Yes, I know the weather's lousy & you can't believe it's July. However, if the weather does improve over the weekend, you may wish to visit the waterfront. What could be nicer, carbuncles notwithstanding, than to gaze out over the river on a sunny afternoon? Well, a word of advice: should you venture there, don't take any decent photographic equipment with you when you're near the Oldham Echo Arena.
Why? Well, the security goons there might just suspect that you're doing a bit of reconnaissance for Al-Qaeda (http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Disabled_photographer_in_waterfront_terror_threat_update_news_300536.html ).
Amateur Photographer's article relates how amateur snapper Mike Evans from Runcorn -- who is confined to a wheelchair due to severe osteoporosis of the spine, is accompanied by a carer wherever he goes & underwent chemotherapy for cancer last year -- was warned by security guards outside the venue on July 15th not to take photographs using his DSLR model; compact cameras & mobile phones were, he was informed, permitted. Failure to comply, the goons warned him, would result in the anti-terrorism police being called under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. This clause in the legislation has been used against photographers, both amateur & professional, in London over the last year.
Amateur Photographer magazine quotes a spokeswoman for the venue: "Apologies to the gentleman...We have no issues with amateur photographers taking non-commercial images of the exterior of the buildings."
Just as well this doesn't apply to the interior of the buildings, where concerts have been disfigured by violence & aggressive, drunken behaviour. We all recall the negligible level of security at the abandoned Morrisey gig (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/11/happy-in-haze-of-drunken-hour.html & http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/11/oldham-echos-mood-music.html ).
The venue spokeswoman added the delightful & charming point that the Arena is on private land & should be contacted before photographs are taken of the building.
Amateur Photographer helpfully provides the venue's phone number: 0151-475 8888. So if you wish to let the venue know just how pleased you are to see the Arena taking such a tough stand against international terrorism, particularly against home-grown Al-Qaeda operatives masquerading as wheelchair-bound cancer sufferers, pick up that phone.
Oh, by the way, the incident hasn't been reported by a particular publication. Can you tell which one? Oh well, maybe Big Al Machray has misplaced the report. What do you reckon?