The return of the black-all-over London black cab

I was out and about in the Victoria Station area this morning, and it was very cold and very bad photoing light. But, taxis with adverts usually photo well. I saw two taxi adverts I’d not see before.

This, for perfume:

And this, for I don’t know what, but I’d not seen it before:

It had the look of the sort of advert that only happens when when the real advertising is happening a lot less, and they have spare slots going.

Because, that was my overriding impression. Hardly any taxis with adverts, whether I’d seen them before or not. And lots of taxis without adverts:

The ratio was about three or four to one, no advert to advert.

Then, the clincher:

That’s right, a taxi with an advert for taxi adverts. A taxi advert in both senses, in other words. An advert for taxi adverts, on a taxi.

So, here is just another business going through very bad times. Has anyone, I wonder, committed suicide because he’s in the taxi advert business, and is heading for unavoidable financial disaster? It’s not a silly question.

There are just fewer people, and in particular far fewer high spenders and deciders-of-these-things, wandering about in London being influenced by such adverts.

I hear conflicting rumours and stories about just how bad, medically speaking, the Coronavirus story really is. In particular, I am hearing that it’s not just deaths that are freaking out the decision-makers, but the serious and often long-term damage done to people who don’t die. But I am still strongly of the belief that the cure is one hell of a lot more damaging than the disease.

Butterflies in the windows of Harrods – 2011

Yes, in February 2011, I was photoing butterflies, in shopwindows:

And yes, Harrods.

There’s another art that must surely have become a bit more elaborate since the arrival of digital photography. If your window display s temporary, why bother to go to too much bother? But if you can easily go snap and make it rather more permanent, then you’ll surely bother that little bit more.

One of the better talks I have ever given concerned the impact of digital photography, and in that I recall mentioning someone who used digital photography to “collect”, to so speak, butterflies. Real ones. By photoing them rather than by stabbing them with pins. If I’d thought of shop-window displays when preparing that talk, I might have mentioned them also, along with graffiti and ice sculpture.

Why I now focus on American politics rather that British politics

If, when I choose to bang on about politics here, I further choose to bang on about the USA’s presidential election now, rather than about British political matters now, well, that’s because there’s so much more at stake over there just now. Here in Britain, our Corbyn moment came, and went. Corbyn threatened to turn us into Venezuela, but then we voters sent him packing. Would a Starmerian Labour British government be that much more of a disaster than how the Boris Johnson regime is turning out? Hardly. So here, we’re now back to a world where they’re all as bad as each other, approximately speaking. I would still prefer Labour to lose every forthcoming election ever, but Labour in their current state, winning? I could live with that, as could many others of my inclination.

But in the USA everything is still to play for, for as long as the Democrats remain in thrall to their lunatic fringe of Woke-fascist wreckers of everything civilised. I have long hoped, and am actually now starting very tentatively to even think, that Kamala/Biden will get such a thrashing in the election now under way that the Democrats may then decide to mend their ways, much as Starmer is now mending the ways of Labour. But it has to be a thrashing. A modified dead heat like last time won’t suffice. A lot of normals must change their minds in a way that the Democrats won’t be able to ignore. That happened in the recent election in Britain, and it changed everything.

The above paragraphs began life as the intro to something more specific about the US elections, but that didn’t work out. Also, I am off to the laundrette. More later, I hope.

Meanwhile, I did enjoy this.

A gallery of mostly mundane things – unmundanely lit

As I spend less time accummulating photos and more time contemplating the ones I have, I more and more see that. for me, light is everything. Photography is, I find myself telling myself more and more often, light. For me, bad light equals bad photography, the sort of photography that involves lots of pressing of things like the “sharpen” button in my not-Photoshop programme. Good light presses that button for me.

October 21st 2018 was a good light day. In the days after it I did several postings based on photos I photoed that day. I did my favourite ever photo of Centre Point that day. I photoed how very blue the blue sky was that day. I photoed Bartok. I photoed Chinese lanterns. I photoed Compton.

I spent some of October 21st 2018 in the area around and to the north of Centre Point:

One of those photos, number 22 (of 25), requires a bit of an explanation. I like to photo the BT Tower. And I like to photo the reflection of the BT Tower in the big building at the top end of Tottenham Court Road. That photo is one of the few times I managed to photo both these things at the same time.

I think my favourite of the above photos may be number 2. Scaffolding, lit in a way that makes it, I think, downright magical. I also particularly like number 3, where you see both a reflection and a shadow, of the same pointy building.

f your are inclined towards enjoying such things, then enjoy. Click click click. It needn’t take you long.

Is “unmundanely” a word? It is now.

London buses in times past

Incoming from one of the Robs:

Hello Brian,

Hello, one of the Robs.

Hope you are well.

Mustn’t grumble, as people say when inclined to.

YouTube’s mysterious algorithm just recommended this video to me and I thought it was your cup of tea.

It is.

Maybe the past was more colourful than we tend to imagine.

Rob

The past in this case being the 1920s. I think most of us get that life has always been in colour, albeit not necessarily all that colourful, long before photography learned to register this fact.

To be more grateful and more serious, what struck me was those curved staircases at the back of the buses. The Boris Bus clearly harks back to that shape. I had not realised this.

