Wednesday, 20 June 2012

200 posts and the return of The Beast

Blog milestone

After 5 ½ years of steady blogging (certainly not as prolific as some, who seem to reach the figure in a matter of months) The BlackLOG reaches 200 postings (The fact that the number of followers are trailing way behind is of little concern, I shall continue to stick my head in the sand).  For those of you who like consistency and in spite of the considerable Blogging experience that I now possess, I’m delighted to report that the BlackLOG shows no sign of improving.....

Kitchen update

We have been contacted by the paint manufacturers who assured us,  in as reassuring manner as is possible,  that it is nothing to do with them or the quality of their paint (I.e. sod off you are not sticking this on us – just a shame that their paint has taken a similar non-stick approach to our walls)..... They are blaming the builders for putting on rubbish quality paint 14 years ago and Mrs B for not preparing the walls* 10 years ago when she got fed up with magnolia  (Note I’m totally blameless in the situation because I was too lazy busy relaxing doing important man stuff, to get involved in painting the house – I believe I was still holding out for 6 years of letting the house settle before changing anything.  Yet again a clear case of my Lazy laid back approach proving a retrospective winner.)
* What was Mrs B expected to do?  Sit the walls down and give them a good talking to about the facts of life and what to expect in the big wide world...? More layers of paint is the only thing that springs to mind ....and remind the walls to play nicely with the better quality colours and paints that they will meet later in life when we had more money.


The Beast is home safe sound and looking pretty damn good – after his cosmetic surgery – a dial tuck here, a lens lift there and the camera equivalent of lipo suction - he is like a fit young thing again, all the flab gone (A.K.A the gray masking tape that was keeping bits of him together**).  He was disappointed to miss Coldplay but he managed to sneak into Keane and Razorlight (you will have to wait for those in later blogs, otherwise it ends up like an extended version of War and Peace)
** Mrs B is bemused *** by my habit of referring to The Beast as “he” – while children, if referred to at all, are generally “it”. What can I say? I like cameras, well not all cameras - some of them are spoilt little brats....  *** OK, her reaction is possibly a little stronger. 

Bad news

This week I received a letter from the Veolia  Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year, that I entered a few months ago....
“As you will be aware, the volume of entries, and the standard of those entries, increases year on year"

-       Reading between the lines – Your entries were rubbish

"So our jury is faced with ever-more challenging decisions to make."

-       Reading between the lines – They all thought your entries were rubbish

"I am therefore very sorry to have to tell you that, on this occasion, you were not successful."

-       Reading between the lines – I personally thought your entries were rubbish

"but I also hope this does not dissuade you from taking part again"

-       I.e.  – I look forward to receiving your rubbish entry next year

Ouch – Sounds like I won’t be winning this year.....

Better News

Almost a month after being told my White Party photos were not what the customer was looking for, I received £100 for my services... Makes me wonder what I would have got if they had actually liked them?  I also managed to sell 5 photos from the website I set up so it was not a total loss.  
If you go to the Photo finish section after Mega Mini Beasts Coldplay pictures you can see The Beasts return to action in at our Ski reunion party and some birds in the garden....


I find it amazing that so many people criticise Coldplay for being dull -  The reviews I read all begrudgingly gave credit for a great show but you could tell it was through gritted teeth and as much as they enjoyed it they were not happy admitting to it..... Mrs B and I like Coldplay’s music, have been fans since the first album.  The show was spectacular, entertaining and fun – everyone was given a coloured bracelet, which at set points in the show flashed across The Emirates Stadium in unison with everyone else.  So great music, fantastic show and entertaining support, Marina and the Diamonds, who flounced around and got the audience bouncing.  Sadly The Beast had not been let out of surgery.

Chris Martin frantically attempts to collect
gold tokens in the Crystal Maze...

Watch of the Week

As it is the 200th Blog I have selected Joe's most expensive watch that he
 currently has in stock - Sadly Joe recently sold the really 
expensive ones - How inconsiderate is that...... 

The regular section in support of Joe (Stunt Cock) and his growing watch business Xupes. Joe mentioned that they had been getting a number of hits via the BlackLOG. Xupes has been trading for over 2 years and Joe has recently developed some great contacts in the trade which enables him to pick up surplus stock and sell them at great prices. Mrs B is a regular purchaser from his jewellery section, going self-service once she finally realised that her husband is not the jewellery buying type…


Unique Baignoire 18k Diamonds
PRICE    £29,995
RRP       £68,000
SAVING £38,005
Unique one off watch commissioned privately. Replacement today from Cartier would be circa £68,000. The watch is 18k yellow gold fully encrusted with nearly 10 carats of VS diamonds. Complete with box, manual and guarantee.

