Early morning, February 2017, shortly before we were due to hold our WIP (Work In Progress) Show at The Lighthouse in Glasgow, I turned off my alarm and swung my legs over the side of the bed. There's not a lot of space down there, the room itself not being that much bigger than the bed, but enough to put my feet down and stand up. Which I tried to do. At some point on the journey between being seated and finding myself standing, my knee gave way. There was no twisting or turning, no jolting or slipping, no wrenching, just a sudden lack of support for the rest of my not inconsiderable self and a searing pain from knee to hip and ankle and back again. I sat back down and slightly sobbed if I'm honest. It bloody hurt!
Without poring over every detail of the last six months, suffice to say it's still sore. There are days when it's better than others but the healing process is taking much longer than I expected and I'm fed up. I have noticed though, that on days where I push myself to walk further than I really want, the knee feels better for it the next day, so I have resolved that I'm going to try and walk myself to fitness. And, because I'm a photographer, and a documentary photographer at that, I figured I'd document my progress.
Day one was actually the 3rd August. I walked from our home to the China Shop where I'm currently working on a project with the co-operation of the owner, and then along the seafront. I made it as far as the Commodore Hotel, a place where I have history, having once lived and worked there as the Bar Manager.
When I worked there, the Hotel Manager took a notion to create a beer garden outside. Not wanting to invest vast amounts of money on expensive beer garden furniture, he acquired a job lot of white plastic patio furniture and made me drag it all, in and out of a shed at the back of the hotel twice a day, for security. Job lots of plastic furniture are sufficiently lightweight as to be eminently nickable but heavy enough in quantity to make lugging them around the hotel carpark twice a day an arduous activity of the sort I could really have done without.
Thankfully, for the present incumbent, the new owners have invested in some sufficiently robust wooden furniture that would put off all but the most keen of thieves. I did note however that they have elected to use plastic plants in pots (my Ikea radar was buzzing) as table numbering devices. At first glance these appear highly stealable but closer inspection suggests that they have been attached to the tables with cable ties, possibly rendering theft more effort than the rewards would suggest it's worth.
Walk number two, 4th August 2017, was a bit of a bust. The plan had been to nip round in a loop to Tesco, collect some bread and fruit to offer the starving hordes and then set off on a proper walk. The knee (which is rapidly taking on an anthropomorphic quality all of its own in my mind) decided not to play ball and I had to stop and take a documentary photograph of my position before I'd even left my own street. This was disappointing. I pushed on to the shops in any case (I was more willing to walk in pain that return to the cave without supplies) but elected not to go any further once everyone had been fed and watered.
It did occur to me as I looked around for something to photograph that this could end up being the most random set of images ever grouped together. The only thing that links them is that they consist of things that caught my eye in that particular place. The plastic plants made me stop and pause, partly because I have a deeply felt revulsion for plastic plants, and partly because they just seemed so out of place...outside! I tend to associate plastic plants with Edinburgh landladies, turquoise flock wallpaper and ornate wire tea trolleys decorated with replicas of dutch still life paintings in amongst a pervasive aroma of Vim. Of course, the grass doesn't really belong in the wall either but I don't know if it will be possible to make a series of 'things that are out of place' at the same time as insisting that I document exactly where I was when the knee pain became noticeable. You can't ram too many concepts together. Perhaps there will just be a sense of cohesion brought to the project by the way that I see, or by the nature of the things that catch my eye. I guess we'll see.