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  • I started this a few days ago and decided to leave it in the cannister much like an exposed film.

    Let's call this the development.

    At the time I wanted to make a simple point about gardens. Now - the first photograph - and then, the second.

    Green, gray, and washed with bird song and far off airliners. One in America, the other England, but both much the same really.

    Except the current one is gloriously unkempt and untidy, the one from my childhood neatly manicured. One is mine, the other belonged to my parents.

    I wanted to make some comments about the circularity of life, an observation of repeated patterns.

    But in between something happened. Maybe some light got into the cannister. Maybe I used the wrong chemicals.

    Because the result isn't what I expected at all.

    Instead I've found myself caught up in a piece of music. A record I bought as a LP in a cut-out bin in Debenhams back when I was living in the house overlooking the second garden.

    Kept with me on my journey to my current home. Appended by a compact disk of the same music and playing now as I write this in the form of mp3 files over my computer speakers.

    Appropriately titled, "Virtually", it's a four part instrumental suite by the band Soft Machine recorded the year The Beatles broke up.

    Why this piece, unplayed for decades, should have come to dominate my listening of the moment is a puzzle. True, it's a pioneering work both in the jazz-rock and progressive rock idioms, inventive and influential. Unheard by most, mind. Soft Machine were never more than an underground cult band. Look it up on Spotify if you want to hear it yourself, it's on the album called 'Fourth'. But I don't really expect you to, or if you do, expect you to experience what I am currently feeling.

    For this music is bound to my time and to my place and its meaning is as personal as any deeply held secret.

    That's the trick isn't it? We spend our lives absorbing much the same things, yet for each of us, even the identical takes on an unique aura. Simply because of what we are.

    What we are.

    What are we?

    Time to stop.

    Fix, wash and dry.

    Cut the negatives into strips and slip them into plastic protectors.

    Put them in a dark box and close the lid.

    That's where we are.

    Whatever we may be.
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