The Tourist #32


“On the one hand, people tend to preserve in photos that which is closest to them; their children, spouses, friends, and relatives, as well as their most significant or enjoyable events in their lives. On the other hand they also seek to retain strange interesting and exotic sights.

(1992: 213-14)”

The neighbour is the most disgusting thing in nature.

Why have I stopped making photographs in Edinburgh? I do not know now anything less than I used to, or anything more. But I do not make photographs here, anymore. Or rather I do, but not everyday. Or rather I do, but not with a camera. Because I no longer need a camera to practice, I have a phone with which to keep my eye trained to exposure and framing. I could, on some level, equally well and equally happily have a frame to carry around, and a light meter to check how the tone would be placed. I see a lot of photographs but less and less I press the button.

I find it interesting that people enjoy seeing foreign things. I think I like seeing things that look the same as home, like Warhols plates in the film about China. He liked it in China that the plates said “Made in China” just like the did in New York. I like it that the beauty of a Pasolini short story about the smell of Chestnuts and Chrysanthemums is just the same as a story about the smell of peat and lavendar, or pies and bovril and grass. I like that the sweat in the Alva Changing room smells of chips like the sweat in the Rome changing room smells like chips. I liked the bright pink pickled turnip in the Indian shop on the North Bridge because it looked like beetroot, and was turnip. Turnip which seems so cold, and beetroot, and they were the same colour as the red, southern, warm onions. The 1970’s future film pink of diluted and absorbed blood red made to reveal its blue in being absorbed by the cold turnip.

And the hand of the Chestnut selling boy being at first part of his being, economics being part of his understanding of the world, before he understands, his theft being beautiful then, part of the game. But then later his economic knowledge becomes bitterness and the theft becomes crime. This is the same in each place. In Edinburgh, before there was a grotesque gargantuan machine of CHRISTMAS there was a man with a chestnut stand. I remember him. I remember always wanting to have some chestnuts because they smelled so beautiful, I remember also that we didn’t have them because they were a sort of silly American Christmas distastefulness. In comparison the circus, now, which takes over the entire city centre and beyond, the silly American Christmas Distastefulness seems quaint and beautiful, although it was always extremely expensive.

There were, also, the caramelised peanuts on the bridge to the South Bank Centre, they always seemed to sell the desire that the Pasolini story evokes, rather than the peanuts themselves.