Monday, 31 December 2012

This Damn Nation - No Pain

This Damn Nation

And so we come to the last of the professionally recorded tracks that appeared on the This Damn Nation EP that was sold at gigs and even on a couple of occasions heard on Radio One here in the UK. This was a song that we all loved to play "live" and we were overjoyed to be able to record it properly and have it immortalised for good. We'd spent a couple of days in the studio recording the tracks and just as we'd finished "No Pain" the recording engineer said that he thought the end could do with some keyboards to give it a bit more of an anthemic finish. I suddenly felt every pair of eyes in the room looking at me as they knew I often played about with my keyboards at home. Well, I sat and stabbed around a bit with the playback filling the studio but nothing seemed to feel right, sound right or fall into place. I didn't know what to do at all so told them all I was going outside for 15 minutes to get some fresh air and grabbed a can of beer on the way out. I wandered about in the street without any inspiration at all but the track was still fresh in my mind and I could still hear it ringing in my ears. It wasn't until I was on my way back that I realised another melody was in there with the track, I was hearing something else!!! I don't know where it had came from but I had found the keyboard line that I'd been searching for. What you hear at the very end is a keyboard part that's very loosely based on an Arabian scale and it fitted perfectly giving the track the lift that was needed. So without any further ado turn it up loud and feel "No Pain"...

This Damn Nation were :- 

Steve Sharp (Vocals) , Steve Cook (Bass) , Andy Birch (Drums) and Justin Hill (Guitars)

Seaside Pools, Glasshouse & Minimalism

"To Catch a Cloud" :- Late afternoon down on the beach at Ovingdean Gap on the south coast of England. The sun was beginning to set behind me as I turned to the East and noticed a small pink cloud being caught by some of the sea water that had been left behind.

"In the Greenhouse" :- This is one of the mighty and ginormous greenhouses that are at the back of Stanmer Park on the outskirts of Brighton, England. The parks and gardens department of Brighton Council are housed there and some of the greenhouses are open to the public with plants for sale etc. It's a very interesting place to wander around.

"No Place Like Dome" :- A very different shot from me and not the sort of thing I normally shoot or frame this way! This is the roof / dome of the amusement arcade on the end of Brighton Pier (England). Some gulls had got weary of battling with the air currents and were taking a well earned rest on the top. I liked the way the strip lights were just glowing and hat the blue of the late evening sky was acting as I nice offset to the dark dome. No cropping...this is how I shot it.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Sunday, 30 December 2012

This Damn Nation - Over The Edge

This Damn Nation

Track two by This Damn Nation is titled "Over The edge" (for some reason the playable link just says Track 2). Writing it was fun, recording was fun too but playing it live was always an ordeal for me as there was no let up to the guitar part and it was full tilt from beginning to end. A song to incite riot and jump around too ... which we often did on stage. An angst ridden little ditty with a lot of drive behind it.

This Damn Nation were :- 

Steve Sharp (Vocals) , Steve Cook (Bass) , Andy Birch (Drums) and Justin Hill (Guitars)

Norman Architecture, Cropped Crop & Serene View

"Beddingham Church" :- Here's a different view of Beddinghman Church in Sussex, England. The village itself is old and very much a remnant of ancient Britain , the church is also extremely old. Much of what you see here is Norman so that would be from 1066 onward. I discovered this little church quite by accident as I was driving along a highway back towards the city of Brighton. I just happened to glance to my left and spotted it from the road so as soon as it was possible and safe to turn the car around I doubled back and managed to find my way to it.

"Cut Down" :- A very simple but effective shot. This is a field in the village of Ovingdean on he south coast of England. The farmer had just recently harvested his crop leaving the stiff rigid remains looking like soldiers lining up in their ranks. All I had to do was crouch down in the field and grab the image!

