This morning, Twitter showed me this map of Berlin:
Until today, I knew nothing of the origins of Berlin. Cities usually begin with rivers, rivers that wiggle about and create a lot of useful territory next to the river which is closer to all the other such places than usual. So, what did Berlin have in the way of water? The above map says it had and has a lot.
Further investigation of Berlin resulted in me discovering a bridge that I had previously never heard of, namely, this one:
That’s the Oberbaum Bridge. Like I say, never seen nor heard of this splendid Thing until today.
Here’s the same bridge viewed from further above and further away, to give us a bit of the context:
And a pretty boring context it is too, I would say. London, metaphorically speaking, can sleep easy in its bed.
I’m intrigued by what I take to be the updated bit in the middle of the bridge. At first I thought the lower part of the bridge, the road bit, has hinges in it to allow taller boats to go through, but so far as I can make out, this bit is also solid, but the change already made quite a difference to what sort of boats could go through. Basically big river barges, heavily laden all the way across rather than merely with stuff sticking up in the middle. You can see two such boats in the distance. And also another, on the right, which is presumably too big to go through.
I love the internet. Somebody should write a song called that.
But, where in Berlin now is the original 1440 bit, and is there anything now left of it? I don’t see anything quite like those waterways in the map of Berlin now.
Never seen this before:
I came across this in the twitter-comments on this tweet about Matt Ridley’s dog making a question mark in the snow. Which was good, but not so good as the disorientated penguin.
“With five thousand kilometres ahead of him, he’s heading towards certain death.”
Death. Can’t seem to avoid it.
Today I paid an actual face-to-face visit to the Royal Marsden. The Verdict was: I keep on with the magic pills, which will keep on doing me good. So: good.
Here is a photo I photoed today while I was there and just before I left:
This is my favourite place in the Marsden, because it is the one place, aside from the main entrance, where I know where I am. There is a lot of equipment in the Marsden, but I am fairly sure that they only have one grand piano. And when I see this piano, I know that I am in a particular spot very near to the main entrance.
In all other inside parts of the Marsden, the style is interior modernist vernacular. In other words, everywhere looks the same and strangers (that’s me) get totally lost. Architectural modernism has triumphed indoors. Out of doors, in London, architectural modernism is a major force, but it has not totally triumphed, and in many parts of London has not triumphed at all. But inside something like a big hospital, it’s all modern, and all modern in the same way.
Except when they have a grand piano to show off. When that happens, you know where you are.
I photoed the above photo with my mobile phone rather than with my regular camera, to check out if interior and rather badly lit scenes do better on my mobile than on my camera (as operated by me). And guess what, they do. I know I know, if I knew how to operate my camera properly it would do better. But I don’t and therefore it doesn’t. My camera is set on automatic. And my camera’s automatic is much, much worse than my mobile’s automatic, in other words than my mobile.
This is actually quite a big moment in my personal photoing history.
In February 2014 Dominic Frisby performed with his usual brilliance at my Last Friday of the Month meeting. He attracted a good crowd, and also brought his dog with him. Here’s a photo I took of the crowd, and the dog:
I still remember with pleasure how impeccably the dog behaved. Not a sound.
And here, unless I am very much mistaken, is the exact same dog, a little older, as featured at the top of a recent Daily Telegraph piece about Frisby:
For those who, like me, do not care to pay their way past pay walls, here is the entire piece.
And I don’t necessarily mean that the former inevitably causes the latter.
A big connection is that for young people to be wiser, often all they need to do is slow down a bit. Look before they leap. Old people just slow down. We can’t help it. For us, instant leaping is less of an option.
Trouble is, for both young and old, slowing down can just mean being stupid more slowly.
If you want to appear wise, saying nothing for longish time periods can be very effective, even if you are merely musing on sports results or playing a favourite tune in your head. Or, you just can’t be bothered to say anything.
I think I may just have imparted some wisdom.
Just finished watching/listening to this Joe Rogan talk with Daryl Davis, about how Davis has been converting white racists into upstanding American citizens. Davis says he doesn’t himself convert anybody. They convert themselves. In this respect he is like those teachers who say “I’m not a teacher – I just get them to learn for themselves.” Those teachers are teachers, and Davis is a converter. He talks with white racists, and then, hey presto they convert themselves. Some, not all of them course.
Two hours and forty minutes very well spent. Never heard of Daryl Davis until today (thank you Twitter). Used to be a full time musician. Got into the racism conversion business when a KKK guy complimented him on his piano playing, at one of his gigs. “Never heard a black guy pay piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.” But Lewis got his piano style from earlier black pianists, just like I did, said Davis. “No.” Yes. And thanks to Davis being a personable and curious guy, they just kept on talking. “Why do you hate me, when you don’t even know me?” That was his starting question to all these characters.
Daryl Davis wrote a memoir about how he did all this converting of white racists, and while listening to him talk, I of course whistled this book up on Amazon. Apparently, I can buy myself a copy of Klandestine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Klu Klux Klan for the giveaway price of (as I now write (subject to change)), £397.50, in hardback. But the good news is that Davis is now working on a revised edition, with more stories along similar lines that happened since he first wrote this book two decades ago. So if, like me, you now want a copy, but if, not like me, you think you’ll have to pay nearly four hundred quid for a copy or go permanently without, well, be patient and stay tuned.
Yes. Did you know, that the top bit of Alderney, the northern most Channel Island, looks like a conductor. With a baton.
Photo on the right there, photoed by me from the plane back to London from Brittany, in July 2007. Now suitably rotated and cropped.
It would seem that a lot of people don’t know that. I can find no other references to this on the Internet, but cannot believe that I am the only one to have noticed this important musico-geographical fact.
Did you also know that the French for a conductor’s baton is “baguette”? That may be quite wrong, but I do recall hearing this somewhere, from someone. And it would seem that there may be some truth in this notion.
In this earlier posting here about The Plague, I said this:
The government will try to say that the continuing absence of Armageddon, which is what will be the next chapter in this story, proves that Lockdown has worked and is working. They’ve been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums to keep the elephant away, and look, no elephant! It’s working! It worked! No. There never was an elephant. A mouse, yes, maybe even a big old rat. But no elephant.
However, I must correct this. They have not, as it turns out, been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums, to keep the elephant away. I now learn that what they have been doing is blowing a tiger horn, to keep the tigers away.
Wow – the Tiger Horn is about to be blasted like never before!
Little old me doesn’t get to choose the metaphors for all this. Cummins does. So, forget about the elephant. Tiger horn and tigers it is.
Indeed. There I was, in 2005, out and about in London, photoing things like this:
… which even by 2005 was fairly routine for me. But then, later the same day, in Battersea, walking beside the River with a friend, I photoed this:
That was with my old Canon A70. But I didn’t get properly interested in taxis with adverts until a decade later. Why not? Don’t know. Ancient cars like that Austin A30 (I think), I was already obsessed with photoing.
The advert in the above taxi-with-advert photo was for a West End Show, which The Guardian approved of. I probably wouldn’t have, because that’s the stand-up and stomp-about-all-over-the-stage-like-a-lunatic comedian Lee Evans there, on the taxi. I found his comedy performances frenetic, in a bad way. He would sweat appallingly when performing. So, it was the comedy of embarrassment, and I was just embarrassed. I didn’t even smile, so I stopped watching him. Is he still doing this?
Perhaps he was better than that in The Producers, having been told to calm it down a bit.