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.
Indeed. There I was, in 2005, out and about in London, photoing things like this:
… which even by 2005 was fairly routine for me. But then, later the same day, in Battersea, walking beside the River with a friend, I photoed this:
That was with my old Canon A70. But I didn’t get properly interested in taxis with adverts until a decade later. Why not? Don’t know. Ancient cars like that Austin A30 (I think), I was already obsessed with photoing.
The advert in the above taxi-with-advert photo was for a West End Show, which The Guardianapproved of. I probably wouldn’t have, because that’s the stand-up and stomp-about-all-over-the-stage-like-a-lunatic comedian Lee Evans there, on the taxi. I found his comedy performances frenetic, in a bad way. He would sweat appallingly when performing. So, it was the comedy of embarrassment, and I was just embarrassed. I didn’t even smile, so I stopped watching him. Is he still doing this?
Perhaps he was better than that in The Producers, having been told to calm it down a bit.
Back in March 2019, on the same day and just before I photoed these photos, I photoed this photo:
What I like about that is what I also find weird about it, which is the way that this metal circle of 3D map information kind of hovers weightlessly over the pavement.
Luckily I soon found another photo which explained this weird effect with logic:
But now, there was another mystery. What is “morelondon”? Turns out it’s More London, which was the place where I was.
Here are some more photos I photoed at the same time as the two above:
The reason I made them look so small in this posting is in the hope that you will be deceived about what is going on, in photos 1 and 4 there, 1 especially, 4 in a general way, but 1 in a very particular way. Click and you’ll surely see what I mean.
The strange coloured-in statues are, I now learn, by Stephan Balkenhol. More about him here. At the time I recall wondering if they were Art, or just advertising of some kind. Art, it would seem.
London contains many tourist attractions that are truly attractive, truly impressive. But I have never thought that the lights of Piccadilly Circus are one of those attractions. What a let down. Is that it? Is that all?
Usually they look like this:
I’m guessing that many a tourist, searching out these lights, has walked right past them. I mean, could those be them?
But about a year ago I happened to be in that part of London, and instead of silly bright colours, what I saw was this:
You may have to click on them to work out what is going on there. Some sort of Transformer type computer-trickery, it looks like. Whatever. Again, I’m not that impressed, although that could just be my terrible eyesight, and I don’t like it because I can’t make it out properly, unless I photo it and look at it later. But whatever, I only supply the three photos above as context for what followed:
And that I did like.
There’s been quite a lot of this kind of thing happening in London recently, this kind of thing being pictures of buildings, on buildings. Usually it’s because a building is being worked on and consequently covered in scaffolding, and then on the outside of the scaffolding they stick a picture of the building they’re working on. The above piece of advertising fun reminds me somewhat of that sort of thing, although it is contrived by different means and for a different purpose.
I haven’t been getting out enough, what with my back hurting. But today, I was determined to get out and about, as well as needing to do some shopping, and I decided to do that even before doing anything here.
The plan was I might manage to photo something of interest. When I got home, and took a close look at this, …:
… which shows an advert for a lottery the winner of which gets a new home in London, I thought maybe I had. Whenever I hear that you can win something as a prize in a game of chance, I suspect that the thing in question is proving harder to sell than had originally been assumed and they’ve got some to spare for things like lotteries. Did this advert signal a London new housing slowdown?
I went to the website in the advert to investigate. And it would appear that my suspicions may have been excessively suspicious. This is an Irish fund raising operation, and apparently someone won a similar competition in 2018. But on the other hand, that could mean that even back in 2018 they were having trouble shifting newly built London homes.
One thing I will say, which is that I’ve not seen this advert on a taxi before. Maybe the number of people in London who are only able to think of owning a London home by entering a lottery has now gone up. That’s not the entire market for London homes. That’s global. But it doesn’t help, if you’re selling these places.
Whatever the truth of such speculations, I did at least, at the website in question, encounter an excellent photo of the London City Island tower cluster, photoed on a nicer and brighter day than today has been:
London City Island has already been noticed with a posting here, not so long ago.
August 31st 2006, to be precise. I was looking through a directory of photos based on an expedition I made to St Paul’s Cathedral on August 31at 2006, and very informative they were too. I encountered several photos taken from the top of St Paul’s of London Big Things, that hadn’t yet been built. It should make a fun posting, Real Soon Now. But for right now, I want to show you a couple of photos I took once I’d got down from the top of the Cathedral, and was outside it.
