Jul 082016


Originally written for otakugamers.uk

All of us hentai (used in it’s correct translation I honestly wasn’t calling any of you an anime), pervs, um, moe fans have probably following this game with interest, Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is produced by Hiroaki Tsutsumi and the team behind the Senran Kagura games. Bhikkhuni is part of an expanded universe that comprises: Mermaid – An anime streaming in the US on Funimation, Bhikkhuni – Released exclusively on the PS Vita and Siren – A Japanese Android and iOS game.

Released in Japan late last year Bhikkhuni has now been promised a Western release during 2016 by PQube.

Almost incredulously, with Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, Kenichiro Takaki and the Marvelous team have created a game even more licentious, debauched and titillating (see what I did there?) than the Senran Kagura franchise. Sure to inflame the Social Justice Warriors and delight niche gamers everywhere, this title certainly won’t see you sitting on the fence. I can already see the arguments on some of the more mainstream gaming sites. PQube releasing this in the West is almost the antithesis of Koei Tecmo deciding ‘not’ to release Dead or Alive: Xtreme 3 in the same region.


In some ways similar to Senran Kagura this third person brawler retains the clothing destruction mechanic but unlike Senran Kagura, the more a girl is ‘turned on’ the bigger her breasts grow and the better weapon she becomes. Yep, becomes a weapon!

You see, it works like this. In the game world the girls have become infected with the Armed Virus. This virus infects the girls in one of two ways; as an Extar the girl becomes a high powered weapon when sexually aroused and as a Liberator, after triggering a transformation, a girl has the power to wield a weaponised Extar. Thus… When two girls, an Extar and a Liberator hook up, they become a fighting unit. The bigger the girls breasts and the better the relationship between the two the more powerful a weapon they become. (That being said, I’d LOVE to meet Kenichiro Takaki, his mind must be permanently in the gutter, he’s like my hero!)


To recap, from the official PR blurb:

– When two girls get it on – one girl turns into a super weapon

– Wield your incredible pleasure powered weapons to take on hordes of enemies

– Ultra-fast hack and slash action with a focus on stylish aerial combos

– Power up your weapons by turning on your girlfriends

– Weapons can be levelled up in strength up to 15 times – getting bigger and more awesome looking every time

– Take your favourite girls into the dressing room and rub and touch to raise their levels

– Choose between 7 playable characters to master

– Return of the clothing destruction system – clothes get more ripped the more you fight

– 28 Story Missions to tackle – with high quality anime visuals

– Battle it out in arena based online multiplayer – up to 4 players

Now please! Just give us a release date already and take my money for the Super Oppai F-Cup Collector’s edition.

(I made that last bit up by the way).

Jun 142016

EA LogoOriginally written for: otakugamers.uk

Aaaand, first up to bat, opening the official presentations for E3 2016 were EA and Bethesda. EA opened and Bethesda gave a convincing second half. Please forgive me my personality flaws and read this with my tongue planted firmly in your cheek. I fail to write up things without my twisted personality shining through and if I offend you by not really liking a game please assume it’s intentional.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA came on with very little fanfare and a lot of applause and pretty much went straight into a composite video of EA’s development plan. When over, he explained how EA’s presentation was actually a Simulbroadcast with Peter Moore, Chief Competition Officer in London with a bunch of hardcore EA fans at the Hammersmith Apollo. (If only I’d known… Five minutes down the road, I’m sure I could’ve blagged a seat!) Moore said his hellos and handed back to Wilson in LA. Wilson promised that the next hour would see future Star Wars titles, Mass Effect, Battlefield 1, FIFA, Madden NFL 17 and Titanfall 2.

He handed over to Vincent Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment for the Titanfall 2 reveal. The trailer, as always looked gorgeous. Personally, I never played the original Titanfall due to it’s lack of single player campaign. I know people say it had a loose story but that wasn’t enough to make me want to hand over my cash for what was/is effectively an arena based shooter with a twist and great graphics. I’m not that much of a competitive player and only just competent at arena competition shooters.

