Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Picture the past

I posted back in September (Making A Connection - 1st September 2011) about an episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are' and the emotion attached to searching for your ancestors. I finished my musings by saying...

"Alongside the thrill of making a connection to certain people in a certain place during a certain point in history, is the realisation that, like them, we are born, live, love, laugh, cry... and die. Here one moment, gone the next. That is our connection. It's the same journey, just different outfits". 

And, as if by magic, here is a set of incredible pictures, which seem to illustrate the point perfectly.

This fabulous website was brought to my attention earlier today by Mister CB (thanks love!). And I adore their clever header  – 'The past is a foreign country. This is your passport' – part-borrowed from author L P Hartley's famous opening words of his novel The Go-Between.

It's your chance to be Dr Who... get packing!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Marco Simoncelli (20th January 1987 to 23rd October 2011)

Four minutes ago it was announced on BBC Sport that the MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli has died after a horrific crash at the Sepang race in Malaysia. He was 24.
I was watching the race live this morning. We're MotoGP fans in Maison CB and saw the crash when it happened just minutes after the race started. And, as the BBC reported, it was horrific. Simoncelli fell and was hit by two other riders. As the replay revealed in all its terrible, slow-motion detail, he was run over in front of our eyes. The impact was such that it forced his helmet off, and that was a sure sign it may have been fatal. That and his motionless body on the track. As the commentators struggled to say anything other than "oh no... oh no", we saw a shot of Simoncelli's girlfriend back at the paddock. She was staring at the screen, her hands to her face. I'm not sure I can find the words to describe the look in her eyes.
Like all motor sports, motorcycle racing is fast and contains a huge element of risk. These young riders understand that, and, to many, that is part of the appeal. There are, however, surprisingly few fatalaties when you add together the number of races and competitors over the years. So it is a shock to see it. And in such graphic detail.
I'm not sure if anyone else who reads this blog is even interested in MotoGP, but it's the end of a life and that's what usually moves me to write a post. Compared to his family and friends, my reaction to Simoncelli's death is pretty insignificant. But I do feel shocked and upset. I can't quite seem to switch off the action replay in my head. Or that look on his girlfriend's face.
I visit families all the time who have lost loved ones in accidents. Sometimes they are young. Sometimes their death has been witnessed by others. A death seen by thousands of track-side fans, or millions of TV viewers, doesn't make it any sadder or more significant. They are all tragic in their own way. But this morning served as a sharp and terrible reminder to me of what some people have gone through before I knock on their door.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


I feel bad. This has been the longest gap between posts I think I've ever had. But a rush of work, combined with a re-think on the bloggy front, have contributed to a large pause in the conversation.
But silence is good, right? It's actually 'golden' according to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. And putting a stop to the external and internal chatter that fills our every waking moment is the only way to really engage with our true selves. Or so I read, anyway.
So, perhaps this quiet spell has been a good thing. A blessing. A gift from me to you. Hell, what's to feel bad about? Let's celebrate! But keep the noise down...