Flashing Lights

Have you ever watched an evening football match on TV and noticed all the camera flashes going off? This week while watching a Spanish evening pre-season football match, I did. Well, to be honest I've noticed it loads of times, but this time around instead of reading the team line-ups as they came on to the screen with the spectator-filled stadium backdrop, I started fixing the flashing lights.

It seemed like there was an endless rapid of flashes like flickering glints of sunshine on the currents of a mountain stream, not from the professional photographers who click their way through hundreds of snaps throughout the match, but the flash photography from the crowd. As the commentator ran through the two line-ups, random and ceaseless Canons, Lumixes, Sonys and Samsungs clicked non-stop and I watched only them, my eyes flicking around the crowd covered by the overhead Television camera shot, darting around to catch each flash like I was looking into a kaleidoscope.

It made me ask myself just how many of the crowd had cameras, how many photos each of these football supporters took in one match, how often they snapped, what they snapped. During the line up announcement, as the commentator rattled off each formation, the flashes didn't stop even for a millisecond. I wondered if it would be like that all the way through the match, or if there would be any gaps, 2 or 3 seconds, or even just one whole second without a single snatch of a bright light from the crowd.

What about the city at night? All those lights, all those crisp white and neon colours beaming up from the streets into the night sky. Would there be a single second in the whole of the urban sprawl when not one traffic light would change, not one neon from all the bars would blink, not one light switch would flick on or off, or one yellow indicator would signal from a a vehicle? Just one second, no flashing. Of course there would be constant beams from streetlamps and buildings, but that's a constant flow of electricity. I mean still, frozen, a non-flashing moment. Would we ever notice if there was just that brief moment? Sadly I think maybe not. Maybe it's not our nature to stop.

Because my mind is the same. There is always a flashing light in my head. Even when I sleep. When you sleep. We all dream after all. Sometimes I vividly remember my dreams, other times I don't. But I know I have dreamed about something, I know there were flashing moments, I just didn't really take them in deep enough for them to stand out. Sometimes I notice the flashing, other times I don't. Sometimes it just clicks and hits me like it did watching the snapping crowd at the start of the football match on TV.

Just like I ask myself, when we are not talking, are we always thinking? Is there that brief moment of stillness in our brains? Like I said, maybe it's not our nature. We don't stop. Ever.


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