I like nothing better than taking photographs of my lovely Amelia against some famous landmark: Amelia and The Eiffel Tower; Amelia and Nelson’s Column; Amelia and The Coliseum; Amelia and Edinburgh Castle; Amelia and The Angel of the North; Amelia and The Great Wall of China; Amelia and Ayers Rock; Amelia and The Great Pyramid. I have them all.
Last week we went to India so I could photograph her with The Taj Mahal in the background. The Taj Mahal looked wonderfully grand, touched with pink by the setting sun and framed by majestic palm trees. It brought to mind that wonderful photograph of Princes Di seated on the little wall in front of the oblongs of water with this magnificent building behind her not quite managing to put her in the shade. People have often remarked when I show them my photographs that my Amelia has a touch of Diana about her, the eyes mainly I think.
My photograph of Amelia in front of the Matterhorn is another that people seem to like but my own favourite is of Amelia against the background of The Victoria Falls, not just because I have managed to catch little rainbows in the spray behind her and the water seeming to hang in the air like smoke but mainly because I seem to have finally captured that little smile of hers that I think is just as enigmatic and beautiful as the Mona Lisa’s.
The one Amelia likes best is of her outside Buckingham Palace where the Queen and Prince Philip waited patiently till I had taken the photograph before passing between us.
ESTRAGON: I’m going.
VLADIMIR: Help me up first, then we’ll go together.
ESTRAGON: You promise?
VLADIMIR: I swear it!
ESTRAGON: And we’ll never come back?
ESTRAGON: We’ll go to the Pyrenees.
VLADIMIR: Wherever you like.
ESTRAGON: I’ve always wanted to wander in the Pyrenees.
According to Oscar Wilde, ‘ Life imitates Art ‘.
For instance when I was asked, “Where are you off to this summer?” the above exchange from Waiting For Godot crossed my mind so I said “I’ve always wanted to wander in the Pyrenees” and having made this destination public felt bound to live up to it.
I got the overnight bus to London, the train to Dover, the ferry to Calais then by taxi, train, bus, train, bus and hitchhike to Caldes de Boi then uphill by foot after foot to the Estany Negre with wild horses in the foreground and the distant blue peaks of Els Encantats (?) towering in the background.
Here I was at last, in the Park of Swirling Waters, Aiguestortes, in the Pyrenees, where I’d always wanted to wander.
Thanks be to Samuel Beckett.
( On the way back, at Santander, taking photographs behind the cafe at the ferry terminal – the PELIGRO sign obscured by a parked van – I was savaged by a couple of Alsatians. One on each ankle. Impressive inartistic scars and a few photographs to show for it all . But that’s life for you. )
Altarwise by owl-light in the half-way house The gentleman lay graveward with his furies; Abaddon in the hangnail cracked from Adam, And, from his fork, a dog among the fairies, The atlas-eater with a jaw for news, Bit out the mandrake with to-morrows scream. Then, penny-eyed, that gentlemen of wounds, Old cock from nowheres and the heaven’s egg, With bones unbuttoned to the half-way winds, Hatched from the windy salvage on one leg, Scraped at my cradle in a walking word That night of time under the Christward shelter: I am the long world’s gentleman, he said, And share my bed with Capricorn and Cancer
– Dylan Thomas
One critic has dismissed this poem as being ‘wilfully obscure’.
It sounds good though.
Especially that opening line.
And ‘ the atlas-eater with a jaw for news’
I like that.
And the dying fall of that last line……
And the alliteration..
Anyhow it’s not only meaning of the words that attracts you to a song,
or a poem,
it’s the melody, the rhythms, the sounds;
the meaning of the words is often subsumed in their sounds.
Listen to a few readings of Thomas’s stuff –
Richard Burton (he’s terrific),
Dylan himself, Anthony Hopkins, Peter Bellamy,
(not so good, too thespian, too sonorous)
and you come to realise that what you are listening for/to
is not the intellectual meaning
but the sensual music.
A bit like Bob Dylan,
forging strange meanings from metaphors
that gave their component parts new life,
an appeal to the ear as much as to the intellect.