Spiral Scratch

Damn. Pete Shelley gone. Woke up this morning to Rain and Wind and this very sad news. The Buzzcocks were and are a big part and firm favourite of mine, and I was fortunate to be able to meet with Pete a few times and tell him so.


Pete used to call at our flat in the early 80s at Old Lansdowne Road Didsbury Manchester. One of the girls I shared with was Carole Morley and Pete had a crush on her. Whisked her off to Paris at the drop of a hat. I remember him so well as if it was yesterday. A real Northern Gent. I lost touch through the years and this image is the only one I could find in my archives. I am often amazed that not more get lost through moving house, county, city, country. I remember when I first arrived in Manchester and Homosapien was one of my favourite records. I also recall that XL1 had some sort of floppy disk to use with a Sinclair ZX. The original release was packaged with a computer program which featured lyrics and graphics which displayed in time with the music. Non amazing now, but was a big thing then. Travel on well punk pioneer and ace Mancunian songsmith.


R.I.P., Pete.


Return To Plato’s Room


Blame the long winter nights for this latest excursion into my early days as a photographer. Or maybe not, as I wanted to write a little piece about my very first assignment anyway.

Back in the early 80s I had just finished a Black and White Photography course with the New York School of Photography and was looking forward to putting all that I have learned into practice.


I lived in Didsbury at the time in the middle of student land and slap bang at the centre of the Madchester movement. Next door lived a  young musician trying to get his band of the ground, and was in need for some promo shots and hence my becoming involved with them. The only guidance I got was Plato’s Room. I can’t remember if that was the name of the Band, the song or why it was even suggested. But I ran with it.


I found a disused and abandoned Library and we made our way there one glorious spring day. Feeling Free, excited and with the belief we are standing at the beginning of something special. Looking back over those old Photographs I can still smell the building, the stale books and hear the shutter of the trusted Nikon. I am being transported some 30 years into the past.


What happened to the Band? Did they make it? I don’t know and it does not matter. Our paths crossed, we had a wonderful day and we made some nice images which got them a foot in the door. I like the images for what they represent to me. It does not matter that today I would shoot differently and so it should be. One should not be the same person as one was 30 years ago.


Something remained with me though. I always follow instinct and will not be swayed by fashion or ever enter contests or competitions, and I avoid activities or situations where there are clear winners and losers.

So don’t be a slave to the opinions of others.

Always shoot for yourself.