My father’s house

 

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Parentless

 

And in that place

between sleeping and awake

I came upon my house

a roofless husk

sinking to its bones

and stared a long, long while

into its dark and glassless

eyes

 

I looked for you

out back

by the tumbled sheds

and red wheelbarrow

but you were years gone

the washing hung grey

and tattered on the line

It was an empty place now

the grass dead and bleached

white.

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2018

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Wild Pony

 

As I may previously have mentioned, We saw Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes this Saturday past. As I may also have mentioned, The Stone Pony has a strict ‘no cameras’ policy so I was unable to properly document what proved to be an absolutely fantastic show.

I did, however, have my trusty phone so here are a few brief impressions of the gig in low rez.

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This band has been doing what they do for close to half a century and got their start in the same tiny Asbury Park club as Springsteen and the E Street Band. It was obvious that many at the gig were longtime fans who had shared a great deal of history with The Dukes.

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The first act was Remember Jones, another Jersey band very reminiscent of the younger Dukes of yesteryear. They did covers and originals and absolutely nailed a cover of Queen’s Don’t stop me Now. It was good to see the Jersey soul sound was still alive and kicking and in good hands.

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The weather was perfect and the bands were hot. What more could one need on a summer’s evening in Jersey?

Both of the above videos are from this gig. There was also a sizeable crowd listening for free from the Boardwalk, as you can see in the video below.

 

And if you want to see how the gig looked when photographed properly, shoot over to my friend Mark’s site here.

Mark scored a photographer’s pass to shoot the event and did a fantastic job as usual.

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Last weekend we had the opportunity to see our good friends Amy and Karen Jones playing with their amazing band, The Beautiful Distortion on our home turf, as it were. The band hails from Bethlehem PA but on this occasion, they were playing at a two-day festival at the Red Mill in Clinton NJ, which is right next door to High Bridge.

Sadly, Amy fell ill, literally as the band was about to go on and had to sit the gig out with Jersey girl and I but the rest of the guys closed ranks and braved the ninety-degree heat to give a fantastic performance (despite being one vocalist down).

TBD have a great sound which centers on the three lead vocalists. Both Amy and Karen have tremendous voices which (as is often the case with siblings) harmonise beautifully. The other fronter, Dave Doll, has a very different but totally complimentary vocal style and the three voices together are really something to hear. Dave can also shred the frets like the pro he is.

The rest of the lineup is equally impressive with Chris Reagle on lead guitar, Jeremy Aguiar on bass, and Tim Harrell on drums. All are terrific, rock-solid musicians who have been playing around the Lehigh Valley area for years.

Sonically, they’re like a cross between Fleetwood Mac (they do a fantastic cover of the chain if you yell loud and long enough) and Dream Theater, if you can imagine such a beast. That really shouldn’t work but it just does.

The exciting thing for me was that, at this particular show, I was able to bring my camera along and get some shots of the guys in action (sadly sans Amy). The setting was a cool natural amphitheatre behind the famed Red Mill and I had a great time capturing their performance.

 

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Before the band launched off. Great venue for a rock gig.

 

 

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Karen, Tim, and Jeremy giving their all.

 

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Avengers movie freeze-frame moment.

 

 

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It was hellishly hot but Dave still rocked ‘the suit’.

 

 

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Chris takes the lead.

 

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Dave ripping it up.

 

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Dave covered for Amy on a lot of her parts. The guy has one hell of a range.

 

 

 

 

Words and images are my own.

 

©2018

 

 

 

Gentlemen take polaroids

 

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So, I’ve started an Etsy shop selling prints of some of my better photographs. I have no idea if anyone will actually want them but it’s an attempt to do something creative for money for a change.

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If anyone is interested in checking it out, I guess you can consider this a shameless plug. If you know anyone looking to fill some wall space who you think may be interested in what I do, feel free to point them in my direction.

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I can be found here.

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All images are my own.

 

©2018

 

100. Full circle

 

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2013

 

 

Yesterday, we drove down to Kingston, Just outside of Princeton, to see the oldest bridge in America and to satisfy my shutter-bug obsession. It was a beautiful, warm day and after wandering about for a bit we decided we’d head for our favourite brewpub in Long Valley and enjoy a couple of their fine ales.

As we sat outside supping our beers, It all seemed very familiar. The day was very like those I’d experienced on my very first trip to visit Jersey girl. The kids are currently  away at their Grandmother’s, just as they were back then.

I reminded my wife that this very brewpub was the first place we ever went out to dinner together. And that’s when it hit us. This was actually the five year anniversary of that very meal.

Somehow, completely unintentionally, we’d ended up back at the place where we had our first proper date. I was kind of stunned at the almost audible click of that long five-year circle finally closing.

