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Monday, 26 September 2016

Keith Richards' Lost Weekend



What a treat on BBC Four television this weekend when Keith Richards’ “pirate broadcast” took over the channel from dusk to dawn for three nights, replacing the usual schedule with his own selection from the past, such as Tony Hancock’s Twelve Angry Men, Captain Pugwash, and Hitchcock’s 1935 version of The Thirty Nine Steps, all billed as Keith Richards’ Lost Weekend. I didn’t stay up all night with Keef but the bits I did see were great. 


One particular clip had me in hysterics: Spike Milligan’s Raspberry Song from 1977. I’d never seen it before.* I squirmed in agony until my family decided it had to be switched off – “before he wets himself” was the phrase used.

They turned over to the other channel for Would I Lie To You in which two teams of metropolitan smart alecs compete to make viewers feel witty and sophisticated. Next to Milligan they are no different from any of those pompous, pedestrian panellists of the past, like Frank Muir, Robert Robertson and Robin Ray. Raspberries to them all.

* For the lyrics see http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/e/everythingisfreshtoday.shtml

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hedge Trimmer Safety 1968

The Black & Decker D470 (U-272) Hedge Trimmer

If you want the kids to cut the hedge and mow the lawn for you, get them some dangerous power tools and they’ll happily do it while you’re at work. On no account should you stay home to watch over them or they won’t do it. Or if they do, you will be so frightened by the risks that you’ll have to do it yourself.


My brother and I certainly fell for it. It started in 1968. The previous December we had moved to a house with a wide lawn and a six-foot hedge along the side. The hedge ran the full length of the front and back gardens – around a hundred feet – and we had to cut both sides because it was next to a field. My dad came home with two seriously businesslike items of gardening equipment: an Atco petrol mower and a Black & Decker electric hedge trimmer with a sixteen-inch blade. The mower, to which I owe a useful understanding of engines, particularly the operation of the clutch, is long gone, but the hedge trimmer is in my shed. It still works, and I still use it.

Electric hedge trimmers are brutal pieces of equipment. They cause more than three thousand injuries in the U.K. every year, mainly lacerated fingers and electric shock. After all, they are designed to cut through twigs the thickness of your fingers. Today they boast numerous safety features. They have two switches to ensure you keep both hands on the machine at all times. The blades stop the instant either switch is released. They have blade extensions: fixed teeth which extend beyond the cutting blades so you cannot hurt yourself by accidentally brushing the trimmer against your leg. They have cable protection such as coiling and a belt clip to stop you cutting through it. They have guards to protect your hands from flying or falling debris.

Not only that, they also come with pages of warnings against the ill-advised actions of idiot users. They tell you to wear heavy duty gloves, non-slip shoes and suitable clothing, not to wear a scarf or neck tie, and to tie up long hair. They suggest eye and ear protection, but to be aware that ear protection impedes your ability to hear warnings. They advise against using the trimmer in damp weather, and to watch out for roots and other obstacles you might fall over. And you should always use an RCD (GFCI) circuit breaker.

Your imagination starts to work overtime as you recognise the wisdom in these warnings and begin to picture the terrible accidents and injuries that could occur if you ignore them. But the manufacturers don’t just leave things there; they really do think you are an idiot. You should never use the equipment, they caution, while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You must not permit bystanders, especially children and animals. You should not cut where you cannot see, and should always first check the other side of the hedge you are trimming. Never hold the trimmer with one hand, they say, hinting that those who do might henceforth be left with only one hand to hold it with. And to be sure they have covered absolutely everything, including themselves, they tell you never to use the trimmer for any purpose other than for cutting shrubs and hedges. It appears they are unable to envisage what these other purposes might be or they would surely mention them. “Do not use the trimmer for shearing sheep,” they might say, “or for grooming your poodle.”

Some manufacturers even include warnings about vibration-induced circulatory problems (“white finger disease”), and provide advice specifically for those whose heart pacemakers might be affected by the magnetic fields around the motor. And all of this is before they get on to things that might go wrong with petrol driven trimmers and their toxic exhaust fumes and inflammable fuel, which I suppose would have applied to the motor mower my brother and I used to enjoy unsupervised.