Record of the week

Viva la vida by Coldplay Every Teardrop is a Waterfall live at Glastonbury 2011 by Coldplay (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)- Live May 4, 2012 by Coldplay

Photo finish

Coldplay by the Mega Mini Beast
Marina with the Diamonds nowhere in sight gets
a "Starring Role" from Electra Heart (2012)
"Up in Flames"
From Mxlo Xyloto (2011)
Once Chris realised the cost of the clean-up
he decided to lend a hand..
God puts a smile upon your face
from A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
"Fix You" from X&Y (2005)
"Life in Technicolour"
from Viva La Vida or Death & all his friends (2008)
The return of The Beast at our recent Ski reunion party  - Happy people make goo d photo subjects, just saying....and some birdies decimating our garden feeders...
La-Terriere almost gets bear hugged to death by
Stuntcock who gets over excited when he spots
the exquisite Cheese Board.
Phil looking like a good old Southern Boy
he just needs a neckerchief and a 10 Gallon hat...
Sod the Soup Dragon and the Girl with Dragon Tattoo.  Meet
the Fire Dragon who lives in Big Ron's chiminea...

And no that is not a euphemism....
Mrs B gets the joke...
Although Christian isn't sure....
There is nothing like good food to stop all the laughter
and get everyone concentrating on the serious issue
of chowing down .... 
"Big Ron"
 attempts to transform himself  into
"Even  Bigger Ron"...
"Are You having a Laugh?"
I'm not sure if the Fluffinator is
making a withdrawal or a deposit ..
Stuntcock reflecting on his film career...
Garden Sharks -
even the cats don't go near these aggressive buggers
when they are in a feeding frenzy ...
Hope to see you next time for Keane, Razorlight and an update on my Olympic Ambassador role

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Post No.199 Diet, Rejection and Currie

Lean and mean clean diet

I’ve been on a diet since I came back from skiing and despite having to reign back on exercise, due to my cracked rib, I have managed to lose over a stone....  I’ve stopped drinking fizzy drinks, cut out pure fruit juice, biscuits, cake, chocolate, pre-prepared meals and bread.  These have been replaced by nuts, seeds and fruit smoothies and fresh ingredients.....  On the plus side there is no calorie counting and no weighing portions so I don’t feel hungry.  It also amazing to discover that fresh food tastes so much better than the pre-packaged pap that is out there...   (Please, while Mrs B isn’t looking,......... send me chocolate..... )

Mrs B - “Who were you typing to?”

Me“No one, just tapping  away to myself”

Because I’m dieting I’m weighing myself more regularly,  which is how I came to make the following discovery.  I weighed myself – had a Rendezvous with last’s night supper in the porcelain boardroom and then weighed myself again....4lb had vanished from the scales....Since I’m not walking like John Wayne after weeks in the saddle I’m guessing that either the scales are not as accurate as I had hoped (Yikes I might actually have gained a stone) or there was a sudden and very dramatic change in air pressure....Hmm I can’t deny there wasn’t a certain amount of air pressure involved and I had to warn Mrs B not to go into that particular porcelain boardroom for a couple of days.... 

Sometimes you just have to take the shot....Even if it doesn't work out....

I did my second paid photo shoot last week – and it was not as successful as I had hoped. The request was received at very short notice (ie a couple of days) and the assignment as I understood it from the brief brief was to take some informal shots of a party....

I didn’t meet the client until I arrived at the party, which was already in full swing, so I had no time to get any further details of her requirements.

The candid feedback when I delivered the results were:
  • No setup shots beforehand (I had said that I would arrive later so that everyone had time to settle in and relax. It would have been helpful if she had told me at that point that she wanted some setup shots.... )
  • No story of the party through pictures (the party script writer must have gone away.... There was a progression from vaguely sober to almost horizontal and don’t stand too close in case the alcohol fumes strip off layers of facial skin but I’m guessing that was not the story that was required)
  • Not enough detail i.e. balloons, flowers etc...(I'm a bloke, that is clearly not going to happen without strict instructions in triplicate  )
  • No shots of the client and her husband together – (cardinal error, although in truth I didn’t find out who her husband was until after the party)
  • No shots of the cake – (I have to hold my hands up and admit that I didn’t actually see a cake – It’s a real shame that someone didn’t formally introduce us, although probably just as well because with the BlackLOG propensity towards disaster and devastation and finding out later that the  cake was in the form of white satin cushions I would probably have ended up sitting on it.... 
So, a steep learning curve i.e. more mistakes than positives.  Next time (if I ever get asked again) there are some tick points I need to go through with the client :- 
  • While I knew the party’s theme was White, I didn’t actually know if it was a birthday, anniversary,  getting through winter, getting out of prison party – Always ask.
  • Always find out who the main people are at the party (i.e. family, close friends etc.)
  • Take loads of shots of the client (I hate having my picture taken and forget people like to have pictures of themselves). 
  • Take more “detail” shots – i.e. the venue, details on dresses, flowers etc...   
Since I photo’d the party on the basis that the client could pay what the pictures were worth to her...I guess I will have earned a lot more in experience than hard cash...  