But. Titanfall 2, while being more of the same also builds on the first and adds a few important bits and bobs, like, a single player campaign with a real story. A boy (Jack Cooper) meets mech (BT7274 (BT for short)) and wins the day type story. The story mode plays offline so people in remotest Namibia if they have a generator can now play Titanfall. No more conspiracy theories that Titanfall was released with online only playability so that the camera could beam info about you straight to MI5 and the NSA if you were wearing a head cloth and playing with C4 and a bunch of wires and mobile phones. To be honest, the single player campaign sounds generic enough if you’ve played video games for more than three years but compelling enough at least to hand over my cash to see what all the Titanfall fuss is about; the mech’s pilot has died and this time round the mech and pilot form an emotional bond to easier work with one another. Enter stage left a ‘Rifleman’ who gets assigned the pilotless mech and together they learn to work with one another and probably save the world from some kind of global annihilation. There will be six new mechs, more player and mech customisation. But. The biggest and best reveal for me personally, was that this time around it isn’t Xbox One exclusive and us PS4 owners (and PC geeks) can play too. Yep, PS4 Titanfall! Expect a release date of October 28th 2016 to be pushed back! Sorry, expect this game to hit the shelves on October 28 this year. Trust me, I’m a Mech!

The end of the Titanfall 2 trailer segued perfectly? into the trailer for Madden NFL 17 for PS4 and Xbox One which at first glance seemed more of the same but glossier than last years with an obviously changed roster as teams and players shuffle positions but no. This year is all about competition and EA have revamped their competitive play. I honestly wish I (A) liked video sports games apart from Wave Race and SSX Tricky and (B) Understood American Football. Moore went on to explain that at the heart of EA’s games was competition whether playing professional E-Sports or kicking back with your team in FIFA or Battlefield. To that end EA have revamped their online competitions and added 3 new ways to compete with yearly and weekly challenges across the board: Challenger, Premier and EA Major tiers.

Challenger more easily allows players to participate in, and host their own events. Premier are large scale events hosted by EA and partners from within and without of the gaming industry. Finally, EA Major are live, marquee, global events hosted by EA for the elite amongst the elite with a $50,000 cheque waiting for the winner. Infact, for the Madden NFL 17 championships there is a total of $1 Million in prize money across the competition. Moore hands over to Aaryn Flynn, the general manager of Bioware. Any guesses as to the next game my friends?

Mass Effect Andromeda. Due Early 2017, it’s aim is to sever the ties with the previous trilogy with you (as the alien) in the Andromeda Galaxy. Expect new species. new environments and new technologies as you set out to find a new home for Humanity. Powered by Bioware’s new Frostbite engine there’s no doubt it looks amazing. I know many people love the original trilogy but this time round I’m seriously considering boarding the Mass Effect ship and seeing for myself what all the fuss is about.

Back to Wilson who explains that ‘Play’ (I think EA wish they could trademark the word) is at the heart of EA’s mission statement. Now, with the introduction of ‘Play to Give’ EA hope to benefit the community too. Specifically five charities; the UN HeForShe initiative, the National Centre for Women and Information Technology, !Special Effect, Code.org and Code 2040. To this end there are five ‘charitable’ challenges set across the EA multiverse; Battlefield, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars Battlefront, FIFA 16 and Madden NFL 16. At the end of the challenges over a set time EA will donate $1 Million to their aforementioned charities.

Segue back again to Moore in London for some FIFA news. Moore introduces us eventually to Aaron McHardy, FIFA’s Producer. Oh, and more of the same but glossier than last year with an obviously changed roster as teams and players shuffle positions but no. This time around, and as a first, there is a campaign mode. This time round I almost honestly wish I (A) liked video sports games apart from Wave Race 64 and 1080 snowboarding and (B) Understood Football. (There are actually girls that can explain the offside rule better than I EVER could). That said, FIFA is the most popular sports game on the planet.

You follow (play as) Alex Hunter from league to premier league football with four big transformations to the way the game plays. Better ‘dead ball’ control, a new attacking mode, active AI intelligence has been improved and new finishing moves have been added. I hate football with a passion and haven’t played a FIFA game since 1956 but utilising the Frostbite engine I have to admit it looks stunning. One day, all premier league footballers will have a chip implanted in their heads and we’ll be playing ‘as’ them through the beauty that is VR. Total immersion!

Patrick Söderlund, EVP of EA Studios then came on to introduce this years big EA Indie game: Fe. Like Unravelled last year, EA are committed to find smaller developers with a passion for creating games with heart, and with stories to be told, under the EA Originals brand. Cooly enough, all profits go back to the developers so they can continue to create amazing but smaller games we might otherwise miss. Fe looks spectacular, an indie game that a lot of love has gone into producing from Zoink software in Gothenburg.