The warnings seem so comprehensive they must be based on real accidents and incidents that have occurred over the years since home power tools emerged in the nineteen-sixties. Did someone, somewhere, really magnetically disrupt their heart pacemaker and fall down dead? Did someone else, still in their business suit straight from the office, catch up their necktie and die through strangulation? Could you really (like Philip Larkin and the hedgehog) chop up your pet cat hiding at the other side of the hedge? And did some simpleton under the influence of drugs or alcohol once imagine their hedge trimmer to be a light sabre and prance down the garden wielding it in front of them like Obi-Wan Kenobi, only to be tripped into the fish pond and electrocuted by the power lead tightening around their ankles.


So, just how many of these safety features and warnings do you think are designed into the 1968 Black & Decker D470 (or U-272 in the United States) electric hedge trimmer? Practically none of course. I concede it does have blade extensions, that the nameplate warns it should not be used in rain and that the accompanying instructions suggest it is not a good idea to cut through the power cable, but that’s about it. The manufacturers thought it more important to tell you about its power, speed and ruggedness, and the sharpness of the tempered spring steel blade. There is nothing to prevent you from using it one-handed or indeed no-handed – it will keep going even when you put it down. One-handed is actually an advantage: you can reach further without having to move your step-ladder.

When you do switch it off it does not stop instantly: it takes a couple of seconds to slow down. This is why my brother did have an accident. At home on his own one summer afternoon aged about fifteen he helpfully thought he would trim the hedge. He had to phone Mum at the shop where she worked to ask her to come back because he thought he might need to go to hospital. He had caught the end of his finger in the blade, cutting about a third of the way into the side of his nail. He didn’t notice until his arm felt wet. There was quite a lot of blood.

Maybe I shouldn’t use it, but I do. It may be so old as not even to get a mention on the Black & Decker web site, and the wiring colours are perilously obsolete, but why buy a new one when it is still good? Modern ones are so shoddily made they are likely to need replacing within ten years, but this one has already lasted almost fifty.

In any case, hedge trimmers are only the third most frequent cause of gardening injuries requiring hospital treatment. Far more people are hurt by lawn mowers. And hedge trimmers cause nowhere near as many injuries as plant pots.

Instruction sheet for the Black & Decker D460 and D470 (U-272 or 8120) hedge trimmers

Friday, 9 September 2016

Help ... my courgette looks like a duck!


It’s like something out of That’s Life – a 1973-1994 BBC Television magazine-style consumer affairs and entertainment programme presented by Esther Rantzen and a panel of male co-presenters. During its Sunday evening run in the mid nineteen-seventies it made for a relaxing and usually mindless end to the weekend. Among the serious and often worthwhile consumer rights campaigns, the show contained numerous items that were just plain silly: there were “Odd Odes”; stooges would burst into song in supermarkets; there was a dog that could growl the word “sausages”; and viewers would send in unusually shaped vegetables such as intertwined carrots, teddy-bear shaped potatoes and parsnips that looked like legs with male genitalia.

Well here Esther, around forty years too late, is my contribution – a courgette that looks like a duck. Pareidolia.

It was hiding in the vegetable patch. It must have twisted round to grow against its stalk. Concealed beneath the leaves at the back of the plant, it surreptitiously became this three and three-quarter pound (1700g) monster.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

‘A’ Level Geography 1977

A nostalgic look back at the 1977 Joint Matriculation Board ‘A’ Level Geography Paper


“Le Creusot,” I enunciated excitedly in my best ‘O’ Level French accent as we sped past the road sign. “That’s one of the most important steel producing towns in the country.” The others in the car yawned.

Some hours later there was a sign to Montélimar. Rod and Tony started to sing George Harrison’s ‘Savoy Truffle’ but instead of joining in I said “Great! We’re getting near the André-Blondel hydro-electric scheme at Donzère-Mondragon. And we’ll soon be near the Marcoule nuclear power station.”


I had been like that all day. Rod and Tony must have been pretty fed up with the running commentary. We were driving down through France on our way to Provence and I was prattling like a poor Geography text book about the country’s electric power and industry. Having memorised most of the sketch maps in A Map Book of France by Tussler and Alden for ‘A’ level, I thought everyone ought to be fascinated by French economic activity. 

Such is the power of knowledge. It gives you the means to bore everyone else to death in the mistaken belief you are being interesting.

Geography was the second subject I took late at ‘A’ Level (the other was English Literature). It was going to be History but just as with English, the Woolsey Hall correspondence course started badly. The first half dozen pieces of work on Tudor and Stuart England came back from the tutor in Clacton-on-Sea graded from Very Good down to Weak without any clear indication why. Correspondence courses are not always a good idea, especially in subjects that benefit from face-to-face discussion.

