Home Features Digital distancing at the sofa pub and locks down in Middle England

Digital distancing at the sofa pub and locks down in Middle England

Here I am with my two best mates, enjoying a pint on the sofa pub, paying due attention to digital distancing

Here we are, seven weeks or so into lockdown and I’m scared the cameras are going to rust up – like some old boat. I had all sorts of photographic projects lined up and, of course, I haven’t been able to get out at all to start any of them.

However, four photographer friends and I get together, on Zoom, every Tuesday evening to put the world to rights, enjoy a beer and talk about the wonderful images we’ve missed. It’s what we call digital distancing. We would have won all sorts of awards between us and certainly one of us would have captured the title, “Wildlife Photographer of the Year”.

This week we came down to earth and decided to set ourselves a challenge – to record images on Friday the first of May, while in lockdown.

Besides photography, I’m a keen motorcyclist and have really missed being able to ride the BMW GS1200 which I bought for my 70th birthday. The biggest blow was having to cancel the trip to Europe we had planned in April. Still, needs must when the devil drives, and the lawnmower beckoned. It does burn petrol, just like the Bee-em and it does sound good. Sadly, the handling let it down.

Perhaps, I thought, I could get back to two wheels in another form. In the end, though, I decided the lawn mower – in its natural habitat – was more fun. At least it moves. Mind you, the bike helmet does get in the way a bit.

Frustration and fear of a heart attack got the better of me and so I decided to go indoors and see if I could get inspiration from my wife.

She seemed a happier with her lot, homing in on simple pursuits instead of entertaining fantasies of riding the lawn mower.

Being thoroughly selfish, though, I decided to spoil her fun by asking her to give me a haircut. The hair situation had become critical and called for desperate measures: A veritable locks down in Middle England.

Thought I’d save an image of the styling but the only mirror I could find was attached to the car. I thoroughly enjoyed my May Day and hope my pictures will give you a laugh. Stay safe and well everyone.

All the photographs taken with Leica Q, the Leica Tabletop tripod and the 12-second timer.

Read more from Tom Lane on Macfilos


  1. Well it proves you have not driven your wife around the bend, otherwise her cutting implement would have been 7 inches lower. Thank You Sir, we all need more smiles and chuckles and you supplied both.

    • Ha! Tom explained to me but I said not to mention it. I said that someone would surely ask. Kevin, you have won first prize!

    • Took the three images and imported them into Photoshop. Go to File – Automate – Photomerge and then enter. Images are opened in separate layers together with a Layer Mask. One of the layer masks will be white and the others black. Make sure the background foreground colour is White, select a paintbrush and a Black layer mask. As you paint over the image one of the other people will start to appear. Then choose another black layer mask and repeat. It is a pain in the preverbal and takes me over an hour to do one but the effect, in this case, is worth it.

    • Thanks Tom, I assumed it was with layers but it is very effective. Congratulations are in order. And yes it made me smile.

  2. I really enjoyed this, what great fun you had on May day. I missed this years sweeps which was due this weekend, and is where I get my annual image of the May pole with Morris dancers.

    Loved the thought of your neighbours looking out while you sat on your bike rig, and thinking – what on earth is he doing today? Covid Cabin Fever has set in.

    As for the sofa shot – we should all have a go at multiple selfies of ourselves. Its just a pain making sure the props all stay in the same place while you do the task, and then having decent photoshop skills in post processing. (Sorry Kev its fun to do).

  3. I am just amazed by how well triplet brothers have weathered through life and retained their good looks. It reflects well on your well-being and lifestyles.

  4. A good chuckle to cheer me up at the end of a difficult day … Thoroughly enjoyed the lockdown hairdressing photo … Worthy of wider distribution and demonstrates the versatilties the Leica Q, the Leica tabletop tripod, and the photographer. Looking forward to Part 2 Tom!

  5. A gem of an article, Tom. Loved the humour, the images and the work in post. You have a surreal sense of humour in the style of the great Spike Milligan. Don’t remember him using a camera as well as you though….

    • Thanks for the kind comment David. I seem to remember Spike having a Pentax Spotmatic with his name and a stick drawing of a figure on the prism of it. He was being interviewed by David Frost and he used the camera throughout the interview.

  6. Wonderful, Tom.
    Opening the article with your “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” preparation shot was great. And moving on to your mower image it just got better – rock hard suspension and terrible cornering, so it was wise to wear your helmet. Safety first, in these weird times.

  7. Hi Tom, This is the first article since the virus came along that I have enjoyed. I am so fed up with the endless focus on the virus. So I have stopped watching the fake US media (I have not seen real journalism with CNN and so on in years). In order to maintain sanity, I have withdrawn from all media and blogs until today and your humor was a breath of fresh air.
    I cannot believe how similar your friends look. I have read that people often select dogs with a strong resemblance. I was thinking we have similar interests and humor and could become friends and then I realized I do not look similar to the guys on the sofa.
    Cheers! Brian

    • Thanks Brian. I agree with your sentiments about the media and wonder if there is going to be any news at all once we get through this Coronavirus. Nothing else in the world seems to matter at the moment.
      Cheers, Tom

  8. Tom, try ‘Me, Myself and I’ by Billie Holiday from 1937 and it might give you nice background music for your next Sofa Party. That is a serious looking lawnmower. ‘Harry’ might well be the more macho cousin to ‘Henry’ the vacuum cleaner, but I would not let my Mrs that close to my head with grass clippers not matter how badly I needed a haircut. I reckon that cutting my grass gives me 3+ kms of exercise and your lawn looks much bigger than mine. If you put a smartphone in your pocket while you are mowing the lawn with an exercise app on it should give you the distance you walked. I reckon you would top 5 Kms or whatever that is in miles.

    It is good to see that you are knocking some fun out of life. My friend Dan Tamarkin in Chicago has been posting amusing videos on Instagram where he talks to a different one of his Leicas every day. It will take him a long time to finish this as he is a camera dealer. I am posting my own more serious series of photos called ‘Single Isolation’ on Instagram every day using my Leica Forum name ‘willeica’ and I am now up to day 41.

    Keep on enjoying life, Tom. It is good to see that it is not all doom and gloom everywhere during these tough times.


  9. Thanks for your comment William, I’ll certainly try “Me, Myself and I” when we have our next get together. I try to enjoy life to the full as in my opinion “this isn’t no dress rehearsal” and when they put the nails in the lid they’re there for a long time.
    Cheers, Tom

  10. A great, fun article, Tom. Thank you very much.

    I have three motorcycles in the garage. They’ve been washed several times over the last few weeks but have ventured beyond the driveway. Restrictions are easing slightly so that may change soon. Whether I can into the helmet remains to be seen. The hair situation here is critical too. I’m hiding it under a beanie at the moment!

    Stay safe, stay well.


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