There are many things I have inherited from my father. There are the good – some aptitude for sports, my height my ability to grow facial hair and, according to him, my looks. Then there are the not so good – the receding hairline and grey edges which belie my youthful status and, perhaps most worryingly, my pyromaniac tendencies.
If you have seen my photo stream over at flickr, you may have seen some of my light painting pictures – achieved by leaving the shutter open for a long time while manipulating light sources to creative effect. Once I had grown tired of using torches and luminescent wire, I discovered that small garden fireworks could be relatively easily twirled, moved and generally manipulated to great effect. The ultimate culmination of this came about two years ago, when my father and I decided to set fire to a beach.
I travelled into London on the train a few days ago to pay a visit to Albannach in Trafalgar Sqaure for a brief pilgrimage, pre-Twitter tasting. I rarely get public transport, as it is not seemingly designed for anyone with my length of legs, and I forgot how much I genuinely dislike it. As I took my seat, I noticed (as one could clearly not fail to) a large group of very noisy boys. I immediately felt my hackles go up, felt my irritation levels rising. I decided to focus on the window intently and just try to get through the journey. A mother with a toddler very quickly left the carriage and the tension was clearly rising.
However, not all was quite as it seemed. As I started to pay slightly more attention, I realised that, despite the noise levels, there was no swearing going on, they were being very polite and moving out of people’s way. They started talking to the rest of the carriage, asking who they were and where they were from. The boys, it quickly became clear, were from a London school (a uniform of grey blazers, and a teal and purple diagonal striped tie?) and had gone south on the train for a hockey match (which they had won, by all appearances). They were drinking cheap red wine from the bottles or cans or Stella for those less used to wine. They were pleasant, well brought up lads, who meant no one any harm, despite initial impressions. They were celebrating Leap Day by searching for uniqueness; anyone of note (which soon became anyone) was toasted, including John, who impressed them by announcing he had been both a plasterer of walls and legs (originally a decorator, now a nurse…).