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.

Food and drink on wheels

Along the South Bank late yesterday afternoon. I photoed, among other things, food and drink emporia, mostly of the motorised or at least transportable sort:

My favourite by some distance is the one selling CLIMATE POSITIVE BURGERS.

Capitalism, eh? It gives you whatever you want.

London from the air – in 2005 and in 2020

I’ve written here a few times about London City Island, and how a sort of mini-Manhattan of unspectacular but decent looking apartment tower blocks have been built on it.

Well, here are a couple of aerial shots that show that having happened. Here is how things in that part of London were looking in 2005:

And here is the same view now:

This blog actually knows a couple of people who have regular jobs doing tech stuff, but who also in their spare time own and operate photo-drones, and who sometimes visit London. These two are really good photoers, even if they may not be quite your Real Photographers, in the sense of making their living photoing, all their working life. I wish I could tell you that it was one of them who did the above photos, but actually, these photos were done by Jason Hawkes, who is as Real a Real Photographer as you could ever wish to drool over the photos of. (Besides which, no drones in 2005.)

The above two photos are just one pair of before-and-now, 2005-and-2020, photos featured in this amazing Guardian collection of photos of London from the air, with commentary by Hawkes himself attached. All you can do here is scroll back and forth between one such pair, reduced in size to fit here. If that amused you at all, you really should click on the Guardian original, and then scroll down and click on each photo to get the other version. There are, by my count, thirteen of such photo-pairs.


Although this wondrous Guardian offering is a “mainstream media” story, there is no way that it could be shown in all its glory in a mere newspaper. Was any of this in the actual Guardian, the one done with paper and ink and sold in shops?

Today I had my hair cut

Indeed. My Lockdown locks, to coin a phrase that I bet others have coined too (yes), were today lopped off.

Here is a pair of selfies, taken before and after the haircut I had this afternoon:

In haircut shops they often, as in my local one, have mirrors that enable you to see the back of your hair as well as the front. So, clickety click. I don’t think this was vanity. I just wanted a souvenir of this weird little moment in this weirdest of weird years. I am one of many men, men especially, with a weird hair story to tell now-abouts.

For the last few weeks, my hair had never been as long since my teens or twenties, and this time around, it turned washing into a dreary ordeal of slight but never ceasing hair loss, handful after handful. I say hand full; what I really mean is: never quite empty. If I were a stand-up comic I’d turn this into a gag about how, as I have got older, my hands have become stronger. And I suppose you could say that I am, among other things, a sit-down comedian and I just did this gag. If I did, it was little consolation for the hair-related annoyances of the last few weeks. The only cure for my condition was today’s shearing.

I left a bigger tip than usual. Cutting long hair is no harder and takes no longer than cutting shorter hair, and I just wanted most of my hair gone. Nothing fancy. Just get rid of it please, as per usual. But from where I was sitting I was paying by the yard and I got many more yards than usual of value.

Mirror and white

As I said, I didn’t do much photoing when I met up recently with GodDaughter2. But I did do some. Of this dazzling object, for instance, in a shop window:

This is why I love digital photography. I would hate to live with that Thing on a permanent basis. But photoing it was great fun, not least because I had no idea how it would turn out, what with all those reflections.

I called the photos “Silver+White”. But … silver? Is “mirror” a colour? It is, see above, now.

I made me think of Jeff Koons, whose work is of this same sort of tastefulness and restraint, is it not? Has Koons ever done a car like this? I googled “jeff koons silver car”, and got the answer. No, he has never done a car like this. But, he has done a car like this. A BMW as it happens. Again, glad someone photoed it, even if not me. But, definitely wouldn’t want to own it.

Beatrice and Titania

Badly needing to get out and exercise, so quota photo, of the above mentioned ladies:

Photoed with my old Canon A70, way back in 2003. Behind the two yellow ladies, you can just make out the Wheel.

I do miss them, and their various Shakespearian sisters. They were driven out of business by the Big Sewer.

This photo already had a name in my archives, so I wondered if I’d shown it here (or here) before. But all I found was mention of a Beatrice (Rana) who plays classical piano, one of many.

See also this recent posting, for my take on why you don’t often see boats with wheels, even though this is technologically very easy to contrive.

Camden Highline coming

Glad to see that this project is making progress:

The Camden Highline project, planned to open in phases from 2024, will create a new central London park and linear walking route – inspired by Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s New York High Line – featuring seating areas, cafés, arts and cultural interventions and spaces for charitable activities.

Cultural “interventions”? Does that mean sculpture and stuff? People wearing daft costumes? I guess I’ll have to wait until 2024.

I had already noticed this Camden Highline notion back in August 2017. I even included a map.

Flying cars are stupid

Apparently some idiots in Japan have tested something they describe as a flying car. What it really is is an aircraft capable of lifting a car. Big bloody deal. Why would you want to combine a car with an aircraft? They’re two different things. Cars are compact, to avoid occupying too much road. Aircraft reach outwards into the air, with big propellers or with big wings, to grab hold of the air and push themselves upwards. Two totally different things. Oh, you can build a “flying car”, that is to say a car which always carries a huge set of wings or propellers around with it. To put it another way, you can make an airplane capable of travelling on a very long runway shared with lots of other vehicles, by, you know, folding up its wings or propellers really really tightly. Yes. And you can make a baby pram that can also mow your lawn, really quietly so as not to enrage the baby. You can make a toaster that can also do the ironing. You can make an umbrella that doubles up as a snooker cue. But what the hell is the point of doing two such distantly related things, both very badly? Why not just do each thing separately, and each thing well?

I tried googling “flying cars are stupid”, for the first time just now. The least silly thing I read was this called that exact thing, by someone called James McNab. McNab ignores the point I just made and makes a whole other point, which is that flying cars would need to be driven by people as careful and skilful as pilots are now, rather than people as careful and skilful as car drivers are now. “You can’t handle flying cars!”, is how he puts it, referring to that movie where Jack Nicholson says “You can’t handle the truth!” Which, now I think about it is actually the same point as my point, but put in another way. Why waste a pilot driving a mere bus with hideously low mileage for half his working day, merely because, if you are rich enough and stupid enough, you could preside over such an arrangement? Makes no sense. We’re back to cars and planes being different.

Another big flying car idiocy is that flying cars will get rid of traffic jams. No, they’ll just create bigger and jammier traffic jams in the sky.

McNab also makes another point, which concerns why people who ponder innovation often start thinking that innovation has slowed down and may soon stop.

One source of innovation pessimism would be if you “invent” something that you think ought to have happened by now, like a flying car, note that it still does not exist, and say that therefore “innovation” itself has stopped. No mate. It was just a stupid idea, that did not happen for bloody good reasons. There’s plenty of non-stupid innovation going on nowadays. You are just fixating on stupid stuff. McNab accuses Peter Thiel, no less, of this non sequitur, when he goes from the non-arrival of flying cars to the slowing down of all innovation.

Interestingly, the writer of a book called The Rational Optimist has since written a book about innovation which ends rather pessimistically, in just this kind of way that McNab talks about. Matt Ridley’s fixation is on genetically modified crops, which don’t now work as well as they could because a lot of governments don’t like them. But those same governments have allowed plenty of other new stuff to happen. One of the features of a successful innovation is that it doesn’t piss off politicians too much. It sneaks under the political radar, and by the time the politicians have noticed it, the people already have millions of the things.

As you can surely tell, I am stream-of-consciousness-ing about this, thinking in internetted words. Which is one of the things this blog is for.

Win a home in London!

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.