movie was actually set in the sunny south. But even in those conditions, the film-maker managed to make the light overly harsh so that the players were either over-exposed or obscured in shadow. Note the imagery is not lost on me but the question is why: why are all these good-looking (well, the women anyway, the men all look like variations on Gérard Depardieu), often rich, café-going people so glum (but not unhappy, the quality of sadness is too sentimental for that)? That’s a mystery the movies never resolve. It appears to be a French thing.