It used to be an important part of my youth. You would go on holiday, take loads of photographs, send them off for processing, get them back through the post in their little plastic boxes, get the slide projector out, darken the front room, and then invite all your long-suffering neighbours and relatives around. It was a distinctly 1950s form of revenge. You had suffered a week camping in Western-Super-Mare, with the rain teaming down and the wind testing the strength of your guy ropes. You'd brewed tea over a camping gas stove and eaten food in which sand was a basic ingredient. You had sacrificed your comforting television and your even more comforting electric blanket. And all the while your friends and relatives had been at home in comparative comfort. It was payback time. Get out the Aldis projector and make them suffer.
In these days of digital PowerPoint presentations I had forgotten about the fun of the old slide show. My father used to make big productions of them with a practiced commentary (honed over many a performance) and a tea-break half way through the programme. My brother and I used to be relatively willing participants in this annual photographic crusade - Roger would move the slide transporter whilst I was allowed to hand him the next slide - except when a particularly embarrassing photograph of us would appear as part of a sequence. Whilst we operated the equipment, my father was free to point out particularly interesting aspects of each slide which he did with a pointer he had fashioned out of a garden cane.
I was reminded of slide shows by coming across one on the BBC website. With the current dominance of the moving image it was pleasurable to find an old-fashioned slide show presentation which allowed you time to soak up the atmosphere of the individual images. The subject of the slide show - at least the current subject as I have a feeling that it might be a regular feature - was the heritage of the Yiddish language in New York. I will not waste space trying to describe it, merely point you in the direction of where you can sample it yourself. It is only three minutes long and well worth a look.
The subject is, in fact, quite timely as Isobel and I have just returned from a few days break in Prague. Whilst we were there we did a tour of the various historic Synagogues, including the mind-numbing Pinkas Synagogue with its moving Holocaust Memorial and the adjacent Old Jewish Cemetery. As you don't have to send the film away for processing anymore and wait for the plastic box to come back, here is one of the photographs I took of the Cemetery.
Indeed I will download all the photographs I took whilst on holiday and turn them into a slide show and incorporate them into the blog. There is no reason why you shouldn't suffer the boredom our friends and family of old had to put up with. Now where is that garden cane I had...?