Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Death Of The Godfather


It is with a great sadness (but with characteristic style on his part to do it on Christmas Day) that I post about the death of James Brown, the 'hardest working man in show business', 'the Godfather Of Soul', 'Soul Brother Number One'...

Music has lost one of it's last standing true legends. A seminal force in soul, funk, gospel and rhythm & blues, plus a major influence on most modern music, such as hip-hop and electronic music, he was also an astonishing performer whose onstage presence and style inspired many others. Even in my own live shows, I have stolen a few moves from the man and worked them into my live character (although I could never claim to be as funky as he was!).

His BBC obituary can be found here and the Wikipedia entry is here.


Back in 2000, the summer following my redundancy from my job, James was due to play at the Essential Festival on the outskirts of Brighton. Naturally, the meagre redundancy package I'd received from my retail post had gone by then (mostly on a trip to Paris in the spring) and I was beginning to scrape by on what I got for dole money - never a great deal at the best of times.

When I heard that Brother James was coming to town, I knew that I simply had to be there. How often does somebody like him play in your own backyard? Perhaps once in a lifetime. The downer was, there was simply no way of scraping the pennies together to come up with a means of paying for a ticket.

Luckily for me, I work pretty hard at keeping up good friendships. To my great surprise, my best pal from my college days came through for me and bought me a ticket as a birthday present.

The meaning of true friendship = 'being an enabler, helping to hit a dream'.


We all trooped along to see James live and it was exactly as you'd expect from a James Brown show. He was the showman. He did his best known songs. He wore his costumes. His band was tight as hell. He had an energy that shouldn't have been there at his age. His stage presence put so many other younger performers completely to shame. He even did his 'falling on the floor and being covered in his cape only to shake it off and get it on again' routine.

Of course, a cynic could easily have described it as some sort of soul nostalgia cabaret but I felt that JB's energy, conviction and respect for the audience shone through and rode roughshod over such barbs. After one of his shows, you feel exhausted yourself, as if what he puts in takes away some of your own energy too.

Below is a compilation of clips from his live career (and my first video posting too). Dig the man...


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Almost at the end of the year

I've battled with the question for about 6 years now - should I use Windows or Mac? When I got my first desktop back in 2000, I just couldn't quite make my mind up and after asking many people and taking much advice, I just plumped for a Windows PC. It seemed the easiest option and I took the populist route, the one that seemed to have the most software and was most commonly used - a universal standard.

The question has come back to me time and time again since then.

Last week, I finally made the switch and am now the proud owner of a new OS X iMac, as depicted here. What a revelation it is! My clunky old Windows laptop was running along at 30GB and was about four years old, so it's admittedly not a great deal of comparison, but this is really shifting up a gear (or ten). It's going to take a while to get my head around everything - data migration, reconfiguring mail systems, adjusting to a US keyboard, etc - but each new window is a voyage of discovery at the moment and it's clearly transformed my own operational capabilities. I'm now up from 30GB to 250GB, with a massively enhanced processing power and a big smile whenever I turn the computer on.

Because Microsoft are such a huge beast and such a target for rage from frustrated users due to alleged predatory practices and their operating systems notorious weaknesses with things like susceptibilities to viruses, it's a great pleasure to make the switch.

One thing to be slightly aware of, however, is the likeliness of becoming a Mac bore. Aesthetically, they look so much nicer than most (both on screen and the machine itself) that they tend to be among the more fetishised of machines. Also, there is quite a communal, membership feel to being a Mac user which can tend to waffling on about it. I'll try my best to keep clear of that!

...

Averaging about one posting a month on this, what with all the other range of commitments that I seem to have running at the moment, so as I'm actually sitting in front of this and writing, I'll use the chance to try out a new style - condensing a few thoughts, news and opinions into one entry and see how that goes.

...

I've finished updating all the albums in my 'Global Image Gallery' for this year. Most recently dealt with include a series of new pictures in the 'Images Of Britain' album, updates too for 'Tokyo' and 'Tokyo City Views' and a personal favourite (which the selected picture is taken from), an album of images taken from a jaunt to the wonderful city of Kyoto back in the spring of this year.

As usual, follow the links contained here to view the albums themselves and if it's the first time to visit Sony Imagestation, I have some login information that you can use contained within a previous post.

...

A couple of other thoughts to end this post with. The death of Chile's former military dictator Augusto Pinochet comes around the same time as the publication and release of the Iraq Study Group report. The recent overviews of Pinochet's time recall the number of people killed or 'disappeared' during his tenure over the country - listed at roughly 3000 people.

