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A Lively day in December

17th December 2008, Wednesday, London:

I promised I wouldn’t write an endless stream of “day in the life” posts when I started this blog, so excuse me for a moment whilst I go through yesterday in some detail. All I wish to highlight with this post is the importance of logistics – organising things and making sure that you’ve got the right bits in the right place at the right time, and also the challenges involved in perfecting that elusive modern day holy grail – the work/life blend!

Up fairly early, shower, dress, feed etc, pick up yesterday’s hire camera, my own camera, and yesterday’s job disk, bus to Oval to drop off my camera for sensor cleaning (hence the hire camera from the day before – chip was very dirty indeed), jump on Tube at Vauxhall, up to Warren street to drop off yesterday’s hire camera at Calumet, pick up a few little bits and pieces that I’d noticed had gone wandering in the studio yesterday whilst at Calumet (studio clamp, spigots etc), buy lunch from Sainsbury’s, walk along Euston Road to Headline publishing to drop off Tuesday’s job, wander down Great Portland street looking for shops that are open (it’s still only about 9.15am) as I need 2 more Christmas presents, and ideally I need them today, eventually work my way round to Tottenham Court Road where I decide that this year I will give the gift of alcohol, buy booze, get back on Tube to Oval, collect camera from cleaners, pay very large bill for same, bus back to Camberwell, call in to hairdresser to give him lessons on the camera I’ve given him, head home.

A lively day in December
One of three portrait options I took.

Back home, wrap presents, pack suit, load car with camera gear and lights, set sat nav and print out job sheet with brief and contact details etc, clean yesterday’s job off the laptop and print out inlays for job disk, then drive to Newton Blossomville in Bedfordshire, eating some lunch on the way, to shoot a portrait of Chris Pounteny for Triathlete’s world. He’s doing a slightly exaggerated Triathlon as he’s swimming the English Channel, cycling the Tour de France route, then running the Marathon Des Sables, though wisely not back to back. Weather was perfect, so shot some outdoor “hero” shots as well as the intended indoor portrait of him with all his gear, packed everything back up into the car, drove back to London, stopped at Gateway services inside the M25 to change into suit (in a toilet cubicle), eat the rest of my lunch, and process the job on the laptop. Back in the car, now besuited, drove down to the Edgware road, parked up and went to the Jitterbugs Big Snow Ball (hence the suit), had a bit of a dance, then nipped into pub for a quick drink with friends, then round to the next pub to catch up with my little sister to hand over presents for that side of the family, back to the dance hall for another couple of dances and an attempt at tandem Charleston (still can’t get it), treated to a fairly impromptu performance by John and his Ukulele orchestra, with panto-style lyrics being held on a sheet above his head for us all to sing along to, won nothing in the Christmas prize draw, but on seeing that my mate won a set of tea-towels didn’t feel too left out, drove back across London, unloaded car, put kettle on, burnt discs of job and backed everything up, went to bed.

A lively day in December
Setup shot for one of the other portraits

This sort of thing doesn’t happen every day – otherwise I’d be dead – but it’s not that uncommon either. I’ve no idea what the secret is to keeping lots of balls in the air at once is, if I knew I could probably make a fortune writing a bestseller. It helps that there were no roadworks, tube strikes and so on, and that the car didn’t break down, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the complications first thing (and the £200 expense for camera hire and cleaning) were caused by technical problems from the day before, so it’s not all plain sailing!

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