Exploring The City: Monument thoughts

When I say exploring, I mean three kinds of exploring, rather than just the one. The “just the one” is going there, and taking photos. But the second is finding things out from the Internet about the various things I saw and photoed. And the third is exploring my photo-archives for related photos that I photoed during earlier explorations.

Here’s an internet discovery of what the place I was exploring looked like, in (guess) the late eighteenth century:

That image is one of a collection of images to be found at the top of the Website for the Parish and Pilgrimage Church of St Magnus the Martyr in the City of London.

At the back there, the Monument, and the church of St Magnus the Martyr. Note how you also see three other church spires, and a rather distant church tower. In those days, churches dominated the London skyline.

Here another Monument image, this time one which I photoed in the vicinity of the Monument, yesterday:

At the top of that, beyond, you can just about make out a horizontal slice of the Monument itself.

I’ve obviously been up this London Big Thing, but not very recently. Now, I want to look more closely at how this London Big Thing looked, when it first arrived on the scene:

I’m sure there are plenty of references to God and how he should bless and receive into heaven, or wherever, all the people who perished in the Great Fire of London, at the base of the Monument.

Nevertheless, I wonder if The Monument was actually some sort of turning point for London architecture, in the sense that it is very tall, but not a place of worship. The Monument, from the moment it was built, was what is nowadays called a “visitor attraction”. It works by allowing people to climb up a big staircase inside to a viewing platform at the top, from which anyone who cared to make this effort could then gaze down upon London, and its many churches. No worshipping involved, unless you want it to be.

Until the Monument, I’m guessing that the last place of non-worship to dominate the London skyline so forcefully was the Tower of London.

The Monument must have caused quite a stir when it first appeared. Did some people then think it was an eyesore? (A major function of blogging, for me, is that it records questions. That’s one I don’t want to forget.)

And if the Monument was thought of by some to be an eyesore, did this make it easier for people later to argue for taller – also secular – buildings in its vicinity, the aesthetic and spiritual damage already having been done? Like the Guy’s Hospital Shard story, only this time for the entire City of London.

To bring the story up to date, here’s a photo I photoed a while back of The Monument and its immediate surroundings, from the top of the Walkie Talkie:

The Monument and St Magnus are still a bit taller than their immediate surroundings, which are nevertheless pretty bulky. But as for the Walkie Talkie, and the other Big Things beyond, it’s definitely a case of The Monument being dwarfed by modernity.

Here’s another photo of The Monument, this time from the Top of the Tate Modern Extension:

Again, dwarfed by modernity.

Walkie Talkie on the left there, behind the red crane. And since we have a crane there, here’s a roof clutter photo, also feature the top of the Monument:

Photoed from the other side of the River also. Don’t get me wrong, I love this kind of alignment/juxtaposition, as regulars here will know. But, that’s how little the view of the Monument from any sort of distance now matters to London’s aesthetic overlords.

Finally saying something about The Wealth Explosion

For far longer than I care to go back and calculate, I have been struggling to write a review of Stephen Davies’s new book, The Wealth Explosion. (Shortish excerpts from this book can be read here, here, and here.)

Well, some time over the weekend, I realised that the way to get this review written was to give up trying to write it all at once. Today, I posted the first of several postings about The Wealth Explosion that I hope will in due course be appearing at Samizdata. I have abandoned the attempt to say everything, and have instead made a start by saying something.

And yes, I now feel much better, thank you. (I also now have a rather nasty headache and consequently actually feel rather worse, but I still feel better.)

My fourth task was photoing the entrance to the Queen’s Gallery

Late this afternoon, I went out walking, within walking distance of where I live. I had four tasks and I accomplished all of them, and then some. I have reached the age where getting four out of four in this sort of way is reason to self-congratulate. The and then some being that I took lots of photos that I hadn’t planned on photoing.

The first task was to stock up on some canned drinks that I can only buy at one shop. The second was to stop by a cash machine. The third was to photo a building, a detail of which I needed to know about for a blog posting. And the fourth was to photo this:

This being the entrance to the Queen’s Gallery. (Interesting that the Queen’s Gallery has no website.) I have arranged to meet someone there next week, to see the Leonardo da Vinci show they are showing. And I needed to check that saying “entrance” as the place where we’ll meet is clear and unambiguous. Better yet, I needed a photo of the entrance, so I can say: there.

Don’t you just love it when a piece of personal admin can double up as a blog posting? Well, no, you probably never do that, or feel that way about it. But I do and I do.

The Great Realignment is now up and running

I don’t mean the thing itself, although something along those lines definitely is happening. I mean the blog of that name. Earlier this month, I noted that The Great Realignment …:

… was there to be read. But at that time, there wasn’t a lot of stuff actually to be read there.

I only recently took a second look, and from now on I’ll be going there more frequently.
Because now, the postings are starting to pile up quite impressively.

I think the Guy Fawkesian Parliamentary explosion at the top is a bad idea, and also very misleading. The Great Realignment won’t put any sort of end to that place. It will merely fill it with rather different people, very differently divided and shouting different things at each other.

Stephen Davies is writing a horse book

Much as I would like to replace the late Findlay Dunachie, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a book reviewer. It takes too much focus. While you’re doing it, you can’t afford to get stuck into reading anything else. When it comes to book blogging, blog postings provoked by some particular thing in a book is probably the best way for me to go.

But, I am trying to review The Wealth Explosion (you can read bits from this book here – here and here) by Stephen Davies, and I am determined to get this done, Real Soon Now.

