Observations from a Small City on the Edge of a Crumbling Tectonic Economy..

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I’ve lived in Seattle since November 25th 2004, and in that time I have seen some slow changes, lost touch with a lot of people who moved on, disappeared left town etc. It’s really not until 2013 that the physical changes happened in the city that I could start to think I was living in a dynamic place.

I’ve lived in Seattle since November 25th 2004, and in that time I have seen some slow changes, lost touch with a lot of people who moved on, disappeared left town etc. It’s really not until 2013 that the physical changes happened in the city that I could start to think I was living in a dynamic place.

I came to the US with an expectations of grandeur.

I was really surprised when I got to New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and DC and was hit in the face with the fact that these were aging cities, and the sense that the people living there, really didn’t have much actual control or say over anything that went on, because democracy got in the way. Id assumed the US was bright shiny and new.
As a European, I had always grown up with places that were maintained and there was a real sense of local pride and everyone was involved in it.

Over the years and traveling around, I’ve seen enough of it to tell me that this country is definitely a continent in decline. A place strangled by conservative values, and disregard for everything except money.

The US is definitely not a place I want to grow old in, and yet, I don’t know where else there is now that hasn’t adopted the same capitalistic values, and with that the utterly destructive nature of that which is held in high regard: individualism.

 

 

Dublin

Marriage Equality Dublin, Ireland
May 22, sees the first referendum for marriage equality in Ireland. While most of the positivity towards it shows in the main cities of Cork and Dublin, opinion is divided in the regional cities and towns.
Family roots
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Family roots.
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Family Roots.
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Family roots.
My Aunt Eileen and my father discuss family roots. Skerries north Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Intercity views, north Co. Dublin
North Co. Dublin from the Dublin to Dundalk train.
Generation Gap.
Generation gaps prevail, Dublin City, Ireland. While Ireland awakens from stern austerity measures put in place by preceding governments the generation gaps appear as many of the immigrants from ireland came back in the mid 2000’s left again during the economic downturn, the economic migrants, many from former eastern bloc states the up the slack.
Cafe Doggy
The dog is part of the family.
Cafe Doggy
Im having a Latte, what would you like?
Yellow man
Retake on an old classic.
The Gull Boy
“They come down from the Pheno” Referring to the Phoenix Park, at one stage Europe’s largest city park. Seagulls plane on the strong winds which funnel up the river Liffey. Dan Kavanagh stands on the Millennium Footbridge linking Temple Bar to Ormond Quay, commanding a flock of majestic gulls, with chunks of biscuit, like a scene from Irish mythology.
The Gull Boy
“They come down from the Pheno” Referring to the Phoenix Park, at one stage Europe’s largest city park. Seagulls plane on the strong winds which funnel up the river Liffey. Dan Kavanagh stands on the Millennium Footbridge linking Temple Bar to Ormond Quay, commanding a flock of majestic gulls, with chunks of biscuit, like a scene from Irish mythology.
To each their own.
To each their own..
Wha..?
Wha…?
Ireland
Henry Street, Dublin, Ireland
Got it at Guineys!
Guiney’s Dublin’s favorite everything store.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
After School fun at blackrock baths. Dublin Ireland.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Old town Dún Laoghaire.
Bauler
Takin’ the Bauler for a walk. Old town Dún Laoghaire.

 

Amazing Environmental Audio from Maha Kumbh Mela

I’ve been back from India just over a year now, back living in the US and in that time its been a real struggle, both on a personal level and financially.
Looking back on that time, a half-year spent in India, thinking about it and thinking about how much I miss it, and yearn for the Utopian chaos to run through my veins once more.
I have edited my photography over and over trying to extract the essence of the experience. However the personal journey that India was to me, has obscured my objectivity, something that only time can distill.
I have started once again on the editing process, going back over the audio recordings I made, and in doing so, had an epiphany about the work. I realize that I have no choice but to go back to India, and capture more audio, this time with an expanded kit. And to dedicate much more time and effort into making quality environmental recordings.
Audio recordings offer a taste of reality that video and photography simply cannot touch. Where video has to be constructed to make a compelling presentation, and photography provides specificity, and depth, that depth is within just that contextual intimacy.
Audio offers a living reality of time based exploration. Audio treats the consciousness to a wide layered mental vision, one that the mind is intrinsically connected to, there is no learning to listen, whereas there is learning to read photographs.

