No Fool Like An Old Fool



The title is a line from a song you wouldn’t know, by a singer you’ve probably never heard of. The singer who sang, “There’s no fool like an old fool” was Harvey Andrews. He is an English folk singer who never really had a chart hit and is just about as unknown in America as he is anywhere else in the world, and that includes the town where he lives.


I picked up an album of his years ago in Bath and liked it. He has a song called 25 Years on the Road, where he sings about spending your whole life “looking for that mother lode.” At first he’s expecting to have his big hit in a year or two… “because that’s what happens as a rule.” Then it become five years. Eventually he realises he’s never going to have it, but he’s still on the road singing. “And there’s no fool like an old fool,” the song ends.


The reason for bringing all this old foolishness up in the blog, is that today is my birthday and I’m an even older old fool than usual – 53 times, to be precise. And old Harvey nailed the ageing process brilliantly when he came out of retirement recently for a special charity concert in Portishead, under the banner Glad To Be Grey – a dig here at Tom Robinson’ seminal 1978 gay-anthem, Glad To Be Gay – and billed as “A celebration of maturity, with songs, stories, humour (and the occasional rant)”.


Old guys rule, says Harvey. I wish I could believe him, but right now I’m not feeling ‘hip’ anymore, more like hip replacement.


Nikon FM3A & Nikkor 85mm f2 ais
B+W Circular Polariser
Kodak Tri-X 400 (@250)
Xtol (1+1 – 7:30 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan





Here in Seattle, summer isn’t such an exact science. It’s more like a beam of sunlight that escapes briefly through the haze to remind us what’s up above all those stratus clouds. Summer officially starts June 20; and the most obvious sign its here in Seattle is kids ready to run into the cooling water spray of the Seattle Center’s International Fountain.


Under the watchful eye of the futuristic Space Needle, how can kids resist the lure of a spaceship sculpture that vibrates and whose fountains shoot water, while at the same time all being synchronized to a symphony soundtrack?


Other signs that summer is here in Seattle – apart from the sight of naked cyclists in Fremont, where when the bikes stop, not everything else does – is an instant slump in Vitamin D sales, Birkenstock sandals being worn without socks, and your Gore-Tex jacket (the official dress of Seattle) reduced to staying in the closet for more than a week.


Nikkormat EL & Nikkor-SC Auto 50mm 1.4
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Tri-X 400 (@250)
Xtol (1+1 – 7:45 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan,




Seattle has to be one of the most dog-friendliest city in the US – actually, in a recent poll, Seattle was rated No.5 for popularity for our canine friends. Well-behaved leashed dogs of all sizes are allowed on the buses and trains throughout the city as well as the Washington State Ferries; couple that with numerous eateries that welcome dogs and it’s easy to see why. And then there’s all those dog-friendly parks throughout the city, not to mention many off-leash beach areas.


Nikon FM2 & Nikkor f2/85mm Ai-s

B+W Circular Polarizer

Ilford HP5+ (@250)

HC-110 (Dil.H – 1:63 @ 8:30 minutes)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan




Richard Beyer’s sculpture Waiting for the Interurban – located in Fremont, the Centre of the Universe – pays tribute to the old Seattle-Everett Interurban railway. Sections of the track can are still visible around town, a subtle reminder of a time before the rise of the automobile. I have always felt there is a sense of irony to this piece as the City of Seattle has spent much of the last two decades dragging their feet on how best to build a public rail system when in fact one was already in place some 100 years ago.


The cool thing about Richard Beyer’s art installation is that anyone is invited to decorate it as they see fit. Which is why most times it can be seen  all dressed up for a birthday – or this time of the year, a Christmas – party; or, in this photo, with a collection of books for a book drive. The only rules are to leave decorations be if they look new or fresh and no advertising slogans or corporate slogans.


Nikon FM2 & Nikon 50mm 1.4 Ai-s
B+W Circular Polarizer
Ilford HP5+ (@400)
HC-110 (Dil. H – 10min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan


Writing, as the late, great Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley remarked, is better than working.  What other job can you justify with the excuse that while you may not look as if you’re doing anything productive you are engaged in “research”?


But for almost 20 years now, the day job has been writing – or, as I like to put it: “filling white space every day for The Scotsman newspaper.”  So with that in mind, and with an always-loaded camera to hand, I’ve opted to move away from social media sites to take things a bit further by creating this blog that will see a fusion of words and film – analogue, of course.  The film, that is, not the wordy-parts…been too many years now since I used to bash out words (not to mention going through Tippex by the gallon) on a trusty old typewriter like the one photographed here.


Nikon FM2 & Nikon 50mm1.4 Ai-S

B+W Circular Polariser

Ilford HP5+ (400)

HC-110 (Dil. H – 1:63@10 minutes)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan