Punishing what you want

When I started concocting this posting, earlier in the week, I was watching a TV show about dogs behaving badly, called, if I remember it right, “Dogs Behaving Badly”. (Very), it turns out. Things like bribing them with dog-sweets to stop them misbehaving, which turned out to mean you are rewarding them with dog-sweets for misbehaving. Guess what the dogs continued to do. Until the English version of the Dog Whisperer started working his dog-magic.

While watching that, I was rootling through tweets I’ve been saving, to see if any were deserving of the immortality that comes with being mentioned here at BMNB.

These ones seemed good, and they chimed in rather nicely with that dog show I was also one-third-attending to.

Clarissa:

Currently experiencing the usual reward for demonstrating competence at work. …

Graeme:

More work?

Clarissa:

Bingo.

Graeme:

Well I hope you learned from your mistake!

Well, Clarissa is not a dog, so maybe not. Maybe she was rewarded for the more work that she did. But if not …

Hey, what with all this Coronavirus disruption, maybe Clarissa has managed to hang on to her job.

My favourite Coronavirus tweet so far

Robert Colvile:

One of the few positives of this godawful epidemic – at least they might cancel The Hundred.

Read my opinions about this deranged contrivance here.

I guess the idea is that it’s existing cricket fans who put off all those new cricket fans just bursting to attend cricket games, if only those other fans would disappear. So, devise a cricket competition so stupid that all existing cricket fans are disgusted and don’t show up. Will all the kool kids then turn up in their droves? Or, will nobody care? I believe: the latter.

Red carpet photos

Exactly a week ago, I spent my last day before You Know What erupted all over us, wandering around London, before attending an amazing chamber music concert at the Wigmore Hall.

During these wanderings, I encountered a red carpet, outside the London Palladium, in Argyll Street. Normally when you see a red carpet like this red carpet, you also see stars of stage and screen prancing about on it. But there is also something appealing about just seeing the red carpet, starless. Like this:

As you can see, it took me a while to feel my way to the ideal view of this red carpet, the one that captures its full and complete spiritual essence after which no further photoing was necessary. But if I just showed that final photo, all you would would have seen would have been pure spiritual essence. The mere carpetness of the carpet might not have come across. So I supplied all the other photos I photoed, to provide context.

My camera was more interested in the temporary railings close-up than it was in the signs announcing what the event was to which this red carpet was contributing. But I can tell you that this event was the National Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards 2020.

Congratulations to Phidizz, Alisa Ali, Alan Davies, Charleigh Morritt, Heathfield Community School, Kayanne Bond, Vicki Frost, and Akeme Cox, for being awarded, respectively, the HSBC UK Breakthrough Award, the Watches of Switzerland Group Young Ambassador of the Year award, the Ascential Educational Achiever of the Year award, the Delta Airlines Rising Star Award, the Dell Technologies Community Impact Award, the Homesense Young Achiever of the Year award, the Natwest Enterprise Award, and the Global Aga Khan Foundation Prince’s Trust Award.

Ferrari sighting

While out-and-about on other business further in the middle of London even than my home is, I photoed this little Thing On Wheels:

This was in Bedford Street (as you can just about make out), which is just off the Strand. So far so ordinary. Some brand of “smart” car, presumably.

But when I got home, I looked more closely at this photo, and could just about make out … this:

I didn’t see this logo at the time. I merely noticed it in the original photo, of which the above is a crop-and-expand.

Unless I was mistaken, the Ferrari logo!. The Ferrari horse. Was this bod taking the piss? Had he stuck this Ferrari horse logo on his little red Dinky Toy for some sort of laugh?

This is the twenty first century, and questions like this can be quickly answered.

Apparently this was indeed a Ferrari Smart Car. (He’s not happy about this either.) Different Smart Car, Ferrari logo in the exact same spot. The cars must have come with this logo attached, and must accordingly be “real” Ferraris. Not real Ferraris, you understand. Real Ferraris can drive under articulated lorry trailers at 200 mph. What I saw and photoed was just a Dinky Toy car perpetrated by the Ferrari company in what must have been a quite prolonged fit of insanity, which I presume still continues. Talk about pissing all over your own brand.

Like I say, I like real Ferraris, which I suppose we must now call Ferrari Dumb Cars, driven by the spoilt children of the nouveau riche. The bloke in my photo looks more like an Extinction Rebel or some such thing. i.e. the sort of person who’d be totally opposed to real Ferraris. Which he may well be.

In the course of my googling, I discovered an entire internet subculture of photo-manipulators eager to take the piss out of this abominable little contraption.

Trees and other Things

I’ve not being doing much out-and-abouting lately. But yesterday the weather looked good and I managed a photo-expedition. My odyssey was a familiar one. I walked past the Channel 4 TV headquarters building to Victoria Street, checked out the progress of The Broadway. (That seems to e its name, by the way. It’s not One Broadwy or Ten Broadway, just The Broadway.) Then I walked down Victoria Street to Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square, and then across Westminster Bridge and along the South Bank, and then back across the River to Embankment Tube and home again.

