Friday, 30 August 2013

Moving on. Come visit.

Please don’t fall asleep reading this. I’ve moved my photography to a new site. Also, I’ve joined twitter.

Here I am on Twitter

Please visit! And thank you to all who have supported joanbyrnesnaps. It’s been real!

Monday, 29 July 2013

'Murderer hands'

Picking mulberries is not for cissies. It’s an intense experience, as I found out. I was in a south London park going round and round a mulberry tree, but there were few ripe berries. Meanwhile, I could see a woman over the other side of the park working rapidly to fill a large container with produce she got from another tree. This turned out to be a mulberry tree (one I didn’t know about). It was laden… boughs bowed down with ripe mulberries. I hesitated to intrude but Pary welcomed me to join in the picking. She is from Iran and told me that there the mulberry tree is known as Shah Tout (sp?) which means King of the Berries. She had fond childhood memories of climbing the trees. ‘So good for cholesterol,’ she said, popping another one in her mouth, a dribble of burgundy running down her chin. She comes often to see the tree and to pay it respect. Before leaving with a bag full of the almost-black berries, I asked to take a photo. ‘Not of me,’ she said, but agreed to one of her hand. ‘Murderer hands!’ she said. My hands, sticky and port-stained, took the shot.

Friday, 24 May 2013

I may look as if I'm here

This guy, shot from the upper deck of the 63 bus, stands on an old Roman road that leads to Canterbury. It’s the Old Kent Road. Can you imagine Chaucer’s pilgrims making their way along it, telling their ribald tales, if all their attention was directed at a tiny hand-held screen and its magical ability to connect us to elsewhere? Anywhere but here. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Time, gentlemen

In a local cemetery, one of the head-stones refers to the deceased as ‘a gentle man’. We’re so used to the word ‘gentleman’ we don’t think about how it starts with ‘gentle’.
The term - gents - seems to belong to black and white movies, and it’s odd to describe the enterprise as a hairdressers rather than barbers. The forlorn business is just off Rye Lane in Peckham. Clad in black, it looks funereal and definitely out of time. No doubt it’ll be swept away like so many hair trimmings.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The cone and the crown

It’s been one of those days. This morning as I travelled on a bus through Rye Lane I saw a police operation… uniforms moving fast. Moments later a collection of limousines, the shiniest I’ve ever seen, parked outside Rye Lane Chapel on double-yellow lines. There was a funeral. Then, when I reached the West End I spotted Prince Charles in the back of a (shiny, of course it was shiny) black car (his presence announced by a police outrider blowing a whistle). But all this was topped by the sound and sight of a guy who looked like he lived on the street. There he was outside Oxford Circus Tube making music with a traffic cone. I kid you not. He blew into one end and out the other end came ‘Hey, Jude’ as if played on a trumpet, sort of. I didn’t have my camera. Shame. Loads of others did and an Irish guy said to me after he’d finished filming: ‘That’s going straight on YouTube.’ Lots of people tipped money into the inventive musician’s paper cup. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Elvis found in London shop window!

Long before hippies, the hips of Elvis. How they swivelled. My dad, in his old-age, would enjoy listening to Elvis, particularly his love songs. Love me tender, love me true. When Dad died the priest asked what music we’d like at the funeral. I said, ‘Elvis.’ The priest laughed and, sorry to say, I joined in with his laughter. We resorted to the usual plaintiff hymns. And, now years later, I regret it. Should have gone with the mellifluous voice of  the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and not the strangled rendition of a tired old hymn. 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Putting a spell on you

I’d never noticed the whacky spelling on this defunct business in Peckham until the other day. I would guess that it was not lesions that were on offer but driving lessons. In any case, the collision of one word with the other would turn off most learner drivers.

And how about the bonkers sign in Abu Dhabi offering univeersity research, forigen translation and overce (now that’s ingenious) calling. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be searching out their advertised help with my curriculan vitae.