What a magic number that seems to be! Around 3000 killed in the 9/11 attacks and the ongoing death toll of US soldiers in Iraq is edging ever closer to 3000 too.

Add all these three figures together and you don't come anywhere near the obscenity of the scale of the body count amongst the Iraqi people.

Some perspective needed here, I think.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

America spoke......the beginning of the end?.....

I tend to keep myself so up to my eyes in it these days that general blog postings are a little difficult to squeeze into the schedule. Sometimes, however, something happens that simply has to have comment passed upon it. I'm not going to go into a lengthy diatribe here and I'll leave this link-free too, as there's enough else out there (particularly in the blogosphere) for people to find out more if they so wish. However, events of the past few days are ones that cannot go uncommented upon.

Growing up under the shadow cast by Reagan's White House, it felt like that period would never end (time goes much more slowly when you're a child). Particularly vividly remembered are his closeness to Thatcher (whom I loathed) and the mortal fear of the bomb that ran through the playgrounds of my youth. Following him, the first Bush got a stab at the top job, and although I was a little older and understood more about international politics by then, it still felt as if the Reagan era had simply been extended by another four years instead of coming to an end.

Then Clinton took over. There are many criticisms that can be and still are levelled at him (Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc) but the fact was that to me and many others, the world felt safer in his hands. This was particularly the case as Clinton didn't look like he was abusing his position, although America was clearly the most powerful country in the world and most other nations swayed to America's breezes. Even though the Republicans gained control of both Houses only two years into his presidency, he was still able to come out of his tenure looking relatively clean. Not a Johnson, a Nixon, a Reagan, a Bush.

In 2000 the nightmare returned. Of course, I was much older then and understood that much more again about US and international politics, plus had actually lived in America too (three months in Florida, prior to the Gingrich wave), so had a different approach to things. However, when Bush Jnr. took the election, I knew that the world was about to enter another Dark Age. I told my mother on the telephone that there would be another war coming (I didn't quite count on how many there would be!) and I began to pay very close attention to the activities of the Bushies.

The history I'm sure we all know - rejecting Kyoto, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Katrina, etc - so there's little point in picking at it here. Taking a broader brush stroke over it, the entire world has been taken in a terrifying and unprecedented direction by the hooligans squatting the White House for the past six years. America has become a global pariah in a way that it never had done before, even with the range of 'foreign policy' initiatives (Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iran-Contra, to name a few) it had taken prior to the latest set of misadventures.

Finally, within the past few days, the brakes have been put on. The Democrats have won back the House of Representatives for the first time since 1994, some media are reporting that they may even have taken the Senate too, and the first really major scalp of the Dark Side has been claimed by the forces of Progress with the resignation of chief architect of the Iraq disaster, Donald Rumsfeld. A scapegoat perhaps in the face of overwhelming pressure, but a vital first step all the same.

What happens next is really anyone's guess. It's kind of an open playing field again, to some extents. Congressional hearings would seem likely. Rejection at national and international level of an extreme right wing agenda finally seems inevitable. Impeachment may be less likely as the Democrats really have their work cut out for them if they're going to pull something positive from the wreckage, and they may want to be careful over the enemies they make now.

One thing's for sure, the dark, dark days of the absolute power of the Bush Administration that were ushered in during the dawn of the 21st Century have drawn to a close. One has to conclude that from here on in, it can't possibly get any worse (I'll eat my words on that if I have to, but please excuse me the gamble!) and the world now has at the very least, a little breathing space to collectively sit down, think about all that's happened and try to find better ways forward.

After all, it's not getting any cooler on Planet Earth and I think most of us would like to have something to pass on to our kids (and theirs...and theirs...and theirs...and theirs...)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

America Listening


Last week, almost immediately upon my return to Japan from the UK, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in the company of an American documentary film crew. They were travelling the world to canvass current global opinion on the US, and it was a fascinating experience. Taking in 14 countries in total, Japan was 13th (Canada being the last one) having already been to Mexico, China, France, UK, Brazil, Israel, Palestine, India, Tanzania, South Africa and Afghanistan. They found me through googling the right terms that ended up with Peace Not War Japan.

I fixed them up with a load of interviews in Tokyo and hung out with them whilst they filmed, even being interviewed myself. I talked about positive and negative aspects of my opinion of the US; such as my experiences of living in Florida 11 years ago and my love of certain aspects of (initially) underground American culture such as jazz, the Beats, the hippies and hip-hop, countering it with my take on militarism and empire.

