A regular view of Battersea Power Station – but in the morning!

A couple more photos from Christmas Eve, the first was showing what a weird, for me, time of day it was, even though I was already two-thirds walked home by then:

I know. 10.20am. AM!!! That’s the big clock at the top of Victoria Bus Station. And yes indeed, look at the weather, too.

Yet the funny thing is about that time in the morning is that in many ways it resembles the time when it is about to get dark again.

Consider, for instance, this next photo, of a favourite view of mine taken from the same spot and at the same time as the photo above, but just pointing in the opposite direction:

That’s one of my favourite views in London, being from the road where Warwick Way turns right, past the big bus terminal, over the big railway line into Victoria, and towards Posh Pimlico and its posh antique shops, as you go towards Sloane Square, which was where I had just come from.

I have photoed the slowly changing scene that has been Battersea Power Station over the last few decades, many a time during those years. And I have photoed photos where the evening sun was bouncing up at me like a short-pitched cricket delivery off the pitch in front of me, from railway lines like that. But I don’t recall ever having before photoed Battersea Power Station in the morning and combined that with the reflecting railways lines effect. But Christmas Eve morning having been the morning, the sun was coming from the opposite of the usual direction, and there it all was.

I like how the railway line has to climb, and also curve like that to get itself in line, past those sheds on the left, in order to be high enough and pointing in the right direction to get across the river bridge.

This is really just a posting to see if posting has got any easier from the mess it was yesterday, but I also owe regulars here, after yesterday’s single and decidedly fiascotic (also time-cheated (small hours of this morning) posting. Which means I am now going to save it in my Word-clone before trying to post it here.

Seems to be working better. Good.

Crowd scenes

I’ve never been that interested in crowd scenes, until Sod’s Law swung into action and banned them.

So I went trawling through the archives, and to see if I could find any. I found … a few:

Tate Modern 2004, Hampstead Heath 2005, Farnborough 2912;
Trafalgar Square NFL gathering 2011, Blackheath Concert 2018, View from Tower Bridge 2019;
The Dome 2019, Bryan Caplan Lecture London 2019, South of France classical concert 2020.

That’s the trick of photoing. You need to know what is, at any particular time, temporary. In a few years time, I sincerely hope, crowd scenes will seem the most natural thing in the world. Again.

Wooden sheep out east

So there I was, out east, exploring what was happening to the canals in the Bow, Hackney Wick part of London, photoing photos like this, …:

When, rather suddenly, I came upon this:

All that grubbing around the canal being to create the sort of place where Desirable Apartments can be constructed, and Desirable Apartments need Desirable Sheep Sculptures.

Have you noticed how upmarket sculpture, and also upmarket toys, made of wood, make it very clear that they are made of wood? The woodenness is emphasised. Downmarket sculpture, and downmarket toys, are as realistic as they can be made to be, with the how of it left entirely behind. I veer into toys, because this sheep looks a lot like a toy, I think.

I see a connection between this emphasising of the particular material that the Thing is made of, in sculpture and toys, with Impressionism. Posh paintings, like Impressionist Paintings, make it clear that they are indeed paintings, made of paint, as well as paintings of something. I mean, take a close-up look. Paint! Paintings for peasants just look as much like what they are trying to be of as possible.

“We believe passionately …”

Mick Hartley comments on the statement by Julie Birchill’s ex-publishers about why they cancelled her book:

And you can almost guarantee that if someone states how they “believe passionately in freedom of speech”, it’s a prelude to an act of censorship which proves that, actually, they don’t.

It’s the word “passionately” that is so nauseating, in this context. What this actually means is: “Somewhat less than before this row happened, which we are going to give in to.”

Little, Brown didn’t actually use the word “but” in their statement, to signal the reversal. But, if they had, it would have changed nothing of importance.

On how all new building on a large scale tends to start out looking meaningless

Here are some photos I took in and around City Island in 2017, while it was in the process of being constructed:

As you can see, there are maps and images as well as photos of the finished objects, to tell you what this place was going to be like. And cranes.

City Island is a particularly perfect illustration of what Modernist Architecture has now become, and as I have said here before, I quite like it. I especially like how City Island has what amounts to a moat around it, which gives it the appearance of a micro-Manhattan.

I entirely understand why Ancientists think that Ancientist architecture should also be allowed, and I’d also quite like to see more of that. But I suspect that if there were more of that, even the protagonists of such buildings would find themselves being somewhat disappointed, both in how others react and in how they find themselves feeling about what they were in theory so keen on seeing.