"Pastel Eve" :- A beautiful winter sky over the English Channel as seen from the cliff tops at the coastal village of Rottingdean on the south coast of England. Natures colors always amaze me.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Saturday, 29 December 2012

This Damn Nation - TDN

Ok, so having been through the solo pieces I wrote and performed as well as the GAMUT days of the 80's and Wet Fish Slap early 90's we come to the final band that I was involved with. Originally I was just helping out a friend who happened to know a few guys who needed a bass player. I owned a bass and offered to help out for a while. A few line up changes later and I was on guitar having asked another friend of mine if he'd play bass. Before we knew it the band was a solid power house of noise and THIS DAMN NATION was formed, writing and jumping around on stage! We actually managed to hit the studio a few times and record various songs of ours and the one that I present to you here was our anthem song titled TDN . You will instantly realise that this band was as far removed from Gamut and Wet Fish Slap as possible. We kicked serious butt and our slogan was Lunacy Motivated Energy Spewin Chaos ...

TDN by This Damn Nation on Grooveshark

This Damn Nation were :- 

Steve Sharp (Vocals) , Steve Cook (Bass) , Andy Birch (Drums) and Justin Hill (Guitars)

Fiery Pier, Rural Coast & a Misleading Name

"Red Sky at Night" :- I very nearly didn't venture into the city on this day. I'd been busy at home and couldn't make up my mind if I could be bothered enough to find the energy to sort myself out and travel in. In the end I reasoned that a bit of fresh air would probably do me good so I grabbed my camera and drove in. I knew as I was driving along the coast road that I'd made the right choice, I could already see things starting to glow in the late afternoon sky. I managed to park (which was a miracle in itself) and wandered down to the seafront where the most breath taking sunset hit me between the eyes. The next thing I knew I was running across the pebbled beach and towards the twisted iron remains of the West Pier eager to grab as many shots as I could before the sun eventually dipped below the horizon. So here's one of the many shots I grabbed that afternoon of the West Pier and sunset from Brighton beach on the south coast of England.

"Sunkissed Sheep" :- "Beacon Hill" is a nature reserve that borders the ancient villages of Ovingdean & Rottingdean (they are both listed in the Domesday Book of 1086) on the south coast of England. Most of the time the hill is devoid of livestock but on the odd occasion sheep are left to graze up on the hill and this was one of those rare occasions. A temporary fence is erected to stop them wandering off and out onto the road, it also serves to stop dogs that are often walked on the hill from running among them and worrying the sheep.

"New Road" :- This is New Road in Brighton, England. There are a few restaurants and caf├ęs dotted along this pedestrianised precinct as well as the Dome Booking Office, Pavilion Theatre and the Theatre Royal. "New Road" was constructed in 1803 providing access around the back of the Royal Pavilion, the "Theatre Royal" was opened a few years later in 1807. New Road was once open to traffic, the pavements (sidewalks) were narrow and the entire street was congested. In 2008 the road was pedestrianized & won awards for it's re-design.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Friday, 28 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - Rough At The Edges

Well I hope and trust that you all had a great break over the Christmas period and that you are recovering well from the food and booze overload! As a recap here's the full "Rough At The Edges" collection featuring all the tracks that the stupidly named "Wet Fish Slap" ever wrote and recorded. It was fun while it lasted and thankfully it didn't last long.

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

Brooding Cloud, Victorian Anomaly & Festive Barn

‎"Silent Enemy" :- I have a few shots of this singular storm cloud attempting to ruin a wonderful sunset and evening on its own. I'd been down on the beach grabbing images of the sun going down when this gargantuan and foreboding looking cloud drifted silently into place and then stopped. It sat motionless, hovering in place over the sea as if it was trying to work out what exactly it should do next. I'd captured several images of t from beach level and was making my way back "up top" when i turned and grabbed this last shot. The light on the sea was sliver and cold and the clouds reflection cast a gun metal grey on the water too.

"Brighton Folly" :- I know nothing about this structure at all. In fact it has baffled me for a long time. It's situated on Brighton seafront on an area known as "Duke's Mound" in Kemptown (Southern England). It is thought that Sir Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) an English gardener and architect, best known for designing The Crystal Palace developed the terraced walks along the seafront in 1828 so I am guessing that this was part of the seafront garden designs from the Victorian era.