But then, a couple of strokes of good luck. An old school friend, now a Geography teacher, suggested his subject would be more straightforward. He gave me a one-evening crash course and overview of the syllabus, and I decided to switch. Then, a friend of a friend lent me her impressively thorough notes from a few years earlier. They were full of splendid sketch maps and diagrams of river valleys and other landforms. She had got a grade A. You could almost fall in love with someone through the beauty of their ‘A’ Level Geography notes.

So I did Geography on my own, without a formal course, and got away with it. I bought a copies of the syllabus and previous papers, analysed them carefully, pared everything down to what could be achieved in a year and planned my time meticulously. Just as in English Literature, the Geography syllabus offered an excessive amount of choice, which meant you could omit complete sections. Again, you were allowed to take away the question papers after the examinations, so here they are (click to enlarge). My son, who took ‘A’ Level Geography in recent years, was surprised by the high quality of the supporting maps and photographic materials.

GEOGRAPHY PAPER I (3 hours)

Section A: Geomorphology. On first sight it seems you had to answer one question from three, but as the second question was an either/or on different topics, it was effectively one from four.

There were questions on lakes, erosion in different climates, landforms and coasts. It looks like I went for Question 2(b) on landforms.

I enjoyed this part of the syllabus and covered more than necessary. I still pretend to be knowledgeable about such things when out in the countryside, and have kept my copy of the wonderful Physical Geography by P. Lake.

Of the accompanying images, Photograph A was obviously the magnificent Flamborough Head which I know well. Please could someone enlighten me as to the location of Photograph B?

Section B: Meteorology, Soils and Vegetation. You had to answer just one question from these topics. In other words, you could omit two thirds of the syllabus here. I prepared the question on soils. Consequently I am still unable to distinguish stratus, cumulonimbus and other cloud formations.

Section C: Economic Geography. You were required to answer two questions from six.

Candidates still attending school would have carried out field studies covered by Questions 9 and 11(a), but not me. 1977 may have been the last year you could get away without doing a practical element.

I am no longer sure how many topics I did prepare, but it looks like my answers were on hydro-electric power, cotton and maritime fishing.

The street plan for Question 11(b), which I avoided, I can now identify as part of Bristol. 

GEOGRAPHY PAPER II (3 hours)

Section A: map reading. One compulsory question.


The map covers an area to the south of Chatham in Kent.

Many faced map reading with trepidation but for me it was the part of the examination about which I felt most confident. Just like a driver with a few years’ experience, several years of country walking had made me certain I was an expert. It serves as a warning not to rely on confidence alone. Afterwards, I thought I had messed up this part so badly as to fall short of the grades I needed for university (BB or BC). I put in late Polytechnic applications and received offers of DE and EE. They turned out to be unnecessary.

Sections B and C: Europe (3 topics) and other parts of the world (7 topics).


Sections B and C cover ten topics in all, with a choice of six questions on each topic. You had to answer a total of three questions including at least one from each section. As there was nothing to stop you choosing two questions on the same topic, you could get away with preparing only two topics out of ten.

I thoroughly prepared B2 France and the Benelux countries (on which I answered two questions) and C6 the U.S.S.R.

Despite approaching it in a very strategic way, I liked this part of the syllabus too. It was great to find out more about the Charleroi area – the location of my foreign exchange trips while still at school (I had A Map Book of the Benelux Countries too). And in part C, I was captivated by the romantic and mysterious places of Asian Russia, such as Novosibirsk, Petropavlovsk and the Silk Road towns of Samarkand and Tashkent, then still little known behind the iron curtain.

Rod and Tony should have been thankful we were only spending a day driving South through France rather than a fortnight across the Soviet Union.

The full list of topics in Sections B and C was:

B1 West Germany, Norway and Sweden
B2 France, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands
B3 Italy Switzerland and Austria

C1 The U.S.A. and Canada
C2 Latin America (including the West Indies)
C3 Africa
C4 India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
C5 Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia and New Guinea
C6 The U.S.S.R.
C7 China and Japan

Monday, 25 July 2016

My Picture Book of Ships

On the bottom shelf of my dad’s bookcase were some of his childhood books. He was nearly as daft as me for keeping things. There might have been many more treasures but for mum’s propensity for throwing things away, although the bookcase was sacrosanct, even to her.