This Location Sound during the Anup Jalota concert at Pilot Baba’s Ashram camp 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, Sangam Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh India. I had decided to walk around the sector 9 area where the ashram was located, about 7 miles from the actual main bathing area.
You can hear all of the local sounds, and the far distant sounds of the millions (130,000,000 to be more accurate) of pilgrims who existed at the ‘city’. Headphones highly recommended. Sit back and enjoy the Mela as I did for thirteen minutes.

2013 09 04 In the Back where the light of the fading day reflects off the wall.

Its a phenomena to hear the daily rumination’s of your neighbor showering, slurping milk in his cereal bowl, listening to the radio, masturbating, showering and general other private life sounds, and yet never actually really seeing them because of a wooden fence that separates you from him. Im pretty sure he cant hear me because the sound from his side is funneled in through a small space filtered by a Mosquito grille and a cat.

I have a lot of uncertainty now, and yet I know somewhere in there I will miss these days. Perhaps this is a time of resettlement and reassurance from a relationship that I now find myself in.
I also find myself in the eye of the storm. Im doing things now that are prime and ahead of the curve. Yet Im filled with doubt and procrastination is the crutch Im leaning on. Im trying to do a lot maybe too much, but if I dont Ill feel as though Im not doing enough, like I feel that anyway regardless of the capacity Im at.

Who knows. Just remember the important things.

Colourful sojourn into celebration..

