They get sorted into three piles
- Crap – (by far and way the largest)
- Shots that might be worth cleaning up in PhotoShop
- Crap shots that I’ll keep anyway because they amuse me or remind me of something
Exhibit A - Bottle of Pagan Man aftershave
Left and forgotten in a bathroom cabinet decades ago and a reminder of a time when you could sell products with slogans like ‘Brings out the Pagan in you’
Exhibit B - A photograph of my Great Grandfather’s fireplace
A reminder of a time when my ancestors took a certain devil may care attitude to the handling and storage of high explosives...
A cousin is renovating the room in the photograph and exposed the chunk of chimney directly above the fireplace. Hidden in a hole cut in one side of the chimney he found some 70-year-old coins and … half a stick of dynamite.
At least he thought it was half a stick of dynamite but he handed it to me for a second opinion. And yes, yes it was. The nitro had seeped out of it long ago (to where?) but we still got rid of the fucking thing tout suite. For some reason, I decided not to spend any time taking pictures of it
Later that day I told my mother about the find and she told me a story about someone in the village who had attempted to dry a few sacks of black powder that had got wet in the rain by putting them in front of an open fire. She pointed out where his house once stood…
She then told me another couple of stories about how challenged my Great Grandfather’s generation was by technology, including…
My Great Grandfather being astounded that you could listen to Italian broadcasts on an English made radio – ‘It can speak Italian as well as English?’
His first encounter with a telephone answering machine - ‘He said he wasn’t there but I recognised his voice’
Yet in spite of all that – the carefree attitude to firearms and explosives, the copious production of illicit alcohol, living in villages where everyone, including the village, had the same surname, and thinking that anyone who retained all ten fingers and thumbs was a bit strange – my mum still doesn’t understand why I maintain that our ancestors made Appalachian Hillbillies look like sophisticated city dwellers
Exhibit C - The front page of Liberta, the local newspaper
The reason why we were in Italy in the first place was for my nephew’s christening. And, for some reason I still haven’t got to the bottom of, the Christening made the front page of the local newspaper and a few minutes coverage on the local TV station.
Liberta actually covered two Christenings that day – my nephew’s and the child of a player in the Italian national football team. My nephew’s got top billing
Even better still, the story completely bollocksed up its account of my family’s history and included the memorable line...
Yes, that's exactly what happened
Exhibit D - Euro Road
Built at great expense to connect my mum’s village (Permanent Year Round Population: 2 people) with another village (Permanent Year Round Population: 8 people). I’ve spent hours walking along and around it without ever seeing a single car
And the best part is that it was built across a series of active landslips, falls down the mountain every winter and has to be resurfaced every summer. Italy is full of EU-funded shit like this. As is Ireland, Spain, Greece and God knows where else…
Exhibit E - Clock, Parma Airport
This picture includes roughly 70% of the entire floor space of Parma airport and 100% of its enormous clock
Just one question ... Why?
Er, that’s enough exhibits for now…