Up The Gogway ...

Half-term workshop


Local students enjoyed a day photography or writing workshop at Up To Speed media school which is based in the Daily Echo's Richmond Hill building.  The day included a tour of the Echo building telling some of the history of newspapers and, despite uncertain weather and several downpours, a workshop project at Bournemouth pier .  Tom Hill and I were the tutors, and a good time was had by all.

In this picture the students are in the  Daily Echo's vault looking at old bound copies of the Evening Echo newspaper dating from the early 1900s.  

Bye bye IMAX, bye bye!

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At last the work to demolish the IMAX Waterfront building on Bournemouth's pier approach has started.   This ill-conceived structure has blocked the view from Bath Hill of beautiful Poole Bay and the Purbeck hills beyond for the past fifteen years.  It is planned to replace it with an open-air performance space.  Most locals are thrilled that the hideous eyesore is going ... certainly I am.  It's good to know that apparently around 98% of the building will be recycled, including 3,000 tonnes of steel and 8,000 tonnes of concrete.  Also the IMAX cinema seats have been relocated to the newly restored Shelley Theatre in Boscombe and the public gallery at Bournemouth Council Chamber, and much of the complex's restaurant kitchen equipment has gone to the Shelley cafe, and other local outlets.  

What Gazza did

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So sad to see, this weekend, that Paul Gasgoine is off the wagon.  He is a tragic figure, lurching in and out of sobriety.  In good times he seems to cope, but he seems not to be able to deal with the constant pressures that being "Gazza" brings.  Having taken up residence in Bournemouth a few years ago, he has, with support from a local facility, tackled his addiction admirably. It would seem that the danger times of Christmas and New Year may have been too much.  His appearance in Northampton last Thursday was obviously a disaster and the clips of the event on various newspaper websites indicate that he really shouldn't have ventured on stage.  His agent Terry Baker, from just up the road in Christchurch, sounded pretty desperate on the Radio 5 Live interview I heard, and the video clips of him questioning Gazza on stage were, frankly, shocking.

I took this photograph of Gazza last summer with Terry, his wife Freda and daughter Nicole in Bookends book shop in Christchurch, where he was signing memorabilia and having photographs taken with some of his fans.  People queued to see him, but he was very nervous and I felt, fundimentally unhappy with the whole publicity set up.  When he was being photographed he perked up and suggested "Let's all stick our tongues out" … so they did.  At one point a brass band marched past the shop.  We were upstairs, but there was one high window in the small room we were in.  Gazza jumped up, stood on tiptoe and peered out, singing along as the band went by playing "When The Saints Come Marching In".  For that brief moment he seemed quite happy.  

Sofa so good!

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January found me out and about in Poole taking photographs of a black sofa for AHF, the new furniture store in Branksome.  The company sponsored anyone who sat on the sofa £1 for Victoria Education Centre and Sports College, which is just down the road from the shop.  It was a remarkably fun day working with some very nice people.  This picture shows sausage maker John Wilson from Clearford Farm and Produce, trying out the sofa.  He was actually the first of 250 people who helped raise £250 for the school.  People were remarkably cautious about sitting down, many thinking it was a trick to make them stump up money for something, or even that the sofa was some sort of joke furniture that would give them a nasty surprise.  But there was nothing at all like that, just a legitimate publicity stunt which aimed to raise money for a good local charity.  

We were lucky that we chose the day before the blizzard that hit the UK to do this stunt, otherwise we would have been cold, wet and miserable.  The sofa survived its outing too, and will also be presented to the school in due course.  

Cripes! It's New Year's Eve

I can't believe this year has slid by so fast.  So much has happened and, despite many adversities, it's been a good one!  I found enough work to keep me busy, and we've managed to pay our bills … that was a worry at the beginning of the year.  I've had some brilliant jobs working with Clive Conway, and have photographed and met many interesting, and some famous, people that I would never have thought would come my way.  I can't name anyone, because so many were marvellous, and leaving someone out would be awful!  The Bournemouth Echo also kept me going with regular work, and a number of recommendations which found me photographing many people and places, for which I am very grateful.  


In the latter part of the year I had the opportunity of teaching photojournalism at Bournemouth's Up To Speed media school. It turned out to be a really good experience with interesting students and good support from old contacts who let them go out and take photographs and do stories about them.  So a big thankyou to all those who helped!

Of course the best bits of work are always the opportunities of doing stuff with Jeremy.  It's been good to work for the aforementioned Clive Conway together, and we've also done regular features for Dorset magazine, Amateur Gardening and several others.  Our recent work with the music charity Coda has been rewarding, and we hope we can do more with them.  

We even managed a few days away in Valencia with our friends Rick and Manda, staying on Manda's sister's stud farm.  It was a really good break, and very interesting too.  Also our niece Emma and her husband Jason, came from San Francisco and we stayed in London with them for a few days.  We did really touristy things like The Tower and The Churchill War Rooms.  Then there were the proper pubs, real ale and a very good Indian meal.  Emma who is half English, knows about these things, but Jason, who is all American, didn't … but he does now, and loved it all.