Seattle Gay Pride 2013
Selections from Seattle Gay Pride 2013

Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai

Goa to Mumbai

Bombay! Yes they are Dildos!
Bombay! Yes they are Dildos!
Bombay! Street children, have the world as their playground.
Bombay! Street children, have the world as their playground.
Bomba, there is always someone at work, and neary by street children play in the dust between the missing paving stones.
Bomba, there is always someone at work, and neary by street children play in the dust between the missing paving stones.
A workman walks past bails of fabric on a hand-cart in his ubiquitous Ghandi style garb and Nehru cap.
A workman walks past bails of fabric on a hand-cart in his ubiquitous Ghandi style garb and Nehru cap.
The single best thirst quencher is Cane Juice, there are literally thousands of stalls all over the metropolis selling Cane Juice which is prepared and crushed and mixed with lime or mint and sold for 10rs a glass. Its a sweet, cool light-green drink with a hint of cinnamon and a frothy head.
The single best thirst quencher is Cane Juice, there are literally thousands of stalls all over the metropolis selling Cane Juice which is prepared and crushed and mixed with lime or mint and sold for 10rs a glass. Its a sweet, cool light-green drink with a hint of cinnamon and a frothy head.
A flour Mill in Fort, Bombay India. Someones respected father represented ont he wall, and the eye-of-shiva marked on the portrait gives the scene an uncanny and humorous appeal. It reminds me of Carlos the Jackal.
A flour Mill in Fort, Bombay India. Someones respected father represented ont he wall, and the eye-of-shiva marked on the portrait gives the scene an uncanny and humorous appeal. It reminds me of Carlos the Jackal.
Bombay! The old part of the city, at its southern tip is an area called Fort, this is a mix of british and dutch colonial achitecture, as it was a dutch trading port before the British arrived. Parts of the city are wide tree-lined streets with beautiful Indian buildings, others wonderful British buildings which are still used today for state buildings and civil activities like the India Post building and CST which was formerly known as Victoria station, that building is a vast cavernous hulk with flying buttresses and warren-like interior housing hundreds of offices. In between the cracks lie the back-streets which are mind-blowing networks in impossibly small areas that accommodate millions of working indians who eek out their existences in stunning displays of resilience.
Bombay! The old part of the city, at its southern tip is an area called Fort, this is a mix of british and dutch colonial achitecture, as it was a dutch trading port before the British arrived.
Parts of the city are wide tree-lined streets with beautiful Indian buildings, others wonderful British buildings which are still used today for state buildings and civil activities like the India Post building and CST which was formerly known as Victoria station, that building is a vast cavernous hulk with flying buttresses and warren-like interior housing hundreds of offices.
In between the cracks lie the back-streets which are mind-blowing networks in impossibly small areas that accommodate millions of working indians who eek out their existences in stunning displays of resilience.
Bombay! These are typical workers on their way to or from work, their style is accommodating to extreme temperatures of 50+ centigrade, the garments are cheap but well tailored white cotton in the style of Jawahlal Nehru who was the first prime minister of India, a solid intelligent man who founded many of the principles of what are now considered the pillars of Indian modernity.
Bombay! These are typical workers on their way to or from work, their style is accommodating to extreme temperatures of 50+ centigrade, the garments are cheap but well tailored white cotton in the style of Jawahlal Nehru who was the first prime minister of India, a solid intelligent man who founded many of the principles of what are now considered the pillars of Indian modernity.
The slums of Mumbai, a truly heart warming experience which in many ways reminds me of the way life used to be when I was a child growing up in Ireland. Its an amazing experience to see how these people live, where everything is recycled, water is abundant and used for everything, children play, are happy, adults come and go out of the city to work and some work in the slums, but everyone is truly happy. There are no traffic jams, there is no ill-will, and there is mutually expressed respect amongst all.
The slums of Mumbai, a truly heart warming experience which in many ways reminds me of the way life used to be when I was a child growing up in Ireland. Its an amazing experience to see how these people live, where everything is recycled, water is abundant and used for everything, children play, are happy, adults come and go out of the city to work and some work in the slums, but everyone is truly happy. There are no traffic jams, there is no ill-will, and there is mutually expressed respect amongst all.
Amol, from Video Volunteers and India Unheard, shows us around the slums where he lives. Its an amazing experience to see how these people live, where everything is recycled, water is abundant and used for everything, children play, are happy, adults come and go out of the city to work and some work in the slums, but everyone is truly happy. There are no traffic jams, there is no ill-will, and there is mutually expressed respect amongst all.
Amol, from Video Volunteers and India Unheard, shows us around the slums where he lives. Its an amazing experience to see how these people live, where everything is recycled, water is abundant and used for everything, children play, are happy, adults come and go out of the city to work and some work in the slums, but everyone is truly happy. There are no traffic jams, there is no ill-will, and there is mutually expressed respect amongst all.
Bombay, aka Mumbai, its so hot, that there are no door on the trains, people hang out and off the trains as they bolt around the local intercity area. Rarely do accidents happen.
Bombay, aka Mumbai, its so hot, that there are no door on the trains, people hang out and off the trains as they bolt around the local intercity area. Rarely do accidents happen.

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The monsoon is late and everything is dry, hard and thirsty. The locals are preparing hard for the oncoming torrential onslaught which is to last about twelve weeks.
The monsoon is late and everything is dry, hard and thirsty. The locals are preparing hard for the oncoming torrential onslaught which is to last about twelve weeks.
We came to get our milk back please, monsoon is late and the kids are getting hungry.
We came to get our milk back please, monsoon is late and the kids are getting hungry.

TIME SLOWED

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876 HOURS REMAINING

There so much shit going on in my head now, things I dont want to be thinking about. i dont want to go back to the US, I dont want to go back anywhere. The US specifically, Ive had so many experience in the last 5 months that going back to the US seems like a backwards step.

