Teenage Werewolves: What landscape photographers do of an evening by Jacqui Booth

Taking photos of gigs isn't something I do every time I'm out. It's fun but there's always a photographer more confidently doing their stuff. These creatures take many forms (hello Ollie, it's always nice to see you in your ear defenders) but this time it was a giant of a man stood slap bang in front of me, so the first few shots are worked around him until he moved to one side for a while. Yeah, I should have moved forward alongside him, but it takes some guts to do that and I felt a bit quiet at first. Besides, I was there to see the gig primarily.

So, this is a tribute band. Yeah, that’s unavoidably just a little bit cheesy at best. Yeah, it felt daft getting dressed up to go to the spit and sawdust Musician pub on a Tuesday evening, but this was Teenage Werewolves, the prime Cramps covers band, and it would be fun.

Mark arrived in black Laura Ashley and helped with tea whilst I dug out PVC leggings, a shimmery sequinned top last worn to the circus, and my customary shedload of black eyeliner. My oddly polite teenagers chose to reveal their previously restrained horror at my outfit on my return...it must have been bad!

It was one hell of a show. A generously packed set with no support. In the absence of Lux Interior, Jack Atlantis performed the ass off performing. Attempting to catch Atlantis still enough to photograph in low light was as hard as trying to photography a hen without blur. He must have covered a couple of miles and even some altitude on the tiny Musician stage. It's not a feat that will be matched any time soon.

We danced, we sang, things got covered in beer, I got a damn hard wallop in the back from a particularly inebriated bloke but that's the price of being small and at the front of a gig (it really shouldn’t be this way but I won't get scared away - it's my space too). Loads of Cramps gems were covered, plus covers of Teenage Kicks, Teen Spirit and a Clash cover which was even good by my Clash hating standards!

Afterwards, I chatted with the hard working go go dancers afterwards who were self assured and polite to the dispersing punters and waited for me to drag Mark along to take part in a thigh bearing competition. It was a close contest!

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As we wandered to the Skylink for an uncharacteristically early night, we agreed that, yes, it had been fun.

13: The project that got away by Jacqui Booth

Some projects fall by the wayside, this was one, though it did carry on for a few months until life took over in different ways.

Today, R is 15 and to have a record of him morphing daily into this proto adult would have been pretty amazing, but I acknowledge that it was a tall order and there were many other things to do. I became aware, particularly as the year went on, that I was mainly taking a snap before running out of the door. It was a difficult time. But it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of hope, does it?

13

And so it begins. My youngest child is 13.  And age arbitrarily plucked out of the ether as significant. He's a boy, my 2nd. My eldest child will turn 16 soon and has been taking up most of my attention to be fair.  He's good company and has exams coming up. This leaves this child, as usual, a little overlooked.  He amuses himself well.  He is difficult to spend time with unless you share his obsessions.  Today is a milestone as he's spent most of it with a friend. C is still here, playing games on the PC in a downstairs room whilst R plays on his own PC upstairs. This is their fun.

I am his mother. I do not know him entirely.  He is a child of the internet, of frustrations, of his obsessions and of school.  He is a child that likes to avoid things if he possibly can.  I am waiting for him to mature now - to turn the corner into being an adult.  I can't remember when it should happen, but it needs to soon.  I shall mourn the loss of my little boy. Today I perhaps feel more emotional about it than I ever have.  I accept it and I shall cope.  He needs to grow and I shall be there to help him.  Hanging around, on call, for when I'm wanted most intensely.  Hanging back to give him the space he needs otherwise.  Discovering which of the gaps I can use for myself and how.  Unravelling. Negotiating this new reality. Gently ushering him towards becoming a man I'm happy to call my son.

He has surprised me by agreeing to be part of this project, even by being imaginative and enthusiatic. There will be a photo a day. A photo that seems suitable for us, that day.  He won't always look happy.  They may not be flattering to our relationship. They will change over time. We may get bored. But we will try and we hope to be honest to you, the onlooker, without oversharing.

I'm sure the idea isn't unique. I don't know when or how I shall share it. It is a story of a mother and her son. We shall influence each other throughout but I hope that it will be an insight into our story and an irreplaceable account of this female mammal rearing her male offspring.

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We're at the Great Central Railway.  It's his 13th birthday and we've been here many times before.  This place will soon be obliterated to make way for an extension to the line.  He knows I love it here and never complains about me poking around, taking photos.  He skips onto some steps. They're a smidge dangerous but he's okay.  We like the Sleeper logo and he chooses a pose intended to mock the tangerine horror of the recently inaugerated Donald Trump, who is both a figure of fun and something genuinely scary to him.

It's going to be a roller coaster of a year.

They call it progress by Jacqui Booth


 “When we destroy something created by man, we call it vandalism. When we destroy something created by nature, we call it progress.” -Ed Begley Jr.

