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DJ Mixes by Neil Alexander

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Some of you readers out there may be aware that back in the day or BC (before children), I used to spin the ol' 1's and 2's for a living (DJing to the laymen out there). I've been having a clear out of some spare hard disks to make room for more RAW files and I happened across some of my old mixes. I supported The Charlatans on a couple of tours around the UK and Europe at the time of their "Us and Us Only" tour around 1999 / 2000 inhabiting the tour bus with the crew and providing the "support act" to warm the crowd up before the band came on stage. It was quite an experience I can tell you - different city every night and all that - not quite Black Sabbath, but it was pretty rock 'n' roll. I also did some work for Toploader around the time they released their debut album "Mama's Big Onka" in 2001. Prior to that I had several residencies at clubs around Manchester when the scene was still thriving (and the music was good! Winking ). I also have literally hundreds of old mix tapes in the garage too, which I'm slowly but surely trying to digitise. Though some are a bit on the iffy side, and I don't just mean the quality of the recordings, there are a few gems in there that really take me back. So I thought I'd share them for those that are interested rather than having them sit on some old drive gathering dust so to speak. If you pop on over to my profile page on my main site, you'll see them at the bottom of the page. Feel free to pop on over and get your ears wet! Check them out here.

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Monday Monday.... by Neil Alexander

All quiet today on the photography front. I spent some time over the weekend experimenting with fill flash in the sunshine which really opened my eyes. Though I'm afraid I've no images to post. I spent Saturday afternoon shooting my kids at the park, but I made a conscious decision some time ago not to post pictures of them on the Internet for all to see - there are just too many weirdos out there. I also shot a couple of rolls of slide film using my old Olympus OM10 which I've just sent to be cross-processed, though to my dismay as I was approaching the end of the second film, the camera just kept on winding and winding. When I managed to open the camera inside my dark bag this morning it felt like for some reason the film had stopped winding. I couldn't really tell by touch how much of the film had been exposed, so I'll just have to wait and see... I find loading 120 film so much easier than 35mm. To me its always a bit hit and miss with 35mm whether you've actually loaded the film properly (and I've shot plenty of the damn stuff). Even with my Lomo its the same.

Magazines:
I'm just about to renew my subscription to Black & White magazine ( its a great publication, and I really can't emphasise enough how important it is to keep your eyes scanning new images ) In addition to B&W, I also get Silvershotz, Black & White Photography, National Geographic, FPME and JPG mag. There are a few others that I regularly buy, but don't subscribe too such as Source, PhotoIcon & Next Level. But for me B&W is by far the best, closely followed by Silvershotz .

Books:
Also on the shopping list this week is Elliott Erwitt's "Unseen". I had heard that William Eggleston's "2 1/4" is due for a reprint soon, so I'm holding out for that too, as I can't really justify $170 for a used copy. I'm really looking forward to adding the Erwitt book to my growing collection (The wife reckons its getting out of hand already!) and I'll post my thoughts on it once I've got my grubby mits on it.

Totally off topic, I happened across this story about up and coming Manchester band, The Get Out Clause. They decided to make use of the plethora of CCTV cameras that grace our beloved city centre as they couldn't afford to make their own music video. They played in front of 80 different CCTVs around the city and then asked for the video via Freedom of Information Act letters. Apparently about 25% of the CCTV owners complied with the law and turned them over. These result is this video:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/1938076/The-Get-Out-Clause%2C-Manchester%27s-stars-of-CCTV-cameras.html

David nails Goliath! by Neil Alexander

Some time ago a local property developer submitted plans to demolish our local village centre, which has served the local community well for over 30 years with a behemoth of a development towering above everything in site. It was grossly oversized and all in the name of greed. We would have had to endure 2 years construction and no local amenities for this time too. As we quite literally overlook the site it would have been an absolute nightmare. Admittedly, the area is looking a tad tired and dated, but it doesn't help that CityBranch, the landlords and proposed developer have upped all the tennants rents with a view to booting them out so that they didn't have to buy out their leases should the plans be accepted. But the result is that there are now several empty units. The local council (Trafford) initally approved the plans, much to everyone's disgust. A residents' response committee was formed and a decision to appeal against the plans taken, and the Deputy Prime Minister's office informed. Long story short. After a great deal of time and effort (and money) a decision was eventually reached. The announcement was due in mid February, and as this deadline slipped by and nothing was heard, we all assumed the worst. That was until last night. And the appeal has been dismissed, so the plans have been rejected. HALLELUJAH! So now CityBranch have loads of empty units and less rent coming in - serves them right the money grabbing *#!?'{}***! Many many thanks go to Tony Woolf, Rev Rob Hinton and the rest of the committee that worked tirelessly in proving that there is at least some small semblance of common sense left in this world. Read more here: www.hbrr.co.uk