After all this time, and nine years living there, I have achieved very little. Ive learned how to forget myself and how to get swamped into a system of thought and a culture of denial. America is now not good for me. I realize that. I just dont want to be there anymore. At the same time, what else is there? Im not sure. Im wired to think in western ways, so living in a routine is now a learned behavior but the concept of it is repugnant.

The last two months here have been emotionally tumultuous, on a personal level, learning who I am and rediscovering the things that Id forgotten about what makes me me. I used to hate myself. Now Im ok with myself, as Im accepting the ways in which I function as an acceptable set of parameters that exist for a reason, and those reasons are functional, though Im not entirely clear on what they are maybe i will never be, but I can live with that also. The reasons are less important to me now then the realm.

I spent two weeks in Pushkar and the blossoming self reflection and subsequent opening of the realization doors were hard, and within that other personal issues were starting to develop also, things I dont want to delve into here. Suffice to say that when i left Pushkar and then travelled back to Bhopal and then on down into Chhattisgarh and into the surreality of the place and the job I was on, i was numb and tried only to concentrate on the essentials. Then going back to Bhopal and the end of the job and the dissemination of the crew put me back up against myself. I left bhopal and took the long train ride south into the heat of the tropics. I spent two weeks in Vagator and in that time chewed into a bigger personal mess and came out the other side feeling positive and refreshed. The middle & last period in Vagator was good, I had met some new people and was energized by them and had long in depth conversations which I sorely miss in the US. Deep meaningful communication with people who can disagree with you and argue until their logic becomes your logic and your logic becomes theirs.

Ive been carrying around a small bag of things, stuff from my past which controls my present and ultimately my future too, things that Id wanted unload but now come to the conclusion that they are in fact assets and tools for the future. Not all of them, the things will tell me in time what they are and where they fit in to my life or whether they fit in at all. If they dont then I will have to accept that.

Ive made some stupid mistakes, and the results of those mistakes are challenging me in ways that I dont like because I valiantly tried to push forward and in a way that I thought was positive, benevolent and beneficial but the results keep coming back negative. Perhaps its the way I’m seeing it, but Ive been here before on other levels and my instinct keeps telling me to let it go. Its like hitting a pingpong ball at a target and the ball bounces back and lands in that pile of cow shit in the corner, and no matter how I try to hit the ball in different ways it always ends up in the cow shit. There only so many times I can hit that ball before I put the bat down and leave the court.

Now, with little over a month left, American reality is awaiting. I have more friends, real friends, now then I have ever had in my life, and how they exist in the kettle of America is beyond me, they are different people, they have to be, because they wouldn’t be my friends if they weren’t. I am against the grain of convention, and yet I lived in routine for seven years, day in day out. I dont want to walk away from those friends, and leave, but i feel the centrifuge is off balance and its only a matter of time until it breaks its bearings and starts to migrate towards critical.

 

They say India changes you, and I was curious to know why, and what I know now is that I have changed, while being here and Im sure when I go back I will change also, it’ll be a slow burn low trajectory for the rest of my life. I am fourty years old and I feel like the last decade has vanished back into life reserves for use later on.

 

India is such that when one comes here one floats like oil on water. The white man is exotic, and the sensation is disconcerting, but it serves as a living lesson in ones own identity and what that is in relation to the carnival as it exists around you. Indians exist all around you, and carry on their lives in exclusivity to you, and by that the very nature of walking from a bus into a busy sidewalk of a billion people you simply have no choice but to flow and whatever you can do to make your own space within that will be accepted, ignored and ultimately a minor moment of curiosity for those around you at any one moment.

 

I have a month left and what will happen in that month will probably seem a little faster then before, but the flow of traffic is the same yet the destination is unknown, and the rules of relativity go out the window.