"The Tree Hut" :- Captured just a day or so before Christmas in the village of Ovingdean on the south coast of England. This little hut was home to a business that was selling Christmas Trees and hand produced wooden ornaments. It looked very cozy and inviting as I drove past so I pulled over and grabbed a few shots before the light failed completely. Now is a good time to post the image as it will soon be new year and I'll have a long wait before it seems fitting again!

All Photography © Justin Hill

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Frozen, End Arm & Fields

"Cold Glow":- Approximately a week ago I posted a monochrome version of the same scene from a different angle and thought you might like to see how it actually looked in glorious color. This is the village pond in Rottingdean, frozen solid and duck free (they had more sense than me and were nowhere to be seen). The pub that's illuminated is "The Plough" but the village does have a few other bars that you can choose from. I'd been down on the beach catching yet another wonderful sunset and decided to call it a day once i'd lost the feeling in my fingers and toes. This shot was one of the last I took before jumping in the car and heading on back to the warmth of home.

"Navigation Light" :- Captured on the far end of the protective Eastern arm of the mighty marina in Brighton, England. It was sunny but cold and a late afternoon harsh winter light was creating shadows and sharp contrasts everywhere I looked. The mast that's central to the image supports and holds aloft the green navigation light, the end of the Western arm has the red navigation light.

"Emerald Aisles" :- And so we near the end of yet another year as 2013 fast approaches. But there are those that thought 2013 would never happen due to the fact that the world as we knew it would demise in 2012. I am in no doubt that this beautiful planet of ours will at some point change beyond belief or simply die but I have a feeling that mankind will be long gone before that happens anyway. We have this smug and idiotic ability to think that we know everything ... we don't. Some believed that a race of people that were in South America (c. AD 250–900) had the ability to correctly predict the end of the earth. Well mankind is clever but not that clever. I had to spend 30 minutes talking to my 11 year old Thai step daughter on the phone trying to explain to her that the earth was not going to end. She'd seen a news story on TV and was worried thinking that the globe was going to go bang. She asked me if the sun was going to go out and would it be dark for seven days (don't know why she thought that). I assured her that the days would continue to be both light and dark, suns would rise and fall and take their turn with the moon. Stars would still be in their rightful place and planets would continue to orbit and revolve like they always have done. But above all she would still have o go to school...

All Photography © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Traditional Decor, Long Shadows & Glass Door

"Stars" :- Festive hand carved wooden decorations hang in a barn and wait to be purchased in the village of Ovingdean on the south coast of England. There's a smell of fresh wood chippings and a warm glow over everything.

"Summertime Blues" :- Captured back in the warmer & sunnier months day trippers, tourists and locals take in the sun and bask in it's rays on the beach along the Brighton & Hove seafront (England). You can tell by the long shadows that this was taken late afternoon.

"One Hundred & Thirty Five" :- Looking somewhat like a Japanese paper door or screen this is in fact a glass paneled door and window in the side of Brighton Museum. Not much to look at by day (although it is opened when it's hot and sunny) but by night the individual glass panels glow with the light from within the museum. If you look carefully at the image (to the right) you can clearly make out a very large porcelain cat and some shelving withing the museum shop.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Festive Scene, Left to Rot & Metal Network

"Christmas Tree" :- It seems appropriate to post this image of a lit Christmas Tree today. This was photographed in my village of Ovingdean on the south coast of England. There's a place down on the main road that has been selling Xmas trees and wooden festive ornaments over the last few weeks. I stopped on my way past and asked them if I could take a few shots and they very kindly let me wander about the place.

"Old Barn" :- Photographed at a Gas Station on the A26 near the Black Down Roundabout by the town of Uckfield in Sussex. I was driving back from a day out in Tunbridge Wells and needed more fuel. After we'd filled up he car I ran across to the wooden fence a the side and grabbed this shot as the barn looked like a good subject to shoot.