I always knew he had them, of course, but never took the time for anything more than a superficial glance at the pictures. He must have treasured them greatly. All have his name and address inside and some also the date.


The earliest and most dilapidated is My Picture Book of Ships which he got in 1926 at the age of five. To a child at that time the cover must have looked thrilling: the vast bulk of the ocean liner soaring proud above the waterline, the towering hull and funnels, the dense spray from the bow-wave hinting at the rumbling power of the great engines and propellers, the huge anchor tight against the ship’s side. People yearned to travel in the luxury of these floating palaces. They were the dream machines of their day: the supersonic jets, the Lamborghinis, the spaceliners, the high speed trains, the earth moving machines, the ice road truckers. Even their names implied substance and opulence: Majestic, Britannic, Olympic, Leviathon, Edinburgh Castle.  


We used to look at it together when I was little. We studied the sixty two illustrations but never read it. The text tells of two children, Tom and Betty, who ceaselessly ask Father question about ships. They also play at ships: Tom is Captain and Father the pilot, while Chief Officer Mother sleeps “on watch” below and poor Petty Officer Betty gets ordered around.

Father of course answers all their questions patiently, knowledgeably and at length. He tells them about how the voyage of an ocean liner is organized, how sailors are trained, shipbuilding, shipwrecks, coal and oil power, sail, cargo vessels, lifeboats, light houses and light ships, paddle steamers and ferries. How he knew all this stuff is not clear. He just did. Perhaps he was a seaman himself, or maybe like my own dad his grandfather had been a Captain and his cousin was at sea. Oh yes, all dads knew everything there was to know about ships; especially when they had grown up in a Yorkshire port.


Dads could describe and explain all the pictures: cargo being unloaded at London docks, the Harwich-Zeebrugge railway ferry with wagons on board, a big ship under construction inside a massive gantry, and boys lining a high mast at a sailors’ training school. I certainly would not have wanted to have been the baby thrown through the air to a lifeboat in a rescue at sea. My dad used to pick me up and pretend to act it out.


But that is not what used to frighten me most. I was terrified of the strange double-page cartoons inside the front and back covers. Why a factual book about ships should contain such irreverent drawings is a mystery. They are not even proper ships. They show traumatised people in canoes, punts and rowing boats on an overcrowded river, being attacked by pigs, cows and swans, knocked overboard by clumsy oarsmen or tormented by badly controlled fishing lines. They all have ugly ears, gaping mouths and grotesque faces. I could never bear to look. It is still difficult now.

As Nick Ross used to say: “Don’t have nightmares. Do sleep well.”


My Picture Book of Ships published by Ward Lock & Co. (c1922) is believed to be out of copyright.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Side By Side Images in Blogger

(An off-topic post)

This post shows how to change the default layout of multiple photographs or other images in Google Blogger so that they appear side by side on the page instead of sequentially underneath each other. It works for two, three or more images. It can also be used for videos.

There are different ways to do this. Some people suggest using HTML tables, others using an image editor to combine several images into one. I have used both these techniques elsewhere in my blog, but the following is simpler. As well as being simple it has the advantage of keeping the images separate so that if desired any one could be changed later.

First upload your images in the normal way by means of the Insert Image button on the toolbar. Let us assume for now that you have just two images. By default, Blogger displays them consecutively on the page, one above the other as shown below. The issue with this is that readers might have to scroll quite a long way down before they come to the next piece of text.



To put the images side by side, go to the HTML part of the editor. At the top left click the HTML tab as indicated and you will see the underlying code for the page, like this:


You now need to find the code for the images. The file names for mine are Image01.jpg and Image02.jpg and you can see these names each inside the middle of some complicated looking chunks of code. But in between these chunks you can see the following which begins at the end of one line and continues on two more lines (as highlighted above):

                                                                                </div>
           <br />
           <div class="separator" style="clear">; both; text-align: center;">

All you then need to do is to delete this section of code. Be aware that, depending on how you have uploaded your images, the <br /> line might appear more than once or might be completely absent. If there is more than one then delete them all. If it is absent then don't worry. Basically you should just delete everything from </div> to .... center;">.

Be very careful not to delete anything else. Do not delete anything other than </div> at the end of the first line. You might want to make a copy* of your blog post first so you can recover if you make a mistake.

