After University

Larry was just one of those guys, you know, the kind who secretly knew he’d never make it despite the family connections and the business contacts. He strutted around fooling neither himself nor those who bemusedly watched him. Still, in Covent Garden there had been a day when he’d looked good. I can’t remember how we’d connected after the years since we’d last spoken but here we were. I wanted to sit outside, in the warm sunlight, enjoying a baguette and une café watching the happy and excited tourists. Larry, as ever, wanted to call the shots and frankly, I didn’t care. If it mattered so much to him then let it be, as an old friend, long gone, once said. I knew Larry would have no words of wisdom. He wanted to sit inside in stale air and suffer yesterday’s reheated spaghetti Bolognese. What the hell, go with it. Life’s too short but let’s not make it too long.
However, to make a short story long, I actually enjoyed it almost as much as I enjoyed the otiose use of the word actually in this sentence. To use a Hipster exclamation of satisfaction or indeed psuedo-street slang signifying that something is exceptional or that it is perfect, the pasta was perfectamundo, yet something wasn’t right. Why was Larry trying to impress me?

© James Sapsard 2017

Château de La Napoule

The opening scene of the film, Bedtime Story 1964, shows the Château de La Napoule as the home of the lead character played by David Niven. The Château is described in the film as being in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 45 kilometres away, which is depicted in the film as Beaumont-sur-Mer.

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La Château de La Napoule, Avenue Henry Clews, 06210 Mandelieu-la-Napoule, France. Image © James Sapsard 2017

The actress, Jeanne Moreau, attended the 11th Cannes Film Festival which was held from 2nd May to 18th May 1958. She found time to travel the six miles (9.6 kilometres) to La Napoule for a photoshoot with the famous chateau in the background. Two years later, at the 13th Cannes Film Festival, which was held from the 4th to 20th May 1960, she shared the Best Actress Award with Melina Mercouri. Jeanne Moreau’s film was Seven Days… Seven Nights (Moderato Cantabile) and Melina Mercouri’s film was Never On Sunday (Pote Tin Kyriaki).

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Jeanne Moreau on the beach by Château de La Napoule 1958.

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Image © James Sapsard 2017

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Image © James Sapsard 2017

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Image © James Sapsard 2017

An amazing drone flight over the Château and its gardens.

When Cooler Than Cool Kids Read Kerouac

forever living second looks at and thoughts of their Friday night love and faux lust experimental methods of millisecond kisses led him to believe that her deliciously dissolute and absinthe lips made his open heart grow Fonda in her Barbarella film noir nearness dream of consciousness celluloid timepiece make peace crisscross boundaries breathless pants cinema obscura life and her fakely hesitant invitation that there would now be a short intermission into territories unknown as they enjoyed their delving may care moments of teenage dissolution evolution and the ice cream lady with her horizontally held cold product and her glistening hot red lips mouthing invitations to part with their meagre pocket money to enjoy her frozen in time delights and all they had in their pockets were deliberately torn out linings and each other’s hands and being the first to leave before the rushed escape from the national anthem always played at the wrong speed and wanting to dare to miss the last bus so that they could lie unheard and unseen in the dry clean ditch the other side of the electric fence after they’d short-circuited away the shock of no admission and she’d pop a mint into her mouth crunch it and kiss it to him and they’d pass it back and forth until long after it was gone just like the last bus and they’d run to the phone box and she’d call her parents saying the film ran late and they didn’t realise and that he’d tried to stop the bus but the driver had ignored him and that his parents would look after her and they delighted in telling lies and enjoying forbidden fruit knowing her parents didn’t know that his parents were away and never would because there was no phone at his home and they’d be indoors in bed and in flagrante delicto by midnight planning and succeeding in waking dissolute and exhausted fourteen hours later and they deliberately wouldn’t wash because dirty her was dirty him and vice versa without the versa and the salt of her teenage armpits was his succour and how in some never understood way she always wanted to be held quiet motionless and staring at the hot afternoon sky before they walked into the forest not as far as Big River but far enough to find deep water and undress and jump in and splash playfully and then climb out clean to dry themselves with their clothes and back to the phone box where she’d tell her parents she’s staying another night and the noisy argument and her ultimatum if they don’t trust her she’ll make him do things to her because she respects their desire to always know better than her or maybe she’ll run away to London and change her name to Hey You and her parents suitably subdued would leave them to it and they’d gaze longingly and lovingly into the infinity and identity of each other’s eyes as they made their way back to perform an abundance of teenage sacrileges mixing grape with grain and Beatles with Rolling Stones and instant coffee in their tea because they were young and fresh and their experiments were just beginning and they were complete in how much or how little they knew because they created and imposed the horizons of their own world and he knows that she knows that he is still between her arms and in her legs and that he will ever be her foremost thought as he was that day she recited those enforced upon her by circumstance vows as she looked into another’s eyes and still saw only him.