"The Iron Giant" :- A somewhat unconventional image of Brighton's famous "Brighton Pier" (Formerly known as the "Palace Pier"). The sea was trying to make it's mind up if it should come in again or not and whilst it was thinking t had exposed the large iron legs of the pier and the vast network of metal that supports the tourists up above! It's a testament to Victorian Engineering that the pier is still standing as t was officially opened in 1899.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Monday, 24 December 2012

Twilight Puddle, Black Sunset & a Tunnel

"Pool of Light" :- A waterlogged section of a farmers field reflects the dying remnants of the day. The street lamps in the distance are on the main "Marine Drive" coastal road which runs East to West (and visa versa) along the south coast between the city of Brighton and the village of Rottingdean in England.

"The Center Of It All" :- Another black and white sunset, this time made even more dramatic because of the heavy brooding clouds that were scudding over the sea. The tide was out too so that also added to the atmosphere with the light bouncing off the rocks and sand.

"On the Rise" :- A concrete pedestrian walkway near Brighton Marina on the south coast of England. On rough days this par of the seafront behaves like a wind tunnel and is extremely bleak.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - Signs of Life

Track #8 is 1:41 of an idea that unfortunately never came to fruition. It jangles along quite nicely but then seems to run out of puff at the end. Listening to it now it reminds me of some of the early Genesis tracks that I used to listen too. Maybe they influenced me without me realising it.

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

St Margaret's, Ominous Cloud & Lonely Views

"Illuminated Church" :- 4:15 pm in the churchyard of St Margaret's Church in the village of Rottingdean on the south coast of England. The floodlights have just been turned on and the twilight hour cast a beautiful blue hue over everything that's not illuminated. A quick afterthought shot as I was heading back to the car.

"Brewing Up A Storm" :- Yet another case of right time, right place. I was on the beach at Ovingdean Gap (England) capturing some shots of the rocks, sea and sunset when this enormous and very geometrical looking storm cloud drifted into the scene and then simply stopped , hovering still and motionless over the water. I was both mesmerized and fascinated by the entire thing and took many shots. The color imagery is incredible to look at too but I thought I'd treat you to the monochrome version first!

"Contemplation" :- I was on the cliff tops at Peacehaven (on the south coast of England) merrily capturing images when I came across this part of the cliff that had eroded and fallen away over time. I set up the camera and tripod and got everything composed as I wanted it and was about to grab the shot when this lone figure wandered in and promptly sat down on the cliff edge ... and in my shot! Fortunately for me I reaslised that he in did in fact enhance the image by being there so took it anyway!

All Photography © Justin Hill

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - It's Not a Jam, It's Preserve

Ok....track #7 didn't ever have a title. It was another rough idea for a track that we didn't know what to do with. The concept was there but very little else. Having a singer would have helped a lot, not having one hindered us immensely. Anyway, because I have looked after these rough recordings for so long and because it was an idea being indiscriminately bashed out by the three of us I have chosen to title this track "It's Not a Jam, It's Preserve" ...

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

Scenic Seating, Monochrome Beach & a Bar

"Sunset Bench" :- Here's a moody shot from the beach at Rottingdean on the south coast of England. The sun was just going down and the air was beginning to chill and bite. I had been on the beach grabbing images for a good hour or so when I decided to call it a day and make my way back to where I'd parked the car when I noticed the play of light on this seafront bench. I also loved all the subdued tones and evening blues so grabbed one extra shot before leaving the beach.

"Harsh Beauty" :- A late afternoon hard light hit the shores at Ovingdean Gap. The clouds were moving in and the temperature was dropping rapidly. The tide was on the turn and threatening to envelope everything in site.

"Fortune of War" :- The "Fortune of War" is a bar that's located on the lower promenade on Brighton beach, England. It's interior is modeled on an old ship so there's a lot of wood and ropes involved. If you do manage to get a seat by the upper windows at the front then you can sit and drink with a great view of the English Channel. I captured this late evening so nobody was sitting outside as it was too cold, I was actually standing on the pebbled beach for this shot!

All Photography © Justin Hill

Friday, 21 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - What Next?

