How the old version of New Scotland Yard used to look before they knocked it down

In that posting I did yesterday, it would have made sense to have included also a photo of how the old New Scotland Yard building used to look, given that I showed photos of how the place where it stood looked after it had been demolished and what is now there instead.

So, here is that old New Scotland Yard building, viewed from the roof of my block of flats, in 2016:

Not an especially distinguished building. Just a Brand-X Modernist box. I was fond of it because of its gloriously exuberant roof clutter, in such delightful contrast to its austere and repetitious facades. (The red spike in the foreground is the red spike on the top of the Headquarters of Channel 4 Television.)

Here is an earlier photo I photoed back in 2010 of this same building, from, of all out-of-the-way spots, the platform of South Bermondsey Railway Station, which is a substantial train ride away from my home off to the far side of London:

Yes, there it is, between the “other” Parliament Tower, the one with four spikes rather than just the one (plus a clock), and the Big Thing at the Elephant and Castle with the three holes in the top (seen sideways on).

Don’t believe me? Zoom zoom, crop crop:

That’s definitely it, I think you’ll agree. I didn’t realise I even had this photo until quite recently. I love these accidents of visibility, involving London’s Big or in this case not so big Things. It is a constant delight to me when out and about just what you can see, from just where.

Presumably you can now see the new Towers that they have built there instead, from that same South Bermondsey platform. Memo to self: Go back there and check that out.

Joe Rogan talks with Daryl Davis about how Davis converted lots of white racists

Just finished watching/listening to this Joe Rogan talk with Daryl Davis, about how Davis has been converting white racists into upstanding American citizens. Davis says he doesn’t himself convert anybody. They convert themselves. In this respect he is like those teachers who say “I’m not a teacher – I just get them to learn for themselves.” Those teachers are teachers, and Davis is a converter. He talks with white racists, and then, hey presto they convert themselves. Some, not all of them course.

Two hours and forty minutes very well spent. Never heard of Daryl Davis until today (thank you Twitter). Used to be a full time musician. Got into the racism conversion business when a KKK guy complimented him on his piano playing, at one of his gigs. “Never heard a black guy pay piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.” But Lewis got his piano style from earlier black pianists, just like I did, said Davis. “No.” Yes. And thanks to Davis being a personable and curious guy, they just kept on talking. “Why do you hate me, when you don’t even know me?” That was his starting question to all these characters.

Daryl Davis wrote a memoir about how he did all this converting of white racists, and while listening to him talk, I of course whistled this book up on Amazon. Apparently, I can buy myself a copy of Klandestine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Klu Klux Klan for the giveaway price of (as I now write (subject to change)), £397.50, in hardback. But the good news is that Davis is now working on a revised edition, with more stories along similar lines that happened since he first wrote this book two decades ago. So if, like me, you now want a copy, but if, not like me, you think you’ll have to pay nearly four hundred quid for a copy or go permanently without, well, be patient and stay tuned.

How we got another look at 55 Broadway

I literally only photoed two photos today, and when I say “literally”, I actually do literally mean literally, which is not how it often is these days. The first photo I photoed was of this taxi with advert photo, and the second photo was this:

My purpose in showing this photo is not just to show how what used to be known as “New” Scotland Yard has now been turned into flats for the well off. It is also to illustrate a common urban phenomenon, which is how building projects in great cities have a way of temporarily revealing great buildings. 55 Broadway was almost hidden by New Scotland Yard, which was a huge slab where the new towers now are. Now 55 Broadway is back to being almost hidden, by those new towers. My photo of the new towers does enable you to see 55 Broadway lurking in the back there, if you know what you’re looking for. But it makes little impression.

Here, on the other hand, is a photo I took of the same place a couple of years ago, with me standing a bit further down Victoria Street, which shows 55 Broadway much more clearly:

What that shows is what an impact this building had when it was first built. Time was when in was among London’s biggest Big Things.

It helps that the weather that day was a lot nicer.

BMNB SQotD: Richard Fernandez on the current visibility of elite indecency

Richard Fernandez on Twitter:

What is often described as the decline in public decency may just be a rise in the exposure of elite indecency.