Nope, I've no idea who Ed Begley Jr. is.  An American actor, says Wikipedia, but I liked the words in relation to these photographs of the local railway sheds.  Clearly, the scene has been 'created by man' (I've never seen a woman working in the sheds - they seem to be assigned to period dress and tea duty only in this microcosm), though I'd argue that it was nature enough.  Every time I visit the Great Central Railway, it's not the trains that fascinate me, it's this area of ramshackle storage containers full of useful odds and ends that eventually become restored engines.  Every time I'm allowed to wander through the sheds, smell the oil and peep at the work in progress, the tools and the workbenches I appreciate the access...and the people working there wonder why I'm taking photos.  "We had some students in here once taking photos..." they'll say, totally unaware of how special this unpretentious environment is.

I took these photos a nearly two years ago and since then I've had little time to devote to such things.  I haven't now.  I want to be studying but I'm cleaning the house ahead of Christmas, which is long overdue and hindered by a back that needs to be a little stronger for such things. Still, I'm making progress in my microcosm, though it's influenced by what I think a house should appear to be, criticisms from family and ideas about home style (mostly ignored) rather than simply providing a safe, warm environment for my family and friends. Tools and guitars will be moved, offcuts of wire and piles of sawdust eradicated, albeit temporarily. My own clutter will be tamed. Still, until tarpaulin chic is fashionable, it's probably for the best.

Lacuna by Jacqui Booth

"All those places
Where I recall
The memories that grip me
And pin me down"

Silence, by Polly Jean Harvey


And then one day the thing I was carrying turned to nothing...a void.

All I felt was the emptiness.  It hung there like an alien spaceship, between the solidity of my surroundings.  It took up residence, adapting its shape to fit without spare.

I could be with people but alone and with an almighty disturbance. A vast cavity silently confronted me, haunted me.  I'm not sure I had any desire to fill it, not just then. It was a cruel and necessary step. What once kept it at bay was no longer for me, was not mine.

The cavity was cold, it hurt. It sprang up to mock my mistakes and my selfish decisions.

It shall always be ready to occupy the gaps.

There we were by Jacqui Booth

Well, there's a thing.

I never added the photos from my trip to Cornwall to my website.

It all seems so long ago.

The photo of the astounding view from the master bedroom came up on Facebook memories on Saturday morning...and I wonder how it could have been just a year ago, and writing now...well, it could be a decade.

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It was one hell of a trip.  Come to Cornwall, Tim said.  I was newly qualified to drive, and more than ready to take advantage of the situation. I booked a motorway driving lesson and secured the use of my then partner's car...packed a bag, made a flask of coffee and set off.

I vividly remember arriving. Tim emerged out of the night and plonked himself into the passenger seat. He was so out of breath and nearly soaked to the skin. I felt terrible that he'd had to come out and was obviously worried for his health. The weather was horrendous. It was pitch black. He guided me to our digs, a way-too-beautiful-for-the-likes-of-me house, encouraging me to take it slowly. It was only later that I learned that I was basically driving along a dirt track on a cliff edge.  I dumped my bags and we got soaked on the way to the pub for 'supper'.  Then he blooming well woke me up with tea at sunrise! To be fair, watching the light dappling the ocean was wonderful.

It was pretty damn thrilling to be able to make my way to some of my favourite places under my own steam, and to take Tim with me as a bonus. He does astonishingly well to be dragged around the countryside by me. Lanyon Quoit is a favourite of mine and made a striking setting for Tim. I was able to vaguely revisit an idea I'd had for our first shoot. I wanted to catch a sort of childish innocence, though doing this whilst watching out for the arrival of new tourists kinda meant that taking time to perfect the shot, as well as having Tim laid on a cold rock in November detracted from this!  We also headed to Madron Well, a place I innocently stumbled upon perhaps fifteen years ago.  Sadly, I'd worn him out by the Men-au-tol which was a shame, but he graciously gave me the time to run from the car up the track and spend a few exhilarating minutes there.  My Men-au-tol moment, if you like.

Anyway, as Tim says in his more timely account of events, we had a damn good few days.  I still think about them with amazed fondness. We talked. We talked a lot about many things. He spent a very long time finding ways to help save my relationship with the father of my children. He really did try. The relationship lasted about three month months more then we split for good. That's not to say that Tim failed. His intelligent, endlessly kind and well considered words stay with me.

And so things have been necessarily forgotten, buried, neglected. Domesticity has overwhelmed me. But strange things happen. I've met a man who has insisted that today I leave what I'd identified as my new priorities behind and pick up where I inadvertently left off all those years ago...except it's twelve months. Twelve tiny months.



All my published Tim pics, both alone and with Al Brydon, can be gandered at here.