"What Next?" is track #6 and a prime example of a good idea and tune that simply ran out of steam. We knew that the beginning sounded alright and the concept was there but we never really knew quite where to take it once it was under way. This becomes very apparent because the end of the track petered out in a sort abrupt musical train wreck. The piece was never completed or finished. Listening back to it now I know where I could have taken it and what I'd like to have done with it but that's all in the past and done with. I think we definitely had something going though ... t chugs along quite nicely.

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

Dramatic Sky, Icy View & Wet Attraction

"Roundabout Hell" :- Another shot for me that was a chance in a million. This was taken from the end of Greenways road in the Village of Ovingdean looking south towards the cliff top. The road signs and street lights are all around the Ovingdean roundabout on a very busy main coast road that services the city of Brighton on the south coast of England. I got there just as the storm clouds were breaking slightly allowing the sunset to blast through which created a very moody and dramatic scene. Right in the center of the image you can see a back-lit lone figure sitting in the bus stop. There was a brief moment and opportunity to capture the shot while the road was clear so I grabbed my chance before all the traffic came through again.

"Frozen Inn" :- This is a shot of the Plough Inn looking across a very frozen village pond in the coastal village of Rottingdean , England. The light bouncing off he ice adds to the bleak and cold atmosphere and makes me think of the old black and white horror films of the 40's and 50's. I'd wrapped up as warm as I could but was still losing the feeling in my fingers rapidly so grabbed the shot and moved on.

"Water Wheel" :- A night shot of the Brighton Wheel. It had been raining hard so the road was reflecting the light from the illuminated wheel and adding a certain amount of mystery and fantasy to the scene. The two members of staff were sitting in their booths on the off-chance that somebody would fancy going for a spin on such a dreary and miserable night...nobody did.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - Ocean Blue

Us "Wet Fish Slap" boys were never afraid to experiment. Sometimes it worked ... and sometimes it didn't. Track #5 "Ocean Blue" was one of those tracks that had a foot in both camps. Sits of it were OK and other bits of it were far from OK. I'm posting it anyway and will let you make your own minds up. Remember that these were just live rehearsal recordings and were never meant to be aired publicly. They were recorded so that we (the band) could listen back to them and see where things could be improved, worked on more or simply thrown out. This was a track that was never really finalised or finished.

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

Winter's Shore, 1800 Steps & Estuary

"Another Time Another Place" :- Another wonderful sunset taken from the beach. This time the beach in question is that of the coastal and historical village of Rottingdean just east of the city of Brighton, England. This shot has everything in it that I could have wished for. A cold and beautiful pastel sky, golden sun, reflecting sands and water, shadows and wonderful silhouettes of the rocks.

"Crumbling" :- These steps have been used by millions going up and down from the promenade to the beach on Brighton's seafront. They were built in the 1800's and are now (in places) in need of repair. The iron railings look as though they were put in place yesterday as they have stood the test of time very well. You can clearly see the double dolphins (an emblem of Brighton) on the iron work.

"Winding Beauty" :- Here's a shot down the length of the winding and picturesque River Cuckmere and the Cuckmere Estuary in Sussex, England. . It was captured just on the edge of the Ashdown forest looking south from the other side of the main coast road. It always amazes me how water will find it's own course and way, winding through fields and valleys and nowadays more often than not streets as well. The Cuckemere estuary is a prime example of a river finding its way , its exaggerated curves and bends look like some form of CGI work that you'd see in "Lord of the Rings" or from the pages of a fairy tale. It's a truly stunning part of Sussex and well worth a visit and ramble.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - Grimy Cave

After a while we prided ourselves on the name we'd chosen for the band. That in turn lead us to start titling some of our tracks in rather odd and unusual ways too. So it's with that in mind that I now introduce you to track #4 which is called ... "Grimy Cave". This track shows of Rick's superb command of his bass guitar and playing. Once again it's a very rough recording and far from note perfect but it was just a rehearsal after all. The room was full of equipment, amps, leads, guitars and drums as well as a fridge full of beer. Virtually every flat surface had a few empty cans on it and my Marshall Amp (a JCM 800 Series Split Channel Twin Reverb Head) always had a full can of beer on the top as well as an ashtray and a packet of cigarettes. It was due to this that our very own rehearsal room became known as the "Grimy Cave" which this track was named after...