Fe is set in a world without words. A celebration of nature and our desire to be at one with the world around us. It reminds us that everything is connected and that we live in a world held in delicate balance. You begin the story as a young cub that connects with every living thing, plant and animal, through song. Ultimately the aim is to unite with your family but on the way you meet (and hopefully defeat) The Silent Ones, the bad guys of our tale, (the multinational corporations hellbent on destroying the planet and its ecology in the real world.) The game and it’s audio are lush. With muted colours and audio, the developers set the stage but through discovery, you write the story. Your journey will be different from everyone else’s. I’m personally hugely tempted to try this one.

As Fe fades out a familiar John Williams soundtrack blares out and you half expect a procession of programmers to slide diagonally into the screen to a vanishing point in the distance; a long time ago, EA paid an extortionate amount of dollar to obtain very lucrative publishing rights to an ever expanding galaxy of games…

Jade Raymond, General Manager of Motive Studios appears on screen to seemingly talk for every developer that EA are in league with; Dice, Motive, Bioware, Respawn, Visceral and Capital Games amongst them. There sure are a lot of Star Wars games in development it seems but Jade wants to talk about three; Galaxy of Heroes, Old Republic and Battlefront. But in 2018 Visceral will bring us a new game set in the SW universe, with an all new story and all new characters. Respawn are producing an all new Action Adventure game.

Galaxy of Heroes are adding something for everyone, new characters, new locations, in fact, a way to bring everyone’s personal Star Wars fantasy’s to life (except for maybe that sick and twisted fuck in Boreham Wood who’s fantasy is watching Jabba bone a naked Leia before Luke comes to rescue her and Han.)

Next year will come a new completely instalment of Battlefront adding content that we the players have asked for and the worlds of ‘A Force Awakens’ and beyond.

Lastly but so not leastly; Battlefield 1. The Battlefield community has grown to 60 million players around the world and I’ve only played one of the games for about two and a half hours. Terrible I know but I just love the simplicity of Call of Duty.

As we know Battlefield 1 is set during World War 1. I don’t know if I’m even comfortable with this as it’s only a year or so since the last enlisted soldier to serve in the UK’s army died. WW1 was brutal and Dice want to represent that with knives, shovels and other non-weapons used as weapons in the trenches. By all means let us fight future wars and play the good guy during current wars but to glorify the most brutal war man has ever fought? Personally, I don’t know. But anyways, back to the game and forget my moralistic ramblings…

Battlefront 1 will be epic in scale, 64 player multiplayer, dynamic battles where no two battles will ever be the same, dynamic weather, new dynamic destruction to allow more things to be destroyed than ever before and you’ll be able to control the behemoths in game: The airships in the sky, the battleships at sea, tanks, bi-planes, howitzers and horses. All of course in the new Frostbite engine for maximum high definition carnage. Let’s hope Dice have found a way to tell a story about war that teaches us of the horrors involved. In much the same way as ‘Valiant Hearts: The Great War’ by Ubisoft Montpellier did with approximately a millionth of the budget.

That was EA. Enjoy!

Aug 182014

I think I’ve come up with doable and realistically achievable Fifty Five by Fifty Five list. From publishing it today I have 6 years, 10 months, 8 days or 2504 days. The list isn’t in any order, but, I know there’s a method to the madness.

During 2020 the world basically shut down due to a Worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus Covid-19. From Jan to March we watched as the virus took hold and from March to current, the 1st of September we have been confined to our houses for three months and all business including shops, travel and restaurants shut down. As of now we all have to wear masks in enclosed public places: Shops, Museums, Gyms etc. and we all have to stay 2 metres apart in public from people we don’t live with. Theatre and gigging still haven’t been given leave by the government to resume and heading into Winter we have been told to expect a second spike in deaths. To date Worldwide there have been 848,000 deaths and 25.3 million cases. Given how various countries like China and Russia have actively misquoted their deaths and ‘third world’ countries don’t have the infrastructure to accurately tack their deaths the likely amount of deaths is well over a million.

Given this, and praying the world returns to normal in 2021 it’s only fair I give myself another year. Certainly apart from physically being unable to do anything like travel or attend public events Lockdown, in which we were all housebound for three months has negatively impacted on my mental health.

