Human fronts cover of magazine shocker 

‘Human fronts magazine’ #shocker what difference does her sex make? Is it brave? Sure, anyone who stands up and does something that challenges rigid social constructs such as gender realignment is bound to be brave. The public declaration also helps empower people who have been too fearful to do so themselves but she is still human like you and I. The simultaneous hero worship, idolisation and abuse of Jenner reflects more on our failing as a society to accept people for who they are and content of their character rather than for the way they look than it does about Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn. 

“It’s wrong”, “it’s sick”, “it’s twisted”, “it’s not natural”, “it will become the norm” and that’s just the ones I could print from people I know. They are also the same phrases once used about children of a white and black parent. Gender realignment won’t become ‘the norm’ because of the grand introduction of Caitlyn Jenner but it might be the start of a wider acceptance in society of gender realignment and the realisation that when all is said and done, they are still human, just like the rest of us. 

The bigger question for me is whether the hero worship of Jenner is based on the decision and public announcement to have a gender realignment or because she could afford to have the surgery done that she wanted? Would the praise be as grand if she was less than beautiful, by our current definition of the word? Others that have gender realignment are not so lucky to have the financial resources at hand that Jenner did and that leaves them at risk of further divide and ridicule from society. If the praise is not because of her brave announcement and introduction but because of her aesthetics then, fresh from the burden of being a man, Caitlyn will now face the challenge of being a woman in a world where beauty is the only currency many people understand.

As for those people suggesting the level of hero worship doing the rounds will lead to this becoming the ‘norm’, I would be surprised if anyone just woke up one day and said: “Fuck it. Today, I’m going to be a woman” or vice-versa and have an operation to be gender realigned. Anyone who does think that really doesn’t understand the torment people go through. The others, claiming it’s not natural, how do they know? How do we truly know anything? If there were no dolls, action figures, pink dresses, toy guns or make up and we were brought up in a sex neutral environment, would we truly know whether we were men or women? 

The critics (always plenty of them) are pointing fingers at the ready out of the box reality show Caitlyn has ready to air. These are probably the same critics that give up every spare moment to see what the Kardashian’s are up to or what happened at the Sugar Loaf on Towie last week. It’s not called the third mall from the sun for nothing, everything is for sale and it’s all got to go!

As for Caitlyn, let it go. She’s just another human finding her way in the world, the universe having a human experience. #embracehumanity people, it’s a big universe and we might be all we have.


Be bored and see what’s inside

Something I have been thinking about during my travels is about photography and art. I have been pondering whether or not technology has dimmed some of our creative talents. I believe that we are all born artists but that it is drummed out of us throughout our childhood as we grow up. This has been exacerbated by the relatively cheap entry models into the world of digital cameras and the standard of modern camera phones, phablets etc, it has never been easier to be distracted. This boom in technology has stolen from us one of our greatest requirements for creativity – boredom.

All out of ideas

Comedian, Aaron Barschak, once said that all you need for creativity is a certain level of boredom, and some alcohol. The latter we have plenty of but with the technological advancements at our disposal, I wonder if we are no longer able to feel bored?

Even now I am sat on the train, on my phone, writing this blog, along with a hundred other souls all plugged into their multi-functional devices. Okay I might be creating something right now by writing this blog, or surfing the news for something of interest but, like many others, I am not ‘bored’ but distracted. If it were not for our phones, kindles and phablets, would we be instead gazing out of the train window and imagining a song or poem, inspired by the sweeping landscapes that turn to urban industrial sprawl? I don’t know, maybe not, but the opportunity is taken from us by our reliance on technology to distract us.

I’ve been thinking about this distraction culture a lot, more so since I started my Peasant Life UK project back in September 2014. I went around the UK for several weeks, taking photographs of people living on the streets, people often ignored or forgotten by the public. On my journey I found myself talking to more people than I took pictures of and it was that human connection I found they valued more than a pound in their cup. To look beyond the lens and draw closer to the people who made up my compositions, made for a much more enriching experience than merely freezing a moment in time.

This makes me wonder what role our cameras and camera phones have played in eliminating our boredom and thus taking away our creativity.

Go to any landmark or monument in the world and you will see hordes of people with their phones or latest Gucci DSLR, snapping that ‘selfie’ moment, or recreating that silhouette or perspective photo they saw on Instagram. We are capable of so much more. Instead of pointing our devices at the sails of the Opera house, or gazing up at the towers and monuments, erected to inspire us and freezing them in a moment, we should take a moment and be inspired – to allow ourselves the time to get bored. Travel is about inspiration and with it has come great art but without boredom, what chance for it to arrive?

Is boredom a catalyst for creativity, I don’t know but I guess I should practice what I preach and for the time being, put down my tech, and allow boredom to set in – listen to the sounds of the streets I walk, the trains I ride and see what happens. I might have a sonnet or drawing inside me waiting to be released and so might you.

From dawn ’til dusk

As a child I loved philosophy and martial arts, of course this meant loving all things Bruce Lee and that meant his son, Brandon, too. He made a wonderful movie called ‘The Crow’ back in 1993 and I remember watching his last interview (on the old VHS before the movie starts) where he explains that we see life as an inexhaustible well of opportunity, that it seems limitless. He explains that the reality is that our lives are finite, posing some sobering questions; how many times would we see a sunrise or sunset? How many times will we stand under a full moon in our lifetime? Perhaps twenty? Maybe less? Or remember a day in our lives with such detail that we feel is so important to who we are that we could never forget it? Perhaps ten more times or not even that, yet it all seems limitless.

This weighed heavy on me as a young boy and something I have held onto today.

We see our lives as being limitless and move about our lives dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. We forget to the do the most important thing – live now, in the moment. If we do not, then life will pass us by and we will find ourselves old without stories to tell.


In light of that experience of my youth, I have set about trying to consciously do one thing everyday that I wanted to do. One decision I took early on was to get up and watch the sunrise and set as often as I can (sometimes meaning I’d stay up throughout the night if I drank enough gin) and ponder the question ‘which one did I think was the best?’ Ultimately, for some, the answer to that question will come down to whether you fancy yourself as an optimist (sunrise-new dawn, new day) or pessimist (sunset-the end, moving into darkness). Personally, I love to look up and wonder at the stars ushered in by sunset, but after some time doing this, I came to think as Katsumoto does when he realises the beauty in the blossom of all flowers, and think of them as all being perfect.

So get up and stop whatever it is you are doing that seems so important right now and do something you haven’t don’t before. Do something that fills your soul with joy that you haven’t done for ages, you will never know how many more times you will get to enjoy it. It’s your life and you only get one chance to live it.