PAYING FULL PRICE FOR A HALF TANK OF GAS 2013-04-20

Today I had another mathematical quandary with an Indian. I rolled in with exactly half a tank of gas and asked the guy to fill’er up. So he put the nozzle into the tank pressed the go button and pulled the nozzle out, after a about 3 seconds, and then went to the machine and pressed a button and said 380rs. I thought he said 80 and I handed him a 100. Pregnant pause. So i asked him how much again and he said 380.. hrm I said that the tank was 50% before he filled it, and he said yes but you asked me to fill it, and a full tank is 380.. between a bit of neigh translated dialogue, a friend pulled in and I asked him to translate, which he did, and the pump guy wouldn’t budge, because i said I wanted a full tank, and a full tank is 380.

So we tried to figure it out with him and finally my friend said what did the pump say and the guy looked at the pump and it was zero and he said ‘It says zero’, so I said oh ok then its free and I got on my bike and the pump guy looked really confused and I could have driven away but I just wanted to make a point. So I had a bottle of water on me that was about half way to the top and I said to him like a high infants teacher, “bottle half full, fill the bottle how much water do you need to fill it up?” he stared at me and I went to the counter and got another bottle of water and went back to pump guy and said “ ok bottle half full, how much do I need to fill the bottle and he said “full” and I opened the new bottle and told him to pour all of it into the half filled bottle and he looked at me like a goldfish (he was still holding the nozzle and in his other hand a wad of bills both at about shoulder height), and I hand him the bottles he is totally confused about what to do with the nozzle and the cash let alone the rocket science I was about to get him to perform, so I take the nozzle and hang it up for him and tell him t put the cash in his breast pocket, which he does then I hand him the bottles and repeat the instruction, fill up this bottle with that bottle and see how much water is left in that bottle.. and he is about to start putting the two bottles together and then realizes.. ah yes ok ok,

GREAT! A breakthrough has occurred! and then he goes into a fairly decent breakdown of how that would work and that hed get water all over his hand and that my bottle idea was really great, so then I brought him back to the gas tank and said that this bottle was the same amount as the tank and that blah well I explained it to him, and then said ok how much money for the petrol, and he said ‘full tank 380rs’.

.. oh fuck.. so my friend said to him to recall the last pump meter reading and pump guy says “no not allowed” so my friend said to him to do it or else and the guy reluctantly pressed the button and up popped a figure of 180 then very quickly went on to the next one which said 270 and said that was the price, but I pressed the last recall button and said asked him who else had filled the tank since i got here with this pump and the goldfish face came back, so I repeated it and said after you took the nozzel out of my tank which other tank did you put it in and he looked around ( there was two other bikes there at that point), and he pointed at the guy behind me.. So I asked him if hed had his tank filled yet, and of course he said no, so I said to pump guy, ok lets say this is his price then how did you get that price if you havent put the gas in yet? at that point I pushed the last recall button and I handed him the additional 170rs to which he said “no no no you pay 380 for a full tank!” I said ok lets talk to your manager, at that point he started yelling at me and I drove away. My friend later told me ‘learning curve – always watch the pump guy, the managers tell them what to do and then they do it and they dont understand what they are doing, though some of them do and then figure that lying to you will get them out of it, because I guess that when you dont have any sense of mathematics at all, then the basic rules apply, and indians trick each other all the time but dont see it as tricking you, they just see it that you paid more because you must have got more. And that right there is an amazing concept to me.

FROM PUSHKAR TO BHOPAL

The heat becomes you. Heat dictates everything. Your life revolves around it. In extreme temperatures, anything above 38c, the body reacts differently, even for those who are used to heat. It takes over your actions, what you do, how you do it, when you do things where you do things, what you eat, what you drink, and how much of both. Heat mandates that you segregate everything and do those tasks in small amounts. Currently its averaging between 38c and 44c surprisingly enough I have been fine in the extremes. I have to wear socks in my shoes because my shoes become too hot for my skin, and in places where you are not allowed to wear shoes it is essential that you have socks on because the temperature of the ground is enough to dry spit in 20 seconds. It will make an ice cold 1L bottle of water hot –30c– in 20 minutes. Inside a car that is reduced to about 10 minutes. Its easy to print figures and say oh look its 44c outside, but its a different thing entirely to know how those figures actually behave in terms of what those figures mean

 

The decision to leave Pushkar was made for me by the enticing idea of working again on a project Im not allowed to discuss. Needless to say its a sensitive topic in India and lives are at stake, as well as our own freedom if it were discovered what we were trying to achieve in terms of truth telling through documentary.

