Spotified: April and (the start of) May

I came on here to write another thing, but I forgot what it was, so I thought I’d do that thing I do every now and again where I make a spotify playlist and share it. Here’s the latest one I put together. Includes a winner of The Voice, a few legends, a couple of legends in the making and stuff that reminds me of my student days, among other things.

The playlist will probably get bigger as I go along, which means I might end up renaming it again at some point. Feel free to keep coming back to it and/or follow it if you like.

 

 

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The will of the people.

Last  night I was once again debating whether to carry on with this blog or allow it to drift away into cyberspace. I ended up asking Twitter to help with my decision, using the poll function and the result was 100% that I should keep going. Cheers to the five people who voted, by the way. I’m not sure who you are because twitter doesn’t give those stats but I appreciate you for doing so.

OK, so after deciding to go with the will of the people I am now trying to work out how to make it a bit better. I’ve been doing a bit of maintenance over the last day, including getting rid of some of the old blogs I don’t use any more (most of these cropped up when I was struggling for ideas for this one).  For the first time I’ve been thinking about the direction I should take with this blog. In the beginning when I first started this I wasn’t too bothered about concentrating on any particular theme apart from everything that interested me and/or came into my head when I wrote it, but now I’m wondering whether to leave certain things out and put more focus on posts about others.

I’ve already thought about cutting back on the more personal posts. I never really intended this to be a moanathon about the crapness of my life because I wanted to look like I enjoy writing, but I realised that the worse writers’ block I had the more I strayed into that territory. I will probably end up looking back on nine years worth of posts (yes I have been on here that long) in order to decide what else to post more and scale back on. Any other suggestions from readers are most welcome.

Anyway, enough of this rambling, I’m off to find out who Balaclava Man is. (Line of Duty reference. Don’t tell me you haven’t been watching, unless you’re not in the UK).

Going Lomo

About a year ago (well probably just over a year ago now tbh), I decided that I wanted to have a go at film photography again. I’d been seeing a lot about Lomography cameras, and in particular the Diana, a plastic, basic but really rather nifty camera capable of some great shots.

After having a look around the interwebs, I bought a Diana Mini, a smaller version of the camera which takes 35mm film. I also bought a multipack of Fujifilm 35mm rolls from Amazon, as I thought that if I didn’t go through the rolls quickly from taking snaps, I’d probably go through them from messing them up trying to load them and stuff. It must have been well over ten years since I last took a photo with a film camera and I’d long since forgotten how to put a roll of film into a camera – and how fiddly it was to do it. However once I had got it in, I was away, pretty much shooting anything I thought was photo worthy and anything that wasn’t. My first roll was basically just me trying out the camera, getting used to it and using film again. I wasn’t holding out for any spectacular shots to come from it, but I was hoping that at least a quarter of prints from a 36 roll came back ok after processing and that there weren’t too many limbs or heads cut off.

Getting used to the Diana Mini in the first instance was tough. Most of the film cameras that I used growing up wound on automatically after taking a photo and wouldn’t let you take a shot if the lens cover was still on. With the Diana you can take a photo or two only to realise minutes later that you forgot to take the lens cap off.  I know that at least three of my photos on my first roll will have ended up completely blank because of my forgetfulness. It is also very easy to forget to wind on the film before taking a photo, or to wind the film only part of the way before shooting, thus resulting in a number of double exposures and photos infiltrating other photos. In many ways however, this is a good thing, as you can get a lot of interesting photo effects from it. In fact, the booklets that come with the camera encourage you to experiment with the cameras.

I finally got my photos from the first film developed last week. Out of a 36 exposure film, I got twenty prints back, which I was pretty happy about seeing as I’d spent all week before they came back worried that I might have ruined the film taking it out of the camera, or that I’d wasted money on developing a load of photos that hadn’t come out. Here’s a few of them (note: when I said I was only testing the camera I meant it):

So that was my first experience with shooting film in years and I have to say, it’s got me wanting to stick with it. I’m not ready to ditch my DSLR or the camera on my smartphone just yet, but it’s a fun alternative. Plus there is no need to stick a filter on any you scan and share on Instagram or whatever as film photography was pretty much IG before the creators of the aforementioned app were twinkles in their mothers’ eyes. However if you are thinking of having a go, here’s a few pointers.

  1. Get a flash – I realised very early on if you are going to be shooting a lot indoors, even if it’s in a room that is really well lit, you will need a flash. You can buy a Diana camera that has the flash with it, or you can get one separately for around £40-£50 depending on where you look. The Diana’s flash also includes a pack of small coloured filters that you can put in the flash to give your photos a colour effect.
  2. Buy a multipack of films – I got a three pack of Fujifilm films for a good price from amazon when I bought my camera. Failing that, good old Poundland had some individual 35mm Agfa Vista Plus films available when I last went in there for…you know the price.
  3. Just have fun with it – shoot whatever you like, wherever and whenever. Don’t worry about how they’ll turn out, be excited to get the prints back. Yes you can’t crop or delete your photos like you can with your digital one but you’ll soon find out that that is a good thing. A REALLY good thing. Have a play with it, enjoy it – just remember to take the lens cap off before you shoot, yeah?

