"....these are the women who’ve thrown in the towel on the nine to five, hitched their silver bullet shaped caravans to their pickups and headed west. Here they roam the range like later day cowgirls, searching for something. ….. Amie Sykes quit her job as a para-legal in Austin, Texas fifteen years ago and puts it like this.
“As I drove north, I knew that the city never looked as good as it did at that moment …... in the rearview mirror.
.......I was like a bird in a cage. I sold my car and bought a huge pickup truck which I painted pink and called 'Large Marge' and hooked a caravan on the back. Then I started combing the flea markets in Texas….... I didn’t plan it but I started dealing in junk. I just bought stuff and fixed it up to sell. There’s a romance to the road. To wake at dawn in the cold, pull on a parka and warm gloves, hear the roar of the motor and feel the tremble of the caravan. The world belongs to you and you’re free....."click here for a slide show
“ In Castrillo de Murcia, Burgos, Spain, at Corpus Christi, grown men dressed all in yellow leap over tiny babies, in one of the lesser known Spanish fiestas. The yellow man, El Colacho, represents the devil and it is believed that when he jumps over a baby it will be cleansed of it's original sin. The festival probably has pagan origins, but one thing is sure, in order to qualify, as an infant, you must be less than twelve months old.
Prior to the baby jumping, El Colacho, parades the streets of the small village accompanied by phalanx of worthy men, "the confraternity", who adopt a sombre manner. El Colacho meanwhile, strikes doleful poses before suddenly beating bystanders with his whip made of horsehair all the while clacking an oversized pair of castanets.
“….. Aberavon is not the sort of place you would expect to find a thriving surf spot. Close under the chimneys and the smoke stacks of Port Talbot’s steel works, a stone’s throw from the “Sandfields” one of Britain’s most deprived housing estates, it was less California Dreamin’ than Blade Runner. But in the 70s we found a fast left hand wave there that, at high tide and on a SE wind, usually in winter, broke towards the pier......"
....So, it was with some surprise, in the 90s that I heard that anyone from Langland, our beach near Mumbles had been barred from the break. At the time, I was living in Ireland, so it didn’t have much practical effect on me, but still as I say, I was surprised. The dilapidated Aberavon seafront, had by then won the nickname “Little Beirut”, because it had become more a forlorn concrete dystopia, than an aspiring holiday resort. The ban, however, was placed firmly at the feet of “Beefy”, who, it was said, had claimed the beach as his fiefdom......click here for slide a show
"......the second rocket now announces that the bulls are released from their pens below the city, and are mounting Calle Santo Domingo to Ayuntamiento, the central plaza of the old city. They are charging towards the runners at almost 25 kilometres per hour through Mercaderes, skidding around "la curva".
In Estafeta fear jolts through the crowd like electricity. Rapidly the mass parts like a shoal of predated baitfish, as people press themselves to the sides of the narrow medieval street. Now they can be seen, the big shouldered thick necked black fighting bulls, advancing at speed on the cobbles, strings of mucus flying from their nostrils, heavy hooves clattering.
Afterwards I checked the metadata of the burst of photographs I shot. 37 pictures in 1.8 seconds. In the sequence, one man stands out; running closer to the bulls than anyone else, upright and with some elegance dressed in a buttoned dress shirt, in one frame he even finds himself cradled between the horns of one of the animals.
Then it’s over. Instantaneously. Eight hundred and seventy five metres takes only two minutes and thirty seconds from the firing of the first rocket to the fourth sound, announcing the arrival and the corralling of the bulls in the arena.....click here for a slide show
"......this consultation, is just like shopping online, is the trigger for the birth of a baby. Having access to the colour of his hair and eyes, height, weight and personality of the donor is free, but for an extra $145 we can see photos of him as a child, …. For $250 more, she can hear sound of his voice and find out a little about his facial characteristics, (how wide apart his eyes are, the breadth of his forehead, the size of his nose, the shape of his chin....), and the results of psychological tests, is he an extrovert or an introvert and so on?
“Choosing a donor online is like looking for a guy on a dating site,” confirms Kim, a New Yorker, who’s beginning her quest. “There’s a moment when you know you have found the right one. Would you make a child with someone who didn’t please you?”
After selecting a donor, consulting a genetic councilor, and having two fertility treatments and embryo implants, Pamela spent €20,000 before becoming pregnant - a cost which can, depending on the number of IVF treatments, climb to €50,000.....click here for a slide show