Dutch Quality Flowers lorry with antique locomotive

This afternoon, while I was on my way yet again to the Royal Marsden to score my next month’s supply of Osimertinib, a huge lorry drove past me along the Fulham Road, with a painting of a steam locomotive on the side of it:

I display all of these three hastily grabbed and decidedly mediocre photos simply to make it clear that this was indeed a lorry, as well as a picture of a locomotive.

Later, I found myself musing on how the ubiquity of digital photography and of the social media must have transformed advertising. Just as graffiti has become more individual and elaborate, in the age of digital photoing, so too has advertising.

Because, if you can persuade a decent proportion of the digital photoers you drive past to photo their photos, of your unique lorry with its unique and as likely as not hand-done painting on the side, and then get the photoers to stick their photos up on the www, there’s every chance you can save a ton of money on the distribution of your advertising message. Throw in that any word can be searched for on that same www, and you don’t need to bother with big lettering, the way you used to have to to get your message spread around, and you can concentrate on making the image look as great as you can contrive. Use little letters and let the photoers look it up and link to your website and generally spread your word for you. All you need is a sufficiently striking and appealing image, to grab all that attention.

So, by way of emphasising my point, here is the DQF Flower Shuttle website. Go there, and learn that there is a whole fleet of flower delivery lorries, each one flaunting this or that elaborately artistic type picture of an antique form of transport, most of them ships, but one being of another locomotive. I assume that all of these lorries are each of them adorned with unique images, and I further assume that photos of these images are all over the social media. Judging by what happens when you do this, my assumptions are right. Although, I can find no photos of the particular photo I photoed of a DQF lorry this afternoon. This must be a rather new image.

Why my next camera may still be a camera rather than a mobile phone

In a recent posting here, I speculated that my next “camera” might also be my next mobile. Setting aside the question of whether I live long enough to be making any such decision, I think I probably blogged too soon. I did mention zoom, as something a mobile phone might not do well enough, and zoom might indeed be, for me, a deal breaker. Below are three images which illustrate what I mean.

Here is a photo I photoed, in the summer of 2016, from favourite-London-location-of-mine, now shut of course, the top of the Tate Modern Extension:

That photo being favourite genre of mine: Big Things (in this case Ancient Big Things) in alignment with each other. In descending order of recognisability, and going from nearest to furthest, those are Big Ben, the twin towers of Westminster Abbey, and the single but splendid tower of Westminster Cathedral. The little green tower in the foreground is on the top of County Hall.

But here is my camera pointing in the exact same direction, minus any zoom:

I know. You can’t really tell where that clock and those cathedrals even are. Well. the scene in the top photo is to be observed just to the right of the right hand lift shaft of those two lift shafts, and just to the left of the angular glass top of 240 Blackfriars.

If I tried getting the same view with my current mobile, that view would probably look – and here I’m quoting and expanding, so to speak, from the relevant bit of the photo above – more like this:

I love these sorts of alignments and juxtapositions. Often, as above, they can only be photoed with lots of zoom. Just getting closer to the Big Things in question would not be an option, because the alignment only happens if you are in the right high-up spot where you can see it from, and this may be a long way from the aligned Big Things. So, I have to have lots of zoom.

Mobiles achieve megazoom by actually having separate cameras for different amounts of zooming. Will this ever get as good as my present camera type camera? Maybe, but in the sort of time-frame I am looking at now I rather doubt it.

Predator or prey – look at the eyes

I found this here:

Which I guess makes us humans predators. Makes sense. Many surely knew this and predator eyes and prey eyes, but I did not know this.

I further guess that fish are accordingly the ultimate prey.

I was writing about Modernism versus Ancientism back in 2014

I have done no copying over of postings from the Old Blog to the New Blog recently. This is because recently, I have not been experiencing the Screen of the Red Death (although me mentioning this now may cause it to return just out of spite).

However, today I embarked upon transferring a posting from back in March 2014 entitled “Keeping up appearances”, only to discover that it had already been transferred. It featured a rather excellent photo that I photoed in Oxford Street:

Quote:

What this tells you is that architectural modernism has utterly conquered indoors, but that out of doors, modernism is only popular because its totalitarian impulses have been held at bay, by what you might call ancientism.

Well, somewhat held at bay. Modernism still has a fight on its hands.

But it would appear that the idea of “ancientism”, which I think is useful, was only then occurring to me, what with me then calling it “what you might call ancientism”, rather than just ancientism.

Somewhere on that bucket list of things I want to write for Samizdata before I die is something pulling together all my thoughts and discoveries about Modernist and Ancientist architecture, battle between, etc.. Something tells me that if I do ever manage this, the above photo may get yet another showing.

