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I am not, I feel I should make clear right from the beginning, pro gun.
I do not think that guns are things that people should have in their houses. I do not think that Oscar Pistorius would have done so much damage (allegedly) if he had only had shouting and throwing things at his disposal. I do think that the idea of arming teachers so that they can protect themselves against potential crazed gunmen in schools is the most ridiculous idea on the planet. Once we start legislating for the loony minority we’ve all lost the plot.
But, this aside, I found myself this morning, staring down the barrel of a rifle and learning to line up my sights on a paper target with tiny numbers on. This, you understand, in the pursuit of happiness. It’s a bit cloudy at the hotel today so a group of us had gathered for a lesson and a little bit of friendly competition with some weapons. As you do. Now really, these are just air rifles but still, it’s quite an intimidating thing to be holding.
Good, says the instructor, come down a bit and to the right. He’s obviously assuming I have some sort of control over what I’m doing.
Four shots and the card comes back, 29 points puts me in second place and look, I went through the same whole twice. Consistency! Hmmmm, what’s that stirring inside me? Aha, competitive spirit, hello my old friend.
It is the second round and the target is much, much smaller. My temporary excitement about being in second place has long been blown out of the water by much higher scores but still, I’m keen for my next go. Five targets on the square, the instructor calls “Top right” as the one to aim for. Top right? That’s minute. Two shots.
Bang. I’m getting used to the kick back, leaning in more with my shoulder. I am, as they say, “styling it out” rather nicely I feel.
Bang. Bullseye. I’m not even joking. “Professional” says the instructor, his voice heavy with Spanish accent and big brotherish teasing.
Yeah baby, that’s me, fashion sniper. Where do I get me one of these?
Today has been fun. Today has involved driving an open topped white Saab slightly inappropriately (stay right! stay right!) around a small warm island and laughing a lot. Today was my kind of day.
One of the places we visited was César Manrique’s cactus garden. I am a longtime admirer of Manrique, I love his sense of scale and drama. I do love me some drama. His use of natural light in his home, later made into a Foundation to showcase his work and art collection, is incredible. He made a James Bond lair in a rock and theres just no arguing with that type of genius.
His cactus garden, created in an old quarry, has terraced sides, like an amphitheatre. Inside the amphitheatre, cacti gladiators, the badasses of the plant world, battle with each other for status while bonkers playful elements like that face waterfall up there, show that really, he was just a guy who liked to have fun.
I bet he would have liked my Saab. Now, I’m on the left, right?
Apologies. I have entirely absented myself, in a Jeffrey Bernard is unwell type fashion, from this site for a whole week. I have, in the words of Withnail, gone on holiday by mistake.
I don’t mean I didn’t know I was going on holiday. I wasn’t kidnapped and bundled into a van with only a large tube of Ambre Solaire for company. I packed a bag, got on a plane, used coins that felt like not real money to pay for a car that felt like an Inception style reflection to get to a hotel, I knew I was coming. I know I’m here. What I wasn’t expecting was the drama of, are you ready? NO WIFI. Nothing doing. They said there was wifi, it’s not a retreat for over internetted types or anything like that (good lord, no) it’s just that it doesn’t work. So that’s no Twitter, no FB, no wiki, for goodness sake. Reception told me it was ‘my device’ but judging by the amount of guests disgruntledly wandering the corridors muttering about passwords, there’s a heck of a lot of people trying to use my device. Anyway, doesn’t matter does it? We’re here now.
So, there now follows a series of short posts, postcards, if you like, that I have written (entirely without fact checking) but not posted this week.
Well, it’s tricky trying to find the right stamp, isn’t it?
Much as I love digital, love online, love the interaction, the immediacy, there’s still a thrill to be found from a good ol’ fashioned magazine in print.
It’s enough to make you start a whole new category on your blog, oh look!
This was a new one on me, East London produced Jocks and Nerds.
Articles on Film Noir and Weegee (my dark side is very happy right now) plus a sprinkling of fashion, plus, can we discuss how cute that title is?
For the past few weeks everything has been upside down. No really, literally upside down, inside out, in the wrong room, covered in dust.
The joy of renovation.
Now though, now, we can congratulate ourselves on having survived something and enjoy the fact that in my office I actually have space to put stuff away.
Whether I will or not is another issue…
It was one of those running to catch up kind of days (which is to say that someone let me down very badly and the rest of us had to work twice as hard to compensate) (let’s not go there) (Oh, you know what, it happens). But the beauty of this was that we had such an outstanding team that we all really pulled together as a result. Which was actually pretty amazing.
I just sang my Kelly Clarkson anthem and got on with it, what doesn’t kill you makes you strooooonger, right?
Yes, OK, sorry, you didn’t need to hear that.
Anyway, it was a shoot with the very beautiful (and, frankly, super hot) Madalina who you’ve met here before and, oh, yes, him. Mr Moody soulful eyes up there. Now I don’t want to burst your bubble or anything but he is actually proper lovely. Smiley, polite all that. I know! My job is great.
So before I get too carried away with all this hanging out with the cool kids thing, I have to say that I really managed to display my age on this shoot, and not just once.
Let us count the ways…
1. I say, “right let’s start over here I just need to get a Polaroid for the light”
Two models who have only ever worked digitally look at me with (beautiful but) entirely blank expressions.
I translate. They look at me blankly some more, then give me a small sympathetic smile.
2. I say “I need you to have that whole Christie Brinkley, most popular girl in school vibe” (yes, I know, people talk a load of rubbish in fashion when they’re trying to explain their vision).
I get the beautiful and blank (see above).
I turn to Mark, my wonderful hairdresser and general partner in crime. “You know Christie Brinkley, right?”
He looks apologetic, “Nope, no idea, sorry.”
“Billy Joel? Uptown girl? He wrote that about her?”
Madalina, bless her cotton socks, says “Oh! I love Billy Joel”
Oh my God, my job sucks.
OK, so at this point, we’re just hoping the pictures are good.
I’m halfway through the edit, I’ll post what I can soon, watch this space…
Ten thousand hours. That’s how long it takes to master a skill, apparently. That’s a lot of practice for sure, but it sounds about right.
Running through some upcoming stories this morning with lovely hairdresser Mark, we were marvelling at how long it takes to become really experienced at your craft. We agreed that we probably had our hours, and then some, on the clock in our respective professions, meaning we were fully entitled to spend an extra half hour working on the skill of having an extra cup of tea before actually doing any proper work.
Ah, procrastination, doncha just love it?