During the English Civil War, at the battle of the “Cusp of Arrival”, a bitter and bloody fight for survival between the puritanical Roundheads and the whorish Cavaliers, two generals surveyed the scene from the atop the Mornington Crescent Mount. With brows furrowed with woe and anxiety, General De Vere turned to General Leadbetter and sighed. “Have you seen that painting of me in the Hallway? I look truly terrible, I never take a good painting.” Quite how General Leadbetter replied was lost to the combination of time and a hail or ballshot piercing his head and stomach. However, the point is one that I think has echoed down the ages and has a good deal of personal resonance
Simply put, I do not take a good photo. This, you understand, is not from the perspective taking the photo myself, as in taking the shot, rather from the perspective of having my photo taken. I am not photogenic and will quite happily admit it. That is not to say I am as ugly as the inside of Jeremy Clarkson’s thought process, rather the camera does not like me. In existence there are possibly a handful or so photos that do not make me wish to banish them to Hades, or indeed, the inside of Jeremy Clarkson’s thought process. I should legally be put behind the camera, not in front of it and this suits me just fine.
I am more than happy to snap away at other people ’til the Badgers come home. I am relaxed about taking a photographic likeness of other people whether they are aware of it or not (just to clarify for legal reasons, there is nothing sinister or untoward about this). That is my environment, that is my position of safety. I am content to look out at the world and try to capture its idiosyncrasies in all their multifarious glory, good sides and bad. So it was this past week, that the tables were turned upon me.
There I was, quietly sat upon my settee, watching the world go by, contemplating my navel and the navel of another, when I became the hunted. First off, a mother Ewe and two lambs lined up to stare at my through my open front door for a good 40 seconds as I ate my breakfast. Secondly, as I watched the sun set on a glorious May evening a flock of young, black clad, Orthodox Jewish boys stopped outside my window and watched me watching television in my boxer shorts before noisily moving on their way. Karma was getting its own back on me, though perhaps the sight of me in my boxers watching television with a bottle of beer in my hand was just as disturbing for them…….