Given how much of a fuck-up 2020 has been I’ll think of and add another task but we’ll have to call this list 56 by 56 from now on.

In bold, the task is in progress.

Struck-through, I’ve completed the task.

#1.      Give up Smoking. (As of March 2020 started smoking again during Lockdown). 2020 – Give up Smoking.

#2.      Eat alone in three different restaurants c/w starter, drink and main. A Chinese, a posh restaurant and a bistro. Not rushed!

#3.      Take a date for a progressive meal out; starter, main and dessert in different restaurants.

#4.      Get Forty Years a Punk finished and published. Get the secondary projects underway.

#5.      Get the damn Gofundme live!

#6.      Travel to each of the Continents; Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica.

#7.      Swim in at least 15 London Lido’s. (Parliament Hill Lido, The Oasis, Charlton Lido, Tooting Bec Lido, Brockwell Lido, Hampstead Mixed, Hampstead Mens, London Fields Lido, The Serpentine Lido, Charlton Lido, Finchley Lido Leisure Centre, Hillingdon Outdoor Pool, Hampton Pool, Park Road Pools, Pools on the Park Richmond, Ruislip Lido) + (London Aquatics Centre, Porchester Centre, Saltdean Lido, one of the Trafalgar Square Fountains,) 

#8.      Visit all three highest points in the UK. Scotland, Wales and England.

#9.      Climb Black Willy, kayak around Kynance Cove, wild swim at Golitha Falls and one, two, three other spots in Cornwall.

#10.    Get PR represented in London

#11.    Kayak on Hyde Park and and one of the Trafalgar Sq fountains.

#12.    Wild Swim at least 10 places in Roger Deakin’s book Waterlog

#13.    Learn another language.

#14.    Experiment with a voluntary role in a workplace for a week or two.

#15.    Reach at least 3* in White Water Kayaking.

#16.    See a Puffin in the wild.

#17.    Sing live on stage with an established Punk band. At least one complete song. (2019 – Jan, have a Yamaha FG30 acoustic guitar and learning!)

#18.    Get the 1Dx, 16-35 f/2.8L II, 24-70 f/2.8L II, 85mm f/1.2L II, Studio Lights x’s 4, Backgrounds. Sony α6400, FE 55 f1.8, E 20 f2.8

#19.    Take a train somewhere interesting maybe foreign.

#20.    Go to a music festival complete with camping or Bed and Breakfast.

#21.    Take a cookery course

#22.    Finish two 365 photo projects. One on iPhone and one on DSLR.

#23.    Go for a picnic somewhere random or incredibly scenic.

#24.    Try a bunch (10) of new and possibly repulsive food (Chicken feet, sheep eyes, head cheese, squirrel).

#25.    Go to 10 networking events in a year.

#26.    Read at least 12 books in a year.

(2016 – Jan – The Prince Lestat [Anne Rice], Feb – Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music,Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. [Viv Albertine], Mar – Japan’s Sex Trade [Peter Constantine], Apr – Shadowrun: Spells and Chrome [John Hellers] Fail!)

(2017 – Fail!)

(2018 – Rotten No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish [John Lydon], Fragile Things [Neil Gaiman], Art Sex Music [Cosey Fanni Tutti])

(2019 – Jan – Mud Sharks [Dave Barbarossa], Feb – Dec – 17 x Manga; Sundome 1-4, Happy Sugar Life 1-3, Food Wars 1-7, Yokai Girls 1-3 & 7 ‘Light Novels’; Goblin Slayer 1, Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon 1, Re:Zero 1-5, Kizomonogatari – [Nisioisin], Bakemonogatari 1-2 – [Nisioisin]. Win!)

#27     Go to at least one music gig a month for a year.  

(2016 – The Damned 40th Anniversary at the RAH & Guest List, Killing Joke, The Members, Spizzenergi, Spizzology, Penetration, Pixies, Buzzcocks, The Tuts, LOCK, The Duel, Dead Men Walking, Department S, Ed Tudor Pole, Adam and the Ants, Healthy Junkies, Church of Eon, The Featherz, Taurus Trakker, Starsha Lee, Hazel O’Connor, Stiff Little Fingers, Fields of The Nephilim, Babymetal, Shonen Knife, Brian James and The Dickies.) 

