27 Feb 2010
Overheard conversation on the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Woman, 50+ on her mobile phone, oblivious;
"Hey hen, 'am gonna git rid o' this phone, ken? Aah had seven messages askin' if ah'd kenned where oor Billy wez? Someone wez stabbed and shot ootside Jock's Lodge... Aye! Ah was watchin' 'Dancin' on Ice!' Summut o'er cocaine... cowards... got nae balls... think they're gangsters... the wee shites. They're takin' plant food, it makes 'em go raj. Aye, plant food, they call it methlydome... methanome... summut like methadone, ken? The junkies an' the halfwits... shud put 'em on an island; all the bams together, aye! Wha' hen? Aa'm goin in a tunnel"
At the Saltmarket the word on the street is 'anthrax'. A tally of ten users have died tortuous deaths in Scotland from injecting heroin laced with the deadly bacteria. Dealers in homeless hostels and on the street are knowingly pushing the infected drug on their prey. Terrified addicts are turning to, and being turned away from, the methadone clinics. Some are choosing, in desperation, to break the law, knowing they'd be guaranteed the substitute in prison - "on the island..."
Music on the streets and in the schemes of Glesga is spread virally by lo-fi not wi-fi. Phone-to-phone via Bluetooth is how the sounds are shared. The tune doing the rounds is Forehill Boys MC Kaii's 'Anti Screw Crew.' What would the woman on the train say? "All the bams together, aye!"
17 Feb 2010
As the Pyramids of the M8 disappear from view I can't help thinking what lies ahead. The last time we met, Barrie had taken the wagon on one of his joy rides. It's cut and dry; he knows he has no option but to jack-in the booze. I don't condemn or judge him for his lapses - they're temporary. I'm not his social, case or care-worker, but naturally I care. Last orders have been rung but he's not ready to throw in the towel, not just yet and not without support. The best I can do is listen.
Barrie was edgy and frayed - news of a friend diagnosed as terminally ill was compounded by the recent death of another from anthrax. I weighed-up the situation and decided to cut the session short.
Barrie can't break the cycle alone - although he is giving it his best shot. When the wagon breaks down you need the assistance of an expert recovery service - something I can't provide. In the Saltmarket, only 50 yards from the Big Issue office, stands an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting house. I introduced Barrie to some familiar faces and accompanied him to an open meeting. 30 minutes in and he needed out; the speaker's story resonated too deeply.
You can lead a horse to water...
14 Feb 2010
A Unique Blogging Voice
'We are not great fans of blogs here at PP. Too many of them start off with vigour and humour and end up as just a list of latest shoots. This can definitely not be said of our favourite blog of the moment compiled by Edinburgh based photographer Gavin Evans. Always a strong and independent voice, he uses his blog to rail against the world of commercial photography, promote the concepts of free thinking and dissect and illustrate his own personal photographic vision. His approach is not for the faint hearted but his passion and commitment to his cause make it an unmissable read. Be careful you might just get hooked!'
8 Feb 2010
Barrie kept the appointment; determined not to let me or himself down. He entered the studio like a crash survivor stumbling from a wreckage. Barrie thought he could be drunk at the wheel of the wagon. He believed that he could pull the wool over my eyes, but his eyelids gave him away - they weighed down like a Buckie Monk's foot pressing on a grape.
I've seen him drunk and rattled but never somnambulating shit-faced. It was painful to watch as he performed the hula - without the hoop. Conversation is in Desperanto, the Wegian vernacular slowed to a monotone slur.
His boozin' buddies are his worst enemies, they'll fight to the bitter end to keep the marriage going. The only way he can move forward is to divorce himself from them and the culture. It is going to be tough; his brides are pernicious bunny boilers fueled by their faith in the spirit.
The lens was an empty optic and the only way to fill the stupoured voids was to play music. The soundtrack to Barrie's life is Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon.' I didn't have the LP on my iPod but I did have 'Comfortably Numb.' Barrie skipped with anticipation as I scrolled down the playlist. He held himself close and swayed like a father caressing his child. Word perfect he whispered the lyrics as if the song were a lullaby to an orphaned youth.
Once again I asked Barrie to take my hand and put it in the frame. This time, for the first time, he took my hand... he touched. I was under no delusion, we hadn't made a breakthrough. This wasn't the moment when we'd crossed the barrier - the drink had deceived him into dropping his guard.
1 Feb 2010
"I'll be 45 Christmas. I was born in Texas, Irish decent, brown hair, blue eyes, 195 lbs. I've been incarcerated 16 years, the last 8 on death row. With each year I seem to be losing parts of me I need the most. In the beginning the loss didn't seem so much, I felt like I was able to adapt rather than change, now I'm changing. My sense of humor and easy going ways are being replaced with a cold and hardened heart. Maybe it's inevitable or maybe I just need someone to help me keep a grip. I'm reaching out hoping to find someone willing to reach in. I'm not seeking romance nor a fair weather friend, I need someone solid."
In Search Of: Females