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Eean’s England, or a Pictoral Journey through Sheffield

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So, a few weeks ago I received a disposable, one-time use camera in the mail from Eean, a guy I met on the Grandaddy message boards. I wrote a post about it, called Strange Camera, Par Avion.

I got the picture developed, and here is my letter back to Eean, with some of the picture highlights, with some captions he included in a letter and my comments:

Many of the pictures have this sort of otherworldly new-iron-meets-old-warehouse industrial feel imposing on the rather ancient-looking brick edifices–a mood that I rarely associate with England. So it was good for me to get another perspective on a country whose topography I barely can conjure outside of picaresque pictures of Trafalgar Square and that big glorious bridge, or the quaint and irritatingly perfect ivy-laden stone cottages from the set of “Last of the Summer Wine.” Moreover, it helps to destroy the insidious evil that Hollywood has done its very box-office-best to instill upon my imagination visions of 16th century castles.

I sort of got the impression from you that this was an exercise in giving the viewer (me) a little taste of local culture anyway, whether or not you were able to guesstimate the extent of my ignorance of the architecture and landscape of Sheffield, is unknown.

The pictures aren’t completely foreign, however; the mood of the brick buildings and of the stone bridge pander to that dreamy, cream-coated history of The Motherland which I envision; learned from travel catalogues, the History Channel and postcard vingettes of Merry ‘Ole England. And even, in some of the pictures, the buildings remind me a tiny bit of the city I live in! After all, I do happen to live in *New* England, and Boston, in particular, is a city which has been modeled in the image and likeness of Britain, because back when those little religious malcontents came here those many years ago, it was all the architectural variety of which their little New-World-obsessed brains could concieve.

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Eean Sez: 7 Spices Balti House. Was our favorite curry place until the guy who did the sauces moved.
I sez: I like this 7 Spices Balti sign…I bet it looks cool all lit up at night. Too bad the sauce guy left.

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Eean Sez: The Globe Works, no idea what it does now, but I’m guessing it used to be a steel works. Sheffield is an old steel town.
I Sez: This images is of particular interest to me…the imposing bronze metal sculptures with rather ominous egg shaped orbs emerging from the top is sort of Baroque-meets-H.R.-Giger, like an entrance to a kingdom on another planet. with the cross shaped crane in the background serving as a bright warning beacon against entering. Beautiful, but terrifying. And the grafitti on the concrete base of the sculputre reads, in some alien script, “All Beware Ye Who Enter Here”. And a few feet later, on the inset wall, is scribbled “Past the Point of No Return”. Globe Works, indeed.

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Eean Sez: Globe Works Ramp, it does down as well as up. A technical marvel.
I Sez: Globe Works ramp, has an interesting composition, but the more I stare at it, the more I believe it to be completely fake, a movie set. It all started when I looked at the roof of the building in the center. The shingles or whatever of the slanted sides create a black outline against the triangle top, which lends a cartoony and unreal quality to the building, like it’s completely flat and behind it is an empty parking lot filled with trash or broken down carnival stands. And then, I realized that all the buildings to the right of this one look sort of fake as well. It’s something I would like to draw.
Nice composition, and beautiful lighting. Kudos on that.

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Eean Sez: Some Poppy-style things by Crusteel. I take it that place still makes steel.
I Sez: Also a nice compostion. Great crop and wonderful color…Love how the sky matches the sidewalk to evoke some sort of mirror negative space, framed messily & happily and by the brown grass. The flowers are so bright and lovely that they’re almost amusing…like a little laughing beacon of joy in an otherwise parched landscape. And all of this is interruped by the white van in the background, another alien-looking pod hovering steathily in Alien England. I also like the sign, but it’s alien to me too; I don’t think we have signs of that sort here. What the hell does it mean? Landing dock for alien white van-pod?

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Eean Sez: River Don (just by the Adult Superstore, which I walk past nearly everyday. No one goes in an there’s never anyone over the counter?? I’m guessing people hide until I’ve gone past.)
I Sez: You mean to tell me you’ve never been in there? When driving through the freeways of my rather large country, often times I’ll drive past “Porn Barns” that are literally country farm-style barns, complete with red wooden siding and white criss-cross trim, that have XXX emblazoned across the entryway.They’re comical, especially since I imagine the inside to be a dirty, dusty concrete floor where a lazy old bony mare slowly chews hay and swishes flies off her back with her stringy tail while perverts peruse the product lines of videos, straps, oils and apparati, carefully lined positined and placed on bales of alfalfa hay.
I’ve never been in one, but I honestly don’t want to see what’s inside for fear the porn barns won’t live up to the wonderfully cartoonish image I’ve allowed my brain to cultivate.

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Eean Sez: A little further down the road is the Bickerton Lexus dealership.
I Sez: I don’t know what this means, but I want it on my wall. Funny that you don’t even mention it in the caption, but only note the Bickerton Lexus dealership, tiny in the distance. Made me laugh.

