Is this the finally going to be the year?

The Tour de France starts tomorrow and there is a lot of talk about Bradley Wiggins. No Briton has ever won the Tour in the previous 98 times it has been held. There have been one or two over the years that have looked promising. Tom Simpson was considered a contender when he tragically died at the top of Mont Ventoux in the 1967 tour and Robert Miller (my hero as a teenager) came closest and won the King of the Mountains. Chris Boardman's chances were certainly talked about in the mid '90's and although he wore the yellow jersey after winning the prologue on three separate occasions it was in the big mountains that he was unable to sustain his challenge. In the lead up to the 1997 tour there was a lot of optimism about his chances and I spent a number of weeks with him photographing a story for the Guardian Weekend Magazine: 'The loneliness of a long distance cyclist'. The commitment and dedication I witnessed over those weeks have stayed with me ever since: riding alone for hundreds of miles through the North Wales hills (they just weren't big enough, I guess) in cold winter fog; riding to the point of collapse on a treadmill in the basement of the local council sports centre with his dad ready to catch him when he fell off due to exhaustion and the seemingly never ending circuits of the new Manchester Velodrome to hone the time-trialling skills that had won him Olympic gold in 1992, a World Championship in '94 and Tour yellow jerseys. Here's a few pics...

This is the 99th Tour, all that remains to be said is 'Come on Bradley', do it for Britain before the Tour reaches 100.

 

Guilty Pleasures...things you don't hear on UK radio stations.

Sitting in Helsinki airport (why don't all airports have free wifi?) and reflecting on the joys of European radio stations. There is something weirdly enjoyable about the relentless hitting of the search buttons on long drives. Amidst all the Europop (everywhere) and thrash metal (Finland) you do get an occasional blast from the past. Not always what you might choose to have on your current playlist but somehow strangely comforting... Finland April 17/18th 2012

Radio City, Helsinki:

God Save the Queen - the Sex Pistols. Can't believe that was written in the year of the silver jubilee and now we have a diamond jubilee! Odd to think that the Sex Pistols are closer in time to the coronation than they are to today. This'll take you back... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qa9VjuzTJs

Alabama Song - The Doors. The strange oompah classic reworking of the old Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weil opera song (haven't heard that for 20 years at least) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX42_3ZKv8c  and, well worth hearing, this is where it came from....  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-5ata4jDyk - Lotte Lenya sings it in 1930 - you won't here this on the Europop stations!

YLE - X3M (apparently this sounds like 'extreme' when said in Finnish - I get it!)

Hanging on the telephone - Blondie. Now there's a driving song - just great! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDZnn-nQhAI

Radio Nostalgia - Tampere

Vincent - Don McClean. He clearly had penchant for writing songs about dead people. When did you last hear this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNdYLGAxcWA

Ones to miss: SuomiPop FM - don't even think about it, And Rock FM - I bet strepsils have a good business in Finland - stop shouting!!

Nuff nostalgia.... ed!

nice trees out the window too...

It was twenty years ago today...

Sergeant Pepper taught his band to play... Actually it wasn't, but I was just sorting some old boxes of prints in the studio and came across a few favourites from the b/w days at the Independent - all 1991/92.

That's all folks.

Nuff nostalgia....ed.

Some new personal work

Just back from a delightful shoot in Paris - 4 days shooting b/w reportage for a lovely new client. Warm Indian summer, four days of cloudless skies and 30 º heat every day! Just like the old days at 'The Independent' - it's almost the very definition of photography - a couple of hand held Leica cameras and off you go into the Paris streets. Of course, strict French privacy laws and the fact that the images are to be used worldwide on packaging means that I had restrictions that Mssrs Cartier-Bresson et al didn't have to worry about, but still a thoroughly enjoyable few days. Will post some pictures once they are all edited and in use on the shelves. (Perhaps I'll dig our some of the b/w newspaper pics from my days at the Indy - it's celebrating it's 25th Anniversary this year - watch this space...) In the meantime, here's a little bit of new (varied) personal work shot over the last couple of months.

VisitBritain 2012 Olympics Campaign

Working with Chinese Olympic Equestrian rider Alex Hua Tian to shoot film and stills for Visit Britain. Alex has been appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Britain in relation to next years Olympics and on a very, very cold day he was an absolute superstar with his horse in Greenwich Park. The film was launched in Bangalore on 17th May under the slogan 'Britain: Your Invited' - I just hope the weather's better when you get here. [wpvideo fBTWJOZl]