The main interviewees were Japanese people connected with PNWJ; a few musicians, a music journalist, people from Peace Boat, etc. It was the kind of project that I would have loved to have been involved in years ago (having made a documentary film myself at college) and so was delighted to finally get a chance.

Not only was it a really interesting project to be part of, but they were also really nice people too and genuinely keen to hear what the world had to say. Perhaps some new friends there.

Instead of telling you more about it myself, I'll let you read their words for yourself. Excerpts from their Japan journal can be read here, here, here and here.

Next stages for them are editing and then trying to find a distributor. I guess that in the post-Fahrenheit 9/11 climate and particularly with the Iraq War (or more accurately, the Iraq Occupation) going so wrong, it's easier nowadays in the US to speak out about the worrying directions the world has been led in during the past 5 or 6 years.

Further news about the film will be posted here, if or when I get it.

I'll finish this entry with a question or two, similar to those asked of me.

Q: What does the United States mean to you?

Q: If you could send a message to the people of the US, what would it be?

(Note: Abusive comments will be removed)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another 2 weeks off...(or, 'back to the old country')

The rollercoaster that has been 2006 continues unabated!

Last week, I returned to Japan after a sudden and unexpected fortnight in the UK. It was my first trip back there in about two years (the longest period of time off the island so far), and involved trekking across quite a large amount of the country. I was in London about three times, in Brighton twice, Shoreham too, plus North Yorkshire and the Welsh Valleys. A very British odyssey, it turned out to be too.

I managed to catch up with many people there, friends and family alike, which was the best part of it all. It was quite a strange trip though, as it reminded me once again what I loved about the place and why I left in the first place. Coming to Britain from Japan can be quite a surprise as much about Britain simply doesn't work as well as Japan. The trains trundled, slowed down and sometimes stopped completely, as they always did. Traipsing around London with a suitcase was a drag as escalators seem to be in short supply on the Underground (I felt for the mothers with pushchairs or the people in wheelchairs who have to do it evey day). The pavements are not as smooth to walk or wheel something on as the asphalt sidewalks here are. I was reminded of Britain's 'can't do' culture, which can cancel out some of the nostalgia felt for the place. I won't even get started on trying to make a telephone call and reaching an automated limbo land or a callcentre in Bangalore.

Nevertheless, there is no green quite like that of the pleasant land of the English countryside - a place that can veer between the most beautiful and bleakest of places to be even within the space of a day.

There was the strange dual feeling of fitting in and not fitting in at the same time. As usual, time doesn't really permit me going on into too great a detail about the whole trip here, so instead I'll let a few images from the journey do the talking instead. The following series of pictures are amongst those that will be added to the 'Images Of Britain' album over on my Image Gallery - when I get the chance to do so.


Bicycles outside Brighton Station


York Station, on the way up North


Railway arches beside Scarborough Station


Cloudscape at dusk over the North Yorkshire Moors


Throxenby Mere, North Yorkshire


Pub sign for The Leeds Arms in Scarborough


Anne Bronte's grave, Scarborough


Fish 'n' chips in Scarborough


Scavenging seagull, after those fish 'n' chips


Buckets and spades, for beach fun


Sticks of Scarborough Rock


Back in London, at Baker Street Tube Station


Welsh sweet shop


Back alley in a Welsh valley


Washing line, complete with clothes pegs


Shadows across the platfom of Hove Station


Pissing rain at Heathrow, prior to departure

Thursday, September 21, 2006

2 weeks off...

As those readers who know me will probably already be aware, 2006 has been a very full and hectic year in many ways. It was therefore with great joy that I grabbed a couple of weeks off this month for my summer holiday. No going abroad this time, but I received my first family visit here in Japan. Along with the missus, we all managed to get some quality time in, relaxing, sightseeing and hanging out within and around Tokyo.

After a while, even when you live in a completely different place to the one you started in and no matter how exotic or different it may be, you get used to it and it becomes your regular routine life again. With this in mind, it was great to be able to look at Tokyo as a visitor or outsider again, as opposed to being just another runner in the wheel.

Below are some images and comment about a few of the highlights of two weeks off in Tokyo...


A few days into the break, I got to tick one of those 'must do before I die' experiences off the list along with throwing a big surprise on the folks. For between roughly $60-80 each and running in at a mere 15 minutes that could have gone on for much, much longer, we all took a sunset Helicruise over Tokyo.