(2017 – The Tuts, Spizzenergi, The Rezillos, Healthy Junkies, The Stranglers, The Ruts, Charlie Harper acoustic, The Duel, Möthballs, Italia 90, Screaming Dead, Future Daughters)

(2018 – TRZ (The Tara Rez Band), Das Flüff, Rubella Ballet, Witchdoktors, The Weird Things, Shonen Knife, Toyah, Spizzenergi, Spizzology, Theatre of Hate, The Vibrators, Starsha Lee, Flesh Tetris, Segs (Ruts DC) acoustic, Dave Barbarossa (Bow Wow Wow) solo)

(2019 – Ruts DC & The Professionals [Shepherd’s Bush], Definitely a lot more but trying to remember in 2020 is nigh on impossible. It’s around this time that my Mental Health started to really impact on gigs and I’d often book and pay for them weeks/months in advance but be unable to go on the day.)

(2020 – Covid 19 stopped all gigs from March onwards. I did have tickets for the Japanese punk girl band Otoboke Beaver for February but (;_;) Mental Health.)

#28.    Do at least one random act of kindness per week for a year.

#29.    Take a photo of 26 people with names starting from A-Z.

#30.    Write a will. (2018 – Unfortunately as part of a suicide note) 

#31.    Inspire 5 people to do a similar list – 101/1001 or 33/33 etc.

#32.    Redesign/revamp my website. (May 2018 – Trying to find the right models, 2019 bought new domain; Elgin Avenue Photography to better reflect new business leaving the sex etc to neolestat. As of Jan 2019 still looking for the right models and have to code new site. 2020 Covid stopped play.)

#33.    At least triple my Twitter or Instagram followers each year. 2016, 2017, 2018 (Instagram: @neolestat (606 followers)), 2019 (?), 2020 

#34.    Write for my blog at least twice a month.

#35.    Drive to Spain or Portugal camping along the way. Stay for two weeks at destination.

#36.    Buy an original piece of Art.

#37.    When I have the finances and the freedom, live for three days like Luke Rhinehart’s ‘Diceman’ and see where I end up.

#38.    Spend a week without the computer, TV or Facebook. Can only use my phone to make and receive calls.

#39.    Spend a week detoxing and then eat vegetarian for the rest of the month.

#40.    Give up extra sugar, sweets and chocolate for a month. (2018 – April? Fail!), (2019 – )

#41.    Complete all the numbered Final Fantasy games in order obviously missing out 11 and 14 as they are MMO’s.

#42.    Every year, at the beginning of January, donate to charity (clothing, books etc. rather than money). 2016-1717-18, 18-19, 19-20 (Fail), 20-21

#43.    For each of the 7 years plant a different tree somewhere.

#44.    Clear all my debts and live credit free for three months.

#45.    Attend a foreign festival – Maybe the Kanamara Matsuri, The Japanese festival of the steel phallus in Kawasaki.

#46.    Get my tattooed heart covered up and get at least the two tats I want on each of my calves and the two I want inside both forearms (Keys and Music). At least one tattoo done traditionally with bamboo needles.

#47.    John O’Groats to Land’s End with friends, no time limit, camping along the way.

#48.    Visit The Museu Picasso, in Barcelona, Spain.

#49.    Get published in a ‘national’ publication at least once each year. 2016 – Fail! 2017 – Fail! 2018 – Fail! 2019 – Fail! 2020 – ?

#50.    Stencil graffiti my face onto at least 10 well known London streets and photograph the results as proof.

#51.    Stay awake for 24 hours on a ‘date’ and watch the sunrise with said date.

#52.    Find my ‘Happy Place’.

#53.    Watch 52 documentaries in a year thereby (hopefully) increasing my knowledge and inspiring me.

#54.    Do the London to Brighton bike ride. (2019 – Fail!)

#55.    Kayak around Ramsey Island in Pembrokeshire. Get to the Blue Lagoon and tombstone.

Mar 232013

So many things are going on in my head right now. I’ve been reading teh interwebs for two days straight and I’m feeling like my dislike for people in general is justified. Of course, ‘teh interwebs’ (sic) is where the trolls live so I’m probably being unjust if I base the whole of humanity on a few, but still.

What made me write this post is a thread I read on an IMDb forum regarding the film ‘Monsters’ [2010] written and directed by Gareth Edwards and shot for around $15,000. It’s an awesome movie considering the low budget.