Starting with this:
I think we can all agree that what I was trying to photo there was the bus, and in particular its rather fetching advert (for this). The taxi (and its advert), travelling very blurrily in the opposite direction and hence out of focus, merely got in the way.
The many other photos I photoed, at that same time, of lots of my fellow photoers tells me that I was similarly preoccupied when I photoed this guy:
This time it’s not so clear where my attention is, and is not. That taxi and its advert are in focus. It seems that there was a Motor Show at the Excel, in 2006, and this taxi was telling the world about this.
I have been wondering recently when the habit began of covering London’s famed Black Cabs with intricate and colourfully pre-printed adverts. I tried Internet searching, but the Internet is keener on telling you how to buy stuff now than it is on telling you the history of the particular stuff in question, and I still do not know. But I now know a bit better than I did before I came upon the above photos in my archives. It was definitely a while before 2006, and judging by how good the second taxi advert looks, it was quite a longish while before 2006. I had also been meaning to search through my photo-archives, for taxis with adverts that I had photoed by mistake, photos exactly like the two above. I have yet to do that, but today I did it by mistake.
Talking of buying this stuff now, London Taxi Advertising has had “a decade of experience” arranging such adverts. But I now know for sure that this has been going on a while longer than that.
I’ve just been meandering through the photo-archives, trying to find out when was my last totally pre-Covid walkabout. Not even any vaguely threatening headlines, just life as we knew it before … it. And it would appear that the last time I was able thus to indulge was on February 5th. I went looking for just one fun photo that would celebrate this bygone age, and it was no contest:
Nothing says definitely-before-You-Know-What like an advert for a Plague-based entertainment, for tourists, on a bus, on Westminster Bridge. And not a face mask in sight. Any more than there were face masks in any other of my photos that day. (The above graphic still survives at the London Dungeon Website.)
The next time I ventured out was on the 24th of that month, to Middlesex University, to hear a talk given by Steve Davies. And I distinctly recall how mention was made of how the fear of You Know What had definitely slimmed down the size of the audience. Maybe it had, maybe it hadn’t. Maybe it was just a slim audience. But my point is, we were already talking about it by then.
Oddly enough, I’m damn near certain that at an earlier talk I heard Davies give, at the IEA, well before the Plague struck, Davies was asked in the Q&A about what the next chunk of history might consist of, and he included in his reply a reference to possible plagues. We’re due one, he said. That’s how I remember it anyway.
For quite a while now, I have been curious as to when my habit of photoing taxis-with-adverts kicked in. I’m still not sure, but by August 2015 (August 15th 2015 to be exact) this habit had evidently become well established, because on that one day, I photoed all of these photos:
Why do I like such taxis? Why do I like photoing them? And why do I like displaying arrays of such photos here at my blog? Similar, yet different. Identical shapes, but highly variable decor. I’m sure there must be some sort of psychological test that could be inflicted upon me, basically one for identifying nutters (“people with mental health issues” seems to be the latest iteration of such parlance), in which I would score heavily enough to cause a bit of concern, more so than if most of you mere readers of BMNB were made to take such a test.
Regular commenter here Alastair said of an earlier such taxis-with-adverts array that some sort of art might be contrived with these photos. My first reaction when I read that was that this was merely a polite way of saying what I just said in my previous paragraph, given what art often is these days. But Alastair had something political in mind, concerning how privileged and capitalistic these taxis are, in whom they serve and in what they advertise.
But my interest in taxis with adverts is aesthetic. I simply like how they look. Out there in the streets of London, and in my photos.
I continue to keep an eye out for taxis with adverts. But, taxis are a lot less busy at present, because of You Know What, and their adverts now reach far fewer people.
But, the above observations may be because I, although not myself overwhelmingly affluent, live in a rather affluent part of London. The rich are getting out a lot less these days. But in less posh parts of town, life is much more like normal because it damn well has to be, aside from all the face masks. Taxis are busier, and adverts on them count for more, than either now do in central London.
So it was that I recently spotted this fine example of the species, outside Finsbury Park Tube:
One of the trends in advertising nowadays is that, because people can now easily do no-extra-cost photoing of adverts and read them at their leisure, it therefore makes sense for at least some adverts to be far wordier and more information-packed. There is a definite whiff of that about this advert, I think.
Watch the video here. “The snag list eliminator is here to stay.”
The adverts to which Google will now subject me are about to get very weird.