It was quite an incredible sensation, floating in a bubble over a vast sprawl of cityscape as the night lights began bursting into show. I felt lightheaded without being dizzy and entranced by the perspective that it afforded over the city I currently call my home. All the way back, everybody seemed to share the same sensation of feeling somewhat elevated.

The tour operator doesn't permit photos during the flight however, so I've illustrated it with a picture from their website. The image depicts the heliport at Yokohama, where they also operate tours.


Speaking of Yokohama, above and below are a couple more images from Japan's second biggest city, the first day trip we took together.

I love Yokohama. The streets seem to be much wider than in Tokyo and somehow, whenever I go there, there's always beautiful weather and the bluest of skies. This time was no exception.

The Landmark Tower is a great place to take guests and visitors to Japan. At 70 stories high, it is Japan's tallest building and offers incredible views of Yokohama and Tokyo from the 69th floor Sky Garden. Above is a view from the ground, below is a view from the top, including the shadow that this beast casts over the bay. While it has now been surpassed by the one in the world's current tallest building, the 1667-ft, 101-story Taipei 101 in Taiwan, Landmark Tower once boasted the world's fastest elevator, which takes 40 seconds to get to the top.


A substantial focus over the last couple of weeks was on visiting as many Japanese gardens as possible, both for my mother's gardening research and a great opportunity for us to get some green air into our lungs and me to let the weight roll off my shoulders.

It does put a very different spin on the carpet of concrete that Tokyo can be if you let it. There are many parks and gardens all over the city, some big and bold, others squirrelled away on a back street somewhere.

We visited 4 in total: Shinjuku Gyoen, Tonogayato Teien, Showa Kinen Koen and Rikugi-en. The picture below is of a part of the Japanese Garden that is featured in Shinjuku Gyoen. It also has English and French style gardens too, and being in the heart of the city, makes for a very pleasant escape amidst the skyscrapers.


Below is a tunnel constructed from strips of bamboo at Tonogayato Teien, in my neighbourhood of Kokubunji. Japanese gardens make very good use of bamboo for all manner of features and structures.


Halfway through the fortnight, the Peace Not War Japan/Dynastic Records CD release party was held at Super-Deluxe in Roppongi.

A watershed moment of sorts for PNWJ, it turned out to be a most enjoyable event at a great venue, and included acts featured on the CD, belly dancing, a peace fair with local NGOs and a very talented VJ for the visuals. I made my live DJ debut as Control K, there were also DJ sets from Bhang Lassi and Young Jeff of Quante Jubila. Live acts were Cheryo & The Berovolas (depicted below, with whom I also sang 'Imagine') and KP, who were one of the highlights of the event for most people.

With a reasonable turnout too, all who attended gave me very positive feedback about it, which was almost a relief! Hopefully, it'll turn out to have been the first of a number of great music events for peace in Japan...


After finally getting some much needed sleep, with the launch party out of the way, it began to rain. This pretty much put paid the intended week's worth of hiking and required a set of 'rainy day in the city' activities. Fortunately, Tokyo's very well equipped in this department and has a wide range of fascinating museums to discover.

The highlight for me was the National Science Museum, that includes probably the most incredible array of fossil specimens of dinosaurs and other long-extinct beasts I've ever seen. The Tokyo National Museum is well worth a visit too, for learning all about Japanese art and archeology and which also includes a range of other Asian relics and treasures.

By Friday, the rains had cleared sufficiently for a trek out to the nearest peak, Mount Takao. 599m above sea level, it's one of the closest natural recreation areas to Central Tokyo and has a temple near the top.

Shortly after beginning work on PNWJ, I picked up a partner to help on the project. While he was a great guy and very keen on what we were doing, I had the feeling that we'd not complete the aim of releasing a CD together.

One day, we planned a trip to climb Takao. He arrived at the train station late, having been at a meeting in Shinjuku in the afternoon, and I looked at the climb as a metaphor for whether or not we'd be able to meet our aims together. Needless to say, it got too dark to continue before we reached the peak and we had to abandon the climb. I took this to be a sign.

He's back in England now, having been round the world on Peace Boat since. I stayed here in Tokyo and carried on with the peace project. Now, the CD is finally released and I climbed the mountain too.

The picture below is a forest reflection in a pool that gathered between some of the tree roots which line the paths up the mountain.


The parental visit and my summer holiday ended with a weekend visit to the region that includes Japan's most recognisable icon, Mount Fuji, and the Japanese Lake District that surrounds it. It was my first time on Fuji, having only experienced it from a distance. We only drove up to the 5th station instead of actually climbing the thing, but still managed to get some pretty remarkable views from there. The picture below shows some of the mists that were shrouding the peak on our visit.


