An interruption ends

Today I finally got to the end of The Judgement of Paris. I have now started making a list of some short bits of it that I hope to reproducing here.

Meanwhile, by way of a small celebration, here is a Parisian photo I took, in Paris, way back in February 2012:

It’s the Tour Eiffel, of course, photoed from under it. Tour Eiffel is pronounced “Tour F L”, rather that “Tour I Fell”. Which reassures me that I know how to pronounce the leading historical character, Ernest Meissonier, in the above book. “May sonni eh” rather than “My sonni eh”.

Anyway, a big and very interesting interruption has stopped interrupting me and my life, and I’m very glad about that.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Photo by me of seventeen London bridges

I am very proud of the photo of London bridges that I took from the top of the Hotel ME, which featured seven bridges.

But today, while trawling through my photo archives on another errand entirely, I encountered a London bridges photo that I took, back in 2015 which clearly shows no less than fifteen London bridges:

And not so clearly, it shows, I reckon, two more bridges, in the very far distance, beyond the second pointy one, which I reckon must be Albert Bridge.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Repairig the etters o y eyboard

I opened a special word processing file, to make sure that the signals I was sending didn’t go anywhere else:

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnmmmmm

But what was I doing?

This. (I had to cheat by adding lots of carriage returns to the above gibberish, or this posting would have broken this blog):

That’s the trouble with keyboards. Their letters disappear. I’m sure that when the people who make these keyboards release them into the wild, they believe that they’ve done everything possible to stop this sort of thing, and that the letters will last for ever. But they never do.

I particularly like what I did with the horizontal Vs there.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Horse spotted in Putney this afternoon

Friday here at BMdotcom is Cats and Other Creatures Day. So if I am out and about on a Friday, I always keep an eye out for relevant sights. Sights like this, which I spotted in Putney this afternoon.

Potted Horse? As in: horse meat?

Well, no:

Spotted Horse, as in: horse with spots. A pub.

Picture of the entire front of the Spotted Horse:

I like how the buildings on each side are bigger. This being, presumably, because the pub is some kind of preserved building from olden times, and as such impervious to the rising price of land and hence the rising pressure continuously to destroy and replace with something ever taller.

One day, the price of the land upon which the Spotted Horse rests will be such that a skyscraper will be demanded. At this point, I would like to think that the Spotted Horse will mutate into the lowest two floors of this new skyscraper. Why not? The skyscraper will pay for all the confusion involved in contriving this. Just because amusingly antiquated buildings need to become very tall buildings doesn’t mean they have to be destroyed and replaced entirely by modernity, especially when you consider how tedious modernity can be at ground level, a place where architectural antiquity excels. No, put the modernity on top of the antiquity, on stilts.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

New River bank

I keep starting these simple, nearly nothing postings, with just one nice photo, and the explanation for what it is doing here, which is that I think it’s a nice photo, but then I start complicating it, with what else I photoed five minutes before or after, or with some idiot observation about something in the photo, which leads on to another photo, etc., etc., ad nauseam and two hours which I should have spent sleeping go by, and I am actually further away from finishing the posting than when I started it.

This time it’s different:

That’s a photo of the bank of the New River, in North London. You want a link? An explanation? Google New River.

I just think it’s a nice photo, and I’m not even going to tell you why I think this. Goodnight.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Chelsea crowds at Fulham Broadway

Yesterday was a complicated day for me, and when I went out to dinner it got more complicated, because I got swept up in this:

I was jammed in a no-standing-room-either tube carriage, on my way to dinner at my friends, and at West Brompton someone who’d been sitting got out and a seat became available. Me being Old, I was invited to have it. At first I was reluctant. “I’m getting off at the next stop”, I explained. I’d be stuck further inside the carriage with more shoving when I got out than if I stayed where I was. “Oh that’s okay,” said the guy. “Everyone’s getting off at the next stop.” Eh? How did he know? Was he psychic?

He was not psychic. He was a Chelsea supporter. And so, as he well knew, were most of the other people causing the train to be so strangely packed. Above is my photo of us all waiting to get out from the rather unfortunately named Fulham Broadway tube station, which is right near the Chelsea ground, but not nearly so near to the Fulham ground.

And here is a photo I took of Chelsea stuff that was being offered to the throngs:

They had a special scarf to commemorate this one game, which I’m guessing they do for lots of games. Good thinking. The game was against something called Qarabag. Chelsea won comfortably.

