Stained And Ablaze


Many of the pictures I post are symbols of something else to me, the essence of the image through my own personal prism. They may mean something different to you, or nothing at all .I love the use of symbols depicted in older stained glass windows and panels(and in other art) – in this case the sun and a star – as they cut to the chase and deliver the essence of something important to the creator of the piece in abstract, simplified form. There is also at sense that ancient and universal symbols transcend time, place and culture and the rendering of them like this is immediate and compelling to anyone who views ,and has viewed,them.

Chest Fever ( Song by The Band )

My personal favourite from the album ‘Big Pink’ mentioned in the  previous post.

The   hardest rocking tune of the set – memorable  for  Garth Hudson’s absolutely stonking organ work , Robbie Robertson’s slightly unsettling guitar riffs ,an odd, woozy horn-centred bridge, killer support from the rest of the ensemble and ,not least, the full and visceral production of John Simon. The lyrics don’t make a great deal of sense, but I find that sorta attractive …

Great Picasso-like album cover art too! That at a time when photos of the artists were the norm.

Every track is probably  now regarded as a classic, and the follow  up ‘The Band’ LP from 1969 is just as good. Influential is an  understatement…



Pink House


If the motel featured in the previous post, ‘Blue Motel’, did not exactly feel like home, neither would this monument to fufu and, erm ,pinkness. Something to love or hate ,or if in doubt ,to photograph . Not to say something good could not come out of a pink house – ‘Big Pink’  was the name and colour of the large house in Woodstock, NY. where The Band created the songs that would appear on their magnificent 1968 debut album of that name. Must post something from it ….

Blue Motel


‘I’ve got a blue motel room

with a blue bedspread

I’ve got the blues inside and outside my head…’

–  Joni Mitchell, ‘Blue Motel Room’ from ‘Hejira’ (1976).


Shot this on a rainy night on holiday in Nelson; alone that evening so walked the balcony’s length a few times to kill time, boredom and a drifting anxiety. Motels never feel like home or any place you would be if you didn’t have to be there. Queen Joni summed up my mood on that evening perfectly.

Time And Tide


“Never give up, for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn”.

– Harriet Beecher Stowe

The tide clock above sat on the wall of a beach  house we stayed at a few days ago. It simply told us when was best to swim in the ocean or to gather cockles in the estuary. Of course ,the tides of life are not so predictable. This blogsite is not called ‘Ebb Then Flood’ for nothing. One will surely follow the other but the timing and length of the stages in the  cycle are frankly a guessing game and  beyond our control. Stowe exhorts persistence – I think recognition of the phase your are in and acceptance of it are part of the equation too. Scrape the barnacles off the hull on the ebb tide, strap yourself to the mast when the flood tide hits and prepare for the ride!

Black Wharf , White Points


Back to the wharf ,so to speak, or at least another wharf. Unlike the twilight zones depicted in the “Under The Wharf, Above The Waves” pictures elsewhere, this scene concentrates on the top of the wharf. Relatively comfortable maybe ,but the white tipped posts are a navigation guide for incoming boats, delineating the landing and guiding the skippers. And you wouldn’t want to sit on them if you’re feeling too comfortable…I am reminded that complacency is the enemy.

Fine Lines (Song by John Martyn)

Clip, lyrics and my thoughts on my all-time favourite song by the late British singer-songwriter/guitarist follow:

Here a fine line, there a fine line
Oh what a time we had
Here a strange place, and there a strange face
Doesn’t it make you sad
I will call up my friends and say
Come on over, make my night or my day
And talk about who’s the finest folk in town
There a day’s grace, here a night’s space
Oh what a lovely rhyme
Take it from me, there is no disgrace
In having yourself a time
I will call up my friends and say
Come on over and make my day
And talk about the love that I know is in us all
Making the bread, going mad in the head
I know when I’m going too far
I want to get back, want to take up the slack
Get where the good times are
But I will call up all my friends and will say
I will say: Come on over make my night or my day
And we’ll talk about who’s the finest folk in town
Here a fine line, there a fine wine
Oh what a time we had
Here a strange place, there a strange face
Didn’t it make me sad
I will call up my friends and say
Now come on over and make my day
And tell me about the love that’s in us all
That’s in us all
Songwriter: John Martyn
Fine Lines lyrics © WARLOCK MUSIC LTD., Warlock Music, Ltd., INDEPENDENT MUSIC LTD


You can discover (that is the name of another of his songs, by the way) a great deal about John Martyn elsewhere on the internet – his official site is great as a starting place. You’ll find he was a leading light of progressive folk/rock, refusing to be pigeonholed by musical genres. Also, a distinctive and idiosyncratic  vocalist, astonishing acoustic/electric guitarist and the creator of brilliant , heartfelt songs . I want to give a little fan love to this jewel of his expansive canon of work. Actually, when something has become so ingrained in you, as this song is to me,it’s difficult to articulate exactly why that is the case.

So, blow by blow: Martyn is heard at the start of the song telling his producer that it ” felt natural”… he got that right. The warm analog mix on this is something unique, likes it’s coming from inside your head, not outside of it. The vocal rolls in and envelopes you like sea fog ;Martyn’s trademark slightly slurred delivery is often around the beat, almost jazzy in that respect, and grows more fervent over the piece’s course. He converses intimately with the listener of love ,regret and what the good life looks like to him. The  song is righteously anchored by  Danny Thompson’s singing, monster double bass , up there in the mix with the vocals. The simple electric guitar solo ,commencing at 1:39 on the tape ,sounds like it has been recorded underwater or something, muffled and moaning like  a cemetery ghost;the elegant ,chiming piano on the other hand is crystalline as spring rain. The magic of the song is also in the space between things, notes are left suspended in the air. The whole piece has an elusiveness, a touch of mystery about it – no matter how many times I have listened to it , it seems to slip my grasp, melting away, and never quite resolving….and so it  draws me back again …..

Community Hall (III)


Kihikihi, NZ.

This and the previous two posts show older buildings which are still active hubs of their  communities and  localities. I am drawn to them  when I pass through smaller places on my travels, as much  as  what they  signify than what they look like (although the variety   of  style  and  size is impressive and interesting in itself). I imagine them in their   heydays when they  would  have served as the epicentres of goings on – municipal meetings, clubs of all persuasions ,worship,dances, art and crafts exhibitions, the people that   passed through the room, music ,food served to all, and both  important and trivial events  .Their importance may have dissipated in recent times ,with the rush of  life ,urbanisation and  advances in technology not requiring  one  to be  physically present to participate, but to me they give  places “soul”. I take photographs just in case they fall ,or  are  pulled, down…