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

Jetty, Monochrome Sunset & Neon Pink

"Strut Your Stuff" :- This is a shot of the footbridge / jetty at Shoreham Harbor on the south coast of England. Once again I was getting strange looks from the many that were sunbathing on the shore and soaking up the suns rays as I wedged myself under and in to get the shot I wanted. I'd noticed the sunlight was lighting up the metal walkway causing it to glow an unearthly red which seemed to work perfectly against the blue that it's own shadow was creating on the water surface. I liked the lines and gentle curve of the jetty too.

"Wave Goodbye" :- Capturing a stunning sunset and then processing it as a black and white seems like an odd thing to do at first. I have to admit it felt alien to me whilst I was creating the image but I stand by my choice of processing as the image is extremely striking like this. I don't see many (if any) creating black and white sunsets so thought I'd treat you all with one! I have many other color versions of this very sunset so I didn't feel too bad taking all the color out. Shot a few weeks back on Brighton seafront on the south coast of England, everything fell into place ... all I had to do was be there and click. I like the balance of this shot, the sun and the remains of the West Pier mimic each others positions and the one solitary figure (female) standing on the end of the breakwater added to the whole scene.

"Pee Wees" - Nothing subtle about this image as it's seriously in your face. This is the window of a hairdresser's within Kensington Gardens which is part of Brighton's famous North Lanes where the shops are a tad more trendy and unusual. If you are looking to buy a unicycle or some juggling balls, an action figure from a horror movie or comic, some trinkets, earrings or retro clothing or simply just want a beer then this is the area you want to be in.

All Photography © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Wet Fish Slap - Crash The Milkfloat

I really wish that we'd gone into a decent recording studio and laid these tracks down properly but unfortunately these rough 'live' rehearsal recordings are all that there is. Considering they are at least 20 years old they've done well to last this long on an old cassette tape that I've been harboring and looking after. Anyway track #3 is the amusingly titled "Crash The Milkfloat", it rambles on a bit but there is still some structure to it and we knew what we were doing as we all finish on the beat at the end (always a good thing when playing live). The title comes from a story that our drummer "Reg" told us about a mate of his in Wales who was on his way home in the early hours of the morning and was too drunk to walk. Apparently he saw a milkfloat parked at the side of the road and thought it would be quicker and easier if he "borrowed" it and drove home. Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan and he overturned it by going around a bend too fast, just to make things worse the milkfloat had been full and all the crates of milk that had been on the back were now strewn across the road. It made a great title for the track though...

Wet Fish Slap were :- "Reg" - Drums, Rick Willis - Bass & Justin Hill - Guitar

Oldest Tree, Moody Station & City Sunset

‎"Propped" :- Now this is what you call a tree! The yew tree within Wilmington Church yard (in the village of Wilmington, Sussex) is estimated to be over 1600 years old. They say it was planted circa 400 AD and it is believed to be the oldest yew tree in England. The trunk is so heavy and big that it has to be supported by several large telegraph poles.

"Simply Food" :- Two loads of transport in one shot! A couple of bicycles are chained to the railings outside of Brighton's Victorian train station on the south coast of England. From the station it's just a 10 minute walk to the seafront and the city center. I wanted to go in heavy with the processing of this image and try to get white whites and black blacks as the shapes, lines and geometrics within the image seemed to demand it.

"Golden Coast" :- Captured during one of the most stunning sunsets I have ever witnessed on Brighton seafront looking towards Hove and the west. I'd been "clicking away" trying to grab as many shots as I could while the sun gracefully (but rapidly) descended behind the remains of the West Pier and towards the horizon. I happened to look away from the wonder that had entranced me and saw this view of the seafront basking in the last rays of the day and shot it more as an afterthought than anything else. It wasn't until I processed the shot that I realised just how beautiful it was and that I'd managed to get it without a single soul on the beach!

All Photography © Justin Hill