if i were the sort of chap who was surreptitious in his nefariousness, i'd be inclined to keep my face shut and give the impression i live permanently in the moment. not once, i would contend, have i been guilty of referencing past successes (such as they are), being so on the ball, that ideas perennially circulate in my psyche, just waiting to be picked off each day and converted to black and yellow pixels. but that's not the sort of bloke i am, more's the pity. i feel compelled to admit to the occasional reprise, to having the contemporary informed by a select period in history.
quite some number of years ago, i contributed an article to a prominent drumming and percussion magazine. would that it were some form of impressive review concerning a top of the range and disturbingly expensive drumset, but sadly, it was merely my ruminations on a hitherto undiscovered aspect of percussive mentality. ok, so that's maybe overstating the case, but i wrote words about drumming anyway.
without boring you with details you're less than interested in, the gist of my theory concerned the drawing of a white line (bear with me, it gets worse). this can be done in one of two ways: simply draw a white line on a black piece of paper, or fill in every square inch of a white sheet of paper, leaving only a white line of the desired thickness. don't worry, i am saying all this correctly, it's just that, as usual, i've yet to come to the point.
those three weeks in july become more and more important to more and more people each year, begetting a self-fulfilling prophecy that sees the tour de france become distanced from the other two grand tours in terms of perceived importance and grandiosity. though several of us agree that the giro d'italia provides both spectator and rider with arguably better racing, le tour still holds court over its siblings with seeming impunity. while that may be manna from heaven for a rising number of aficionados, it also provides tangible subject matter for those willing to look outside the peloton.
those are the folks who would describe the white line by colouring in the rest of the paper.
photographer ian walton is undoubtedly one of those folks, while designer paul wood has a sympathetic handle on how to help ian by appearing to keep out of the way. with the waltonwood journal issue one, both talented fellows hit the ground running; the commendable ease with which they portrayed this year's volta catalunya would have convinced even the naysayers that here was a partnership that would have had to be invented had it not already existed. and while many would emulate the neo pro by investigating lesser races before attempting the tour, their audacity is not only admirable but to be commended for the manner in which they have approached the planet's biggest bicycle race.
though the accuracy of my statement is open to debate, this is a photo book that has ignored the race completely. well, sort of. let's face it, it has to be pretty hard spending the bulk of july in france following the tour with camera in hand, yet returning home with very few images of bicycles and those who ride them. viewed in a detached manner, you'd rather wonder whether mr walton was the best choice for a press pass.
but like many a major event, there's an entourage, an ambience, a periphery that exists as a result of the principal. these, surely, deserve if not the same attention as the race, certainly a heavily weighted proportion. in the manner that drummer jim keltner stated he'd to find a niche amongst the wunderkind of the drumming world with their rudiment a second in odd time signatures, by keeping it simple, it is hard not to applaud the waltonwood journal for deliberately missing the obvious.
two guys on a bike, one sat on the handlebars; a gendarme handing a souvenir to a spectator; street musicians in a french side srteet and an eponymous norbert dentressangle truck flanked by sunkissed spectators. these are every bit as much a part of the tour de france as mark cavendish sprinting to victory, the glass of champagne on the last stage and more red skodas than you can shake a giant green pmu hand at. a bit like trying manfully not to play a paradiddle where it is least required, it can't have been easy to ignore a speeding and alarmingly colourful peloton in favour of france's fringe. but believe me, it was worth it.
paul wood has reprised the style and layout of issue one, pragmatically so, for it displays walton's images to their best advantage by consciously remaining the silent partner. a bit like ignoring le tour, this too requires nerves of steel. designers enjoy a bit of adulation too you know.
issue two of the waltonwood journal can be viewed online via the dedicated website, but thanks to sponsors look mum no hands, kinoko cycles, colourbolt, pave and blackforest beers, there are also 316 physical copies available for grubby little paws to manhandle. if i might point out that issue one used only enough ink and paper for forty copies, it seems we may be celebrating the beginning of a success story here.
view it online if print does not reach places near you, but i'd heartily recommend paper and ink; it'll fill that extra space in the musette.
thursday 24 october 2013