36

I turned 36 last week. It’s been twenty years since I did my GCSEs. Twenty years since I said goodbye (and to an extent, good riddance) to high school and said hello to sixth form college and A Levels. And some of the songs and albums I fell in love with as a sixteen year old celebrate their twentieth anniversary this year.

It’s at this point that I really am feeling my age and I am cursing myself for edging another year closer to the 40 mark. But while the music that soundtracked my revision sessions may have veered its way into adulthood (I was revising in between listening to them, honest), they still sound as though they were only released yesterday, never mind in 1997. Take Mansun’s Attack of the Grey Lantern for instance, released on the 17th February 1997 and still sounds as fresh now as it did then. In fact Wide Open Space could probably be released today and be a hit. That said, it’s probably too sophisticated and out there for some of the kids today, but then Mansun weren’t like a lot of the bands around in the mid to late nineties and they certainly didn’t fit the Britpop mould either.

It’s weird how the nineties are becoming “in” again, isn’t it? I suppose for the people who were young kids in the nineties, it’s cool. For those of us who were teens and young adults in that decade, well it’s still cool but we find it difficult to believe that the nineties are considered retro now. Some of us even refuse to accept it’s so because it only feels like five minutes ago the nineties happened.

Anyway, I’m rambling now so I’m off for a lie down.

 

Five Year Plan

Now and again there are people who will ask you “Where do you see yourself in five years time?” Five years? I don’t see myself in five days time never mind five years.

And yet, there are some people who have it all planned out. They have an idea what they want to do, where they want to be, and how they are going to get it. They list out all their goals, when they are going to achieve them by, crossing them out as each achievement is unlocked. Until they hit a snag, and they start all over again. Their hard work undone by something they could not have forseen.

It’s good to make plans for the future, but I find that some things are better off not being planned in advance. I have dreams, and things that I want to achieve in life, just like everyone else, but I’ve found that spending a whole evening planning out how to achieve it is a waste of time, because you never know what will happen in between.

 

2017.

So here we are, 2017. Doesn’t seem too bad so far, but then it’s only day one. God knows what’s going to happen over the next 364 days. Plus I haven’t been out of the house and done anything today. I did go to bed at 3:20am. I didn’t even party hard last night (not that I do anyway on NYE), I was at my sister’s having a meal and being slumped on her couch watching the Hootenanny. Me and the parents ended up walking home at 1:25am as there were no taxis to be had, but it was all good as we’re only 15 minutes walk away. Plus it was a nice experience, walking along, having total strangers you meet along the way wish you a happy new year and vice versa. We got home and for some reason ended up watching an episode of Marple before hitting the sack. Hardcore.

As for today, I’ve just been sat inside watching TV and thinking about catching up on my sleep. I did try a nap earlier, having only got six and a half hours sleep, however I find it difficult to sleep in the day. I am faring better than many though. I don’t drink much and I didn’t have a drop of alcohol last night, so it’s only tiredness I was feeling this morning, not that I am bragging about it. I’ve also tried to do a bit of writing today. Actual pen in hand writing in a notebook. I’ve been doing it a bit more over the last few months, as I tried the “bullet journal” thing. I’m still doing it,however it’s less making note of things to do or events and more noting down all the ideas and random thoughts in my head now. And I’m absolutely crap at all the arty/crafty stuff that some bullet journalers do with theirs, but that’s not really necessary. I do use a lot of those little post-it thingies in it though. I use them to mark important pages and also where I’ve written something really good that I can put on the blog.

I am intending to blog a lot more this year and do more photography. I got my big camera out yesterday and there’s an online photography course I started a while ago that I want to complete. I’m having a go at film photography again too, using one of those little Lomography cameras. I really want to engage in my hobbies again, as I don’t think I’ve had as much chance over the last year, or just didn’t feel like it.

Well this is getting a bit of a long and rambling post, so I’ll leave it here.

Happy New Year.

 

Hurry up

As we get into the last days of 2016, I’m just waiting for it to hurry up and be over with. Not that I think that 2017 will definitely be better mind, I’m just thinking that we could all do with a break from everything that’s gone on this year.

Whatever does happen though, I am determined to handle it a lot better than I did this year. Unliking all those news pages I had on Facebook was a good start. Next I’m going to unfollow and/or block/mute all the news pages and general accounts that seem to be spouting nothing but negativity. I’m done with feeling hopeless and angry about everything I read and hear. I know, it would probably be better to just get off the internet, if only it was easy to do that.

I guess I just want to feel a bit of hope from somewhere and I definitely want to feel a bit more positive about my life and stuff. I’m sure we all want to go into the new year feeling that.