2016 – NOVEMBER

[ Journal 2016 – November ]

(TL;DR – Moustache shaving, lack of photography, a European girlfriend, being back online, a little self-loathing, I Love London project, peer photoprints, booze, anxiety and wanting to finish something.)

Meanwhile, in London …
Shaved off my brilliant moustache. I trimmed it a bit. I fucked up the trim. So it had to be shaved. I loved that moustache. I’ll try again.

A storm that never quite develops into what stations reported was to come, eventually manifests as a soothing tapping sound of rain hitting my bedroom window and rooftop, accompanying me into the night. No desire to head out recently, although there are things noted down in my calendar to photograph – I skip them all. Feel the need to break away from everything – to get lost in something else – escape all things. I should take up knitting.

Get asked via email from a high-school student some questions about my work. She’s including me in her coursework/workbook/presentation kinda thing. I’m shit at answering questions. I’m flattered she asked. I said she could take any photo from my website she desired. She replied she already did. It made me smile.

I haven’t photographed anything. I grab my phone and photograph the light-bulb above my head in my bedroom. The tape I use to cover all cameras on my devices blocks the flash and washes everything in red. I tell myself to stop my pathetic wallowing; to grow up and get a grip on things. I answer myself in that I simply don’t know how to. There’s an emptiness surrounding me and in that darkness I find it hard to acquire purchase of anything.

I take another break from being online. I don’t miss the chatter of my peers; the noise of feeds – conversations and babble of discontent of the wider photographic world and of a fucked up world in general; all news stations have been ignored, The Guardian app uninstalled. Look through Time Mag’s best photo-books. See one made up as a passport. Remember an idea I had and mock-up I made of a UK passport to be made as part of my I Love London Project. I never finished making it. Everything eventually gets done. Someone always and most certainly has or is having the same idea as you. It is what it is.

I give little thought to any of it and of pretty much anything at all. I find myself slumped in a corner unable to make sense of myself and the world, and where I am, and what I should be doing. I peek back online – I see pretty much the same, but one or two changes – one or two people progressing and being part of collectives. I like to see progression. I like to see people becoming successful in all this, because I know how hard it is; not it the sense of becoming popular, but hard in the manifestation of creative success – of personal achievement in projects. I enjoy seeing people getting things done. I cannot get anything done.

Spend a fortune on a London yearly travel pass. Well over a grand. I’m limiting myself in what I will photograph next year in 2017 – sticking to one, possibly two things that can come out of blitzing London. My intention is to finish my project ‘I Love London‘ by Christmas 2017 – the pass is to get me out there – I won’t want to waste having it.

The project is already underway and has been for a number of years already. I have a giant map which will be sectioned off; each part to be focused on over a couple of months. There are six blocks of two months in the year – so each area of the maps blocks, will be given that time to explore it and see what’s there, what’s going on and what it may have to offer me. So far, I have explored London from the visitor perspective, and this has put me in the usual touristy hotspots. However, I need to break away from it, to see more and explore more – to see the areas I have often ignored and the buildings and the life down the side-roads, the marshlands and the outskirts or simply just the life and pace along the roughly roads and down to the unkempt and the unknown.

Spend an hour earlier in the month watching a live stream from Merrimac in Wisconsin of a ferry service shuttling cars back and forth across the river, part awe part numbness, two details about my life that seem to be forever in conflict – back and forth it goes.

The girlfriend and I are keeping tabs on what the government is saying they’ll do with Johnny-foreigner in the UK. My girlfriend has been here for a little over ten-years, never claimed any benefit of any sort and has paid in tens of thousands into the tax system. So we’re wondering what in the fuck the government is doing by not being as transparent as they should be with regards to the situation. It seems those that married and babied an Englishman/woman, aren’t safe from what could come. “Fuck it – we’ll milk the place and leave.” I tell her. I don’t like any of it. At all.

A few calendar notifications pop up in my phone. I have one or two things to photograph in general that I planned to see and get down on celluloid. However, the yearly pass will get me out pretty much every day for a year. I intend to get fit in that time, too. It will also keep me occupied in the project and in the goal of finally finishing it, but more importantly, it will keep me off the booze. I hate my online rants when I booze. I’m embarrassed by them. I feel foolish and stupid and too loose in letting some thoughts out. Photography gives me a focus and helps in my anxiety and social phobia, of my fear of noise and enclosure – it also helps me focus on something other than drink. I tend to have a bit of an addictive personality, so when I want to do something, I can dive right in full on. The project being taken full on and at a charge, will help me remain focused.

Too many photo-books on the shelf. I often struggle to know which one to pull out and devour. Fill a photo album of photographs sent to me from my peers. It’s filling up nicely. I think I will buy/trade more prints if possible – I’ll have to get some printed, but just as with my inability to put together answers for someone who asks me about my work, I equally struggle to pick photographs out to print – how does one decide what to write or what to show, when all one thinks is, ‘I’m actually pretty terrible at all this.’

Add to my little ‘journal trade book’ that I’m slowly making month by month as I write it. Beginning in 2009 in Wolverhampton, through to London and my break away from writing and getting into photography, it’s a little something I am enjoying putting together. As with most of the things I plan, design and put together, others will come along and do it, produce their own and put it out there, and that’s all good and fine. I’m simply in no hurry with any of this shit to care. I chase no glory, no want for admiration or even community success and all that stuff – I actually just want to finish something. I’ve started and created so much over the years, but I haven’t finished anything.
Stand before the bathroom mirror, rain at the window; we’re becoming friends you and I. My eyes surrender to the darkening pools below them, a salute to the coming of age. Thoughts shuttle between London streets, passports, marriage and becoming fascinated with the first few millimeters of my new moustache that has begun to sprout and spawn. I’ll let it grow. This time I’ll let it finish. I’ll simply let it be. The steam of the hot water fogs the mirror, slowly hiding me from my observations as I purge the remnants of the night from my mouth with the only thought of surrendering to absolutely everything about myself that I feel is holding me back.
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