Propping up a new facade

Incoming from Cousin David:

Here is a pic which my daughter Molly photoed the other day when we were on a bicycle ride somewhere between Stratford and Bow – thinking that it contained elements that would appeal to you. What is curious is that the flat bit looks as if it might be part of an older building that is being preserved while new parts are built behind, but in fact it seems that it is new – and the rest of the building will be added to it. Another flat bit is going up in the background. Dashed odd!

Cousin David, to whom thanks (and thanks also to Molly), is entirely right that this photo appeals to me. As he knows, I have several times featured photos here of Ancientist facades being propped up while Modernist interiors are attached to the back of them. The triumph of Modernism but only indoors being a phenomenon of particular interest to me.

But, as he also probably knows, I have never featured a new and Modernist exterior being propped up on a building site in the same manner.

My guesses, and they are only guesses, are that, first, the standard of finish required for a building’s facade are easier to insist upon in a specialist factory than on a rather chaotic building site, and second, that having been perfected as a technique for propping up Ancientist facades, this propping up trick was then easily applied to another sort of facade. Finishing Modernist interiors in a factory makes less sense because they would be too bulky to bring in on a lorry, whereas the rectangular bits of a facade, being flat areas rather than volumes, sit quite well on a lorry. Also, once the three dimensional structure of a building is done, on site, it then protects the process of perfecting the interior, because that process can also then happen “indoors”, just as it does in a factory. (There may be a comment on this bit of this posting, mentioning a building in Croydon made of shipping containers, from the friend with whom I visited Croydon recently.)

Also, there’s a crane.

I now particularly welcome such incoming photos, what with me now being able to get out less. However, if you do send a photo in, you’ll be hard pushed to improve on the above photo in my eyes, because David realised that although I had observed this approximate phenomenon in action before, he also realised that I had probably not seen this exact version of it ever before. Certainly, if I ever have seen it, I have only now noticed it. Like I say, my thanks to him and to daughter Molly.

The rest of my friend’s photos of Saturday’s Covid demo in London

Indeed. Here are the rest of those photos, this time all the horizontal ones:

I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about this demo, and the many others like it, and about demos generally. When do such demos work, and equally importantly, when don’t they work? In general, i feel there has to be some sort of echo going on indoors, where the power lies, before such outdoors stuff really makes much impact.

What demos do do, I think, is create friendship networks and spread ideas amongst those doing the demonstrating. That, I suspect, may be their most important impact in the longer run.

This demo did get a bit of mainstream media coverage, despite my friend’s prophecies of a black-out. But, I suspect that this was partly because, actually, it was not that big.

Some photos of last Saturday’s London Covid demo

I am in no state to be doing to demos just now, but I have friends who have no such problems. And one friend dropped by for a visit last Saturday, bringing photos of the demo he had just attended, just as I asked him to do.

Most of the photos I photo are horizontal ones, and putting both horizontal and vertical photos in galleries doesn’t work very well, so I am in the habit of neglecting all the vertical ones, for blogging purposes.

Whatever. These are the vertical ones that my friend supplied me with:

Displayed here with the enthusiastic permission of my friend, to whom profuse thanks.

Thou shalt display photos though thou photo none. Anyone know what quotation that is a butchery of? It’s one of my favourites.

The horizontal ones will follow, Real Soon Now.

Brexit didn’t stop London’s cranes

While I’m on the subject of postings past, here is one from the old blog from exactly five years ago, featuring a crane cluster photo, which I have also just transferred to here. Brexit was then being hailed by its enemies as the latest bringer of economic doom. So, I asked, would Brexit mean the departure of all the cranes from the London skyline?

Hasn’t happened so far. I’m not getting out nearly as much these days as I’d like. But, here is a photo that a friend recently photoed in Stratford, with all its Olympic stuff, of the present state of the Olympic village:

It’s been a while since I’ve even set eyes on all the cranes in the Battersea/Vauxhall area, but they can’t all have disappeared by now, even if their number may now be starting to diminish.

And if the story I linked to recently about how there are 587 new towers in the pipeline is anything to go by, the cranes will be around for quite a while.

2008 and all that didn’t stop the march of the cranes, and Brexit hasn’t either. People all over my bit of the internet are celebrating that Brexit, economically, seems to be working out okay, five years after the vote. This has been my celebration.

A choice that we all face these days

Yes, a favourite photo of mine, at the opposite end of the spectrum mentioned in this posting from the photo in that posting, is this one:

I originally posted this photo, photoed in WH Smith Liverpool Street Station, at the old blog in January 2008. For me it remains as delicious and fresh as it was on the day I first photoed it.

I also copied the old posting across to this blog. I think the photo deserves the double immortality that BMNB may yet confer upon it.

Quins wins

There’s been all sorts of sport going on lately, what with England playing cricket against New Zealand (NZ won) and against Sri Lanka (a mismatch), and then New Zealand finding the time in between the rain of Southampton to beat India in the World Test Championship. Plus, there’s been football, and all the fuss when Scotland exulted in their 0-0 triumph against England at Wembley, which was their best moment so far and England’s worst. Today Wales got thumped by Denmark, one of whose players nearly died in an earlier game, so Wales were the bad guys of that. No links because if you care about all that, you already know it and if you don’t know about it you don’t care.

