amateur analogue photographer & avid reader

“I have never seen much point in getting heavy with stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I... And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots.”

The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

Hunter S. Thompson


Well it's been a while since I wrote anything on here, the short reviews of books have dried up even though I'm reading even more than usual. My goal for this year is to hit 30,000 pages, I thought number of pages was a better target than books. Books can be 100-1500+ pages long. Reading 100 books doesn't really mean anything. So instead I'm aiming for 30k pages, I'm ahead of the curve according to Storygraph. Probably due to the lockdown the UK had for the first half of the year. Last year I really struggle to maintain focus while reading in lockdown, this time has been much different. I've been ploughing through books at a crazy rate. Tackled the uncut version of The Stand and made a start on another 1000+ page book, Jonathan Strange and Mr Mr Norrell, not a huge fan of it to be honest. Its been a real slog and I almost gave up on it several times. But once I realised I was 60% way through it seemed silly not to finish it. Hopefully I'll complete it this weekend, I should do there's only about 150 pages to go.

Meanwhile as I mentioned another lockdown has been in effect in the UK, its almost over now. The final restrictions are due to be lifted on the 21st of June but the rise of the delta variant this is now putting that at risk. Portugal which was one of the few places on the green list is now scheduled to be moved to amber on the 8th. So we seem to be going backwards at the moment. I (stupidly?) booked a flight to Spain a few weeks back for September to see a mate, I have no idea whether I'll be allowed to go. But if you book travel during a pandemic expect problems like these to arise.


Well this was a real slog, the first 50 or so pages I really enjoyed but after that I really struggled to work my way through it. There's a lot of repeated material, boxes of soils and the Winchester rifle that keep getting mentioned. I think it would have flowed a lot better with out keep going over the same things. I would have enjoyed it a lot.

Overall I'm glad I read it, its a classic that started it all but I won't be rushing back to it

Nikkor 85mm f1.8D AF

I sprung for a Nikkor 85mm f1.8D AF the other day from Gray's of Westminster, I've always preferred prime lenses over over zoom which isn't unusual by any means but given how adverse I am to changing lenses when I'm out and about it would make more sense for me to buy a zoom. Yet here we are. It hasn't arrived yet, should turn up next week sometime and I can't wait to try it out. Unfortunately with COVID going on large parts of the UK are back under lockdown so I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it at the moment. I'll definitely be going for a walk when it arrives. I ended up deciding on the 85mm mostly based on Ken Rockwell's review and reading other reviews and comments it seems like a cracking lens. Small and lightweight, just what I want. Should be a great for longer range urban\street\architecture photography.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

This is my favourite book by my favourite author, I try and re-read this every year. A high power orgy of drugs, drink and excess behaviour, right from the opening sentence its nonstop chaos. Fast paced and easy to read, its easy to read this in a few hours. A failed experiment in gonzo journalism, its hard to know how much is real and what is fabricated. Given Hunter's legendary in take of drugs and alcohol it seems likely that more of it is real than not. The book is entirely quotable and had me laughing on almost every page.

Beneath the Neon

Interesting concept, exploring the flood tunnels under Las Vegas and speaking to the people that inhabit them but ultimately left a little flat and repetitive. Nearly all the people meet in the book have the same issues drugs\gambling which is fairly standard for Vegas and homeless people. But the author never gets to really know them, as far as the reader is concerned they're just another face in a tunnel. Any chapter could be any other chapter. Its a shame as its a great idea but poorly executed


What the fuck is this book about??? I know Chuck Palahniuk is mostly weird and strange but this? A collection of short stories about a number of people trapped\enlisted to stay in a bunker for 3 months to spur their creativity. The sheer number of characters in the book make it difficult to follow and the overall story arc I muddled and boring. The short stories in the book are the most interesting thing aobu the novel and while I found most fell flat, there were a few that grabbed me. Gore and horror doesn't make an interesting read and this is a clear case. I've read a lot of Chuck so I get his stuff is mostly off the wall but this is thew worst book I've read of his.


For a long time I've wanted to find something online to track my reading, Good Reads is the obvious choice but apart from being owned by Amazon the site is terrible. The UI is awful, the ratings are gamed and the

Then I stumbled on Library Thing, which has a terrible UI and is partly owned by Amazon. So I deleted my account.

Then I found Storygraph, its still early days but it has a nice UI, renders nicely on mobile and isn't full of bollox yet :)


Lovely short and creepy book for children that I really enjoyed. I've only just discovered Neil Gaiman but I'll be making ever effort to read more of his work.


