Now this is compulsory viewing. John Gossage talking to Toby Jurovics of the Smithsonian about his landmark photobook The Pond. Look and learn, my friends, look and learn. It's 51 minutes long, so you'll have to set the time aside, but it will be time well spent, if you want to understand the thinking and the process behind what is probably one of the most significant photobooks of the last 20 years. I insist that you watch it.
As it happens, I own two copies of the first edition of The Pond. I was in Hay-on-Wye some years ago (despite being in rural Wales Hay is famous as a centre for second-hand books -- a curious story) and stumbled over them, sitting forlornly on a shelf in one of the back rooms of a bookshop. I'd never heard of John Gossage at the time, and both copies had torn dustjackets, but I was so bowled over by the contents and the graphic appeal of the cover that I bought them both. At £10 each, how could I not? You may hear a reference to the value of these books in the introduction to the Gossage interview. I doubt mine, with their damaged dustjackets, are quite that valuable to a collector, but they are definitely "pension fund" items.
Talking of pensions, I have been on strike today. Our union, the University and College Union, is trying to bring the employers back to the negotiating table over changes they are unilaterally trying to make to our pension scheme. Grrr. So, I spent 8:00 - 9:30 am this morning standing on a picket line, propping up a placard, and handing out leaflets and waffles.
Waffles? Yes, I was surprised about that, too. But Heidi, one of our colleagues, is Norwegian, and she had made several trays of waffles filled with cream and jam -- apparently in Norway you simply can't have a strike without waffles. Obviously. It does sort of take the militant edge off the occasion ("Care for a waffle, you strike-breaking scab? No, I insist, have two!").