Wednesday, 25 May 2011

On Licking Golf Balls (To Green Tongue?)

I had a distant relation, Brian Mayo (he married my mother’s cousin), who used to lick golf balls, for good luck. But he was unknowingly licking fertilizer - strong stuff - used on golf greens. Luck, lick, muck, whenever I see the diagram of a dog-shit bag, on the lid of those green bins – and they are always green in Switzerland – I think of Mayo’s tongue, licking fertilizer of his balls.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The State Of The Greens

Look at the state of the greens! Dog-shit bins, and most golf courses have a hole in the form of a dog’s leg. A dogleg hole is one that bends, changing direction (dog-legging) at some point along its length. Dog walkers on golf courses are a common sight – as a great many golf courses are on common land; there’s a golf course near me, on Wimbledon common were dog walkers carry their dog’s shit in a plastic bag (often a see-through bag). I’ve never seen it happen but it must have: a dog cocking its leg on a golf flag marking a dogleg hole. And I’ve never bothered to weigh the average dog shit, but I imagine it weighs about the same as a golf ball.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Compare the strange and inexplicable collage, this dog-train ticket, to the  'Dog Flea Ban' advertisement below. Can you spot the face of a puppy in the dog’s ear? Dog-eared or what? The face of dachshund puppy even!
Idiom: Flea in one’s ear,
a. A disconcerting rebuke or rebuff: The next time he shows his face around here (ear?) he’ll get a flea in his ear.
b. a board hint 

Monday, 16 May 2011

On Training Dogs

About this time last year I spotted two dogs, on a train ticket, left on a fence on the platform of Uckfield station, East Sussex. Dog training? Train spotting? Dogging spot? Train tickets can be dog-eared, but this one was dog faced.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Interview With A Dog-Water Reporter (part three)

Q. “Have you any new ‘dog projects’ in the pipeline?”
A. “I’ve recently been advertising for Spots – lots of dogs, all named Spot.”
Q. “Why? What do you intend to do with all these Spots?”
A. “Drive each Spot to a different dogging-spot.”
Q. “And then…?”
A. “Photograph Spot the dog, in the dogging spot, of course.”
Q. “Dogscape? Or portrait?”
A. “None of those. Spot will be very small in the frame, heavily camouflaged -under a bush or beneath a car for example - requiring the viewer/voyeur to spot the dog. I hope to catch ‘doggers in action’, as well.
Q. “What, in the same picture as Spot the dog?”
A. “Yes, that’s the thing, all these dogging spots, they are often cited in woodland carparks so, not only will you not be able to see the trees for wood, you’ll really struggle to spot Spot the dog for doggers.”  
Q. “Like those ‘spot the ball’ competition photographs you used to see in the newspapers?”
A. “No, like this ‘spot the ball’ photograph.”
Q. “I didn’t know you played golf. Is it a self-portrait?”
A. “Spot the ball”
Q. “I find golf-porn very awwwousing... I can’t see my knees for wood. Could I have a sip of water?”
A. “It’s only a picture of some rocks, on a golf course”.
Q. “Oh yes a golf course… of course, I can see the limp flag - a mere white speck poking out of the bracken - in the background. Have you ever by any chance drank from a golf hole?”
No answer to that.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Interview With A Dog-Water Reporter (part two)

Q. “During the course of your research you must have encountered a good many unmarked - un-dogged - dog water bowls. Do you carry a marker pen? Have you ever been tempted to ‘DOG’ tag them?”
A. “No, I’m a documentary photographer. My job is to detect not direct; I report on not write on. I’ve never attempted to play God with the word dog.”
Q. “A dogumentary photographer even?”
A. “Sometimes I have to stop myself labelling puddles. For this reason I never go dog-water reporting with chalk on my person.
Q. How do you spend your time when you’re not out detecting dog’s water?”
A. “Rock-climbing on the chalk cliffs of the South East Coast of England – Beachy Head, Dover – where I always carry chalk even though I we use ice axes and crampons: I treat the chalk as if it were ice.”
Q. “Frozen water?”
A. “Yes, I’ve seen many a dog’s drinking bowl frozen over, but I never break the ice. Frozen dog water bowls make excellent skating rinks for lice. ‘Dog lice On Ice’ - someone should do TV documentary, no, give it more of a 'soap' treatment. I’m thinking more along the lines of 'high art' - of photographing lice skating - with a macro lens - on a large format camera - and selling the images to the Lowry Museum, in Salford”

To be continued...

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Interview With A Dog-Water Reporter

Q. “How did it all start?”
A. "It was inspired by guilt, over a real-life incident I should have acted to prevent. Happened twenty years ago, but I still can’t talk about it. I was waiting for a bus, if the bus had been on time I would never have become a dog-water reporter. Here's a poem, describing what happened, (in the style of William McGonagall, the great tragedian of Dundee). But don't ask me to talk about it further.

 It’s all Yours' – Don’t Fall

I made it easy for the kid
When I unscrewed the lid
Off a jam-jar of piss,
Abandoned on a wall.
He was running towards it –
I thought, it’s all yours – don’t fall.

Running ahead of his mother,
Pushing a pram containing his little brother.
He stopped and looked at me.
I looked at the jar -
Gave him the green light.
(His mother’s view blocked by a reversing car.)

He just couldn’t resist its golden glow.
The mother saw him pick it up - screamed, no,
Then looked to me to intervene,
But he took a massive swig of amber, as the traffic lights turned green.
He threw up, just as my bus turned up. 
Q. “Have you ever seen a human drinking from a dog’s bowl?”
A. “Only once, in a porn film, never on the street.”
Q. “Do you see what you do as part of, for want of a better phrase, ‘the dog in art’ tradition? I’m thinking of Thurber’s dogs, Wegman’s portraits of Man Ray, or Elliot Erwitt even?”
A. “No, there are no dogs in my photographs.”
Q. “Good point, why not?”
A. “I don’t own a dog. I’m not interested in dogs. Did you know that Steiglitz had a three-legged dog called Tripod?”
Q. “No, but can I return to William Wegman for a moment? Are you familiar with his self-portrait with dog and newspaper? It’s a domestic scene - Wegman and his dog are at home sitting in front of the fire, Wegman’s reading the paper whilst the dog chews on a ball of newspaper: dog and owner both digesting the same news”
A. “No.”
Q. “That’s a shame because your water reporting of the word DOG, written on water bowls, could be read as, 'a thirst for knowledge', a comment on dog-literacy?”
A/Q. “I’ve heard that Wegman dresses his dogs in ball gowns and the like. Horrid stuff. But your idea of ‘a thirst for knowledge’ is closer to what I do. The biochemist Rupert Sheldrake interests me. Have you read his book, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming home (1999)?”
A (by the questioner). “No.”
"Before we continue this conversation any further, can I insist that you go and read it?"

To be continued…