From Norwich To Shepperton:
Preliminary Pix From The Field
This page will become increasingly organized as I delve further into the actual "From Shanghai To Shepperton: An International Conference on JG Ballard" information I've brought back from the University of East Anglia.
Part I: Some Too-Candid Shots Of Attendees
What's a JG Ballard conference without the Boswell of Ballard, Mr David Pringle himself?
Fellow JGB book fetishist Mike Holliday... top pix was in a dark bar, and it was tough for all to keep still enough to keep the shot crispy. And dry.
Top: Umberto Rossi about 30 minutes after I had picked him up at the train station on Friday. I think I'm still scaring him a bit. On Sarturday he's calm, cool and practicing his excellent presentation.
Ben Austwick is a lotta fun! And by lotta, I mean six feet, eight inches. The suburbs dream of violence at their own risk with Ben around...
Dr John Carter Wood basically came out of the woodwork to deliver a very interesting paper on Norbert Elias and JGB's High-Rise and Super-Cannes. Hyphen fetish?
Trinity of Terror: Ben Austwick, Mike Holliday and Les Hurst.
All the way from Oz: Pippa Tandy pixelates.
Les Hurst: fast, and in this instance, slightly fuzzy.
Doc student Joanne Murray shares a moment with Pippa Tandy at the Friday pub get-together. Maybe I should have had Joanne take these pix -- her shots of the Brookland Bears at Simon Sellars' Ballardian site are great.
PhD student Valentina Polcini brings aspects of The Atrocity Exhibition into much sharper focus than this picture, and on the right, Dr Francesca Guidotti, who teaches English at the University of Bergamo, Italy, prepares for her presentation on Crash.
I don't know who this is... any help out there?
Part II: Visiting JGB's Haunts At Cambridge
King's College. Top, the back of the university's grounds. This shot was taken from a small bridge JGB would have used to sneak from Leys to King's, and beyond to the Copper Kettle restaurant. Bottom shot: The commons inside the front entrance. Only senior faculty are allowed to walk on the grass.
The famous Copper Kettle rstaurant. As David Pringle reveals in his 1993 interview with JGB's fellow student Bill Spencer: "I think I met Jim Ballard (he was always known as 'Jimmy' then) in my second year at Cambridge -- it may have been his first year. It was either at the Cambridge film society or some literary function. I don't know what drew us together, but we did find a good deal to talk about and we met regularly after that. My college was St Catharine's and Jim Ballard's was King's which was next door, so it would happen that I'd walk over to see him or he'd walk over to see me, or we'd occupy a good many mis-spent hours in the Copper Kettle drinking coffee..."
Part III: JGB's Home, The Thames & Brooklands
JGB drives away on the streets of Shepperton after I pretended he had hit me with his car.
These shots of JGB's house are most odd. I had already taken about 65 pix and none of them had transformed into this weird pink solarization over the white bits. At first I was unhappy with this techno glitch, but the more I look at them the more intrigued I am. Regardless, check out the wild greenery inside the front window. Never far from the jungle.
And that same pinkiness shows up in these Thames pix, at just about the spot where Blake's airplane crashes in The Unlimited Dream Company. I took 40 more shots, and all were normal.
The Brooklands Escalator: I spent the better part of a morning touring frantically around Brooklands, trying to find a shopping centre.... actually, the centre Joanne Murray found with the Big Stuffed Bears. I drove endlessly thru roundabouts until finally some Royal Mail driver led me to a big Tesco/Marks & Sparks complex. It wasn't the Metro-Centre, but it did have something that's apparently rare in retail UK: an escalator. Yes, all escalators are basically the same, but this one sure looks like the cover of Kingdom Come.