Another view from the 5th station (shown below) depicts the ocean of cloud that spread between Fuji and other neighbouring peaks. Definitely a most mystical sight.


On the shores of Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi), we happened to come across the curious little museum named ArtGaia, that had a very modern Japanese set of exhibits going on, including a live 'graffiti' artist drawing fascinating cartoons on the walls and a major themed exhibition that seemed to be about the dog that belonged to a socialist Czech playwright from the 1920's...


...above is a back shot of me watching a film about the dog, and below is a shot of Tomomi from above, possibly watching the same animation.


These interesting little creatures seemed to be all over the museum too, hiding in corners or loitering in window sills - headless wire and wool sheep.


Now, the folks have returned to England, I'm back at work, autumn is upon us, and we're collectively hurtling towards the end of the year. Where on earth has this year gone?

Hope you had a good summer, wherever you are and whatever you did...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

'Peace Not War Japan' CD: Released today...


After two years work on the project, the 'Peace Not War Japan' compilation CD finally hit the stores in Japan today. It's a great relief to see it having actually reached this point, yet now the energies and concerns switch to promoting it and hoping for a good response from the Japanese public!

It's also the first time that I've managed to get a music product into any store. The first two or three were made at home, then mailed out to friends and family. The fourth one was made available only through a press on demand website, based in California. This one doesn't actually contain any of my own music (unlike all the others), but I'm very proud of the material that we've managed to gather for this collection and consider it to be of a very high quality.

Below is most of the text from the International Press Release:

JAPANESE ARTISTS CALL FOR PEACE

New CD brings creative responses to troubled times

August 2006, the month of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki anniversaries, sees the Japanese release of a collection of artistic voices that are calling for an end to war and for peace in our time. This unique collection, released on Dynastic Records, is titled ‘Peace Not War Japan’ (PNWJ) and is the first compilation of contemporary Japanese peace music.

This CD sees Japan joining an international coalition of artists and activists who are opposed to the rise in global conflicts in recent times and who are redefining protest music for the 21st Century. Acts such as Soul Flower Union and Dry & Heavy join with the likes of Jane’s Addiction, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg and Michael Franti. It also provides evidence of a new consciousness about peace and global issues amongst young Japanese people.

The artists, both well known and unknown, come from across Japan (Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka, Okinawa, etc) and unite around themes of peace, the horrors of war and other social issues facing the modern world. The collection also spans many genres, taking in rock, dub, breakbeat, hip-hop and others.

The PNWJ Project was founded by Dom Pates, a British musician living in Tokyo, who wanted to spread the message of peace in Japan and bring Japanese artists to this global platform. It is a collaboration between a range of international groups and Japanese volunteers. The parent organisation, Peace Not War (PNW), is based in the UK and Tokyo’s Dynastic Records made the Japan CD release possible.

PNWJ’s mission is to raise awareness in Japan about peace and war, and to nurture the grassroots of the Japanese peace movement. This will be done by donating proceeds from the sale of CDs to non-violent groups working to end war and create global peace. Peace groups will also be able to sell the CDs themselves. This DIY method of fundraising enabled PNW to donate over $100,000 to the global peace movement.

Japan has contributed much to the cause of world peace; the lessons of the hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) and Article 9 of their Constitution (which forbids the country from the use of force to resolve conflicts), Yoko Ono & John Lennon’s 60’s global advertising campaigns (‘War Is Over, If You Want It’), popular opposition to the Vietnam War, and the creation of Peace Boat, an NGO with consultative status to the UN which takes a passenger ship round the world on educational cruises.

Now, with ‘Peace Not War Japan’, it makes a new contribution – its own soundtrack for the contemporary global peace movement. In this practical resource that can also be danced to, the pulse of young Japan’s fears, concerns and anger about the current state of the world can be felt, plus their suggestions for a way forward.

About PNW (UK)

PNW is an established and UK-based collective that promotes pro-peace/anti-war music by internationally renowned and independent, grassroots musicians, and raises consciousness about peace-related issues. It also acts as a fundraising organisation for groups working in the global peace movement.

By releasing CDs, and organising and promoting live concerts, these objectives are achieved. The CDs have so far been sold in over 20 countries. In addition, PNW has a website loaded with resources, including a large Online Jukebox and a global Peace Group Search Engine.

For more information about PNW, please go to www.peace.fm

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The End Of Irony?

