On Saturday Iain took me on a wee post-work adventure to Newport and Wormit beach to take pictures. It was good fun, although I wasn’t exactly prepared or dressed appropriately for climbing over slippery, seaweed-covered rocks and sliding through muddy puddles. It was a bit cold and miserable (I thought my fingers were going to freeze off), but the sunset was beautiful.
The Olympic torch came to Dundee yesterday, which was quite exciting! I mean, it’s not often that this sort of thing happens in my little city. I met Iain after work for a walk through the very busy town centre, and then we made our way to Baxter Park. It was really nice to see so many people just hanging out in one place and (mostly) having a good time and getting along.
We watched performances by Emeli Sandé (good), Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher (good) and were given a total of 10 free Nature Valley cereal bars (good). The crowd was a little bit lacklustre and difficult to ‘work’ sometimes, and pretty much as soon as the cauldron was lit people started leaving – even though there were people on stage still talking (some schoolkids, the Lord Provost, and a local MSP), which I felt bad about. But I think everyone seemed to have a good time, in the end. I do kind of wish we’d made our way over to the other side of the park to see what was going on over there; apparently people could have their photo taken while holding an actual Olympic torch, which would have been a fun thing to do.
I’ve received many presents in my time. Loads. But being asked to pick one, the best one I’ve ever been given, is a difficult, horrible task. I’m sure that as I child I did my fair share of wanting and whinging, and got my fair share of best-present-evers. Today though, I’m going to talk about a present I got as a surprise.
For Christmas 2007, Iain got me a camera. It was totally unexpected (although now he tells me I had been complaining about the camera I had at the time). Along with the camera, he presented me with a photo album, a few pages of which were already filled with photos – things like graduation ball snapshots and general photographic silliness. I absolutely loved it, and I still do.
To this day I carry the camera around with me (almost) everywhere. Most of the time I remember to bring a memory card with me as well, which is helpful.
I think that although the camera is amazing, and definitely far more than I was expecting to receive, that the fact that it was packaged with an already-started photo album is what made me super happy. That kind of portrays a message; it makes you think of memories, of making memories, of the future. At the time, it all sort of made me think “Oh, this person really likes me, and wants to stick around at least long enough to fill this photo album with memories that include me,” which was really, really nice. That’s what makes a good gift, I think; a good gift isn’t about how much money you can spend on someone (although I imagine the camera wasn’t cheap!), it’s about the thought that goes into it. Clichés are usually clichés for a reason!
Honourable mention goes to Lite-Brite though!
Last night, after a long, woeful day at work, Iain made me walk up the Law. It was horrible. It was dark, and muddy, and cold, and steep. But it was totally worth it in the end. It was the NeoN finale (although it wasn’t really the end of the festival, since there was still stuff going on today), and it was good. There was a bit of Tagtool, a bit of performance art, and a bit of dancing-with-LEDs.
I’ve not been able to attend any NeoN stuff so far, although my boyfriend has and has told me all about it, so it was really nice to go along to this. I’m really happy that there’s such a creative, artsy scene in Dundee, and really hope to go out and participate in things more often. Participating in things is good.
My new favourite thing right now is my Actionsampler camera. It’s small, it’s plastic, it’s awesome! It takes your picture four times! I accidentally reached the end of my film on Thursday – I’d thought it had 36 shots, but it only had 24! – and persuaded Iain to drop it off at Jessops in town for me on Saturday. He picked up the prints for me too, because I was having an epic lie-in, and it was so exciting to open up that envelope and rifle through my never-before-seen photos! There’s something quite romantic about using film, I think. We’re so used to instant gratification when it comes to
everything photographs these days; it was quite exciting but also very frustrating not to be able to see what I’d just shot. It’s such a common thing to go completely snap-happy with my digital camera and then just delete, delete, delete. I’d never used this camera before either, so I was also a bit dubious as to whether it would actually work properly, since it’s just a cheap wee plastic thing.
Some of my prints are spectacular failures due to not having enough light or me pointing the camera in entirely the wrong direction, but some turned out really well, and I think I’ll definitely keep this camera handy when I go on adventures, because I really like the kitschy effect it delivers! I especially like the multi-exposure parts between the frames – I’ve actually been reading up on how to do double-exposures and how to reuse an already-exposed film by fishing out the wound-in end and reloading it into the camera, so I’m sure I’ll have enough photographic experiments to keep me busy for quite a while!
I uploaded a few of the more successful pictures to Flickr, but here are a couple of my favourites:
Way back in week 3 of Change by Design (oh my goodness, check out how long I’ve been a student for already!), Jonathan gave us a wee blogging prompt that I keep going back to thinking about.
Think about something you were given, or have given to someone else, and how its meaning has changed from when it was made to now.
At first I couldn’t really think of anything that fit in to this topic, but then after ruminating for a while something popped into my head.
A few years ago, when I was about nineteen, I went through a month-long phase of being seriously into making friendship bracelets – I think I’d found an old instruction sheet from when I was about twelve, and decided that it would be an ace way to use up the ridiculous stash of embroidery threads I’d amassed since then (which is nothing compared to the stash I have going now, by the way!). So I knotted and knotted and knotted, and produced friendship bracelet upon friendship bracelet. And I think I probably just threw away most of them in the end, but one ended up absent-mindedly tied around my boyfriend’s wrist one day. And it stayed there. And it stayed there. And it’s still there.
Well… the original one lasted about two years and then fell off, but I made a second one to replace it, which is still holding strong.
I find it really interesting how something very insignificant can grow to somehow have a significant meaning to someone, and have memories and sentiments attached to it, and I find it especially interesting how that can happen completely arbitrarily. Why does some embroidery thread knotted together now somehow have any special meaning to me, and why can’t I really explain it?
I suppose this bracelet now means something to me because he kept it. I could have thrown that one out with the rest of them, he could have taken it off and thrown it away, it could have fallen off and not been noticed. But he kept it, and when it did break, it was already something important. It had quite quickly become something more than just thread.
People don’t always love the things that are expensive and flashy, I suppose, and often it’s simply the gesture of giving a gift that is appreciated. Rather than reserving sentiments for precious metals and expensive price tags, often it’s just a case of “I love this because it was given to me by [someone].” or “I love this because it reminds me of [something].” or “I love this because [someone] made it for me.”
Someone did once ask if Iain was a Buddhist after spotting it, though.