Sunday, 27 May 2012

Back to Assignment 1

When I go to a concert in Oxford it is usually in the staid environs of the Sheldonian, the Hollywell or similar places - though definitely not to the "New Theatre" as their sound system is very poor - but I had the opportunity to attend a concert at the O2 Academy in Oxford last night. A close knit ensemble of three strings, one percussion and a vocalist entertained the enthusiastic audience for some time with their energetic playing style and whose influence can be safely described as somewhere between Led Zeppelin and Edge of Sanity.

Six Bullet Chamber, to which my youngest son plays lead guitar and writes a good deal of the music were, thankfully, first on! I situated myself toward the front of the stage in order to get a decent, audience free, shot of my son just before the opening bars of their first ditty, culled from their latest CD,"Interpretation" wafted from the multitude of amplifiers.The instantaneous energy released from the speakers at that point encouraged my denim trousers to flap. I had thought that these jeans would be trendy, though I soon realised that darning the wear hole on the knee, as I had done to deter further damage, just didn't "cut-it" with the, generally, younger members of the audience who seemed to delight in exposing various parts of their torso's from what appeared to be self inflicted vandalism to their apparel. Not to be deterred from the soon to become overpowering odour of young males who hadn't appreciated the benefits of good hygiene, I stayed near to the front to record as many images of my son and his chums as they rattled, mercifully, through a shortish set before my wife and bade farewell to him, his friends and the various individuals in the audience whose uniform colour tones of drab black, coupled with skin tones the pallor of which suggesting a nocturnal life, situated mostly at zone 1 or zone 9 - they would have had Ansel pre-flashing methinks!

So, what did I learn from this exercise? Always support your children - no matter that they drive you to the edge of sanity! It was difficult to try and negotiate with the extremely bulky bouncer who was “protecting” the band from, well who knows what, during a performance which delivered more decibels in one sitting than is surely safe to consume over several sittings. Best to get there early and consider the angles, talk to the people in charge and prepare - though I suspect I won’t make a career out of this genre. Don’t be too put off by the smell of youth, whilst getting in close, or by the “old guys” who dress up in extremely tight t - shirts whilst adopting “moves” to seemingly attract the barely post pubescent females in some curious courtship ritual which dictates a lot of very vigorous head shaking and a great deal of wobbling in the stomach area.I did enjoy and was immensely proud of my son who seemed genuinely appreciative that his parents came to support him. And whilst his "contract" made him stay to the end of the concert, with all the associated bands, my wife and I bade him farewell and went to have a well earned cup of tea to the ringing in our ears of "I am yours" the closing number of Six Bullet Chamber's O2 Oxford gig May 26th 2012.

He seems happy and this set captures this I think, and will help form a wider pictorial portrait of Mark.


  1. Sounds like quite an experience for you, both photographically and in other ways! I am intrigued by the thought of the longer-term portrait project and look forward to seeing how it comes together over time.

  2. Actually it was great! We've seen him perform a few times now (actually my wife has more than me). The idea that a portrait could be developed over a period now seems natural to me and was suggested to me by my tutor. So I shall augment assignment one over time and maybe even after I've moved on.