I've been moving house this weekend, amidst the demands of the pending PNWJ CD release, and today also turn 35. It's been a headlong rush to this point and has led to great neglect of this 'ere blog, but I guess that sometimes that's the way it goes. I always tend to begin regular diary entries with an apology for not having written for so long too. If only days were 36 or 48 hours long, then perhaps more things would get done (and maybe more people would drop dead of exhaustion too)...

American satirical pianist Tom Lehrer once famously claimed that political satire was made obsolete by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger. I was reminded of this little gem when reading this morning's Guardian to find that George Bush's summer reading list has just been made public (seemingly an annual tradition, and maybe designed to cultivate an intellectual image for a notoriously unintellectual man).


Perhaps expressing his concern at the idea of it in the picture shown above, Albert Camus's 'L’√Čtranger' has apparently been giving our George a little light reading pleasure in his leisure hours away from the busy task of running the world in the early 21st Century. The tale famously tells the story of an alienated man who commits a murder on an Algerian beach and waits to be exectuted for it. The murder victim in question was of Arabic descent and the novel inspired The Cure's early track 'Killing An Arab'.

What can I say? One can only really comment that the mind boggles over what went through Dubya's head as he pored over that particular tome.

Thoughts and comments invited, of course...

"For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."
Excerpt from Matthew Ward's translation (of 'L’√Čtranger')

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

City Transplants & Domino Hearts

Where does all it all go?

I've been attempting to throw up another post recently, a World Cup digest, opinions on the latest war (in Lebanon), etc. However, I just don't seem to have enough spare time these days, at least to do the writing some justice.

The 'Peace Not War Japan' CD is due out on August 19th, and despite the two years put in on the project so far, it's still going to the wire right now. Perhaps next year I'll start getting more sleep!

...

In the meantime, a little information about the latest article published:

In the past few months, I've started doing a little writing for a Canada-based online magazine that focuses on Japan (I know, sounds random!), called The Foreigner - Japan. They published a short story of mine about iPods and Tokyo ('My Little White Box'), plus a review ('Lively Up Yourself') of an event I went to in the Japan Alps, called Reggae Snow Splash.

Following these, I was asked to attend a play at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, write up a bit of a review and interview the actors afterwards.


The resulting article, 'City Transplants & their Domino Hearts', has recently gone up too. Depicted above is Canadian Robert Tsonos, an actor and co-director of the performance, and below, Australian actor Bruce Michell. The photos were taken by Tomomi Akagi and the playwright was the great, great, great grand-nephew of Thomas Edison.


Dig in and see if you too can accept a new Tokyo heart!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Global Image Gallery: Tanzania albums & user information


I recently finished work on the photo albums for Tanzania and Africa, from my trip there last Christmas. They've just gone up at my 'Global Image Gallery', so this entry would seem like a good chance to introduce that.


There are 4 albums in total - 'Return to Africa', 'Saadani', 'Pangani & the Swahili Coast' and 'Dar Es Salaam & the Indian Ocean'. If you want to see the trip as it unfolded, then I'd look at the albums in that order. Otherwise, dip in at will and enjoy what you find.


These albums contain images of wide open country, wildlife in their natural environment, paradisical coastline, local peoples, scenes from urban and village life, 'on the road', some of the incredible vegetation that can be found in Africa and many rich colours, amongst other images. Beware - viewing these pictures may well trigger a deep longing to visit this beautiful country!


In the 'developed' world, we often only hear of Africa when it is presented as a basket case on the international stage - ridden with poverty, hunger, war and disease. For the majority of most of the people who live there, however, this is rarely the case.


With these pictures, I wanted to showcase some of the natural beauty that I experienced there along with a more positive perspective. Whilst I appreciate that some of my experiences may look like they have come as those of a 'rich tourist', they were still the same scenes of great beauty, peace and calm that many local people wake up to every day.


I hope that these albums can give a different flavour to some of the deep and raw majesty of Africa in general and Tanzania in particular.


Two of the places featured in the Tanzania galleries, The Tides Resort at Pangani and Saadani Safari Lodge both have their own websites too, that'll give more information about the sights, delights and facilities they offer. Click on the place name links to get there.


If you've not visited Sony Imagestation before, you'll probably need to create your own passes to view albums there. The below guest passes can be used to gain access - just remember to log out afterwards in order for others to use the same service:

Username: user54321

Password: pass54321


Other visited countries featured in my Global Image Gallery are China, Korea, Nepal, Spain, UAE and the UK, and the gallery also featuring an extensive collection of Japan albums.