Way, way back in the day – Nov 2006, to be precise – I bought a backup drive for all my music, photos and work. It wasn’t anything hugely special – a now laughable 320Gb drive – but it did what I wanted, and made sure I’d got everything preserved. (Amusingly, I just took a look, and the roughly-similar drives now done by WD start at 3Tb!)
And then I moved a few times, and the drive got separated from its power brick, and I sort of gave up on it a bit. Over the last few years I’ve mainly been using online backups instead (which mean that as soon as I save a file, it’s backed up, and synchronises to my other machines) and the drive became even less of an issue.
I always knew where the drive itself was, even though I was fairly sure I’d lost (or thrown away) the power lead/brick. The drive has been on one of my bookcases, doing nothing except attracting dust.
Last weekend, though, I found a random power cable that looked like it might fit the drive. So I took them both into my office this week, and gave it a go.
At the end of the day, I’d pretty much given up on it – it’s been sat there doing sod-all for a number of years, and has been carelessly moved, shoved in boxes and so on. So I expected nothing.
And yet, when I plugged the cables in and connected it to the laptop, it all worked. Straight away, with no issues, clanks, grinds, or other Warning Noises Of Doom. Needless to say, I’m actually pretty impressed.
Of course, I’ll also now be working to ensure that a lot of it is backed up somewhere else as well, as that drive is distinctly venerable, but all the same, it’s a bit of a win for it all to have come back in the way it has.
As things change for me in 2017 – well, as I do new stuff, or restart old stuff – I’m hoping/intending/planning to write more about it here on D4D as well, along with things about what’s driving those choices. So there’s a new subject/category to cover it all. And this is where it all starts.
As long-term readers know, I was into photography for a long time, did pretty well at it, and even ended up taking a course while I was in Norfolk in order to better understand what the hell I was trying to do.
But since Norfolk and Suffolk, I’ve been doing a lot less photography. Some of that is due to my mobile phone, where the pixel count is higher than the SLR I still have. It’s also about faff – lugging an SLR around for the day (particularly when doing anything else, like one of my idiotically long walks) is a hefty job anyway, and it’s simply never ready for a quick photo. Using the SLR is a much bigger commitment in many ways, and over the last four years, I really haven’t been making that commitment.
This year, I want to change that, and do more where I actually go out with the SLR, with the intention of taking photos.
The first real inspiration for that has been this story on the BBC, of Dean Saunderson’s photos of a deserted Nottingham on Christmas morning. It’s something that works for me, having been to many places at ungodly-o’clock, and seeing them with very few people around. Oxford, for example, is beautiful at 5am on a summer Sunday morning – and the same applies for many other cities. So this is a theme/topic/idea I could get into, and will probably have a few goes at over this year.
We’ll see at the end of the year how I do on these inspirations. It’s going to be a year where I (hopefully) figure out more about the things I want to continue doing, and which ones I’ll be happier to leave by the wayside in order to do other things.
I’m just leaving this here as a remind to myself, on occasion…
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.
All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
(C) Chuck Close
This came from Zack Arias’ DexPxl blog, a piece entitled “Get the F*ck To Work” (his asterisk, not mine!) which also included the clip below of David Bowie’s advice to musicians…
A transcript of that is :
When asked if he had advice for musicians, Bowie replied: “Yes, never play at a gallery. [Laughs] I think. But you never learn that until much later on. But never work for other people at what you do. Always… always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society. And I — I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations; I think they produce — they generally produce their worst work when they do that. And if — the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in, go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
Again, just a reminder for me, more than anything else – but if anyone else finds it useful, that’s grand.
One of the few good things about the way the days are getting shorter right now is that I get to see sunrise, which is always one of my favourite times of day.
This week has had a couple of stunners – Monday was beautiful (if bloody chilly) as I was driving to my current client’s office. As I was on the road, I couldn’t stop to take a photo. But sunrise through mist and clouds, silhouetting trees on the hill-ridge, that was a thing of beauty – and one of the few times I wished I’d got either a dashcam to save the image, or a camera linked to my field of view.
Today I was in my own office as the sun came up, and it was another stunner…
Hell, it even made Milton Keynes look pretty…
Two years ago, I went with friends to see the Lumiere exhibition in Durham – which was ace.
This year, it was back, and so were we.
While it’s organised by the same people, and has some of the same artists, it was utterly different – and still brilliant. The weather this time was absolutely rotten – my coat still isn’t dry – but still it was great. The theme (if there really is one) was more about science and maths this time round, with the main ‘showpiece’ projection onto Durham Cathedral this time, “The World Machine” being more about the birth of modern cosmology from the 12th century until the present day.
One of the big draws this year was Mysticete, a projection of a whale on the river Wear, visible from the bridge above. Done by the same people as the Elephant last year, it was ace – and so clever, being projected onto a water-spray. (although with the heavy rain they could probably have just done the same onto the rain) Sadly, because of that weather it got cancelled on the Sunday, but it was well worth seeing. (we were there on the Saturday)
We got to see a good portion of the exhibits – although not all, by any means – and really enjoyed it. Some of the stuff was really magic and fun, other bits were ‘just’ excellent.
As per the last one, I will definitely be going again when it’s next on. I may also visit the one they’re doing in London in January 2016 – I hope that’s as clever and fun as the Durham ones are.
This year so far – and probably for a bit longer than that, if I’m honest – I’ve not been getting all that much done on a creative front, and I don’t really know why. It’s more a feeling of being bogged down, uninspired, and just not in the mood.
Writing is going better than anything else – lots of ideas, but nothing is particularly gelling at the moment. I’ve got a couple of things started, but it’s still bogging down, and not flowing.
Photography-wise, I haven’t even taken my camera out in ages. Really it’s been since I did the NCFE course, which is a bloody long time now. I don’t know why that seemed to flick the ‘can’t be arsed’ switch, but it has. I’ve tried a few things and ideas, but it’s just all a bit “meh”, with no real desire to take the photos.
In some ways, the day-trips over the last few months have helped on that – I’ve taken photos, even if ‘only’ with the phone (although that’s a surprise, considering how good they’ve come out) but still can’t really bring myself to take the actual camera out for a day. A lot of that is also because I can’t be arsed with lugging it around and faffing about, but mainly it’s just the faff of it all at the moment.
I’m sure things will change again – I certainly hope so – and that the changes will be positive for once. The rest of this year to date has been positive, so I’m hoping that once I have some headspace and time, I’ll be more prompted.
(And I’m sure I’ve written about this a couple of times this year already, so forgive the repetition. It’s just something that’s bugging me at the moment)