© James Sapsard 2016

A Figment For Christmas

Diary

It was just after 4 a.m. yesterday morning when I woke with a parched throat, I’d been sleeping with my mouth open. I had a slight headache as well. I didn’t want to get up but knew I’d benefit from a glass of water. I made my way to the kitchen leaving my girlfriend, Madly, asleep. Her parents, aficionados of mid-20th century popular music and, of course, film noire, had named her after Jacques Brel’s remarkable wife, Madly Bamy, and she really is.
I didn’t need to switch on any lights because the flat wasn’t in pitch darkness with outside lamplight and moonlight seeping through the blinds and drapes. As I stood before the kitchen sink slowly sipping cold tap water to alleviate my throat, I leaned forward to glance, through the Venetian blinds, across the green front lawn area and road towards the old terraced houses opposite.
I could see a number of armed police officers, dressed in combat gear, hooded, gas-masked and wearing bullet proof clothing, crouched either side of the front door of the house immediately opposite. Without disturbing the blind, I looked up and down the road either side of me. In both directions I could see parked black vans.
I stepped back. I walked into my study and picked up and switched on one of my mobile ’phones. I scrolled through the contacts and pressed ‘call’. The ’phone rang once and a voice said, “Jay?”
I said, “There are armed police officers at your front door.”
The ’phone clicked and the line was dead. I picked up a camera and a mini tripod and returned to the kitchen. I set up the camera with the lens pointing through the blind and started filming.
Madly’s voice behind me said, “James?”
I said, “Don’t turn on the lights. Come and look at this.”
She came over and stood beside me, took my hand in hers and gazed discreetly through the blinds. Then she saw the camera.
“You’re filming it?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Quick thinking,” she said with a squeeze of my hand. “What do you think it’s about?”
“No idea,” I said.
“God, I hope they don’t shoot him.”
“I ’phoned him.”
“Oh God, James. How will he get out?”
“He’s already out and gone by now. Those old terraces have one long loft running through all of them separated by a half wall. He’ll get to the end, down the stairs, out the back door and gone.”
“You could get into trouble.”
“No. Unregistered single use SIM to unregistered single use SIM.”
We watched as the front door opposite was smashed in and a stream of officers entered the house. Within moments we heard muted explosions, we guessed from stun bombs and gas canisters. Then the property exploded in one huge flash, blowing out all of the windows. Madly was frozen in shocked silence then, moments later, all of the officers emerged from the smoked filled doorway, dazed but unharmed.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed Madly. “They’re alive. They’re so lucky.”
“Carefully placed special effects,” I said. “Just a warning shot and they haven’t got him.”
“Neighbours are coming out,” said Madly and we could both see people emerging and coming into view from both sides of the street.
“Let’s get out there with them and act as shocked and confused as they are,” I said.
“It’s like the beginning of some optimistic writer’s spy novel,” said Madly.
“Because it is,” I replied.
“And I suppose I’m just a figment of your imagination?” she smiled.
“Naturally,” I replied.
“Some hope,” she replied and kicked me hard.

© James Sapsard 2016

Voyage

My submissions to the Guardian Witness website on the theme of voyage. The Guardian uploaded my two videos to YouTube at a lower resolution than the originals but they’re fine if you don’t go fullscreen.

The videos.

When three voyages intercept … which one wins?

https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/57c0204ee4b0fe30498a4f57/5002156

The thrilling race to the dock!

https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/57c0204ee4b0fe30498a4f57/5002159

The photos.
All images © James Sapsard.
Images may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of the copyright holder.
Just click on an image to open it full size.

A night voyage past the Oxo Tower on the south bank of the River Thames in London

The building was originally built in the late 19th century as a power station to supply electricity to the Royal Mail post office. It was largely rebuilt to an Art Deco design by architect Albert Moore in 1928 and 1929. Although most of the original power station was demolished, the river facing façade was preserved. For a long period of time preceding the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the building was derelict. Eventually the tower was refurbished, in the 1990’s, to a design by Lifschutz Davidson which included housing and commercial premises. It is now run by Redwood Housing Co-op which leases seventy eight flats at Oxo Tower Wharf comprising of twenty eight one bedroom flats, forty five two bedroom flats and five three bedroom flats.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/57c0204ee4b0fe30498a4f57/5002157
I inadvertently omitted the words in red when I submitted the photo to Guardian Witness.

You want a cab ride or a taxi voyage?

Venice where taxis are fun.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/57c0204ee4b0fe30498a4f57/5002158

Striking Architecture

Most of us have probably signed up to a website and then been unable to access it because we’ve forgotten the password.