Both this posting and my previous one allude to the phenomenon of negative temporal parochialism, whish is the habit of thinking that there is something uniquely bad about the times we ourselves happen to be living in. Yes, it’s now rather bad. But study history and you’ll soon discover other times just as bad, and many that were far worse.

This idea is a closer cousin than it realises of the notion that our own time is uniquely good.

Taxi with Rokit Phones advert

I was out briefly today in the gloom and rain, and did very little photoing. But I did photo this taxi with advert photo, at that favourite taxi haunt, the top end of Horseferry Road, where it does that weird right angle turn towards Victoria Street. I often go past that spot. So anyway, yes, taxi with advert:

Like many businesses, the taxi with advert business has been suffering a Lockdown-induced slump. Not enough people around to attend to the adverts. Not so many taxis, because fewer people needing taxis.

But some businesses have been prospering, notably anything involving communication at a distance.

The above taxi advert is one of the few taxi adverts I’ve recently spotted which is both elaborate (meaning: goes all over the taxi), and recent (as in: first time I’ve seen it (and definitely not seen it until Lockdown got under way)).

Buy yourself a Rokit phone on Amazon, although why you’d want to do that, I have no idea. Tts main feature seems to be that on it you can see a large library of nonsense in 3D, so it seems to me like a toy for unemployed morons. Which is just my grumpy old git way to say: not for me. But although the product put me right off, the advert for it cheered me up a bit.

The top bit of Alderney looks like a conductor

Yes. Did you know, that the top bit of Alderney, the northern most Channel Island, looks like a conductor. With a baton.

Photo on the right there, photoed by me from the plane back to London from Brittany, in July 2007. Now suitably rotated and cropped.

It would seem that a lot of people don’t know that. I can find no other references to this on the Internet, but cannot believe that I am the only one to have noticed this important musico-geographical fact.

Did you also know that the French for a conductor’s baton is “baguette”? That may be quite wrong, but I do recall hearing this somewhere, from someone. And it would seem that there may be some truth in this notion.

Quota gallery of rather distant photos of the QE2 Bridge at Dartford

I am getting out far less these days, but am determined that this blog shall not degenerate into a mere succession of rants and complaints about politics. There is more to life than all that stuff. One of the essential features of freedom is that you are not personally obliged to obsess about whatever happen to be the dominant political narratives.

So, a quota gallery of bridge photos, which I photoed on June 10th 2014.

It’s the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford, and the furthest bridge downstream before you get to open sea:

As you can see, I didn’t get as near to this bridge as I might have, just within sight of it, which was the limit of my ambition that day. But the day was a fine one, and the foreground clutter and low-tide mudscapes were diverting. And the walk back from this spot, back to London, was most enjoyable, aside from the stench of some huge sewage processing plant, or some such thing, that operates around there.

Memo to self: Take another trip out to this bridge, and get nearer to it.

I googled the Great Barrington Declaration and got there straight away

I am now following Nico Metten on Twitter, who has long been anti-Lockdown, well before I was. Not sure whether this is because he only just arrived on Twitter, or merely because I only just found him.

Whatever, I just read this tweet from Carl Vernon, which Nico has retweeted, which says this:

Google “The Great Barrington Declaration” – the petition signed by over 10,000 scientists, docs and experts – and it’s completely gone. Nowhere to be seen.

Welcome to the new method of burning books.

So, I did google “The Great Barringon Declaration” and I immediately got there, in seconds. It’s putting it very mildly to say that I am not the cleverest googler there is, but I had no problems at all. Multiple references, including, near the top, the GBD website itself.

Is Carl Vernon lying? Or is his world somehow different from mine, and did he jump to paranoid conclusions? Does google tweak what it tells different people? Did the GBD temporarily disappear? I’d love to know the answer.

Lots of tweeters in response got there too, immediately. And lots of other tweeters said: DuckDuckGo! Maybe I will. Although I don’t mind being tracked. I don’t care who knows my choices. I just don’t want to have my choices censored or otherwise hidden from my view.