Nige' Ollis

Photographer and Writer

Archive for ‘November, 2011’

An Extraordinary Story

I was listening to the radio on Friday morning, and heard one of those stories that simply stops you in your tracks:

Thirty years after the Second World War had ended, a man was travelling with his wife on a train. They went to the buffet car to get something to drink. The woman serving them kept looking at the man and eventually said “I know your face. I’m sure. It’s you!”

Thirty years earlier, that man had been one of the first allied soldiers into the concentration camp at Belsen; the scene that greeted their arrival has long since been tragically and horrifically well documented. The soldier found a young girl, a bag of bones and barely alive. He picked her up, sat her down and gave her his last rations of chocolate. She smiled.

Thirty years later, she was serving that same unnamed face tea on a train rushing through the European countryside.

The story was relayed by the man’s son. I can only imagine the emotion of that extraordinary moment.

Chewing Gum For The Eyes

Television’s moments are seemingly getting fewer and fewer and further and further between. It’s virtually reached the point now where I don’t even look any more without receiving some prior, reliable endorsement.

The paucity of imagination across all networks and stations is miserably palpable; maintaining a curious more is less philosophy. Who is watching all these relentless makeover [both personal and house], antique, minimal IQ quizzes and cooking shows? I mean, there are only so many students sat around contemplating going to a lecture; and they can’t afford to buy anything that the advertisers are attempting to sell them. [Aside from a shotgun, when it slowly dawns on them just how large their student debt has become!]

And then there’s the vacuous, brain-dead Saturday night market; when you stumble across a ratings winner then repeat it ad nauseam for years and years and fill it with presenters whose frantic delivery seemingly can’t hide their genuine joy and astonishment that they’re being paid handsomely for this refried leftovers of ever diminishing returns.

From Sir Bruce Forsyth… [Yeah, finally! So can we please now strap him to a bath chair and mop up his relentless, repetitive, dribbling platitudes! Not so much in his twilight years as his undead years!] …to Gok Wan and his ongoing desire to shotblast, overhaul and see the entire country’s frumpy women naked. How To Look Good Naked, it seems, is soft focus lenses, cleverly disguised lighting and shooting from above to avoid the multiple chins. In other words, all the same techniques utilised by the fashion industry and associated magazines which have mercilessly torn asunder these women’s self-esteem in the first place. Oh, the irony. I could almost give them a slap.

Actually, better than that: ditch Gok Wan, recommission with Burt Kwouk, and he can leap out of wardrobes and try and kill the whining harpies. I might watch that… for one series.

Burt Kwouk goes about his work with gusto in the newly recomissioned How To Look Good Naked