A list of Libertarian Alliance publications by Chris Tame

I’ve been reflecting on the career and achievements of Chris Tame:

Those being three more photos of Chris that I recently exhumed from my “filing system”.

Below is a list of the pieces of writing by him that were published (in some cases republished) by the Libertarian Alliance.

Political Notes 27
The Bankruptcy of the New Socialists
1987, 2pp.

Political Notes 40
On The Side of the Angels: A View of Private Policing
1989, 2pp.

Political Notes 41
Conservatives and the Closed Shop
1984, 4pp.

Political Notes 44
Taxation Is Theft
1989, 2pp.

Political Notes 148
The Case Against a Bill of Rights
1989, 7pp.

Philosophical Notes 1
The Moral Case For Private Enterprise

1985, 4pp.
Not available

Philosophical Notes 2
Is Freedom Selfish?: A Debate
(with Michael Ivens)
1985, 4pp.

Legal Notes 20
Why Sado-Masochism Should Not Be Criminalised (Evidence to the Law Commission on Consent and Offences Against the Person)
1994, 4pp.

Legal Notes 30
Freedom, Responsibility and Justice: The Criminology of the ‘New Right’
1998, 7pp.

Cultural Notes 1
Ernest Hemingway and the Failure of Nihilism
1983, 2pp.

Historical Notes 6
An Economic Misinterpretation of History: A Critique of J. K. Galbraith’s Account of American Capitalism
1989, 6pp.

Historical Notes 8
Power, Class and the State in Twentieth Century America
1989, 7pp.

Sociological Notes 1
Man, Concepts and Society
1987, 4pp.

Sociological Notes 2
Change and Pseudo-Change in Sociology
1986, 4pp.

Foreign Policy Perspectives 5
Hong Kong: Another British Betrayal
1988, 2pp.

Foreign Policy Perspectives 16
Hypocrisy in the ‘Peace’ Movement: A Case Study
1990, 2pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 1
Against the New Mercantilism: The Relevance of Adam Smith
1979, 4pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 2
Prostitution, The Free Market and Libertarianism
(Includes LA Evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee of the Home Office on Sexual Offences)
File currently unavailable

Libertarian Pamphlets 8
Environmentalism and Totalitarianism: An Obituary for Modern ‘Liberalism’
1987, 4pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 9
The Politics of Whim: A Critique of the `Situationist’ Version of Marxism
1989, 4pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 14
Libertarianism versus Conservatism: A Debate
(with Gerry Frost)
1989, 11pp.

Libertarian Reprints 1
Different Values: An Analysis of Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, 1984, 6pp.

Libertarian Reprints 7
Sanitising Marx
1984, 2pp.

Libertarian Reprints 8
The Chicago School: Lessons From The Thirties For The Eighties

1984, 2pp.
File currently unavailable

Libertarian Reprints 9
Stirner in Context: The Profanization of Hegelianism and the Genesis of Marx’s Historical Materialism

1984, 2pp.
File currently unavailable

Libertarian Heritage 7
The Revolution of Reason: Peter Gay, The Enlightenment and the Ambiguities of Classical Liberalism
1992, 7pp.

Libertarian Heritage 12
Guy Aldred (1886-1963): The Socialist As Libertarian
1994, 2pp.

Libertarian Heritage 19
The Critical Liberalism of J. M. Robertson (1856-1933)
1998, 19pp.

This list didn’t take me long to contrive, but it did take longer than I thought it would. There were more than I had been expecting. They were mostly written and published towards the beginning of the LA publications surge that I presided over. I know for sure that Chris had plenty more that he wanted to write, but then his bone cancer got him.

A ball point pen for eight pence!

Here are two more photos photoed with my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone:

I came upon these pens while seeking something else, as you do. I then took these photos because what I was seeing reminded me of a conversation I recently had with Michael Jennings about why the cameras in things like my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone are so good. He said that when you are ordering up the cameras for a production run of mobile phones like mine, or for an iPhone or some such thing (Michael J has the latest iPhone (with which he now takes photos like these)) you’re talking about ordering a billion of the things, literally. When you are working on that sort of scale, then the economies of scale really start to kick in. A camera which would have cost five times what the mere phone costs now, if you sold it only to photographers, now costs only a dozen or two quid for my phone, or a couple of hundred for the latest iPhone. He’s not wrong.

Research and development for dedicated cameras has pretty much stopped about five years ago. All the effort now goes into making mobile phone cameras into miracle machines, and that’s really starting to be visible in the results.

I remember thinking, when digital cameras first arrived, that in the long run, cameras would have no reason to look like old school cameras, of the sort that had film in them. But at first they all did, because that was what people felt comfortable with. But now, that long run is starting to arrive. Cameras now consist only of a screen, and what is more a screen that can do a hundred other things besides photo photos.

