How to work with Indians

Michael Jennings:

The ability to talk endlessly about cricket is a tremendously useful skill when the prospect of working with Indians comes up.

There are more Indian cricket fans in India than there are people in Europe.

A lion with a strange shaped face

Here are a couple of photos of one of my favourite local London Things. It’s the Crimea and Indian Mutiny memorial, outside Westminster Abbey:

On the left, I lined it up with the twin towers of the Abbey. And on the right we are looking back up Victoria Street. On the right, the cranes that are finishing the building of The Broadway.

Around the base of this memorial are four lions, which all look like this:

At least, I presume they are lions. I am no sort of expert on how lions look. But I know that there are other lion statues in London, such as the ones in Trafalgar Square, and such as the one at the south end of Westminster Bridge, which have faces on them that look quite different from the above lion. They have heads that are a completely different shape to this Crimea lion, which to my never-seen-a-real-lion-in-my-life-or-not-that-I-recall eye, look more like some brand of monkey, or even like a dog.

I photoed these photos last Wednesday, and I have yet to recover from that expedition, having been suffering lately from aches and pains which this walk was supposed to help but didn’t. Now that Lockdown has locked down again, I’ll probably be showing photos from that day here for about the next month, on and off. There have already been this and these. So expect more, but not today.

East India DLR station

Yes, it’s 2017 again, April, and I’m on my way home after a hard afternoon’s photoing out east. I get to that moment when suddenly, snap, my energy is all gone, and I just want home. So I drag myself to the nearest rail station. And this time, that rail station was East India:

Something to do with the East India docks, I presume.

Why show photos of that? Well, London can’t be all spectacular Big Things and lavish world renowned river views. Much of the secret of great cities is the amount of humdrum and utterly replaceable stuff they contain, and replaceability equals growability. A city can’t be great if it’s not growing, and it can’t grow if everywhere in it is finished.

As for the architecture, if that’s the word, of places like this DLR station, that’s now reached that awkward spot of being too new to be old and picturesque, but not new enough actually to be new any more, like pop music that your elder brother likes.

Which means it’s architecture that nobody (apart from me) thinks worth photoing. People just use it constantly, and forget about it. But there it is. One day some of it will be old and picturesque, and there will be complaints about it being torn down to be replaced by further humdrummery, or perhaps by resplendent and finished Big Things.

Meanwhile, I find that such railway stations are not only deserving of themselves being noticed, but are often, because of being elevated (to enable their tracks to go over existing roads) very good spots for noticing other things. Like the Shard (8), or that building rather cheerfully tricked out in yellow, green and blue (7). The building in (4) was trying hard to look good also, even if I reckon it failed. Or how about that strange bus stop road colouring that looks like a carpet has been unrolled (6)?

I’ve never understood those strange rolls of wire that you see beside railways (11). Is that for if they find they need more wire, which they can then pull towards them through tubes? That would make sense.

I do understand selfies, and the hair pats that so often go with them (12). I reckon they were lining themselves up with the Shard.

Perhaps most diverting of all, to me anyway, is the contrast between the extreme fussiness and complexity of the main body of this thing (1) (2) (3), with all its “expressed” structure (think of the just-that-bit-earlier-than-this Lloyds building in the City), with the relative banality of what the fuss is all in aid of (5). The architects of these places had their heads full of bigger, more award-winning Things than they were allowed actually to build, as architect heads so often are.

Telephone pollsters can take a hike!

Bloomberg:

A new online study finds that Republicans and independents are twice as likely as Democrats to say they would not give their true opinion in a telephone poll question about their preference for president in the 2020 election. That raises the possibility that polls understate support for President Donald Trump.

The headline above this story refers to the “Shy Trump Voter”.

Were I an American right now, I would not be a “shy” Trump voter. I’d be a Trump voter. But if, before I voted, some telephone pollster with whom I was wholly unacquainted was foolish enough to ring me up and ask me to tell him how I’d be voting, I’d stop the attempted conversation right there, tell him “no, not doing this” and put the phone down. There’d be nothing shy about the way I said this.

I have a good friend who rings me up from time to time, asking me about how I view the political landscape. That’s entirely different. He’s a friend. I enjoy those conversations a lot.

But election polling done by strangers has always baffled me. Who the fuck do these people think they are? Why does anyone give them the time of day?

Indian accent man: “Hello, my name is Barry.” Not doing that either.

Presumably, I am already on some kind of pollster’s black list. “Oh, he’s one of the fuck-offs.” Because, I seldom get bothered by these inquisitive arseholes, wanting to take up my time, and me to bestow valuable information upon them, in exchange for nothing. I could presumably put them on some sort of phone black list of my own, but I can’t be bothered. Besides which, me confirming, every few months or years, my status as one of the fuck-offs, is one of my life’s many little pleasures. That opinion of mine, about them, I am very happy to bestow upon them.

Cricket contrasts

This is remarkable:

Although, Pooran might have thrown a catch to the nearby fielder and got the batsman out. All he did was save a few runs. So, not ten out of ten.

I also recommend a look at the scorecard, if you care anything about cricket. Biggest successful run chase in IPL history, apparently.

Thankyou Maia Bouchier, who I once saw play in an otherwise all male cricket match at Lord’s between my old posh school and another posh school. (Memo to self, transfer to here two blog postings I did about this strange event.)

I misspent (by which I mean I greatly enjoyed it) quite a bit of today watching Essex get their draw against Somerset, and win The Bob, as I hear they are now calling it. This was a very different sort of game to that IPL game. For starters it went on for five days, yet it was still a draw. But despite it being a draw, Essex won. You don’t see that very often. Meanwhile, that IPL game, like all IPL games, was all done in a few hours.

The only major thing these two games had in common, aside from both being cricket matches, is that, because of The Plague, there was nobody watching them at the actual grounds where they were played.

Statues do matter

Or so the recent dramas in Parliament Square would suggest, during which graffiti was attached to the statues of Churchill and Lincoln. Cue angry history lessons from Old People.

So here are a few more statue photos I photoed recently in Parliament Square, including the above two personages, but adding Gandhi and Millicent Fawcett, basically because I like the photos:

And while I’m on the subject of statues, I recently checked out the statues of Lord Dowding (of Battle of Britain fame) and Bomber Harris (of WW2 bombing offensive infamy) outside St Clement Danes, at the other end of the Strand from Trafalgar Square:

I knew that, when I got to this spot, I’d encounter Dowding and Harris. Ben Johnson and Gladstone were both surprises.

Memo to people intending to end up as statues in London: Join the RAF and wear a hat with a flat top sloping slightly backwards. That way, you won’t get pigeon shit on your face. Seriously, someone badly needs to invent an invisible pigeon scarer. Some kind of tiny electronic device that vibrates in a pigeon-scaring way, solar powered so it will go on working for ever.

The above link to my recent pigeon scaring posting being the only link in this posting, apart from the one at the top about the graffiti (so as people reading this in a year’s time will understand which current events I’m referring to), which is a bit lazy and a bit egocentric, but I’m in a hurry to get ready for something else. You surely have all the words you need to find out whatever you want to find out, e.g. if you are a Young Person wanting to find out if Churchill was anything else besides being a racist, or if Lincoln did or said anything about black slavery in America, besides being President at a time when there were still black slaves. (While you’re learning about that, try finding out what Gandhi said about Apartheid, when he was younger and living in South Africa.)

Fifteen dancing ladies in 1923

I have now well and truly caught the Shorpy habit (from Mick Hartley mostly). Usually the photos at Shorpy are of Americans, but these ladies dancing (or just posing?) on a beach are British, although the beach is American:

Shorpy calls these ladies a “millipede”, but there are only fifteen of them. Most of them are holding the lady behind’s leg up, but the one at the front has to keep her leg up unaided, and the one at the back is doing no lifting. Just thought I’d mention it.

More seriously, changing fashions in figures is a fascinating subject. These ladies look to me a wee bit more plump than their equivalents now.

I remember noticing when Indian movie stars stopped being fat, and thinking: those Indians are finally eating properly. Good news. High status Indians no longer needed to prove they could afford to eat. They needed to prove that they could resist the desire to eat too much. I’m guessing that 1923 in Britain was still a time when food was somewhat scarce, albeit not as scarce as when these paintings were done.

I spend a lot more effort and time photoing and presenting my own photos than I do searching for good photos by other people. Basically, I let people like Mick Hartley do it for me. And Shorpy. Also this guy (I love that one). Any other photography suggestions would be most welcome.

Private jet with tent

Indeed:

Photoed by Michael Jennings at Madras Municipal Airport, and posted on Facebook on August 21st 2017.

Said Michael, next to the photo:

All accommodation in this town has been sold out for three years. It doesn’t matter if you arrive in your own jet – you are still sleeping in a tent.

What Michael didn’t say was what the circumstances of this accommodation shortage were. Was something in particular happening at that particular time, or is accommodation in Madras always something you have to book three years in advance? Michael?

Ever since I got it clear in my head that Michael allows all photos he posts on Facebook to be re-posted here, provided there is a little globe logo above them (which means that the whole world is welcome to read and share what he has put), and provided I give him the credit for having photoed them, I have been trawling through the photos he has posted. The above photo is now one of my favourites of his that I have encountered so far.

This link works for me, because I am “on” Facebook (although I have yet to put anything there myself). Does it work for you? Do you have to be a Facebooker for it to work? Or will that link get you to Michael’s Facebook posting anyway? Questions questions.

I like that Michael’s shadow is present, bottom left.

“Architecture” is in the category list for this not so much because of the very forgettable airport building, but because of the tent. Are tents architecture? I think so, and a highly significant form of architecture. A form of architecture that has transformed the nature of “homelessness” by providing homeless people with … homes! When I was a kid, we had to “pitch” a tend by banging wooded pegs into the ground, which consequently had to be soft. Try doing that at an airport. Or on a city pavement. These new tents that you merely have keep weighted down have changed the world.

Whenever I encounter such tents on the streets of London I have been photoing them, ever since the above thoughts first crossed my mind. Real Soon Now (although I promise nothing) I should dig up all my tent photos and do a posting about this.

KC Gandhi squeak a win

Churchy just tweeted this:

He doesn’t say where he found it.

Having got to a thousand, Dhanawade then wanted to dig in and make it a big thousand. But he was cruelly cut short, just as he was getting into his stride.

Well, no. Proper report here. Happened way back in January 2016. I vaguely heard about this, or read about it and forgot, or something. Nice to nail it down.

A map of medieval trade networks

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

This is very nice.

It certainly is. Make the picture as big-picture as you like, or whichever smaller pictures you want to look at as small and detailed as you like.