March has been a strange month. As always, it started in winter and ended in spring, but we have also transitioned with the seasons from normal life – work, trips to the botanical gardens, plans for trips to the forest and mountains this spring, and a camping trip to France for our tenth wedding anniversary this summer – to a state of lockdown which may last six months or longer. All of my work – weddings and documentaries – has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. Ed is off school and doesn’t know when he’ll go back. September? December? Who knows.
At the start of the month Ed and I went down to Bristol to see Kevin Devine. I don’t normally take pictures at shows, as I don’t like to risk having my camera taken off me by security or having beer thrown on it by the crowd. Besides, when I go to a show I am there to listen to the music and sing along rather than take pictures. That said, this month Ed and I have been to two tiny acoustic shows and I thought it’d be fun to take my camera and capture a few stills as security is more relaxed, acoustic shows are civilised, and I don’t mind being at the front for them. I keep my shutter on silent during quiet songs and my review screen off as I know how annoying it is to have a glowing screen distract you from the stage. I’ve shared more photos from the Kevin Devine show here.
It’s been a quiet week for February half term. Ed and I often go hiking in Wales during his school holidays but due to the storms and flooding across England and Wales that wasn’t possible this year. Instead, Ed’s spent the hours between his morning and evening runs playing futoshiki and listening to cycling or football podcasts.
I’ve felt really uninspired with photography recently. I think it’s because it’s the end of winter and the weather (and light) has been terrible for weeks on end. I can’t wait for spring to come so that we can spend more time outdoors together.
On silent side streets, a cloud of marijuana hangs in the air. It is the first still night after a week of storms. Alone under a cloudless sky, I look up at the flats to see if there’s someone smoking high up on a balcony, but my eyes fall upon a lone resident on a stairwell, his face illuminated by his phone rather than a roll-up. In a car a little further down two people sit in the front seats sharing a joint, windows cracked, engine idling, radio down low. I hope they’re just using the car as an extension of their living room away from the prying eyes of family members, but this is Birmingham, so I doubt it.
Headbutt the cat sees me coming and races across the front gardens to greet me in her namesake fashion, though tonight she spares me the little thumb nip she administered out of excitement the last time I saw her. Pausing in her display of affection to listen for approaching traffic, she dances in tight circles around my legs and tries to follow me to the corner shop before I shoo her back to the safety of home, away from the main road.
Back within the middle ring road of Motor City, the diesel fumes are unbearable. Heavy, acrid, inescapable. I love this city, but I hate the way it smells.