Justin Currie at the Union Chapel Islington

I have probably said it before and I will continue to say it, I love this venue.  It is really friendly, reasonably priced (that includes food and drink) and the profits go towards good causes – helping to fund the chapel restoration and the homeless, or is that helping restore the homeless chapel? Not quite sure.  While I’m not religious in anyway whatsoever – failed Catholic (disqualified for not believing in God, although, in all fairness there is no sign that he believes in me either) the people running the union chapel don’t thrust religion down your throat and unlike the Rhodes Centre (see last week) have a pretty relaxed attitude towards camera use – The main request was not to use flash (It puts off the performers and even more annoyingly upsets  “The Beast”* as he attempts to walks the tight rope between delicate light balance and dark atmospheric church), unfortunately a number of the audience just could not cope with even this simplest of requests and flashed their way (like a creepy guy in a mac making his way through a park full of bikini** clad women) through the entire performance. It also happens to be a complete waste of time when you consider that the majority of inbuilt camera flashes will only throw out light that is good for a couple of feet .....

* The Beast has had to go into Nikon Camera Hospital (NCH) suffering from exhaustion  – After three years of constant work he was looking a bit jaded.  It looked like he had the camera equivalent of leprosy with bits starting to drop off.... I got a phone call from NCH saying that internally he was also in need of  some loving care (Camera speak for it’s going to be an expensive stay). 

** The two-piece swimsuit called the ‘bikini’ was introduced in 1946,  just at the time Bikini Atoll, a group of 23 small islands in the Pacific was melting all the headlines as the site of nuclear testing.   It was released shortly after the ‘Atome’, a one-piece swimming costume had gone on sale. The Atome had been described at the time as the "smallest bathing suit in the world",  they said of the bikini that it "split the atom" – who said people in the 1940’s didn’t have a great sense of humour....They might well have just lost most of their relatives and were eating rations that would make the average fatty today wither to a normal size but they clearly knew how to have a laugh....

"It might as well be you..."
Justin shows his best pulling technique

I'll let you ladies decide how effective it is.
Justin was great fun and very obliging, even playing a number of Del Amitri classics...Sure there were a number of false starts and forgotten notes but the audience lapped it up,  bathing in the glow of constant flash bulbs like squaddies instructed to watch the bikini island nuclear testing from the safety of the open air .....and you thought this blog was just thrown together rather than being the carefully planned and meticulously created  chaos that results from any visit I make to a keyboard....

"It's never too late to be alone"

Justin wishes he had used stronger deodorant.....

Watch of the Week

 The regular section in support of Joe (Stunt Cock) and his growing watch business Xupes. Joe mentioned that they had been getting a number of hits via the BlackLOG. Xupes has been trading for over 2 years and Joe has recently developed some great contacts in the trade which enables him to pick up surplus stock and sell them at great prices. Mrs B is a regular purchaser from his jewellery section, going self-service once she finally realised that her husband is not the jewellery buying type…

Technicum Rattrapante Chronograph 18K Rose Gold

Technicum Rattrapante Chronograph 18K Rose Gold
Absolutely excellent condition very rare Technicum Rattrapante Chronograph in 18k rose gold on 18k rose gold strap. This is a beautiful watch which is one of Paul Picot's flagship models currently still featured in their 2012 range. It really has to be seen to be appreciated but it is a stunning piece. Complete with Box and extract from the archives has been ordered. 12 months Xupes Warranty.This photograph is pre-service and polish, please check back later for more photographs. • Self-winding chronograph movement, PP8888 calibre with split-second hand function and official C.O.S.C chronometer certification • Shows the hours, minutes, small seconds, date and day display, power-reserve indicator • Engine-turned 925 solid silver dial, applied indexes • Case in 18-carat gold. Screw-down crown. Sapphire crystal. Sapphire crystal case back secured with 6 screws. • Water-resistant to 50 meters • 21-carat gold oscillating weight.

Record of the week

Kiss This Thing Goodbye by Del Amitri

Spit in the Rain by Justin Currie

Nothing Ever Happens by Del Amitri.

Photo finish

Pictures from the ill fated white party - I wish I had eaten and had a few drinks to make up for my lack of payment....
Dress down day
had finally hit rock bottom
"Sod your V.P.L problems  - I think I've got a
dingle-berry emergency going on down there"
Referee -" I want a clean fight girls...."
Girls - "What sort of mud wrestling contest is this? "
The Sneaky fart....
"Please don't let it be a wet one...."
1 of 3
 Early attempts to get the Macarena going failed
dismally  - I just hope she doesn't attempt to cover
 it up with a rendition of the  Birdie Song....
2 of 3
 "Yep,  she tried the Birdie Song, which
didn't prove popular with the audience"
3 of 3
 Bouncer - "Look luv this is your final warning -

No Macarena.....

No Birdie song....

and certainly no Agadoo.....

otherwise you are out of here....."
Have you seen BlackLOGs pictures 
of us they are terrible....with no story 
or anything

Tune in next week for Coldplay at the Emirates