I've been working flat out all through the pandemic implementing Microsoft Intune for a customer. The days have been long and often worked weekends to resolve issues and make deadlines. So with everything that has been going on this year I've decided to take some time off and have a break in South Wales. There's supposed to be some good weather coming and seems like a perfect time to pack the tent and do some camping in Pembrokeshire. Just me a stack of book, my camera and some lazy days. The weather better be good other wise its going to be a long few days especially with COVID.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This is a strange book, I knew nothing of it before reading it and if I didn't know of Haruki's other novel were different I'd probably never pick a book of his again. The main character is an honest, righteous and thoroughly decent guy with no backbone but is for some reason friends with a complete asshole. Treats his girlfriend awfully, belittles her and openly sleeps with other women and excuses this by saying I've never lied to her. Midori is some fantasy woman, who's an awesome cook, sexy, sluty, drinks and is fantastic at pool. Having said that she and the asshole friend are the only characters that have any energy. The rest are middle of the road.

The last 40 or so pages didn't do anything for me, the ending was flat and didn't resolve anything but given the rest of the book thats fitting.


I should add I don't really need any more cameras... I have 7:

  • Canon 750D
  • Canon AF7
  • Canon Sure Shot
  • Nikon F90x
  • Olympus 35RC
  • Olympus XA2
  • Ricoh FF-9S Date

The Canon Sure Shot doesn't currently work, turning it on doesn't cause the lens to move out of the body. Not sure what the problem is, I can hear the motor trying to move the lens. Taking it apart and manually cranking the cogs cause the lens to move and turning it off will fire the motor to retract the lens. I might take it into the repair place near me and see what they can do. I didn't pay an awful lot for it off eBay, about £20 so seems silly to spend a load of money fixing it but may as well see if they can do. Save it from the landfill if possible.

Out by Natsuo Kirino

Centres around a group of 4 ordinary women who are work the night shift at a boxed lunch factory. They all have problems in their personal lives, mountains of debt, failing marriages, gambling husbands. When one of them snaps and murders her husband, her group of friends agree to help disposed of the body. This leads to the police, yakuza and loan sharks and a nightclub owner with nothing less to lose poking around.

There's no mystery involved, you know right from the word go who committed the crime and who is involved in dumping the body, a bit like Columbo. From the start its clear the women have an uneasy friendship that quickly falls apart when the heat is turned up. Through there's the running theme of men being dominant and the breadwinner. Women need to be young and beautiful. If you're not society pushes you to the side.

Its gritty and un-nerving, I really enjoyed this morbid page turner. The lead up to the finale is great and keeps you guessing however the showdown came out of nowhere and left me feeling a little confused. It doesn't fit with the rest of the novel.

I found it a bit tricky to keep up with the names of the characters, I think thats due to my unfamiliarity of Japanese name rather than anything else.

Nikon SLR

I've serious gear acquisition syndrome at the moment, I've been hankering after a Nikon SLR. Either a FE2 or F4. Reading the review on casualphotophile for the F4 tilted the balance towards it but then I discovered its over a kilo!!! Thats without a lens and could well not include batteries. Which is insane. I don't want to be lugging that up mountains with all the other stuff. But.... but..... its seem ideal. And you can pick one up for a little under 350 quid.

I've been lusting after an FE2 on and off for about 12 months and I'd forgotten about it to be honest then I show how stumbled over the F4 a couple of days ago. I think realistically it'll be the FE2 if I do decide to pull the trigger. It lighter, more managable and a little cheaper; unless you want it in black which I do......

Book Subscription

It was my birthday back in February so I decided to buy myself a book subscription from Mr B's Emporium. Not the cheapest out there but I fell for the brown paper wrapped parcels with a wax seal. Unfortunately with the COVID-19 outbreak all book subscriptions were placed on hold for a couple of months. Deliveries resumed a couple of weeks back and I got my first book through, although it was missing the frills packaging because of the outbreak. I guess they're running on a skeleton staff which is understandable given everything going on. I hope the independent book sellers survive the current onslaught, it would be such a shame to lose them. I used to buy almost everything from Amazon but over the last couple of years I've moved away from them and do my best to use local or independent online shops. My move away from Amazon was initially caused by their complete lack of quality control, I've lost count of the items I've bought from Amazon only to find substandard or counterfit products arrive. Amazon clearly have no interest in attempting to regin this in so I've taken my custom elsewhere.

Anyway back on topic, I doubt I'll be renewing my subscritpion with Mr B's at £45 for 3 months its just too expensive, I'd rather use my local book shop or Hive which for every purchase will give a percentage to a local store of your choosing.

Morning Routine

Since being in lockdown my personal routine has gone completely fallen apart. I'm still going to bed at 10.30-11 but getting up in the morning is proving very difficult. I used to wake up at 5.30-6 without needing an alarm now I don't wake till 9-10 which is a problem when I'm supposed to be working. Thankfully work is quiet at the moment so it hasn't caused a problem.

So I want to get a morning routine set,

  • wake and out of bed for 6
  • coffee and blog
  • go for a walk
  • shower\shave
  • start work

If I manage to stick to this and have time I might include a Yoga session or in winter it could replace the walk. I'd also lke to spend less time on my phone in bed and generally. I'm going to try leaving my phone in my office over the next few days at night and see how it goes. I like to fall asleep listening to podcasts so I'll need to find a way round this, an old mp3 player perhaps or maybe rig up an old Pi I have floating about.