However, my favourite sporting achievement of the last week or two has definitely been Harlequins beating, first, top of the table Bristol, and then defending champions Exeter, both very narrowly, to win the Rugby Premiership.

Before these two games, David Flatman said, at the end of the final highlights show of the regular season, that Harlequins would have to tighten up their defence. Flatman’s was the classic “I’d love it if they won but they won’t win it, will they?” attitude. Harlequins just carried on trying to score more points than the other fellows, which would have to mean scoring a lot of points, because they don’t really do that defending stuff well enough to win any gongs, just by defending. That was their attitude. When you consider that Quins conceded 36 points while beating Bristol in the semi and 38 points while beating Exeter in the final, I think we can say that their way of winning worked out pretty well.

I actually support Harlequins, them being based at Twickenham, through whose station I have travelled many, many times, going from my boyhood home to London or more recently visiting friends out west, including one who lives in actual Twickenham. But like Flatman I considered Harlequins to be heroic losers rather than winners. The sort of also-rans whose running makes the Rugby Premiership a title worth winning, but not the sort who’d actually run out the winners themselves. Fun to watch, until it becomes clear who is going to win.

Not this time. Highlights of the semi already recorded. Final highlights tomorrow evening at 11.30pm. Video set.

Taiwan Blue Magpie

The plan is to spend my blogging day writing a piece for Samizdata about why there has been, as yet, no Paper Money Collapse. So, here, today, I will fob you off with a photo of a Taiwan Blue Magpie:

Impressive, I hope you agree.

Colourful photoing like this is creating a very colourful virtual world. Then the kids go outdoors and see Monochrome Modernism, and they say: Brighten It Up! I’m not saying I’ll necessarily like all of what then happens, but I am saying it’ll happen. We are now seeing only little glimpses of this, but any decade now the floodgates of architectural colour will open.

Expect big paintings of, e.g., Taiwan Blue Magpies, on the sides of Modernist boringnesses.

Stormtrooper in Croydon

Here’s the other odd thing I saw in Croydon yesterday, and after that, I’ll concentrate on the more serious stuff, the sort that will require an essay. So, here’s the weirdness:

On the left, well, that was the scene the friend I was meeting up with (a regular commenter who can decide for himself whether to be identified here by name or not) saw, when he said “Oh look, there’s a stormtrooper in one of those windows.” Not having his eyesight I had to be told where to point my camera, photo the photo, the photo in the middle of the above three, and then satisfy, myself by expanding the photo on my camera screen, that there was indeed a stormtrooper to be seen. And photo three is the money shot, or would have been if I were the kind of photoer who ever got paid money for photoing which of course I am not.

Without my friend to tell me about this stormtrooper, I could never have photoed it, because I would never have seen it. So, thanks mate.

And now that I know about this stormtrooper, I can go a-googling and ask: Is this stormtrooper one of these guys?

Coming soon (I hope (I promise nothing)): The tallest tower in Croydon, in colour. Also, another look at No. 1 Croydon.

A Helter Skelter ghost sighting in Croydon

Yesterday I visited Croydon, and one of the more entertaining things I saw and photoed was this, of the frosted glass windows of the exit that rises slowly up from East Croydon station platform towards the main entrance:

Which is London’s most remarkable Big Thing? The Shard? The Gherkin? The Wheel? The BT Tower? The Walkie Talkie? The new and biggest one one still known only as 22 Bishopsgate? I hereby nominate: The Helter Skelter.

The two remarkable things about the Helter Skelter, a representation of which is to be seen in the above photo on the right, is, first, that it was never built, but, second, that the way it would have looked if it had been built still lingers. It certainly lingers here.

The expression “can’t wait” is overused, by people who can wait easily enough but who would rather they weren’t having to. But, those designers whose job it was at that particular moment in London’s history to plug London, by reproducing selections of its Big Things, actually could not wait until the Helter Skelter was finished before they started incorporating its presumed likeness into their designs.

“This video makes me feel like CRT is a cult …”

CRT, as referred to in this posting, and in this tweet, stands for Critical Race Theory. I say that because I very much like the idea that at least some of my readers here have no notion of what “CRT” stands for. After all I do not bang on here very much about such things, having other preoccupations nowadays, here anyway.

However, this snatch of video strikes me a truly remarkable:

(“CRT” also causes me to remember a libertarian collaborator from my earlier late twentieth century life, Christopher Ronald Tame. Chris would have detested what CRT means now.)

I doubt that “Cardinal Pritchard” is really a cardinal, and if he’s not then I don’t know what else he is besides a (Not The) Babylon Bee writer, but this is what the Cardinal says about this bit of video.

In all seriousness though, this is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in a while. And I’m willing to bet that only like four people in that entire group found the experience “a little weird.” Cuz it seems like most of them are super into it.

If this feels like a “cult”, then I say that, in the days of my youth when I was an unwilling participant in it, Church of England congregations sounded to me just like this also. I suppose a religion is a cult that has achieved social respectability, by stabilising into a part of the social furniture and by becoming less pushy and obnoxious, and people no longer want to complain about it by calling it a cult.

But cult, religion, whatever. This is very clearly a religion-like event.