Venturing out again

I wrote here earlier about my fear of embarking upon any longish photo-expeditions, given the highly regulated nature of the public realm at present, and given how enthusiastic mere people seem to have become about enforcing these new rules, by shouting at those who they believe to be disobeying them. Such fears are a getting old thing.

But on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons of this week I set aside these fears and went on a couple of walks, keeping well away from other people of course. On Tuesday, the last day of March, I walked from my home to and across Vauxhall Bridge and then walked a little along the far side towards Battersea, at which point it got too dark and I turned back for home. And on Wednesday, the first day of April, I turned right along the north bank of the River until I got to and crossed Chelsea Bridge, explored all the frozen-in-the-moment building activity around the Battersea Power Station, and then walked back home along the south side of the River and back across Vauxhall Bridge.

The weather on Tuesday was fine, but on Wednesday afternoon the short-term weather forecast was something it very seldom is. It was wrong. I was promised a couple of hours of partial sunshine, but this never happened. But at least there was, as also promised, no actual rain, and once embarked upon my journey I pressed on, for the exercise you understand.

I soon arrived in a place variously known either as St George’s Square or Pimlico Gardens. Although, follow the second of those two links and you understand this muddle. Pimlico Gardens is the small bit at the southern end of the much bigger St George’s Square, which is elongated and not square at all.

Anyway, what with all this exercising, it seemed pointless not to do any photoing, given that nobody seemed to be objecting. In St George’s Square/Pimlico Gardens I photoed a couple – truly a couple – of ducks:

Ducks close-up seemed to work in the gloomy weather. There’s lots of detail for the automatic function to grab hold of, which is mostly how I do my focusing.

No social distance between them.f

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.

Quota silliness

PC Dave Wise:

Is it pronounced Shrewsbury or Shrewsbury?

I asked [the] Shrewsbury Cops but they told me it could be either … or either.

Tomatoes tomatoes potatoes potatoes. Seriously, I thought it was Shrows-bury. But the football commentators all call it as spelt. Which is surely very un-English. I still treasure the moment when an American asked me where Lie Sester Square was.

It’s been a busy day. Still getting that self-isolation thing organised.

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.

Corona Time

Yes: “Corona Time”. I just heard this phrase, from the all-the-rage-just-now Icelandic classical pianist Víkingur Ólafsson. He was being interviewed on Radio 3’s Music Matters, and talking about how he’ll be juggling his work during the next few months, in the face of the tornado of cancellations that he and others like him now face. Far fewer public performances and lots more time spent studying and practising, and recording.

A lot of people are about to have a lot of Corona Time in the next few months.

Some people are going to be more deranged than others. Basically, the more sociable you are, and the less solitary and virtual in the way you live, the worse it will be. I especially like this Babylon Bee title:

Nation’s Nerds Wake Up In Utopia Where Everyone Stays Inside, Sports Are Canceled, Social Interaction Forbidden

Nerds have always had lots of Corona Time.

LATER: More Corona Time advice. I have in mind to write, like he says.

Steven Pinker: “Don’t confuse pessimism with profundity …”

See the world through Pinker-tinted spectacles than you may be inclined to:

Keep some perspective. Not every problem is a Crisis, Plague, Epidemic, or Existential Threat, and not every change is the End of This, the Death of That, or the Dawn of a Post-Something Era. Don’t confuse pessimism with profundity: problems are inevitable, but problems are solvable, and diagnosing every setback as a symptom of a sick society is a cheap grab for gravitas.

My sentiments exactly.

That’s to be read on page 452 of my paperback edition of Enlightenment Now, Pinker’s most recent book.

Meanwhile:

Those were a couple of the day before yesterday’s headlines. Let’s hope it soon becomes yesterday’s news. Problems are, as Pinker says, solvable, and let’s hope this one too is soon sorted.

Pinker is particularly aware of the way that the news is in the habit of putting a pessimistic spin on everything. If it bleeds it leads, and so on. Good news, meanwhile, creeps up on the world more gradually.

I actually did the “simultaneous sip” …

… before watching what Scott Adams has to say about the Democratic Debate that happened in Las Vegas last night. This is the first time I have done this. This only happened because I happened to have a recently assembled cup of coffee on my desk. My simultaneous sip felt nice.

By all accounts I’ve read so far (in my bubble), the actual debate itself was a Motorway Pile-up of epic proportions. I’m guessing Adams will be saying pretty much that.

Trouble is, I have to be out soon, and will have to hold off watching this until I get back. But the point of the simultaneous sip is that this interruption now really hurts. I don’t think this interruption would have hurt, had it not been for me actually doing the simultaneous sip. Me doing the simultaneous sip is like the difference between something being merely on, and me truly tuning in to it.

Waiting for the plague to arrive

Life in London and places like it is, just now, strange. It is not now like this:

But will it soon become like this?

That’s a photo taken just over a century ago in Seattle. The Shorpy caption reads:

Ca. 1918-1919. “Precautions taken in Seattle, Wash., during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic would not permit anyone to ride on the street cars without wearing a mask. 260,000 of these were made by the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross which consisted of 120 workers, in three days.”

Coincidence that they just happened to be posting that, earlier this month? Presumably: not. (Here is a clutch of recent Coronoavirus links.)

Shorpy, one of the many things photographic that I have learned about from Mick Hartley, is now a regular www destination of mine.