There were a couple of bad turns as December arrived.  My father-in-law, Ken, was diagnosed with lymphoma, and had a huge chemotherapy session the week before Christmas, but he's home and doing OK, so we have hopes that his treatment will be a success.  Also our little Lefty cat died, and is now buried under the winter jasmine in our back garden, where she often used to sit in the sunshine.  The jasmin is flowering magnificently and looks really beautiful.

We are determined that 2013 will be a good year, though we suspect it may be a little tougher to get work.

My picture is of the Red Arrows flying in tribute to their pilot John Egging, who died during the Bournemouth Air Show in 2011.  I sold this image to one of my regular employers Harry Ramsden's, whose premises is on the seafront below the planes. It was taken on one of the few really sunny and glorious days last summer.

Happy New Year everyone … let's hope for sunshine and good fortune!


A trip to PA


I've had a fun couple of weeks teaching NCTJ photojournalism students at the Up To Speed journalism training school which is based in the Bournemouth Echo building.  Quite apart from the novelty in being back working in this fabulous Art Deco newspaper HQ, it's proved to be a really interesting experience.  Last week I took the students to a seminar at the Press Association in London.  What a great day that was, with thought provoking talks from various seasoned photographers working for PA and regional dailies and agencies.  It would have been perfect if the heavens hadn't opened as we made our way back to the underground in pouring rain. We've done lots more work in Bournemouth too, photographing everything from taxi drivers and council gardeners to elderly visitors and the shockingly  declining shopping streets in the town centre.  

Pictured right, are my students in London, clockwise from the front left, Mike, Jimmy, Kristina, Rumour, Ella, Victoria, Ellie, Pete and Tom.

What a privilege


I've been listening to a marvellous tribute to the wonderful and charismatic conductor George Hurst who died last week.  I was lucky enough to meet and briefly photograph him at the Sherborne Music School as he took a masterclass.  He was teaching American conductor Esther Yoon and explaining the need to use facial expression to guide an orchestra, and the importance of eye-contact with the musicians.  She had returned to the summer school after his tuition the year before, which she said had been utterly inspiring.  Indeed, Simon Rattle says that the experience of seeing Hurst's performance of Mahler's Second Symphony when he was about eleven, put him firmly on the path to becoming a conductor himself.   

Hurst had a great interest in nurturing young musicians and his expertise in teaching at Sherborne, where he was a tutor for fifty years, will be hugely missed.  

That was the week that was

It's been a busy week - one of the high spots was The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at Poole Lighthouse's Studio Theatre on Friday - a two-handed version of Stephen Lowe's adaptation of Robert Tressell's novel, marvellously acted by Fine Time Fontayne and Neil Gore.  It's a tiny theatre, and was packed out with an appreciative audience - I hope their two Saturday performances did well too.  It's so nice to go to a really good play!  Read Jeremy's review in Listed magazine http://www.listedmagazine.com/Bournemouth/News/News+-+Theatre/Review%3A+The+Ragged+Trousered+Philanthropists/28657.html

Essential maintenance

I've just had my proof-reader on the phone.  He's found a few errors on my site.  I've just been busy checking and correcting, so there are a few improvements.  I'm not a good speller, and having someone as observent as my father-in-law keeping eye on everything is incredibly useful.  Thank you very much Ken!   This blog entry is designed to remove a strange anomally  - hope it's worked!

Incidentally the Cherries won 1-0 away, so Harry must have had the right effect.  I think that is their first win of the season.

Harry's back!!


Great news that Harry Redknapp has returned to Dean Court!!  It's about time. 

He's remained loyal to this area, and never been tempted to live away - mind you his house is in the most perfect spot on the Sandbanks peninsular, so why would he want to move?  Since leaving Tottenham last summer, he's been, to all intents and purposes, out of work, and knowing him, probably bored without a demanding job.

I never got to photograph him in his Dean Court days.  He was Cherries manager from 1983 to 1992, and when I arrived at the Echo, in 1987, I was never allowed to go to the big football match on a Saturday.  My boss didn't think a girl would be capable of covering anything as important as a League Division football match.  I used to get sent to the rugby, which I really enjoyed, so I didn't complain!

I've photographed him many times at events, but most of those pictures are languishing in the Daily Echo vaults.  I do remember the drama and tragedy when he had that terrible minibus crash in Italy in 1990, when the club chairman Brian Tiler was killed and Harry seriously injured.  

They were great friends and Harry was devastated by the whole thing.   Harry told the Sun newspaper, that he was advised that he could get an enormous pay-out if he didn't return to work within eighteen months.  But, he said that doing nothing "would have driven me round the bend",  and that though he could afford to live without football, that he "actually couldn't live without football". 

I suspect his recent job doldrums have left him in the same situation.  He just wants to get back to work.  AFC Bournemouth will certainly benefit.  Welcome back Harry!

© Hattie Miles 2020