After deleting the code, your images will be positioned like this:


Technically, what this achieves is to place both images inside the same <div> section of the page, rather than in separate divisions as occurs by default. 

You might have problems if your images are too wide for the page layout you are using. You will have to resize them. For example, my images are portrait orientation and set to the Blogger Medium size, but if they were in landscape orientation then they would not fit across the page. The second image would overflow to the next line so they would still appear one above the other. I could get round this by using the default Blogger Small size instead of Medium. 

You can use this technique to place three or more images side by side by deleting the two lots of intervening code. For three images I do need to resize them to Small to get them side by side across the page as shown. This works when viewed on a computer. It might not always work when viewed on smaller-screen devices such as phones and tablets.


To display a greater number of images side by side, even the default Blogger Small size might overflow to the next line. I can get round this by specifying the size of the displayed images directly, but this requires more detailed editing of the HTML code which needs greater care.

The code for each image will look something like the following. It specifies the image size, in this case height="200" and width="133".

<img border="0" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TJEO39VZl8E/V5Oi1wKVaPI/AAAAAAAABtU/ByOUJE8oCs4PHsHiWcVW6yKL9E74tXKigCEw/s200/Image01.jpg" width="133" />

If I reduce these dimensions by a scale of 0.7 so that height="140" and width="93" then it is possible to place more images across the page.


Readers can always click on the images to look at them full size.

In the above I have also removed the code style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" associated with each image (i.e I have had to remove five instances of this) to reduce the margin spacing and pack them closer together.

The remaining frames and shadows around the images are defined at a higher level - the css level - and will appear on all images on all posts on your blog. It is possible to remove these too, but to do so for a single image is beyond the scope of this post. However, if you want to remove the frames (but not the shadows) from all images on a single page, then insert the following code in the HTML editor at the very beginning of the blog post.

     <style type="text/css">
     .post-body img, .post-body .tr-caption-container, .Profile img, .Image img,
     .BlogList .item-thumbnail img {padding: 0; border: none; background: none;}
     </style>


Be very careful when editing HTML. It is so easy to wreck the whole page or lose it irrecoverably. When you have a lot of content it is usually best to play safe and make a backup copy.*

To see another example, I have used this technique for the cigarette card album at the end of my post Cartophilic Concerns. However, the first composite image in that post was put together using an image editor.

Finally, you can also use these techniques to place videos side by side. In the following, the video thumbnail images have been resized and placed within a single division rather than the default two. Again, this has the proviso that it works when viewed on a computer but not necessarily on phones or tablets, or in email feeds.

  

* One way to make an exact copy of a blog post is to go into the HTML code editor, place your cursor anywhere within the content, press CONTROL-A to select all the content, then CONTROL-C to take a copy. Close the window (do not save if prompted), begin a new blog post and give it a name such as 'Backup', go into the HTML editor and place your cursor in the empty window, press CONTROL-V to retrieve the copied content. Save but do not publish the post, then close the window. If you then make a mess of editing the original blog post you can always delete it and rename the Backup with the name of the original.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Developing, Printing and a Trip to London

All the palaver of pre-digital photography: it seems as much of the past as typewriters and tape recorders – the business of loading the camera, rewinding, posting off the film, waiting for the prints or slides to come back hoping they will ‘come out’ all right, rationing your few remaining shots to avoid having to buy a new film, ordering extra copies for Grandma, and cluttering up drawers with boxes of colour slides, photograph albums and packets of negatives, and lofts with the slide projector, carousels and the glass-beaded screen.

And then there were those of us who took things a stage further: home processing. For that you needed another whole cupboard-full of esoteric paraphernalia.

It was Terry Hardy across the road who got me started. His dad developed his own photographs and had given him a packet of out of date contact papers. They darkened in light, so objects such as leaves or your fingers would leave a white silhouette. You could even print crude photographs from negatives in the same way. The problem was that the contact papers would continue to darken until they were completely black all over. Your silhouette or image lasted only five minutes at most.

Well, one thing led to another, and before long I was making proper prints from negatives. I turned the yellow shed into a dark room, got a device a bit like a flatbed scanner for exposing photographic paper and negatives to light for just a few seconds, and began to spend my pocket money at the local chemists on packets of contact papers and bottles of photographic chemicals: developer to bring out the images and fixer to make the prints light-proof.