And the above photos illustrate this same economies-of-scale which can fund mega-research-into-making-them-even-cheaper principle in action down at the bottom of the market, where they thrash out ball point pens by the billion. One pound for a dozen of them! Like I say in the title of this, that’s hardly more than eight pence a pen. And that’s after all the transport costs and retail mark-ups and goodness knows what else have also been paid. Amazing.

Shame they can’t make food and heating and rent that cheap. The one thing that never seems to get any cheaper nowadays is energy, aka the essentials of life. Are we due another human transformation, to go beside this one, when energy gets miraculously cheaper? Nuclear? Fusion? Bring it on.

That previous kink, I recently read in one of Anton Howes‘s pieces, was maybe made to seem more abrupt than it really was by the fact that there came a moment when they finally worked out how to extract and distribute energy on a serious scale, but energy remained quite expensive, hence the sudden kink upwards in the numbers. Actually, life had been getting better for some time, and didn’t suddenly get a hundred times better, merely about three or four times times every few decades.

Meanwhile, things like absurdly good cameras and absurdly cheap ball point pens don’t show up in graphs of how much mere money everyone is chucking around. Which causes people in a country like mine to underestimate the improvements of recent decades. These have not taken the form of us all having tons more money. No. What has been changing is the stuff we can now buy with the same money. Like my latest (mobile phone) camera, and like ball point pens. Provided you have some cash left over after you have fed and housed yourself and kept yourself warm (not everyone does), then life has got lots more fun, given how many and how much better are the toys and times you can now buy for the same money.

Life has not improved much for those who have fun only when the fun they get is too expensive for most others to be able to indulge in. But that’s a thought for a different posting.

The City of London’s next Big Thing(s)?

I never take these Big Things for granted, merely on the strength of early fake photos of how they might look, but fingers crossed, here’s the City of London’s next one:

Or is that next three?

It (or they) apparently got planning approval yesterday.

One of my little pleasures in life is reading the comments on such postings as this one by Olly Wainwright on Twitter, with lots of people grumbling about the next proposed Big Thing. Not, you suspect, because they particularly hate its design but because really they hate all the London Big Things and would have preferred London to stagnate instead of carrying on being capitalist. I also like it when others join in with things like “Well, I actually quite like the Walkie Talkie.” As do I.

Plus, talking of Walkie Talkie, and as other commenters asked: What will be its nickname?

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.

Keeping up appearances (however odd they were) just off Sloane Square

Here are a couple of photos I photoed earlier in the month, of a rather handsome building just off Sloane Square, just past the tube station as you leave, in the direction of Pimlico, Victoria and such places:

A moment later, I tried photoing a detail at the top of the building, of where the top of the tower seems to collide with the big rectangular chimney under a row of chimney pots. Seems being the word, because you cannot tell from my photo, any more than you can from looking at the photos above.

But my closer-ups didn’t solve the problem. They merely magnified it. Memo to self, blah blah. Go back and check it out.

Well, today I did just that. I was in a bus and in no mood to get off it. I wanted to be home. But luckily for me, the state of the traffic stopped the bus and I was able to photo the exact detail that I earlier didn’t photo properly. It helped that this time around, the light was in the right place:

There was photoshop-cloning in both of the above, but we’re not talking my prowess as a photoer, we’re talking architectural detail, and my photoshop-cloning made things clearer.

I don’t know quite what to make of this. Best guess, the chimney basically has the right of way, because without it the machine-for-living-in that this building is doesn’t work so well. But, that little top-of-the-tower thing has nowhere else to go except to bury itself in the chimney, while actually, in reality being brushed aside by it. Whatever exactly we are looking at, it’s decidedly odd.

It is also unclear whether this is an old building or a fake old building, or maybe a hybrid in the form of a painstakingly restored-exactly-as-was old building.

I say this because a year or two ago, this is how it was looking. This being posting with photos that show a lot of activity going on in what became the inside of this new building. I’m guessing, although it’s only a guess, that they only got planning permission if they left the previous exterior untouched. But this was very hard to contrive, give what they wanted to do behind that exterior. In short, a lot. So they said, can we smash it all down and then build a new building with an exterior that looks exactly like the old one? And that was okay, provided it was exactly like that. So that’s what they did, right up to and including the way this chimney collides with this roof top thingy.

It’s a bit unfair to call this “roof clutter” (as I do in the category list below), but what else can I call it? Maybe a new category is due called Rooves? Or is it Roofs?

On further reflection, I think that what this strange little circumstance shows is that chimney pots have swung wildly back and forth from being just severely practical, towards being highly ornamental (as well as practical) and then back again. Which means that umpiring between a plainly decorative tower top and a chimney gets very … odd.

Or something. Not sure. Just amused.

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.