YouTube, having established that I wanted to watch this, then showed me some film from before WW1, back in the age of horse-drawn buses. Apologies, I lost the link to this, but basically we’re talking about a world dominated by these things. Was one of the driving force behind the motorisation of buses the fact that so many of those horses were sent away to fight in the above mentioned World War? Well, no, the timing is all wrong. Dragged out of retirement, more like. By the time that war had started motorised buses had already arrived in a big way.

And as soon as they did, lots of adverts.

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.

Really go places!

Another taxi, another advert, saying this:

That’s right: PAY FOR YOUR JOURNEY WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS AND REALLY GO PLACES.

Unless this happens:

Same photo, photoed in the summer of 2017 outside the Royal Albert Hall, but with the bigger picture included.

2020? Really going places is not something being much encouraged.

An Uber boat but not a real Uber boat

I have recently recognised a particular sort of BMNB posting, which is a response to a story from some time ago, which I had permanently open. I didn’t know why I was intrigued by the story, which is why I did no blogging about it, but I was intrigued nevertheless, which is why I refused to forget about it.

Here is one such story, concerning Uber boats in London. And there was a photo to go with this story that I particularly liked:

That story and photo appeared on August 3rd. I think what I liked about this story was simply that I liked that photo, with its splendid Docklands towers, recent and not so recent.

On August 16th, I was over in that part of London, and while beside the River that day, I managed to grab a photo of one of these Uber boats, with a result that wasn’t as good as the above photo, but which does at least confirm that the City AM story is really happening and not something they merely passed on, which someone had adorned with a piece of photoshopping. There are now Uber boats in London:

Same part of London in my photo, as I say, but less showy buildings in the background. Also, my lighting was more lugubrious.

However, these boats are not what I’d call real Uber boats. They are merely Uber adverts. What Uber have done is a sponsorship deal, with the people who already drive these boats back and forth along the River. They aren’t adding anything aside from some cash, in exchange for Uber being painted on the side of the boats.

Real Uber boats would be boats you could personally summon with your mobile phone. They’d be small, fast, and there’d be lots of them. Fat chance of that happening any time soon.

All of which reminds me of a story I once read about a British aristocrat, circa 1920, which is based on the same sort of contrast, between what these Uber boats suggest that they might be, and the humdrum fact of what they really are. The Aristo was told by one of his senior underlings that he needed to tighten his belt and cut the household budget. A number of economies were tentatively suggested, including the idea that His Lordship might perhaps consider using fewer taxis, and instead travelling more often by omnibus. Said the Aristo: “Good idea! Have one sent round in the morning.”

Charles Dance in Goswell Road

Back in 2016, a friend was regularly working in the Angel area, and I would often meet up with her at the Angel Tube, there to repair to a local coffee and cakes parlour. When we parted, I would often walk towards the Big Things of the City, photoing as I went. The photo I photoed of “Tower 42” and 22 Bishopsgate in this posting, being an example of the kind of photo I would photo on this sort of walk.

But perhaps rather more intriguing was this:

What was a big picture of noted veteran Brit Thesp Charles Dance, under the word “TAPESTRY” doing, in this part of London? What did this mean? I’ve been intending to mention this for years, but have never got around to it.

Recently, I made a breakthrough, by noticing that in the top left corner of the photo, next to the No loading sign, there is information, of the sort I should have photoed directly and completely:

Tapestry, it would seem, is the sort of enterprise that does specialist printing of a sort that especially interests me. Things like big photos on vinyl sheets. Such things have increasingly made their presence felt in London in recent years, as I have often noted here. Who, for instance, makes images like this one? Probably not Tapestry. But that’s the industry that Tapestry is a part of.

Alas, Tapestry is (or was (for I do not know if it is still there)) either too busy, or too preoccupied with other more pressing matters to be bothered with having its own website. I guess with a business like this, where everything has to look just so but where there is so very much to go wrong, word of mouth is everything, and internet boosting is beside the point. Or maybe Tapestry is no more, along with any website it may once have had.

Nevertheless, the picture of Charles Dance is pretty much explained. This wasn’t a plug for Charles Dance, though presumably his permission was obtained. No. It was a plug for Tapestry, who did the picture of Charles Dance.

Is it still there now, I wonder? Memo to self: go back there again and find out. (Guess: Not.)

Nice logo at Lord’s

I have been spending part of my morning watching Somerset v Essex, courtesy the BBC. I am backing Essex because Essex is nearly London, while Somerset is nothing of the sort. And Essex are doing well. This morning they managed to get a first innings lead, which is a big deal because if it ends as a draw, they win. If you get my drift.

If you don’t, it really doesn’t matter, because what I really want to tell you about is a cunning logo I kept seeing, at the edge of this game, in the background:

Trade Nation. TN. And I really like how they combined the T and the N there. Because of my admiration for this logo, I even investigated the product. Pass. But, investigation is all you ask from an advert. I am old. I do have savings, and spare time. Just the sort they’re looking for, in other words. And although I’m not buying it I am now writing about it. Sometimes advertising really does work this well.

The internet streaming of county cricket is getting slowly but surely better, as is presumably the case with all sports just that bit smaller than big time. For county cricket, there used to be only one camera, and if the ball got hit to the boundary it went off camera and you had to take their word for it, just like on the radio. With this streaming of this game, we cricketophiles are seeing more. Soon, this will as good as regular television. At which point, the advertising spots at the ground will become that little bit more expensive.

I can remember when the internet was going to put an end to regular advertising. Didn’t happen.