I signed up to the Guardian Witness website on 18th October 2006. Back then, those of us who signed up were given an ID number. Mine is ID114202. Anyone signing up now can use a name but The Guardian hasn’t provided any means by which those of us who were assigned a number can update our membership to show a name instead.

Back in 2009, for some forgotten reason, I tried to access my Guardian account but I couldn’t remember my password and there was no system in place to recover it. I tried to sign up again and was met with an automated response to the effect that the email address I was providing belonged to another account.

Consequently I opened a new account, on 9th September 2009, using a different email address, and was assigned the ID number, ID3777763.

Before I started uploading photos, I’d never bothered to sign in because I didn’t need to just to read articles. I came across the photography assignments page in about November/ December 2014 and needed to log in so that I could submit my photos. Without thinking, I logged in with my old account information, including my once forgotten password. I recorded my ‘forgotten’ password and made my photography submissions ensuring that I stayed logged in.

About four months ago, I was having a few problems with my browser so I used a different one. I opened The Guardian Witness website and made my submissions which appeared on The Guardian Witness website. I didn’t notice that the different browser was logged in to my later ID.

The photos below appear on my alternative 2009 Guardian Witness website. It’s a one-off because I’ve gone back to the 2006 website because I have eleven pages of photos there.

So, the standard beginning:

All images © James Sapsard.
Images may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of the copyright holder.
Just click on an image to open it full size.

Fifteen minutes in La Grande-Motte – 1

Walking along Quai Georges Pompidou, 34280 La Grande-Motte, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, I took this photo at 320 Quai Georges Pompidou.
La Grande Motte is a resort town built mainly between 1960 and 1975 on undeveloped beachfront land. Jean Balladur, the project architect, was inspired by modernist architecture in Brazil, especially the work of architect Oscar Niemeyer and by pre-Columbian pyramids like those of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Pierre Pillet, the landscaper, was involved in selecting plants that would thrive in the marine climate.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966945

Fifteen minutes in La Grande-Motte – 2

One minute later, the next building displays stunning architecture at 320 Quai Georges Pompidou, 34280 La Grande-Motte, France.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966946

Fifteen minutes in La Grande-Motte – 3

Another minute later, a different view of the same building at 320 Quai Georges Pompidou, 34280 La Grande-Motte, France.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966947

Fifteen minutes in La Grande-Motte – 4

Some twelve minutes later, I took this photograph from the Marina Esplanade Maurice Justin, 34280, La Grande Motte which has either 1,452 or 1,538 moorings depending on which official website one reads. The development includes the Palais de Congrès (conference centre) and the church of St. Augustine and is a favourite resort in France with over two million visitors a year.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966949

A walk south on the Lido di Venezia – 1

The Lion’s Bar, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi 31, Lido di Venezia 30126 Venezia.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966950

A walk south on the Lido di Venezia – 2

The Excelsior Hotel, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi 41, Lido di Venezia 30126. This Moorish style hotel was built in 1908.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966951

A walk south on the Lido di Venezia – 3

The entrance to the Excelsior Hotel, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi 41, Lido di Venezia 30126.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966952

A walk south on the Lido di Venezia – 4

I walked in and sat down in the architecturally fascinating lounge of the Excelsior Hotel, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi 41, Lido di Venezia 30126.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966953

A walk south on the Lido di Venezia – 5

I took a walk around the grounds and the garden of the Excelsior Hotel, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi 41, Lido di Venezia 30126 to see the architectural design of the back of the building. The garden steps lead straight onto the beach.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d6c766e4b023cfa49ebb8c/1966954

REST – but not “sleep, perchance to dream”

All images © James Sapsard.
Images may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of the copyright holder.
Just click on an image to open it full size.

A quiet rest guaranteed

How much did you say chair hire is?!! The golden beach at Saint George South (Ágios Geórgios), Corfu.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d82085e4b0fd1a8c7d06ce/1960009

We wanted a rest away from the crowds

… but this is just scary. A walk along the coast between Petriti beach and Messonghi, Corfu.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d82085e4b0fd1a8c7d06ce/1960007

A loving rest almost in the shadows

By Chartres Cathedral, 16 Cloître Notre Dame, 28000 Chartres, France.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d82085e4b0fd1a8c7d06ce/1960005

Luxurious rest

“We’re so grateful that you came so far just for us. We’ve got your room ready. Please have a good rest and if you need anything just ring room service.” A bedroom in the abandoned 13th century mansion just 100m from Petriti beach, Corfu, once owned by Lady Palatianou-Adams, wife of the British High Commissioner and Governor of Corfu, Lord Frederick Adams.
https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/56d82085e4b0fd1a8c7d06ce/1960001