But I knew there’d be new stuff to see, or maybe old stuff that I had seen many times before but not noticed. Stuff like … trees. Here are sixteen of the photos I photoed, involving trees:

Trees look as they do, especially when uninterrupted by leaves, not because trees naturally look like that, but because a not-that-small and very full-time army of tree barbers and tree surgeons (that being the word they prefer), caused them to be so. Every twist and turn of a branch is a decision made by someone wielding a chainsaw (this time click on “Gallery”) or commanding someone wielding a chainsaw. If trees ever do grow “naturally”, that too is a string of decisions that someone made and went on making. Every tree in London is a clutch of design decisions.

And as I say, no leaves. Which means that other things were to be seen also. The Broadway, the Wheel, the Crimea statue, stuff around Parliament Square (much of it smothered in scaffolding), the Wheel from closer up, Big Ben (smothered in scaffolding), the sign outside Foyles saying “FOYLES”, a big puddle, and so forth and so on. Lovely.

Broadway in black and white

Yesterday afternoon, on my way to St James’s Tube, I once again passed, and photoed, the ever changing scene that is The Broadway (or something similar), as it takes shape. It’s going to be a cluster of Things of a Certain Size.

Yesterday I decided I’d photo it all in black and white:

Well, no. What really happened was that the place itself presented itself to me in black and white, with only very vestigial traces of colour. I was photoing in full colour.

When I first saw that big word there, “MULTIPLEX”, I thought; Hey, they’re building a multi-screen cinema! But it turns out that all it is is that a company called Multiplex got the contract to construct this place.

Join the Police and get yourself nicer eyelashes

Earlier in the week, GodDaughter2 was out West, doing an audition (successfully as it turned out), and afterwards we met up. After dining, we visited the nearby Westfield shopping centre, and while she looked at some shoes or some such things, I took this photo, of an advertising screen, switching from one advert to another:

I only just noticed the above message-collision, while seeking a quota photo. Today was a busy day.

A London logo with lots of Things of a Certain Size

It’s not hard to see why I like a graphic contrivance of this sort:

I encountered it at a website entitled Specifier Review, which is concerned with the actual building of buildings. The explanatory blurb towards the bottom ends with the words “building product manufacturers and construction industry specialists”.

Note that, in this graphic, the Big Thing performers at the front of the stage are backed by a much more numerous but more anonymous chorus of generic no-name blocks. Things, you might say, of a Certain Size. Not necessarily that small, but definitely not Big. Maybe big enough to impinge locally, and to get right wing grumps grumbling in their opinion pieces, but not to register in the grander scheme of London Big Things, as seen from a distance. As seen, for instance, in the graphic that adorns the top of this blog.

It’s the Big Things that catch the eye of onlookers like me, but the bread and butter of being a building product manufacturer or construction industry specialist is working away on those boring, generic, Things of a Certain Size.

It’s a whole different posting, but the building scene in London has now shifted away from Big Things towards Things of a Certain Size. No more Gherkins and Shards. Not for the time being. But still plenty more Things of a Certain Size, for thousands upon thousands more folks to live in and to work in, and to work at building.

The artistic retreat from beauty

Like many people, I like photos like this:

Not photoed by me. I wish it had been photoed by me. But, not.

It makes me think of David Hockney, who also likes leafless trees.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (ISIBAISIA): Artistic fashion often goes where it goes not because it is leading us all into some new and exciting artistic domain, but because it is retreating from an area where it can no longer make any sort of living. Example: beauty. Of the sort you see in the above photo.

Googling is good for things describable with a single word. But something like the idea that artists now hate doing beauty is a bit harder to track down. Google tends to fixate on one of the words you use and ignore all the others until it has told you everything it has on, you know, “artists”. Then, keep scrolling, and soon you will be learning of everything there is that you can read about “hate”. The closest I could get to what I wanted was a piece at the Tate Gallery website, entitled JJ CHARLESWORTH FINDS BEAUTY, ALONG WITH A SUNNY VIEW OF THE FUTURE, TO BE SOMETHING OF THE PAST.

I agree with JJ CHARLESWORTH that artists who reject beauty do this partly because they have a gloomy view of the future. But, ISIBAISIA, there’s surely also the fact that all of us now have machines on our persons which can crank out beauty on a daily basis, immortalising everything beautiful that we encounter that we wish to immortalise. Click. And if we can’t even be bothered to do that, plenty can be so bothered, and now pile their efforts into the great global photo-gallery that is the internet, that of course being where I got the photo that adorns this posting. What chance does the average artist have when up against all that? No wonder they prefer ugliness, ugliness so ugly that the Daily Mail will supply free publicity for it, “conceptual” art, painting with shit and piss, and such like. Oh, an artist can add beauty of the sort that a regular photo won’t add, but they can’t add enough extra beauty to justify all the extra bother. And especially not in the age of photo-processing software, which can add beauty. Now, picture-making software can enable you to create beauty.

Hockney, of course, is not an average artist. He is exceptional. He is in the top one per cent. He can paint whatever he likes, and people will still pay him lavishly for it. He can even sell his photos. But for his pains, all the official art people now agree that he is very passé for still doing beauty.

So, the artists have retreated out of beauty. They call it an advance, but they’re not fooling me. And now that I’ve explained this to you, they aren’t fooling you either.