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The Ballad of Peckham Rye

Phil guitar, Peckham Rye

It’s a cold rainy night in Peckham Rye Lane. The Bussey Building bouncers are wearily attempting reasoned communication with munted people stood in the road. One boy is trying to put his phone in his eye.

Two massive queues of ticket holders one side and walk ups the other. The walk ups queue is not moving. They stand shivering behind the crowd barrier, hands digging deep into their jeans for warmth.

Amidst the chaos, a bluesy strain threads through the faint bass rumble from the club, the rattle of car engines and the clatter of voices. It gets louder and more bluesy still. A fully formed tune meets the ear and I turn to see an electric blue Epiphone attached to man entertaining the walk ups mob. Also attached to the man are a pair of gloves that appear to be on a string through his sleeves.

This is Phil. He plays the blues in the rain on Rye Lane, at 3am. His guitar lead is a bit of 2 core electrical flex, the kind more suited to a desk lamp than a musical instrument. The red light on his amp, clipped to his coat pocket is fading on and off. Possibly rain related.

Phil gets 3 nights out of a 9v battery. Those pound shop ones only last 20 minutes, he says.




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Canary in Camberwell

Elizabeth Walker and Alan Camberwell Arms London Summer 2016

Elizabeth and Alan.

I love this shot! One of the most satisfying things in photography is when somethings just sings to you. This is one of those moments.

London hit 33C today (it’s only 31C in the Amazon right now!). Everything is in slow motion. Everything is a bit crazy. I got some good shots today and was not even thinking about taking any more.

That changed as I cycled down a drab section of Camberwell Church Street. This beacon, this canary amongst the monochrome and muted shades. I slammed my brakes on and wheeled back.

I am thankful they were so obliging as I interrupted their chat. This is shot from the bus lane, one eye on the viewfinder and the other towards the sometimes maniac 436 drivers coming through*.

Elizabeth got a bit bashful after being name dropped for her work and went inside, but Alan and I had a lovely little conversation about giving children in India cameras so they can document and snapshot their own lives. I’m really into this. Give kids cameras at a wedding and they’ll take better pictures than the grown ups.

Thanks for the photo, you two.

* I’ve nearly been made strawberry jam by bus drivers on more than one occasion right here. I feel perfectly justified in my description of (some) of them! Some are definitely ace and very bike aware – I applaud you.

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Jam night @ The Dizzy

jam night at the dizzy 3

Monday summer night in South London. 30 degrees at midnight. First heatwave and the heat is still dry. The place is heaving inside and out, people spilled out onto the pavement. In the corner, a whole load of guitars, mandolins, violins, musical saw, clarinet, bass and box drum. Shoes off, barefoot on the deck. Hollering and harmonies. Birthday cake, sleeping dog. The regulars hold up the bar in their regular stools. Businessmen and bus drivers. It’s jam night at The Dizzy.