The basic aesthetic problem that new building of the sort we see on City Island is the sheer amount of it that is liable to be happening at any given moment. If lots of buildings are required, all for some similar purpose, then whatever gets built is liable to start out looking and feeling rather meaningless. And that emphatically will apply, I believe, if a mass of fake-Ancient buildings is what happens. That is awfully liable, at least to begin with, to look all fake and no Ancient. To look, in short, meaningless. So, why fight it? Why not build what makes economic sense, in a style that is rather bland, but efficient and reasonably smart looking, and be done with it?

What gives meaning to buildings is not just the way they look when they first appear; it is the life and the work that subsequently get lived and done in them. Because of those things, buildings acquire a particular character, and people start to have positive feelings about those buildings, provided of course the life and work they associate with the buildings is something they also have a positive feeling about.

If people hate what happens in new buildings, they’ll hate the buildings and yearn to see them destroyed, no matter what style they were built in.

Wooden maps of the world’s cities

So I did rootle through the latest stuff at This Is Why I’m Broke, and came upon these rather classy looking carved wooden maps of cities:

The one on the left is London, and sadly, nobody told them that London has been doing a lot of expanding lately, in general, and in particular out eastwards. I’d have preferred wider coverage, including such things as the Thames Barrier. Not that it matters to me, because CDs and books mean I have no wall space at all for such things.

The one on the right is Brisbane. I include this map because the river that runs through Brisbane and which presumably provoked that city’s creation, is positively Parisian in its convolutedness. Apparently, this Brisbane river is called the Brisbane River. I did not know any of this.

Big Things above three urinals

Indeed. To celebrate being able to post photos again with ease, this:

We’re in the Gents, at the Lord Palmerston pub, Dartmouth Park Hill. Although, they call it the “Lords”.

The above photo was photoed in 2015. I’d just been checking out the view from that Bridge that goes over Archway, from which you can see London’s Big Things for real. I went back to this Lords Toilet more recently, to try to get a photo that would work for the permanent top of this blog, but the Big Things had gone. Shame. Maybe looking at giant architectural penises proved off-putting for those seeking to piss through their own smaller penises.

At the Royal Victoria Docks in March 2012

The basic reason I do personal blogging has always been that I don’t want any constraints placed by some agenda, in my case a political one, on what I consider to be interesting, or beautiful, or amusing, or interesting, or just likeable in some indefinable way. The rule I try to stick to is: Never, if I actually do not, say what I think or feel that I am supposed to think or feel. If that results in “contradictions” between things I consider of interest, so be it.

All of which is a preamble to saying that I hope I never stop doing postings like this one, with photos like this:

All of the above photos were photoed in March of 2012, on the way to (photo 1), on the way from (photo 28), or at or from (photos 2-27) the Royal Victoria Docks, which are out beyond Docklands. This evening, I came across a little directory, where I’d put them all, with something like this in mind. All the work of selecting had been done. So here they all are. And yes, you are right, I do have very conventional tastes in sunsets, with interesting things in the foreground. But if you ever decide to dislike something you like, because other people also like it, more fool you.

I love how shoving up great clutches of photos like this is so much easier than it was at the old blog, and that it is easy for you to click through them, if you want to, just as slowly or as quickly as you like, without a lot of backwards-and-forwards-ing. I don’t think that’ll ever get old.

Two Big Things were, at that particular moment, under construction. They were finishing up with The Shard, and they were building that weird cable car thing across the River, having, in March 2012, got as far as building the towers but being yet to attach the cables or cable cars.

One of my favourite Things at these docks is the new footbridge they built across it. It’s great to look at, and it’s great to look from.

I really hope that by the time half decent weather returns, some time around March 2021, I’ll be in a fit state to take advantage of it, and do more of this kind of photo-perambulating.

A Fake Ancient bridge with buildings on it in Scotland

I encountered this amazing place …:

… on account of it being advertised at, of all bizarre places, This Is Why I’m Broke. Not the whole thing to buy, you understand, just a stay there for the night.

It’s a late nineteenth century concoction. Fake Ancientism, in other words, at its considerable and Scottish Baronial best.

The above bridge was attached to Blackcraig Castle, both that “castle” and this bridge being the work of Patrick Allan-Fraser.

Also featured at TIWIB, and changing the subject somewhat, this gadget looks like it might come in rather handy.

That way that people hold their spectacles and their mobile

One from the “I just like it” photo-archive:

I can tell from the background, and in particular the lion statue, that we are walking east across Westminster Bridge.