I thought tennis was a game for pampered wimps, until the day I saw Jimmy Connors play, on a school trip to a local tennis tournament. With a mile-high chip on his shoulder, and groundstrokes to thump the opposition with, Jimbo left an indelible impression on my cocky, working class sensibilities and pretty much changed the direction of my life. Continue reading Jimmy Connors
Not long after the first Gulf War, I got to sit down and record an interview with Mary Joe Fernandez, who was about 3 years into a pro career. If I’m being honest, I am not the world’s best interviewer. For starters, I can have a lot to say and I’m not shy when it comes to voicing an opinion. I’m therefore better suited to those willing to swap a few jokes, as well as have a hot discussion: coaxing publicity handouts from pampered egos, which is what most ‘interviews’ have become, is just not me. Continue reading Mary Joe Fernandez
Ten of the best things to do and see, in Yorkshire and the Dales. This is just the beginning of a list of worthwhile places to visit in Yorkshire and The Dales … Continue reading Yorkshire Travel Guide
Ten of the Best things to see and do in Manchester
The sell-out (or buy up) of the Northern Quarter began some time ago, so expect changes as more of it is swallowed up by those who simply must take ownership. Until the people who’ve made it what it is move on, it should remain the best atmosphere in town. Continue reading Manchester Travel Guide
Meetings with Malcolm Muggeridge remembered.
In my youth, I turned on the television to find Michael Parkinson interviewing some gnarled old chap I’d never seen before. Another guest shortly appeared, singing the praises of America and how generous the people were to him, a ‘poor Englishman’. With an uncanny likeness to my mental picture of Dickens’ Harold Skimpole, the new arrival to Parky’s show stated (words to the affect) that every time he went to the States, all he had to do was admit to being poor and the locals would come to his rescue and make up the deficit.
He of the gnarled countenance was unmoved and clearly wanted to debate.
‘Have you been to the Bronx recently?’, enquired the old man.
In the absence of a reply, he added that ‘the American Dream is all washed up.’
The old man was Malcolm Muggeridge.
Although I cannot recall what else was said, his words swam against the prevailing tide of materialism and the culture of ‘I’ve got mine’, and his eloquence and honesty planted seeds. Continue reading Malcolm Muggeridge
This main image of Durham Cathedral in some of its glory is a few years old, and it was languishing in a box of transparencies until I discovered that, owing to major repair work to the weather beaten sandstone, Durham Cathedral is now wearing an ugly chef’s hat around scaffolding, and is off limits for full-on photos for a number of years (click on an image to open image browser). Continue reading Durham Cathedral
One of my favourite places is the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, though not entirely for the theatricals.
I find it at its best in the mornings, especially when the music has been muted so as not to interrupt rehearsals. The silence is somehow embellished by distant voices ricocheting around the theatre round, and the echoing urgency of lines being learned fortifies the stone calm of the building proper, contributing to an atmosphere of insistent quiet that I doubt you’ll find anywhere else. Continue reading Royal Exchange Theatre
The Northern Quarter has always been there…it just ddn’t go by the name ‘Northern Quarter‘ until it was thus branded in the early 1990s.
Started its rise to fashion-nobility with Afflecks Palace, circa 1981, and Factory-owned Dry Bar aided Manchester’s shift in focus over to Oldham Street. Continue reading Northern Quarter
The Golden Door
When the clock struck one
Though I didn’t even notice
I was so far gone Continue reading The Golden Door
Something strange is afoot on Wednesday mornings throughout the Summer months.
From Preston to Blackburn, then on to Whalley, Clitheroe, Settle and through to Carlisle, people are drawn to a weekly spectacle as if moved my strange magic or a magnetic spell.
Cars pull over.
Playground footie games pause.
Roadworks stop (do some ever start?) Continue reading Wednesday Morning Magic
The original Ibiza Uncovered series is rerun from time to time on Sky television channels. When it was filmed across Ibiza in 1997 I was on the Island, supposedly to shoot film for a travel company. Continue reading Ibiza Uncovered ?
We met someone in Lytham last year who told the story of an Australian family, who arrived in Blackpool expecting to see Las Vegas, but instead were horrified by tacky reality (hence their sharpish escape to Lytham!). Continue reading Blackpool
Millennium Bridge Sunset
I think it was Kierkegaard who advised we should write down our thoughts and ideas before they escape, because many don’t come along twice and the best ones will be lost forever (…Kierkegaard also believed the majority couldn’t think a thought through to its ultimate conclusion, so don’t be volunteering him for a twitter account). Continue reading Millennium Bridge
Old Trafford Football Ground
I’ve spent a lot of time at Old Trafford Football Ground down the years and its over a decade since I set myself the task of photographing the match night (and day) atmosphere of Old Trafford. Continue reading Old Trafford Football Ground
Our next contestant is Miss Yorkshire. She’s called DaisyMoo and is from Kirrby Malham. Tell us a little of yourself, DaisyMoo.
‘Well, I like to feel the wind in my hair and tickling my hairy cheeks, as I’m rambling in the hills around my home. I always eat my greens, I’m forever horny and they say my poo is good for gardens…’ Continue reading Miss Yorkshire
Deepdale: PNEnd of an Era
By complete coincidence, when I turned up to shoot Preston North End’s Deepdale football ground some years ago, it was the last night that the Pavillion Paddock was open to Preston supporters as a working football stand, which, at the time, was the oldest surviving stand in the football league. Continue reading Preston North End Deepdale
Picture Stories. Old Trafford Red Sea
The East Stand (or Scoreboard End) of Old Trafford on match day.
I’d found this vantage point up on scaffolding when they were building some flats, and fair play to the Chelsea-fan foreman who let me up there to do as I wished. Continue reading Old Trafford Red Sea