Earlier, sport also forced itself upon my attention, in the form of these flags in Regent Street:

The Americans are coming.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Watching the Surrey v Yorkshire feed

Here. Goodness knows what will happen to that link in future hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia. But as of now it is working very nicely, and Surrey are having a great day. Foakes has just hit four fours off four balls.

With its own built in commentary from Churchy and his pals, it still isn’t what you get from Sky or from national BBC, but it’s still good. The main drawback is there’s only two cameras, one at each end. It they hit a boundary, you just have to take their word for it about where it went and how fast. But this sort of thing can only get better. Hope it’s still happening tomorrow.

Scorecard of the game here. Close of play day one: Surrey 398-3. Sanga 85, Foakes 64. Nice.

Ex-Surrey batters Davies and Sibley have also been in the runs, for Somerset and for Warks. Also nice.

Off out very soon for dinner with friends, so that’s it here for today, and it makes my evening a lot better now that my duties here are done. Have a good one yourself, unless you are a Yorkshire supporter.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A disruptive book about nineteenth century French painting

My recent life has been seriously deranged by this book, which is about French painting and painters during the nineteenth century. It’s by Ross King. Never heard of him until I acquired and started to read this book of his, but the loss was entirely mine. (Sounds more like a boxing promotor than an Art writer.) This is one of the most engrossing books about Art I have ever encountered.

I am learning about several subjects that greatly appeal to me. There’s French painting, obviously, which I have always wanted to know more about, in particular the rise to pre-eminence of Impressionism, which is what this book is about. There are fascinating little titbits about the rise of sport, the 1860s being one of the most important decades for that, because of railways. There’s French nineteenth century history in general, which this book, bless it, contains a lot of. In particular there is stuff about the 1870 war against the Prussians, and then the Paris Commune. There is French geography also, French geography being something that many of the more affluent French (including the more affluent artists) were getting to grips with properly for the first time, again because of those railways. There is a glorious few pages about a big bunch of artists going on strike! There are huge gas balloons. This is not the sort of book about paintings that is only about the paintings. Which means that it is much better than most books about paintings, because it explains their wider context. It explains what the paintings are of, and why.

I particularly like that the role of the media is well described. Tom Wolfe did not (with this book) invent that. Art critics, then as now, were a big part of the Art story.

But, although I know that I will be a much improved human being when I have finished reading this book, I am finding the actual reading of it rather tough going. For starters, there’s a lot of it, nearly four hundred closely printed pages, and my eyesight isn’t what it was. But worse, there are constant references to people and to things that a better educated person than I would already know a bit about. Who, for instance, was Charles Blanc? I feel I ought to have known this kind of thing, at least a bit. And then there’s the difference between Manet and Monet, which is all explained, concerning which about the only thing I knew beforehand was that they were indeed two distinct people. But, I feel I should have known more about exactly which of them painted exactly what. I could have whistled it all up from the www, but I do most of my reading away from my computer, because that way my computer does not then distract me. Ross King never assumes any knowledge, and introduces everyone and everything very politely, but I am still struggling to keep up.

Another problem is that this book is packed with little stories about excitements of this or that diverting sort, any one of which could have been the basis of an entire book, but in this book often get just one or two paragraphs. (I’m thinking of those titbits about sport, especially horse racing.) Accordingly, I find myself wanting to stop, to contemplate whatever fascinating little yarn I have just read, rather than dutifully ploughing on.

But plough on I am determined to do. Until I finish, you here must make do with inconsequential postings, based on things like my inconsequential photos, which I happen to have been trawling back through in recent days. But when I finally do finish this book, there may be some rather better stuff here. I promise nothing, but I have in mind to pick out some of those diverting little stories, and maybe also sprinkle in some pertinent paintings.

I also hope (but promise nothing) to do a more considered review of this book for Samizdata.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Taxi with tree

So there I was, wondering around the other side of the City of London from where I live, as I like to do, and I saw this taxi with a tree behind it. But the weird thing was, no matter which direction I photoed the taxi and the tree from, the tree was always directly behind the taxi:

What gave? Answer: the tree wasn’t and isn’t behind the taxi. It was and is right on top of the taxi, made to look as if it is growing right up through it. This taxi with tree was and is: Art.

Yes, this is one of those many places where hurt-your-foot-if-you-drop-it work has recently been replaced by “creative” work. (The sneer quotes are not because creative work isn’t, but because other work so often is also.)

Here is a map of this place, together with a description of what has been happening there recently:

When exploring a new place, I always photo maps and signs which explain everything.

This map looks, I think, rather like one of those illustrations in a birds-and-bees instruction manual for adolescents.

More about Orchard Place here.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog