Photoed by me in London, between 2006 and 2015:
It’s the round headlights that qualify a car for membership in this particular club.
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.
I get daily emails about “new london architecture”, and from Dezeen, the design website. From these emails alone, it is clear that the profession of architecture is in a bad way just now. Big new buildings just aren’t being built in anything like the numbers they were a few years ago. Even Zaha Hadid, who have been continuing to build big stuff in China, are being flattered by journos eager to keep in with them, not by plugging their latest Big Thing in China, but by writing about that space ship house that the late Zaha Hadid herself designed, several years ago.
The latest Frank Gehry project to get a write-up in Dezeen is a perfume bottle.
But of all the stories that speaks to this architectural go-slow, the one that I find most divertingly bizarre concerns an exhibition in London, organised by some Japanese goofballs, concerning architecture for dogs. Dezeen has noticed this, what with their being so little else of an architectural sort to be noticing, with a story about an architect who has done a sort of table thing that dogs can occupy, or something.
Dogs will get enthusiastic about anything their human bosses tell them to enthuse about. They’ll do anything to oblige. So they happily go along with this nonsense. But really. Could the world of “design”, all cool and calm and sophisticated and minimalist, be more completely at odds with the world of dogs, all enthusiasm and rushing about, sniffing each other’s arses and generally making a totally undignified spectacle of themselves and not caring a toss? To me, it all smacks of desperation. You can hear the wailing at Dezeen: What the hell else is there to write about? Well, I guess it’s dogitecture again.
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.
My thanks to Facebook and Actual Friend Tim Evans for alerting me to this:
It’s Britain’s First Robot Ship. The coolness of that fake-photo is a big reason for this posting, but not the only reason. I am actually interested in robotised transport.
For some bizarre reason I found I was able to read the article linked to above, but then I wasn’t, and so far I’ve only skimmed it.
So what follows is speculation that could well be answered in the very article I’m linking to. But here goes anyway.
I sense a certain confusion about what a robot ship actually is. Is it a ship that is told where to go and from then on makes all its own decisions? Or is it a ship which is just as much commanded by a human commander, but is merely commanded by a commander who is using a radio link rather than being on the bridge of the ship? My guess is that there is quite a lot of the latter sort of human commanding going on. On the other hand, warships don’t like revealing to the enemy things like their location by sending or receiving radio signals, so maybe the ship really can command itself. But whichever it is, I’m impressed.
Ships now have expensive crews. You don’t need an onboard toilet in a car, or beds for everyone, or an elaborate food supply system. But on ships, you need all that and more for that crew. So, not having people on board is a big deal. Especially if you are sending the ship into battle.
But there are bigger issues than toilets and beds and canteens. The more I ponder the contribution of “robots” to transport, in the form of robot cars especially, the more I am sure that everything depends on a predictable and controlled environment, with the necessary infrastructural back-up. The DLR, with its centrally controlled “robot” vehicles, works a treat, because people, at any rate in Britain, are already well schooled in not wandering onto train tracks, and if they do and get themselves killed, nobody blames the trains. But cars in city centres trying to avoid disaster are a different story altogether, as the delay with robot cars is now proving.
And the sea, rather oddly, is a more controlled environment than a city centre. Although sea dramas can be very dramatic, they are mostly dramatic in a predictable way. Other ships are much more tightly policed than are all the things that can happen on the roads in cities. So robot ships, for war and for transport, make a lot of sense. They are yet another fun thing to be keeping an eye open for, during the next few years.
I was browsing through the photo-archives and I encountered this favourite photo from two years ago:
Makes a nice contrast with this photo recently posted here, and this one of the Royal Albert Hall. The point being, in those two photos, they got pretty much the effect they wanted, whereas with this earlier one, they got something a lot more interesting than they were going for.
Had I done an earlier posting featuring the above photo? That the photo had a name as well as a number in the archives suggested: yes. And so it proved.
Photos like this don’t date. If anything, after what they are of has vanished, they get better. Click on that link, and you’ll also see another photo of the same thing, done with a slightly wider angle, and including the entire crane that you can only seen the bottom of in the above photo.
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.
I’m not the only one who thinks scaffolding is pretty:
That’s not a house that is being worked on by builders. It’s .. a house. It’s finished. Here.
However, when architects start “designing” scaffolding, I think that for me the scaffolding loses a lot of its appeal. A lot of what I relish about how scaffolding looks is that the people who put it up don’t care how it looks. When they start caring, as the designer of this scaffolded house clearly did, scaffolding loses its essential aesthetic purity.
Anther way of putting this is that once architects start designing scaffolding, I fear that it may start falling down.
Apparently there have been complaints about this:
I agree with DebApre, replying to an American complainer:
This is not an issue in England. We share culture. We don’t consider this appropriation. You can’t sully something that’s meant to be fun and claim racism. This is not it. I used to wear Saris because one of my best friends was of Indian heritage. This is how people are in London.
Melting Pot London. Love it.
Also from DebApre, this:
Also, i lived in Dubai for 2 years and I dressed like Middle Easterners and Indians. The world is your oyster and experience if you want it to be. I still wear Indian outfits. I have never once been accused of appropriation.
So what’s happening? Well, I just put a comment on Samizdata which says a little of what I think about this stuff:
They aren’t “alarmed”. They are focussing attention on white racism, white racism being what they now want, and have done ever since the working class let them down by not wanting to join their revolution. They want a race war, because they reckon their side might win that.
The way to react is to frame this not as these races versus this race, but as civilisation versus barbarism, with all the socialists, national and international, on the same barbaric side. The recent Republican Convention would appear to have done this splendidly.
What the “alarmed” people were doing there was talking up white racism, in the guise of denouncing it (in connection with a demo about wearing masks). And with this Adele photo, they’re trying to stir it between white people and black people once again.
God forbid people should actually just get along with each other.
A while back I showed an old black-and-white photo of the magnificently eccentric Wuppertahler Schwebeban, Germany’s famous urban aerial railway.
And I commented rather casually to the effect that “nobody copied it because they thought it was crazy”. But of course this was quite wrong. These are Germans we’re talking about. Wuppertal built its Schwebeban for impeccably logical reasons, and nobody else copied it, for equally logical reasons. Basically, Wuppertal was a unique transport problem, which demanded a unique solution. The Wuppertaler Schwebebahn is eccentric yes, but unreasonable, absolutely not.
The Tim Traveller explains, in a video lasting just over five minutes, which I recommend.