Friday, July 27, 2012

Capturing The Moment.

You may have heard that the Olympics are in London in 2012 (they actually start in a few hours of me writing this so we're not going to talk about them) and in the buildup beforehand The Olympic Torch has been snaking its way around the UK in procession with sponsor floats and exciteable small children. I've seen it three times. Get me.

Now, in events like this, press photographers are there to do one thing, capture the moment. But since most of the press photographers I know are personal friends, I find it difficult to praise them in an open way. They tend towards the slightly overweight, bearded, heavy drinking type whose idea of a joke is some unrepeatable scatalogical insult that couldn't even be aired on a anonymous blog, never mind  in front of the family. Unfair, I know. But stuff 'em. 
Their job is to get the picture. That's all. Turn up, click. Job done. Pub. 

In our local high street, we stood in the sunshine for an hour awaiting the arrival of The Torch. The pavements were crowded, our neighbours were there, the police were out in force, there were men selling flags, it was all jolly good fun. When the procession arrived - floats, buses, bikes, coppers - the crowd had surged forward into the road so I lost my position at the edge of the kerb. Small children had pushed their way in, little bas....
........but at the precise moment the torch ran past I snapped on my mobile phone.
Unfortunately, as you can see, my neighbour raised his mobile phone at exactly that moment and there, hidden from view, is the Olympic Torch. Ha Ha. very funny.
It's the kind of snap that would get a snapper fired.

Never mind.  Yesterday I'm in a Soho pub minding my own business, chatting as you do, when someone says that The Torch is about to be run past and sure enough I can hear the Caravan of Commercialism hooting and tooting its way up Shaftesbury Avenue.I go outside and take a snap as the torch bearer passes by. Can you see it?
Possibly not. There is a zoom mechanism on my phone camera but it's clearly not in use here. Ooops.

So this morning The Torch is coming down the river and we're on a friend's boat, with champagne and everything, right on the water. The Torch, in the form of a bloody great flaming cauldron, is being carried by the royal barge, The Gloriana, and there's a big flotilla of little row boats accompanying it.
Look, here it comes now, that's it in the distance. Behind the big boat in front.
The Gloriana majestically glides towards us, being slowly rowed, and languidly passes by. I am stood on the foredeck of our boat. It's so close we can talk to the rowers. It is the perfect photo opportunity. 

I lift my phone camera and press the button. I had been nervously toying with it for some minutes before. And........ doesn't work. I press the button again. Still doesn't work. I press and press and press and the seconds are ticking away. Not only that but so's The Bloody Torch, on board The Bloody Boat which has gracefully floated onwards and is now disappearing down river, just as, ahem, The Bloody Camera works.

That's it, just disappearing from sight. You can't actually see the flame, but, er....
....well, I did manage to get this one....

Press Photographers - pah!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Pizza Pie Please

OK, OK, let's just get it over with. Pizza for God's sake, big piece-a flat bread with topping, what's the big deal? You wanna talk about pizza, you got sumthin to say? EVERYBODY's got sumthin to say about Pizza. It's Rays, it's not ray's, it's Ray's CORNER pizza, it's the best pizza in town, it's the best PIZZA IN THE WORLD!!

OKAY foodies, here's the beef. There are three places to go for your fancy schmancy pizza. Naples. The whole goddam city. Brixton Market in London. And Chiswick in London. That's it. End of.

Now, for the rest of us ornery joes, there's a choice that will make your eyes bleed. There's so much pizza in the world you just wonder who's eating it all. And more importantly why. It's an open sandwich, it's not quite dinner, it's takeaway, it's transmogrified into versions which have pineapple and chicken tikka and thick and thin crusts. How? Well, hold the phone phatboy (particularly if you were about to call Domino - yuck!)
Pizza makes money. Lots of it. It costs about 5p (that's 5 cents) for the actual stuff, the flour and the tomato topping and then the other 4p goes on salami and cheese, whatever. But you can't buy it at that price because the mafia controls the lot. Y'see, according to this guy I met on the bus, the mafia controls the entire mozzarella industy which is why those little rubber pucks in supermarkets cost 99p because while they want you to buy it they don't want you turning it into a whole goddam industry, do they? You know what it's like to have a horse's head on your pillow?
So they make these pizzas and then cook em up and sell them to you so they can keep their yachts off Sardinia or New Jersey and you just munch away in front of the Kardashians not thinking about the link to crime and the suffering of little children exetera exetera.
Even worse, you go to Pizza Express and pay a WHOLE LOT MORE for their pizza (my lawyer, Bernice, tells to tell you that have no link with the mafia) unless you go on Orange Wednesday before or after the movie and get the stuff at half price. Not the whole deal, not the booze and the doughballs, just the pizza, the Veneziana or the Gardineiera or whatever. Personally I wouldn't pay more than half price for one of them pizzas but at 50% off they're OK. Because I'll tell you what, have you ever tried MAKING a pizza?

WHOA!! First off all the stuff, the 00 flour and the buffalo mozzarella (see above) and the pomodoro tomatoes and so forth costs an absolute fortune. You have to buy it from specialist shops like Waitrose and so forth. Then you have to mix it all up and cook it. A friend of mine has one of those barbecues with the lid, the ones that are like a blast furnace inside. So we make enough pizza for twenty people, there are five of us, and we eat this total mess of burnt and raw, soft and squidgy and rock hard, cold and nuclear hot toppings which have got everything on them. I'm sweatin buckets, runnin back and forth out to his little balcony where the furnace is scorching the walls and the dinner table where everyone's drinking more and more, which is a good thing because they wolf down the pizza as if it's OK.
And while we were polite to our hosts, it was actually schmuck. Like landfill on a plate.

So I'm thinking that this pizza thing is a good business to be in. It's just that if you look at it from the consumers point of view, it's not. It mostly tastes of nothing, which is good if you're really concentrating on something else, but bad if you're on you're own and looking for something to distract you from mind games.
God, Pizza. It's like, really serious.