That’s not the first such instance lately either. A few months ago, after our last Immigration interview had been successfully navigated, we stopped off at the Clinton Diner for some lunch and while sitting there had remembered that this was the very first diner we ever visited together.

We’d chosen, on that day of all days, to eat in the first place we ever went together (didn’t count as a first date, though, it was just breakfast).

On top of that, we have recently been forced to move house (and towns) and quite fortuitously have ended up back in the town where JG was living when we two first met.

It all feels like completion, like all the strings are finally being tied. There’s a sense, we both feel, that we are where we are meant to be and that the path ahead is clearer than ever.

This is Loveletter 100* and feels like a good place to end. I don’t suppose anyone will ever read through all 100 entries but for anyone that might, I think the story has the capability to inspire.

I don’t think there was a single person who actually believed that a relationship that began on social media between two people on opposite sides of the world had a snowball’s chance in Hell; not one.

No one, that is, except those same two people. We knew to the very core of our souls that we would succeed, that no matter what was thrown at us and no matter how hard the journey, we would ultimately be together.

Time has proven us right and yesterday was a reminder that anything in this world is possible, you just have to want it enough.

 

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*If you’re new to this blog and you want to know what it’s all about, you can go to the Love letters section and start reading.

 

Slow train to dawn

 

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The storm eaters

 

The guilty moment hanged

Suspension before the tempest

Sweet anticipation in high humidity

No sound

But ragged breath

No sound

But insects banging tiny

Heads on window panes

Distant buzzing

Unregarded

The slow tracking of a limb

Increased heartrates

Uncurtained midnight

Sky

Breaks.

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2018

Starman

 

 

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Main Street High Bridge in the 1950’s…
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…and today.

 

In 1950’s America an interesting phenomenon occurred. Hot on the heels of the ‘flying saucer flaps’ (as they were then known) which had been occurring since 1947*, a small group of people went public with claims that they had both met and travelled with men and women from outer space.

These ‘contactees’, as they came to be called, began going public with prophetic messages and dire warnings about mankind’s future which they claimed originated with the men from Venus.

The first and most famous of these was George Adamski who went from dishwasher in a burger joint to millionaire after the publication of his book about his ‘encounters’ with space people but he was not the last. There was at least a score of others peddling pretty much the same line in space dust.

 

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Menger.

 

One of those who became almost as famous as Adamski was Howard Menger of High Bridge New Jersey. Menger claimed that when he was a young boy back in the 30’s he encountered a beautiful woman sitting upon a rock in the woods outside of town. The woman revealed herself to be from Venus and told Howard that he would meet her again at some point in the future.

Menger, in his book From Outer Space to You, claimed that this proved to be the case when, in the 50’s, he witnessed a spacecraft which landed in a field outside High Bridge. Menger alleged that one of the three figures that emerged from the craft was the very woman he had met 20 years before. Furthermore, he claimed she had not aged a day in the intervening years.

It seems amazing to think that people bought into Howard Menger’s tales of encounters with Venusian amazon women but many did. Howard claimed that many beside himself also witnessed the craft he frequently saw and filmed. However, even a cursory examination of his images leaves the modern viewer more than a little unconvinced and wondering what his so-called witnesses thought they were seeing.

Among Mengers more outrageous claims is that he was taken by the Venusians to Earth’s moon and that it had an atmosphere and horticulture. He even claimed to have brought back a ‘moon potato’.

If this all seems rediculous, it’s worth noting that Howard often spoke to very large gatherings of devoted believers (some of which took place right here in High Bridge) and he appeared often on the radio where he waxed lyrical about the teachings delivered by the Venusians**.

There are still people living in High Bridge today who claim that Howard was a hardworking and honest local businessman who was well liked and respected within the community. His own wife, Connie, met Howard when, as a local journalist, she came to interview him about his experiences with the Space Brothers. Connie was so impressed by him that she married him, quit her job, and started preaching the message too (something she continued to do even after Howard’s death in 2009).

The contactee movement has been chalked up largely to the extreme paranoia of the ‘A-Bomb Generation’. Many people (intellectuals among them) were convinced that mankind was on a fast track to annihilation and the thought of benevolent and technologically advanced beings intervening in our affairs like protective parents must have held a lot of appeal for those traumatised by their fear of the bomb.

I’ve watched some of Menger’s filmed interviews and there’s no denying he was charismatic and seemingly sincere. Perhaps he actually believed what he was saying or perhaps he just needed to believe it was true.

 

 

 

*It’s probably not a coincidence that these ‘flaps’ occurred as the paranoia of Cold War was gearing up.

**In later years (once space exploration had proven that the other planets in our Solar System were hostile to humanoid life) Menger and the other contactees claimed that they had misunderstood their Space Brothers as to their point of origin.

Menger claimed he now believed they merely had a base on Venus (or maybe Mars) and actually came from outside of our system.

 

©2018