Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Midweek Mentors

Photo copyright Douglas Kirkland /Corbis/Glitterati

I recently opened a photo album that held some shots of our last visit to Rome some four years ago.

I discovered a couple of pages that were loose, probably with an intention to add them if there was a spare space.

The photograph dates from 1965 and is one of Douglas Kirkland's extensive portraits of the stars of the day. In this Peter Sellars is posing as a paparazzi stalking Britt Ekland from a cute Fiat 500. 

The poem is by Rod McKuen and dates from the same year, featured in his first book Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows. I share it with you at the end of this post.
Douglas Kirkland

1965 was one hell of a year in my life as it marked the close of a decade of seafaring and the start of creating a family life and totally new occupation ashore. In the absence of any formal training, along with Tom Hustler and later David Hamilton and Tony Armstrong Jones, I learnt about portraiture and street photography from the example of these guys.

In a fit of nostalgia I sought out a copy of Freeze Frame. Checking the usual online sources I found that used copies ranged  from £4.82 - including postage from World of Books - to well over £60.00. Moral: If seeking second hand books check ALL the offers on several sites.

While shopping on line I replaced my long ago lent-and-not-returned copy of Rod's book. That's the guy here in poses from the 1960's and 2000.

I thought I didn't like poetry until a former lover introduced me and she and I subsequently enjoyed seeing the man himself during his  UK Friendship Tour at the height of his fame.

Anyway ... here's the poem I promised ... and I think it is nice to acknowledge the beneficial impact that these mentors had on my life. Both have extensive coverage on Wikepedia and elswhere if you want to know more about them.

Comfort by Rod McKuen 1965

If we could do it all again
Motorbike through roman cities in the rain
watch the cats chase lizards in the forum
drink bad wine from mouth to mouth
I would probably try to love you harder than I did
I would probably smile a smile much better than the ones I did
for I was just rehearsing then
imagining what might happen in the years ahead.

It is not just you I love
[Or even Roman rain]
Or all the times you rattled my windows
After twelve-o-clock

I love the smell of rooms where you have been
The foreign touch of things I never knew
Until you came along.
I even love your enemies
Because they drive you to my arms for comfort.