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.
If obliged to select just one of the many photos I have photoed during Lockdown and before Lockdown was over and done with (i.e. now and for the foreseeable future until all this nonsense ends and we can get back to whatever the new normal turns out to be), I think I might well choose this one:
The big point about the photo above, photoed earlier this week, is the state of the road that the e-scooter is travelling on. No other traffic. London is still in a state of semi-Lockdown, of a semi-voluntary sort. Roads like the one you see above are often empty, and into this emptiness several dozens of e-scooters have raced joyously, as shown above. But if and when anything resembling normality returns to this road, it will fill up with regular traffic, and it will then change from the total safety you see above to a state more like “you almost certainly won’t die today”. For an e-scooter, it will be like being in Bomber Command during the war. Your chances of surviving the next trip will be quite good. Surviving a tour of two dozen operations, not so much. Commute every day for ever and you’re doomed to severe injury or worse.
A few dozen minutes later, in Parliament Square, I saw something with much more of a future, namely a fully functioning bicycle road, both ways, with a white line in the middle, just like a regular car road. And all this in a spot which has been a shambles for about half of the last decade, on the Parliament approach to Westminster Bridge, with Big Ben up on the right as we look:
And then, on this same cycle road, an e-scooter:
That arrangement has a future, because this is a glimpse of the new normal. E-scooting and bicycles seem to coexist very happily safely. This is especially so if the e-scooters make a point of going at the same speed as the cyclists, whenever overtaking would be any problem. The point being that e-scooters can go much faster than bicycles, but often shouldn’t.
I was going to show a couple more e-scooter photos, but a blogging rule I constantly forget but have remembered now is: if you can separate out your points into separate postings, it’s probably best to do that.
So, I’ll end on this point. Bicycles and heavy motorised traffic don’t go together well. But bicycles and e-scooters, with the heavy traffic removed, that works very well.
Just as bikes flattened the roads to make way, literally, for the first cars, so too now, bikes are now narrowing their roads, to exclude those same cars and to make way for e-scooters. I believe “History” to be in the category list for this posting with good reason.
This posting began several evenings ago as a quota photo post, with this pretty little scene being the beginning and the end of it:
But then I again got thinking about how significant it is that, typically, vapour trails look at they do above, but do not look like this, below:
That evil vapour trail (there’s another dimmer one further away) is made dark and evil by a line of cloud in the distance, in the evening, allowing the sun to continue lighting up the sky, but throwing a huge shadow over the vapour trail itself. This combination of circumstances, with everything all lined up just so, is rather rare.
Finally, here’s a fun photo, where the shadow from the evening cloud doesn’t engulf all of the vapour trail, merely some of it:
I know I keep banging on about how air travel wouldn’t be so popular if vapour trails typically didn’t look so pretty, but I really think this is true.
Equally significant is that the nastiest internal combustion engine pollution is now invisible. Just about all the actual smoke, certainly in London (where all of the above photos were photoed), has been done away with. If you do see smoke in London, chances are something’s on fire, in an undeliberate way.
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.
Quota photo time. Need to get out and enjoy what could be the last day of summer.
So, a posh car:
I definitely wouldn’t want the bother and expense of owning a posh car, but I do like to photo them.
That bit of heraldry you can just about make out on the roof of this roller tells us that actually, this is a Westminster City Council car, with “WE” standing for Westminster.
But at first I thought that “WE1” meant something much more boastful and private sectorish. (See the title above.) This number plate is rather wasted on the Council, I think. Or then again, maybe the boss of Westminster City Council does like reminding people that him and his team won.
That was photoed just after Christmas 2015. More to come this evening, I hope. With maybe a photo or two actually photoed today. I hope.
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?
Mick Hartley has been spotting red pets, out East in Mick Hartley land:
In London, and I suspect elsewhere, interesting new murals now seem to be more numerous than interesting new buildings. And more interesting, I’d say. To put this another way, murals are now the latest architectural thing.
One of these muralisers should be let loose on this building.
Same formula as the previous post. Ooh that’s nice:
But puzzle. What is it? We see the Shard there, but where are we? What direction are we looking at the Shard from?
We are at the Dome end of the Dangleway, looking across the Greenwich Peninsular towards the towers of Docklands, with central London beyond. The City cluster is not visible, but the Shard is.
I still don’t know what that blob in the middle of the sky is. Mercifully, it isn’t to be seen on any of the other photos I photoed at this time.
The tall pole with sticking out bits in the original photos is for hanging banners, saying things like: “London Olympics 2012”, 2012 being when all these photos were photoed. Now, there are Machines-For-Living-In Things in the foreground, next to and just south of the Dome, and a great many more bigger Things in the Docklands Tower Cluster.
The photo on the right, featuriing the Dome, was photoed as I began a Dangleway journey across the River to Victoria Dock.
I love that part of London. An essential part of that being because it keeps on changing.