One of the large plump wood pigeons that loiter about my street had the trajectory of its day interrupted, by the front window of my house (despite there being warning stickers on the glass).
There was no sign of it lying stunned, or dead, in the garden so I guess it must have escaped with only a sore head.
But it left a glorious imprint of it’s presence, each feather detail perfectly recorded, even its beak, and just visible to the side, its eye.
It is raining now and slowly this self-portrait is dissolving. Performance art, fleeting, but beautiful.
Earlier this year we asked you to help us win the Sony Production Awards by voting for That Time, a film we made for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
The prize was a brand spanking new Sony FS700 camera. We said that if we won the award we’d sell our old FS700 and donate the money to causes that work with vulnerable young people.
In the end we split the money three ways. We gave £500 each to HIV/AIDS Alliance and to Jim Mortram. Of Jim we asked that he use it to support one of his collaborations with a young person (no other strings attached). We’re huge admirers of Jim’s work and we were super happy to get the chance to invest a very small amount in him.
The bulk of the money (£2500 with gift aid) went to St Chad’s Sanctuary here in Birmingham. Over the years I’ve had the privilege to get to know some unsung heroes, individuals who lead small groups of like minded people to make profound differences in their communities. Sister Margaret who runs the Sanctuary is one such person.
The Sanctuary provides support for some of the most vulnerable people in our society: asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants. I can personally attest the Sanctuary lives by its motto, ‘ I was a stranger and you made me welcome’.
Right now there’s a war on asylum seekers. Even the Labour party seems intent on beating up on those who are most vulnerable. It says a lot about the true nature of this nation. Not nearly as ‘great’ as we’d like to think. Mostly (but not exclusively) we’re run by small minded dickheads for whom the price of power is to be paid by everyone else.
The small amount of money you’ve helped us give to the Sanctuary means that young people will continue to get one of the warmest welcomes in Brum, food and free English lessons.
Once again to those of you who voted and to the judges, thank you.
My old school mate Frank was one of life’s enthusiasts. Despite congenital heart problems and major heart surgery in his early years, he never let it impede his life.
His passion was motorcycling, and he would blat off to places like Le Mans, the Bol d’Or, or wherever took his fancy on various of his bikes which included over the years a couple of Laverda Jotas (still my fave sounding bike of all time), or the Ducatis he preferred as he got older. But unfortunately he didn’t get to be too old before his heart finally gave up. But my my did he give it a work out whilst it still ticked. The 600 mile ride from the Scottish Highlands to the Channel Ferry port in Dover was simply the opening leg of what usually turned out to be epic trips, often taking in several European countries.
We had a good send off for him. And his helmet went with him for the final ride (that’s it on the end of his coffin). I thought this was a particularly lovely moment: as I shared some quiet time with a family friend and Frank, a burst of laughter from some of Frank’s mates sat outside, who were telling stories of biking adventures they’d shared with him, caught our attention.
These little moments, at times like these, really matter. We should record more of them. And cherish them.