What’s the strangest place from which you’ve posted to your blog? When was the last time you were out and about, and suddenly thought, “I need to write about this!”? Photographers, artists, poets: show us STRANGE.
I’ve been a stranger in a strange land for lots of my life. As a ten year old, I migrated from England’s green and pleasant (cold wet and depressed) land to sunny Australia. It couldnt have been more different. We lived in a new suburb that seemed like the desert to me. I’m not sure I ever came to terms with that. As I grow older, the more I like the place.
When I was a young musician, Adelaide seemed so far away from anything. Sydney seemed to be where it was all happening and the trees were green. I learned to love Australian nature, especially when walking in the Tasmanian rainforests.
I went overseas at quite a late age, working first in Brussels. That seemed very strange to start with. I was living the good life with a great bunch of people. I have very happy memories. I spent a lot of time living and working in the Netherlands… a weird mixture of familiarity and alien-ness. For some odd reason I always feel like i’m coming home when I go to Amsterdam.
Living in France is not strange at all, it’s my version of ‘France’ . I’m so much of an outsider that I make my own world here.
I’ve left two countries till last.
Before I first went to Japan I lay awake at nights wondering if I hadnt made a terrible mistake. It was so foreign, I thought, not the comfortable Europe of my own culture. As it turned out I loved the place and its people. It was very easy to get around and a beautifully spiritual place, despite the crowded cities. I will always be a tourist there. In Europe I’m a traveller.
And England? I was born there, I am English, but it’s not my country. Maybe I should say I’m British. It’s not that ‘my England’ has gone, or been corrupted … but I no longer see it through a child’s eyes. The past is another country. Because I notice so much when I’m there, it’s the strangest place of all.
But it’s me really, all these places are actually ‘normal’. The stranger is always me. The camera is my diary of the richness of it all.
Bert Flugelman Sculpture, Adelaide, South Australia.
Distorted self portrait of the photographer.