I know, I know.
I wrote in my last post that there would be no political statements or comments in this one. However, I misled my readers last time by writing that the new Prime Minister of the [still just] United Kingdom, one Alexander Boris Kerfuffle Johnson had dual British and American citizenship. Well that is no longer the case because Mr. Johnson renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2016 and by so doing gave up any chance of becoming the American president once he became bored with the challenging job of ruining (sorry: running) the UK. See Federal Register 2017-02699 (Go to page 10199!)
And while on the subject, I was highly amused by this article below, which appeared in The Guardian on July 27, and which gives us some idea of the direction in which the UK is headed, seemingly back to the future. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/26/the-comma-touch-jacob-rees-mogg-sends-language-rules-to-staff. (In case you can’t read it from the website, here it is as a PDF. Rees-Mogg Guardian
And the week’s news prompted the following question in my addled mind: “What is the connection between the new Prime Minister of the UK and Modest Mussorgsky?” Well, obviously the answer can’t be anything to do with modest or modesty so that leaves just one other possible response in the form of another question: “Is Boris Godunov?”
So here is a [slightly edited] version of the events in Act I, Scene 1 of Mussorgsky’s opera.
“At the Square in the Kremlin, hungry people are milling about clamouring for food and begging Boris not to desert them in their misery. Simpletons appear followed by a group of boys who tease them and take their only money away from them. The simpletons cry and when Boris enters, the simpleton runs up to him and ask him to murder those boys … The prince orders the simpletons arrested but Boris forbids it, and asks the simpletons instead to pray for him.”
OK. So that’s all the politics for this post.
What I thought I’d do this time is something a little different from the usual, mainly because I can’t really think of anything sensible to write, as sometimes happens — other than that for three innings in a one-off Test Match at Lord’s Cricket Ground between England and Ireland last week, it looked as if Ireland was going to pull off the shock of the century or maybe even the last two centuries only to be bowled out for 38 runs in their second innings, the seventh lowest score in a Test Match ever (the lowest was New Zealand’s 26 against England in Auckland in 1955) and the lowest total ever at Lord’s. Phew!
Now for this week’s surprise. Regular readers of my previous 184 posts in this blog might be aware of the fact that every now and then over the past 3½ years I have posted pictures of fire hydrants, mostly but not solely, in Tel Aviv. Somewhere along the line, when I started photographing them, my eye was drawn to this population of red onlookers or bystanders on the street because it just seemed to me that they had faces and bodies and that these were rather expressive. Of course, that was all part of my imagination and over several years, I continued to photograph them in a variety of poses. At the beginning there appeared to be great variety amongst Tel Aviv’s hydrant population; after a while, situations and poses began to repeat themselves although I still find the odd one here and there that looks different to the others and so the collection continues to grow, albeit slowly.
About a year ago, I decided that I would turn a selection of these images into a book, mainly because I thought my grandchildren might one day wish to see the sort of things that I had been doing in my latter years. Sorting and selecting from about 1,300 images of fire hydrants took me a little longer than I had anticipated and turning it into a book even longer still. By the way, the eagle-eyed amongst you might perceive that a small number of the hydrants and hydrant lookalikes are not Tel Avivians and in that you would be correct. Some of the images were photographed in Israel but beyond the confines of Tel Aviv, a couple are from Spain and the UK.
One or two of you might feel that you’ve seen it before although I honestly can’t remember to whom I sent drafts but this is the “finished” product. (A word of thanks here to Yaelle Amir who read what I had thought was a near-final draft twice and by my reckoning, her comments saved me between two and three months of trial and error and frustration.) But I did it and felt that it was some kind of accomplishment when it was completed, even if it was only something that my family might look at and smile at in years to come.
I attach a PDF of the book should anyone wish to browse through it and even read the accompanying text. If you do and are overcome by some uncontrollable desire to purchase a hard copy, then it’s available as a paperback on Amazon.com, should you wish to part with US$57 + p&p. To the best of my knowledge, five copies have been sold, all to the same purchaser and I have two of these on my bookshelves at the moment. I am also happy to autograph a purchased copy (for a fee, of course) as it may become extremely valuable in the future.