Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on fuzzy photos, Whispering Bob and what happens to all that space we save?

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Fuzzy foes?

THINGS to do on a rainy day. We spent hours sorting our old photographs, dating back to the 1950s, saving the best and chucking out thousands of blurred, repeated or embarrassing prints. It raised that oldest of questions about foreign travel – why do we always take so many photos in the fish market?

THIS frenzy of culling, trimming and tidying up also reminded me of the old gag: “Thanks so much for introducing me to minimalism.” / “Not at all. It’s the least I could do.”

THE interesting part is that when you’ve chucked out so much clutter and saved so much space, where is the space?

NOTICE something odd about the US aerial photo allegedly showing Iranian special forces removing a limpet mine from an oil tanker? It’s fuzzy. In ye olden days, fuzzy photos were the mainstay of any decent conspiracy theory. We had fuzzy UFOs, fuzzy Bigfoot, fuzzy aliens, fuzzy Beasts of Bodmin and fuzzy Loch Ness Monsters. And that’s what you’d expect in an age when hardly anybody carried a camera and pictures were snapped at long range, in low light or with shaking hands. But now almost everybody carries a high-resolution camera in their mobile phones and the Yanks have satellites that can read number plates from space. Fuzzy photos are no longer acceptable – especially if they’re being used to justify military action. So while this fuzzy image of fuzzy Revolutionary Guards doing something fuzzy with a fuzzy object may strike some Pentagon hawks and Whitehall warriors as a just cause for war, until we see some sharper evidence our message to our leaders should be simple: fuzz off.

WHEN people rant and rage, we sometime tell them to calm down or they’ll burst a blood vessel. How ironic that Bob Harris, better known as “Whispering Bob” the almost-silent presenter of The Old Grey Whistle Test, has suffered an aortic rupture. If Whispering Bob can burst a blood vessel, what hope for the rest of us? Calm, calm.

I KNOW a wee bit about such horrors, having being told by a nurse 13 years ago that, according to the handwritten notes, my latest tests revealed “arterial enlargement.” I spent the next day reading all about aneurysms, which was deeply depressing. I decided that if the Almighty spared me, I would do some of those things I’d always promised myself but put off. Anyway, two days later the GP deciphered the consultant’s handwriting as “atrial enlargement” which is controllable and far less explosive, and told me to carry on as normal. But by then I had bought the boat. Some of the happiest days of my life are entirely due to a consultant’s poor writing.

TALKING of happy days, this will be the last of these columns for a while. We are off to sunny Devon. Normal service should resume on Tuesday, July 2.