With the idea of taking photographs of London, we went down on the train to stay with Terry’s grandma in Hounslow for a few days, where turboprop aeroplanes rumbled low overhead smelling of paraffin, and we had to be up early so her night-shift lodger could use the same bed. We freely roamed the Underground on our Rail Rovers (would you let two fourteen year-olds do this now?), went to the Science Museum, saw the Houses of Parliament and The Monument, howled with laughter at The Road to Hong Kong in which Bob Hope and Bing Crosby get fired into space in a capsule designed for monkeys, and got free tickets for the live Friday lunchtime broadcast of The Joe Loss Pop Show with guests The Barron Knights and regular singer Ross McManus – Elvis Costello’s dad. Actually it was a bit disappointing to find the guests were only The Barron Knights whose act basically consisted of making fun of other groups. A few weeks earlier they’d had The Rolling Stones and The Searchers.

London Airport, 1964 (renamed Heathrow in 1966)

I took my new Kodak Brownie Starmite camera (12 images of 4x4 cm on rolls of 46mm 127 sized film), but none of the photographs were any good except for one of London Airport (not yet called Heathrow): the last frame on a colour film left over from our family holidays.

I used the Brownie camera for the next ten years but always with black and white film because colour was so expensive. I could occasionally afford the flash bulbs though: disposable one-use plastic coated bulbs filled with magnesium and oxygen, sparked off by a battery. They melted when fired, leaving ash-filled knobbly glass inside the protective plastic coating.

Black and white film was easy to develop at home if you had a light-proof developing tank, and one conveniently materialised at Christmas. The most difficult part was getting the film into the tank. You had to separate it from its light-proof backing paper and feed it into a plastic spiral which went inside the tank, but you had to do it completely in the dark. The yellow shed was just about dark enough for contact printing – you could do that in the dim orange glow from the contact printer – but film was ultra-sensitive and had to be handled in pitch-black. You had to wait for night time, and then found yourself with head and arms beneath thick bedclothes, trying not to breathe on the film, getting hotter and hotter and gasping for oxygen. You really had to get a move on.


Once the film was safely in the tank the lid stayed on and you could work in daylight. It was essentially the same process as developing contact prints. You filled the tank with Johnson Universal Developer for a fixed amount of time, emptied it and replaced the developer with Johnson Acid Hypo Fixer for around a further thirty minutes, rinsed everything thoroughly with lukewarm water, took the film out of the tank and just like in Blow Up hung it to dry weighted by a bulldog clip to prevent curling. After that the negative images on the developed film could be contact printed.

It was always exciting to take the shimmering wet film out of the tank to see the dark negatives for the first time and try to make sense of what they were. You could easily have forgotten because the earlier images on the film would often be several months old. When you then printed the photographs it was fascinating to watch the images emerge under the surface of the developing fluid, trying in the dim light to judge when they were ready. 

I was never more than an occasional snapshot photographer, but my uncle gave me his old enlarger for making prints bigger than the negatives and I avidly watched the BBC series Better Photography on Saturday mornings through the autumn of 1965. The Brownie Starmite was superseded by a Zenith E, a fairly basic Russian-made 35mm single lens reflex camera for which I bought extra lenses, an electronic flash gun and extension tubes for close-ups. I later tried the much more complex process of colour developing and printing but tended to have difficulty with the colour balance (see Colours I see with). Eventually I moved on to colour slides, and home processing came to an end.

Now, of course, everything is digital and so another of those experiential manual skills has been lost to the electronic world: the exercise of judgement, the physical manipulation of the materials, the strange saliva-inducing smell of the chemicals, the satisfying darkroom perfectionism ... all gone! Instead we compile our digital albums, Photoshop our images, blog about what fun things used to be and exercise our vainglorious self-expression in all kinds of other undemanding, pretentious, posey ways.


- Maurice Fisher’s web site Photographic Memorabilia is a real treasure trove of images and information about photographic film processing and equipment.
- The images of the Kodak Brownie Starmite camera and AG1 flash bulb are by Adamantios and Gotanero on Wikimedia Creative Commons. The image of the Paterson contact printer is in the Paterson developing tank instruction booklet. Inclusion of the cover of Better Photography is believed to be fair use. The other images are my own.

- My developing tank was a Paterson Major II but strangely, as shown in the photograph, the instruction booklet supplied was for the earlier Universal II model. The difference was not significant.