Filmed on a Sony EX3 with a Nikon 50 MM Lens the director used natural light almost exclusively except for a couple of tiny LED lights for when it was pitch black. The effects were done in Adobe CS4 and the editing in Premiere. The majority of filming was shot with just a sound guy, the director and the 2 main leads. Most of the extras were locals and a lot of the scenes and locations were shot opportunistically.

Awesome! But by fuck were the trolls out to get this one on the forums.

I replied recently to another thread on another site I use to people who were criticising a short animation. Most of them were not criticising the story or the characters, they were criticising the actual cinematography and the techniques used. This was on a gaming site.

My comment was simply; “if you can do better go out and do it. If not, have respect for the man that did. If you actually have the skill to do a better job and think that the film maker could have done things better or improve on his technique, send the director an email and offer to help him.”

Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. I know I welcomed it as a photographer. If someone obviously had more talent than me I learnt from them if I could and listened to what they had to say. I ignored the ‘I could do that’ trolls. If they could, they would’ve and I would be copying them

The two things that got to me on the ‘Monsters’ forum were 1) the thread criticising the lead male for portraying a professional photographer badly and 2) criticising him (the photojournalist) for going with the girl (that he didn’t know) in the first place (into territory infected by the ‘Monsters’ of the title).

Amongst the many reasons Scoot McNairy was criticised for playing a photojournalist badly was that in one of the last scenes he just stands and watches the monsters rather than shooting them (with his camera). That led me to thinking about the incident I was involved with only two days past. And. Bear in mind I ‘am’ (or was) a professional photographer.

20 March 2013. I was on the King Harry Ferry (a chain ferry) crossing the river Fal when I watched a car roll off of the concrete slipway, onto the riverbank and stop with it’s front wheels in the water. I was on the opposite side of the Fal. The driver, an elderly male had apparently (I was later to learn) stepped out of his car to take a photo and either didn’t apply the handbrake properly or the handbrake failed. As of writing there hasn’t been any more information.

The driver and one other male seemed to dither about by the car, one of them wandered back across the slipway to a moored and beached dinghy with an outboard before sauntering back. Neither male looked overtly worried in so much as they weren’t about to get their feet wet. As we (the people on the ferry) watched, the car began to slide into the water. The driver looked panicked and the skipper of the ferry was already on the radio and the phone to the emergency services. A manager from the ferry company had got into a small boat and was making his way across the river towards the scene of the accident.

A disabled woman was trapped in the car! With two dogs. As it slipped under the water.

When the ferry was about thirty feet from where the car had probably settled underwater I was begging the guy in the boat above the car to throw me a rope so that I could dive down and see what I could do for the woman in the car. He refused and refused. I begged. His reasoning was that the water was too deep, 25/30 feet at that point, and that the visibility was nil and that the river was tidal. I knew it would be too dangerous without some kind of safety line myself and was feeling awful and frantic that I wanted to help but wasn’t being allowed to.

When it was obvious that the ferry could dock and cause no more difficulties to the car it pulled onto the slipway and having the only four wheel drive with a tow bar (I drive a Land Rover) I figured that if a rope could be hooked onto the car I might be able to tow it out of the river. The guy on the small boat was desperately trying to hook the car, which he couldn’t see, and was only approximately sure of it’s location, with his anchor. If he could manage it, I could try to tow it.

Two inshore lifeboats arrived. Neither having a diver they agreed that trying to hook the car with an anchor and me towing it was probably the best idea available at that time.

Two offshore lifeboats and a helicopter arrived but still no diver. The best shot was a local mussel ‘free’ diver named Matt Vernon, (a fucking hero!) he spent ages in just a wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins diving down in the nil visibility, and near freezing water trying his best to get some kind of line on the car. At one point he did and the line was tied to my car by the coastguard on the shore and I was instructed where to drive and how slow. I moved perhaps 15/20 feet before the car got stuck (I was later told) on the ferry chain and my clutch began to burn out.

The rope was then tied to the winch of a fire engine and at that point it couldn’t tow the car out of the water either.

This was perhaps three quarters of an hour after the car had gone into the water with the woman.

This is a précis of the whole story. There had also been an off duty policeman directing traffic, a community police officer trying to co-ordinate things on shore. The ferry standing offshore with two ambulances and a fire engine. A fire engine on the submerged cars side of the water with two coastguard trucks, four police cars and an ambulance.