This is probably the biggest current affair topic Ive worked on in the last decade, and it feels good to be back in the loop -hows that for ego?

 

Pushkar was ultimately a fulcrum point for me in terms of learning how to deal with a few things by my self. I spent 11 days there two of them were completely buried in unemployment bullshit from the US, Im still fighting that decision now after a year because it wont leave me alone. Im so over it that Im over being over it. Do much so that when it came to paying the bill in the SunSet hotel I thought Id only been there five days instead of seven.
I also went through a period of self reflection and spent a few days meditating on matters. Something brought me clarity. After that I started meeting interesting people. There is nothing like silence for three days to really make you think. My sweet friend Isil from Istanbul who I met in Varanasi went on a retreat for that very same purpose but did it for ten days, and what she said she got from it was life changing. Im changing my opinions on meditation. Meditation is different from alone time. Alone time to me is something that I have to have, its time to do my shit anything I want for a period of time every day. I need it or I go nutso, but i know that a small doses are better then big doses, makes you appreciate that time more.

Pushkar was also a challenge for me in that I had to stand up for the things I believe in and accept that those beliefs clashed with the beliefs of others, and with that discourse has to be opened to find common ground. I spent a day with a fantastically independent free thinking woman named Daisy who rambled with me for many hours on many topics and in that period opened my eyes to things I hadn’t even begun to think about. Her ideas rattled me and made me think hard about derivatives of those sentiments.

Pushkar is tiny, and you could see everything in a day and a half, but its so relaxing that I had to stay, sit and soak in the heat the light and the silence of the mid afternoon sun. I never did trek up any of those hills like I wanted to, but Im not really that bothered. The place gave me something else instead and I’m more then happy with that.

 

It was surprizingly easy to get a ticket out in the end. I had been trying to get a ticket for a few days and I kept going to these rat-hole travel “agents” that tell you that they cant get you anything for whatever reason. Finally I went to the highstreet guy and he instantly got me an express train directly from Ajmere to Bhopal, 5pm departure 6am arrival. Bingo. I got on the train, bedded in, played videogames for a few minutes fell asleep and woke up in Bhopal. How perfect is that?

 

Arriving back in Bhopal again, was a little strange but it gave me confidence, because the city the first time was a bit intimidating for me arriving in India, and this time around it was familiar and the people here are definitely more relaxed, have a great sense of humour and dont try and rip the tourists off because nobody comes to bhopal for tourism, so Im Mr Exotic Noveltypants again. Its dominated by Indian Muslims, and after being in Hindu dominated places for two months, I can honestly say that Islamics are definitely more grounded and have less conflict within the religion then Hindu seems to. Also the food is better.

 

ME MATE STeve said i would just for the crack.

an indian menue in restaraunts are notorious for the most imagintive phonetic spelling of english words. Ive seen Shup on the menu, and when I asked the witer, he said ‘Soup” through a bushy mustache and mouth full of mangled red teeth, and with an indian broken english. Magic.
The best one Ive never sen was told to me by a neighbour in pushkar, guy names Lance who was a 63yo guy who looked 52, his buddy steve and their wives. they were totally great, I loved the reconnect to old times through these guys.
Lance told me that in one restairant he was here the spelling for ice Cream was all perfect except the last one which was two seperate words “Black Krunt”.

I think that takes the cherry.