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Eean Sez: Unsure of day, Bridge/Tram on the way to wrk in the morning!
I Sez: Another alienesque picture…the modern architecture of the bridge looks like part of some orbiting satellite or space station. Also, upon first look, I was sure I saw a UFO in the upper right quadrant of the picture. I realized a few seconds later that it was not, in fact, a UFO, but merely the top of a lamp in the parking lot, and that the image of the UFO was only my paranoid brain “seeing things”. Or was it? Also, on a side note, I noticed that nearly all of the vehicles in this picture are either Red, Silver, or some sliding scale of Black/White/Gray. You know, it’s funny, it’s kind of the same here, too, in the States: What do we have against blue and purple and orange and pink and green cars? Why always red-silver-black-white? Although, I might ask myself the same question, because I just yesterday bought a black car. Haha

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Eean Sez: Sunset on Shalesmoor. Sometimes if I’m feeling lazy I’ll get the Tram home from Shalesmoor.
I Sez: This picture is one of my favorites on the roll, not only because of the exquisite sunset, but because the scenerey is the farthest from what I imagine England to look like.It’s hauting and beautiful, in a developed-futuristic sort of way, what with all the street lights, not yet turned on, signaling the broad curves of the road that trail out of view.
Also, those “L” shaped stoplights are funny. And what does that sign say? I’ve tried to figure it out, but can’t quite make it out…something “IS GOOD”.

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Eean Sez: Sheaf Quays–round the corner from the horrible call centre where I work.
I Sez: Looks very much like the wharfs on the Atlantic Ocean just a mere 5 miles from my apartment. This is a neat picture, looks like a perfect summer evening.

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Eean Sez: Shalesmoor Sign–it looks pretty different here now they changed all the roads.
I Sez: This picture is definitely my favorite out of all of them. And I know that this is the one known thing we have in common, so allow me to exploit it by saying that this picture reminds of me of a Grandaddy song. Not one in particular, but perhaps the feeling evoked after a lonely day, a long walk, and a few notes of Under the Western Freeway. Or Sumday. Or The Sophtware Slump. But not Just Like the Fambly Cat. You take your pick. Anyway, most of the lower region of the picture is obscured by shadow, with only hints of buildings filling in the negative space. The top half, however, is lovely and riveting…and the color is spectacular. I also like how the plane trails in the sky echo the wires on the bridge. Did you plan it like that? Nice.

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Eean Sez: The Ship Inn, I think it’s pretty old bud I’d be making it up if I said how old. There was a pub on the other side but they demolished it to make the new sliproad.
I Sez: This building looks so completely out of place. Once again we have the space station crane looming in the background, with orange cones, red iron fence and gray, gray cold road dominating the atmosphere. Then, between the road and the crane, is this darling little Tudor gingerbread house of an inn, like the last remaining cutural sentinel standing bravely against the encroaching modernity. I would never stay there. I think it would be depressing to look out the window and see that crane. But perhaps the crane’s gone now.

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Eean Sez: Glove Turtle. I found this as it was, apart from I put an eye on it.
I Sez: I think it’s funny you put an eye on it. It’s a little blurry, but amusing. And thanks for including the background, which is incredible.

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Eean Sez: Simpkins Sweet Factory–It’s at the back of our house. Some mornings smell of strawberry or lemon or if your unlucky….marzipan. Euuughhh! No one ever goes in no one ever comes out. Really!
I Sez: Don’t you mean alien radio tower? And I happen to love Marzipan–although everyone else I know hates it. But then again, most people hate Peeps, too, but I love them.

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Eean Sez: The bit where you come off the tram bridge by work I think…
I Sez: I like the composition of this as well. The green lights at the bottom left are eerie. Can almost hear a lonely whistle of wind blowing through the empty streets.

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Eean sez: Meadowhall Interchange. Too early wiating for my lift to Leeds from my manager training. Frosty and listening to The Coral if I remember correctly.
I Sez: So you DO have autumn in England! Pretty Colors.

Anyway, thanks overall for the pictures. They were a neat little voyeuristic voyage in to the Land of Eean. I hope to return in kind by sending you a similar camera. And, lucky you, this has coincided with a neat time in my life; I’m getting ready to leave Massachusetts and head west, west, west towards Nevada, where I’ll be living in Las Vegas. I’m embarking upon this journey in late August. I think what I’ll do, if my heat-addled brain can remember this plan amid the life-depleting humidty of summer, is to take a picture or two each day as I cross the ENTIRE country, traveling over 2,000 miles in my new black Toyota. Here’s a breakdown of my itinerary:

Boston, Massachusetts
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Detroit, Michigan
St. Louis, Missouri
Kansas City, Kansas
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Amarillo, Texas
Roswell (speaking of aliens!), Santa Fe, and Alburquerque, New Mexico
the Grand Canyon
and Zion National Park,
and then, glorious, sinful
Las Vegas, NV.

Anyway, I thought it might be neat to get a camera full of different states across the US. It will take until the middle of Sept, tho.

:)Sarah

—–

Currently listening to: The Mysterious Production of Eggs by Andrew Bird

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Written by pocheco

July 9, 2006 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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