On reflection, I have spent a lot of my life in camera obscura. A computer screen is my main illumination on this grey and rainy Sunday morning. This is where I work on my pictures and where I write. Darkened rooms are where I have done the majority of my work. There was a period of my life when I rarely saw daylight throughout the winter months. I would arrive in the dark of the early morning at my studio, which was situated in a basement under the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and leave in the dark of the evening. It must be said that I was known to venture out for a drink or five at the Globe, a famous pub that was fortuitously placed opposite to the studio entrance. Alfred Hitchcock shot many sequences for his film “Frenzy” in the pub and that frenzied spirit remained long after the cameras left. Frenzy and madness walked hand in hand in that establishment. Mick and Anne, the landlord and landlady were the stuff of legend. At that time Covent Garden was the main vegetable and flower market for London which meant that it was a hive of activity throughout the early hours of the morning. The market porters were fond of a drink and , even though England was cursed with rigid licencing laws, the pub would be full of raucous “out of hours” drinkers. This was in strong contrast to the smart clientèle of the evening trade who were often in full evening dress sipping champagne rather than downing pints of brown and mild. The reason for this radical change in custom was due to The Globe having the singular privilege of the interval bell of the Royal Opera House sounding in the bar to warn customers to return to their seats at the Opera House. However, the landlord and landlady were constant in their treatment of all customers. They were unfailingly rude on a seismic scale. There was a seminal moment when a toff had the temerity to mention to Anne, the landlady, that his pint of beer was cloudy to which she replied – “What do you expect for half a crown, thunder and fucking lightening”. And the bell rang signalling the end of fun.
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