Including the emergency services on the opposite side of the river, on the river and in the air there were eighteen vehicles. Not one of them had a trained and equipped diver.

Cornwall has the most coastline of any UK county and this local region, Carrick, is one of it’s most coastal with tourism and fishing both playing a major role. The nearest major town; Falmouth (along with the Carrick Roads area where the river Fal and river Percuil meet) has the third deepest natural harbour in the world.

EIGHTEEN emergency vehicles, at a coastal emergency, and not one diver.

Again, this is a précis. I struggle to think about that afternoon and have prayed for the man that lost his wife and dogs. For the woman that died and for the dogs and for all that were involved and that might be feeling a little raw for their involvement.

As a man, I hope I did everything I could to help. I beat myself up for not getting into the water and forcing the issue of the ferry guy giving me a rope but I know he did the right thing by refusing; while I was giving a statement to the police the officer said that the only thing more galling than losing someone to an incident like this (and he’d never, in ten years been to an incident like this) was losing two people when the person that tried to help ended up dying too. It’s a sobering thought.

As a photographer. As the only photographer on the incident side of the river. I actually considered being able to get photos that no other journalist would be able to get and wondered the financial value of said photos…

Ultimately, I decided against it. As a photographer I decided against it. This wasn’t a tsunami or 9/11 where the disaster was worldwide news. This was a local, personal tragedy and as such my role was to help and not to document a media event that would not have world wide ramifications and photography would not be part of it’s history.

Thinking about the forum comment that sparked this blog post, unless you’re there, unless you’re a photographer you have no idea how you’re going to react to a situation or whether you feel the need to document it. By saying that ‘not taking photos’ is a bad representation of a photojournalist the troll has no idea. I was there and I didn’t take photos. To not take photos shows humanity in some situations and an actors job is to be as naturally human as possible.

Troll… You have been pwned!

As for item #2. Why did the photojournalist decide to go cross country (across a monster infected area) with a girl that he’d just met?

I’d like to think that all things being equal. In that situation, I might make that decision too. Like Luke Rhinehart. The ‘Diceman’, sometimes you have to throw the dice and take a risk. Even if the dice are metaphorical, sometimes you have to roll them and do something unexpected. As the events of the 20th have shown, life is too often, too short. We have no idea when ours will run out and one has to make the most of each moment. One minute you can be admiring the scenery and within ten minutes either yourself or your family and pets can be dead.

Dead is forever. This moment, this life is fleeting. Even your allotted eighty or so years, seen in perspective, in time, is but an eye-blink. What percentage is your allotted life, of time that has gone before, since the beginning of time until the end of time with the implosion of the universe? It is an infinitesimally small amount of time. That’s all you have, all you will ever have and you don’t even know how long that time is.

Live! Live in the moment. Live for today. Take risks, take calculated gambles and live. Experience life. Enjoy life and if you don’t, find a way to. Find someone to share it with. Take a risk and talk to the girl you feel you’ll have no chance with because the chances are she feels just as insecure as you do. Take that walk in the countryside. Stop and smell the flowers. Play with your kids and pets. Take a holiday. Spend some money recklessly, swim in the ocean, hike cross country. Talk to a stranger. Look out to sea and smell the salt. Tell your folks you love them, eat ice-cream in the winter, try sushi for the first time. Just fucking enjoy and experience life because it is too fucking short not to.

Why did the journalist go cross-country with a girl he’d just met (but probably fancied)? Because he could!

Feb 042013

So the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, opposes gay marriage?

That’s fine…The Bible is the word of God and Leviticus 18:22 states that homosexuality is an abomination and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. No more argument needed… I’m sorry that I argued ‘for’ gay marriage and tolerance for homosexuality when I was at Alpha meetings and suffering a crisis of faith.

However, I’m going to write a letter to Justin and ask him for answers to the following questions I’ve also worried over recently:

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my new neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter Faye into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what does he think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking a few, but most women take offense.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to the French, but not to Germans. Can Justin clarify? Why can’t I own a German?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can Justin settle this?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that as I grow older and perhaps due to my diabetes I now wear reading glasses. Does my vision really have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, (I’m actually a skinhead!), even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? Should I kill myself too?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? I also enjoy pork scratchings with a pint. I’m guessing this is a double sin?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I’m sure he’s researched these things extensively, so I am confident he can help. I’m going to also thank him again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging…