notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Politics Upside Your Head

You're young. You're ambitious. You're idealistic. You want to change the world, make it into a better place to live. You hate what happens in it yet you love what it could and should be. You want to show the world how shit it is and how good it could be, you want to take photographs of orphans crying for their mothers who have been killed by stray mortar bombs, of primary school children picking up the semi automatic weapons of their fallen friends and family to fight against a regime whose name they cannot even spell, of the ever decreasing rain forest, of the ever expanding chain of fast food restaurants, of the grey acrid smoke of a billion livelihoods going up in flame...all this and more...but you must wait, you must wait.

You are given a job in your native Prague covering politics. Politics is mostly boring, and there's not many photo opportunities, but these are the people charged with running our cities, our nations, our world. They have the power to do so much good but all too often they are too scared, greedy, ignorant, or just plain bad, to do anything but pull us deeper into the mire.

Your first assignment? Covering a meeting of disgruntled dentists. This is how disillusionment starts, but that's no reason not to be professional. You load your camera, get the approbate flashes, take the light readings, and get yourself in the best position you can. You look around you and sigh at the faces of the other more senior cameramen around you; old and greying, their eyes betray the dullness of the events they have had to cover, the light, the inspiration that led them to take pictures, has been long lost in the various civic halls, luncheon meetings and supermarket openings they have been forced to attend. The carrot of meaningful work has long since vanished, a free lunch is the best they can hope for now...You will not be like them, you will not be like them....Shit.

The meeting starts, the former Deputy PM, a right wind trod, announces that he has some private business to see to before he starts his speech. He leaves the podium, stands behind his rival, the Government's health minister, and slaps him hard round the back of the head; this is greeted with applause. The slapped minister stands motionless for sometime, makes to leave, then comes back for a professional wrestling style slanging match, the slapee goes for another hit, it is blocked, and a toe to toe bout of fisticuffs ensues.

You finish your film on the fight, and leave, safe in the knowledge the story will provide a message of despair and hope to the rest of the world; you can hear the orphans crying already...