Like a lot of people I was brought up believing that in order to be successful you had to be a charismatic extrovert. Until puberty I was—at least I think I was. An extrovert, certainly. Charisma… probably not. Though I made up for it by rushing around being very loud.
Now, I’d definitely say I’m an introvert. I like my own company and that of a few friends (and books, and writing). I can’t tell a joke—or pontificate to an audience—to save my life.
Like a light being turned on, Susan Cain’s ‘The Power of Introverts,’ a TED lecture, explains.
When you Live in town your personal space and allowed privacy is very, very different from when you live in the country. We’ve been living here, now, for nearly six months, and lack of privacy is axiomatic. Not that I gave it a second thought before we moved. Moving seemed sensible: rent was cheaper and, for me, the main draw was doing without the expense of a car – stupid me. Have you ever tried shopping in a supermarket and then walking home? No? I didn’t think so. It seems to me that cars have become a requisite wherever you live. Feeble, I know. But fact.
This post, from the 13th describes the surveillance camera that ‘appeared’ in the street to the front. The picture above is the view from the back garden door. Windows. Lots of windows, and more curtain twitching surveillance.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind – and if I did there’s bugger all I could do about it – but inside each and every window is a person. A stranger. A complete and utter total stranger who might be my next best friend … or might be an axe murderer. How do I know? And the truth is I can’t know, unless I traipse around and introduce myself and then I become the local loony. Or, my luck runs out and I vanish in a newly turned flower bed in said axe murderer’s garden.
I suppose this mild, bubbling, ever present sense of being perpetually observed, is paranoia. So I’m paranoid. Paranoid and proud! I wonder if there is some sort of multi coloured plastic wrist band I should be wearing that proclaims me?
So, the upshot is – and yes, this might possibly be paranoia speaking (or writing, as you do in blogs) – we are being watched from the street at the front by some bloke in a council office with a vast bank of monitors, and by those in the houses opposite. And then we’re being watched from the back by pretty much the same demographic, except the poor bloke from the council is missing out.
Moving back to the country seems eminently sensible, now. Far far out in the country where you need a serious 4 x 4 and the nearest possible ‘surveillance’ is a couple of miles away.
I went for a walk yesterday and visited a bunker I’ve seen almost everyday for the two years I’ve lived here, but never actually visited. Admittedly, the main reason I’ve not been there is that the route takes you down a singular path, and the last time I walked it was to collect the body of my beloved cat, Cody.
The weather was lovely, the valley full of bleating sheep and their inquisitive lambs, and then you arrive at the hill. The hill is steep; goat steep. Luckily my sneakers had sole enough to get me to the top where I sat for five minutes to get my breath back and admire the view. It’s stunning – though you can’t really see it from the photograph.
Then I explored, and discovered another series of well hidden bunkers, too.
I sat musing, for half an hour or so, and what popped into my head was an idea for a short (1/2 hour) drama set in the bunkers after a global apocalyse. A small crew with digi gear and a small cast – maybe even a two hander. £5,000 – 10,000 and bob’s your uncle.
On the way home the sheep were especially bleaty as I disturbed them at rest on their sandy shelves, wind carved in the side of the hill. Getting home a while later I had a huge grin on my face and felt very positive: today, not so much as I face the fact that one doesn’t achieve without trials and toil. Ideas I can throw out ten a pound (inflation), but reality is different. Very.
Call me naive and you’d be right. Yesterday I had absolutely no idea that France and Australia were involved with internet censorship, and today I find out that people are being arrested for taking photographs … IN ENGLAND!
Photography is under attack. Across the country it that seems anyone with a camera is being targeted as a potential terrorist, whether amateur or professional, whether landscape, architectural or street photographer.
Not only is it corrosive of press freedom but creation of the collective visual history of our country is extinguished by anti-terrorist legislation designed to protect the heritage it prevents us recording.
This campaign is for everyone who values visual imagery, not just photographers.
WTF? This is beginning to get very Orwellian and very frightening. Perhaps, in a few years Cameronian will be a oft used adjective, too.