Part of my homework for writing this review was attending an event at the IEA last week, at which Davies spoke about this book.

Which was fun, of course. But for me the biggest and best surprise came afterwards, when I asked Steve about his next book (about the Devil), and then if he was doing any more books after that Devil book. Yes, he replied. Two more. I forget the second of these two, but the first is going to be about the history of the horse.

That being my excuse for mentioning this today, Fridays being my day for cats and/or other creatures.

Historically, I surmise that the contribution of the horse in quite recent times, like the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is a rather neglected subject. I remember reading how horses multiplied during the early decades of the railways, to get people and goods to and from railway stations. More recently, I read, I think in one of James Holland’s book’s (this one maybe?), how the Nazi war effort, for all its much touted mechanical virtuosity, was amazingly dependent upon literal horsepower.

I’m really looking forward to Steve Davies’s horse book. Given how much people love horses, now more than ever, it just might sell very well. Consider the success of this recent horse-based show.

(Something similar applies to how much people disapprove of – yet are fascinated by – the Devil.)

BMNB quote of the day: Tim Newman on feminism

Yes, Tim Newman:

As I’m fond of saying, modern feminism is largely about encouraging women to adopt the worst behaviours of men.

Tim Newman’s blog, White Sun of the Desert, is not in the list of OTHER PLACES I OFTEN GO TO, at the bottom of the blue permanent information bit on the left of this blog. But these days, I find myself going there often.

The decision to mend my Old Blog, so to speak, by setting up this new version of it, amounted to a vote of confidence in blogging generally. Two friends have currently been making noises about starting new blogs. I’m looking forward to reading those blogs regularly, if they happen.

More generally, it feels like a good time to find my way to other new blogs, that I find that I like, but don’t now know about. I recently made a start by discovering this blog (already mentioned here in this posting).

Ladybower Reservoir and its bridge

A lot of my postings here feature photos I photoed quite a while ago, which I decide that I at least want to remember a bit better than I otherwise might. Well, here’s another such, of a reservoir in the Peak District. This photo also features an excellent bridge, which carries the delightfully named Snake Road across the reservoir:

Alas, I didn’t photo that. 6k did, in September 2017. I got to see this photo by scrolling down at the 6k flickr collection, until I chanced upon it.

I then searched for “ladybower” at the 6k blog, and found my way to a posting from 2015, recounting how 6k had visited the same spot with his father, and linking to an earlier flickr directory, which contains other views of this same reservoir, this time including views of the dam which brought it into existence.

It looks like the sort of place where these guys would have practised, although actually, this reservoir was not on their list.

My favourite tweet today

This:

There should just be a simple checkbox in twitter for “Are words violence?” The people who say “yes” only see tweets from people who agree.

Two things I’m not clear about are: whether it’s twitter or Twitter (I say Twitter); and whether it’s tweet or Tweet (I say tweet).

My attitude to Twitter is that for as long as it exists, I will occasionally cherry pick it, and thus adorn the blogosphere. Twitter is very temporary, and will soon collapse, I think. A small group of people has the power to collapse it. Eventually they will. The blogosphere is dispersed in its management, and will endure as long as our civilisation does.

This blog may even endure for quite a while. Even my old blog endures, for the time being, and even though it doesn’t now work properly.

GD2 does a selfie session with a fan

Yesterday a big gang of friends and family, me among them, heard G(od)D(aughter)2 do her end-of-year recital, way up at the top of the Royal College of Music just near the Albert Hall. It was terrific. If they picked her up out of the rather small room she sang in and dumped her down in that same Albert Hall, and replaced the pianist and his piano with a huge symphony orchestra going full blast, GD2 would have sounded great and entirely at home and in command, and they’d have cheered like crazy. That’s how good she seemed to me.

Immediately afterwards I of course photoed photos of GD2, but these photos weren’t that good. Closer-up, she was still in performance mode, but looking tired, understandably. Worse, I wasn’t able to get a proper view of her, together with the lady who was also photoing her.

Later, when we all went to the nearby Italian restaurant, GD2 was able to relax and enjoy, and this time, my view of her was perfect. She did a selfie session with the same lady who had photoed her immediately after the recital, and whom I had sat next to for the performance. “What a voice!” said this lady, when GD2 had finished. In the restaurant, she and GD2 sat right across the table from me, and more photoing occurred. I photoed this photoing:

It’s not that I object to the face of the lady on the left, who turned out to be a friend of GD2’s mother from way back. It’s just that I don’t shove faces up here without prior approval. GD2 has already said she has no objection to her face appearing here. Lady on the left has not said this, so her face gets hidden, same as when I photo any other photoers, without their permission.

Lady on the left has, it turned out, a blog, which I have already looked through, partly to see if she has photos on it of herself, in which case I could presumably put a photo of her here without causing offence. No photos of her there, that I could see.

At her blog, she follows a completely opposite rule to the rule here. Here, I say something every day, whether I have anything sensible to say or not. She, on the other hand, seems to follow the strange rule of only saying something when she has something she considers worth saying. I know, very strange. If everyone followed that rule, hardly anything would get said at all.

But I digress. My main point here, today, is well worth saying, which is that GD2 is doing very well.

Note the electric plug sockets in all the above photos. These sockets were all over the place in the restaurant, 4×2 of them at our table alone. I assume that these sockets are for recharging mobile phones, like the one being deployed in the above photos.