Yesterday, I did some shopping, and on my way back turned into Vincent Square, basically just to get away from the din of Vauxhall Bridge Road.
And I saw trees, resplendent in the evening sunshine, and in their total lack of leaves to spoil the splendour:
Photo 1 shows the bigger picture, and also what my Samsung Galaxy mobile phone does to vertical lines if you let it. Basically it can’t handle wide open spaces very well. Photo 2 and I’m looking at the branches of the trees rather more closely.
Photo 3 has me flying off at a tangent and bringing back memories of the time when I used to photo all manner of things reflected in car windows.
But then, in Photo 4, we see me noticing the, to me, really strange thing about these trees, which is the way they look the way they do entirely because men with saws decided that this was how they were going to look. Once you see these weirdly shaped branches, ziggy-zagging this way and that, for no apparent reason, yet surely for good reasons, you never look at a tree the same way again. I mean, look at that branch, in the middle there. Whose idea was that? And why?
Sometimes pollarding is rather obvious, once you’ve got your head around the fact of it. But what we are seeing here is so weird, I don’t know if the word pollarding still applies.
Yes. Spent the day chasing details, and keeping half an eye on the Six Nations. In an empty Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the crowd was not missed much and Wales beat England. Oh well, it’s only a game.
So, another quota advert, photoed very recently, this time for an enterprise which, I am guessing, needs all the help it can get just now:
Something looked wrong about to me about this bike. The handle bars seemed like they had been turned round and are pointing backwards. Then I got it. They had been turned round. They are pointing backwards. Together with the front wheel that is attached to the handle bars.
The Cave website. I see there’s a cafe. Memo to self: Check it out when you know what stops.
I did quite a bit of writing today, but none of it for here, today. So, quota photo time, and again, it’s photoed in the well-lit dark with my Samsung Galaxy A40 mobile phone. I don’t know if gas work is what is happening, but that’s my bet, and if that’s right there is a lot of it about. I’m guessing they don’t like big rearrangements of the gas pipes when it’s freezing cold, as it was a week or two ago, but they want to get anything they want done done, before lockdown ends. And I further guess that this, at the junction of Warwick Way and Tachbrook Street was part of it:
I’ve been seeing gas work everywhere, like in Vauxhall Bridge Road. And are those smaller orange pipes also for gas. Guess: yes.
While wondering what verbiage to attach to the above photo, which I like simply for artistic effect and because of that sign about social distancing, I came upon this photo I photoed quite a bit earlier, at a spot I often shop at, where Horseferry Road does its big kink, where I often do very local shopping, and where I get my hair cut:
That’s definitely gas they’re working on there, because it says so. And it also goes on about social distancing, which at least fits with the social distancing sign in the first photo.
These annoying signs are becoming my most vivid recollection of lockdown, and it’s gone on for so damn long I can still photo more of them whenever I see them, as I surely will for quite a while.
Here are two more photos photoed with my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone:
I came upon these pens while seeking something else, as you do. I then took these photos because what I was seeing reminded me of a conversation I recently had with Michael Jennings about why the cameras in things like my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone are so good. He said that when you are ordering up the cameras for a production run of mobile phones like mine, or for an iPhone or some such thing (Michael J has the latest iPhone (with which he now takes photos like these)) you’re talking about ordering a billion of the things, literally. When you are working on that sort of scale, then the economies of scale really start to kick in. A camera which would have cost five times what the mere phone costs now, if you sold it only to photographers, now costs only a dozen or two quid for my phone, or a couple of hundred for the latest iPhone. He’s not wrong.
Research and development for dedicated cameras has pretty much stopped about five years ago. All the effort now goes into making mobile phone cameras into miracle machines, and that’s really starting to be visible in the results.
I remember thinking, when digital cameras first arrived, that in the long run, cameras would have no reason to look like old school cameras, of the sort that had film in them. But at first they all did, because that was what people felt comfortable with. But now, that long run is starting to arrive. Cameras now consist only of a screen, and what is more a screen that can do a hundred other things besides photo photos.
And the above photos illustrate this same economies-of-scale which can fund mega-research-into-making-them-even-cheaper principle in action down at the bottom of the market, where they thrash out ball point pens by the billion. One pound for a dozen of them! Like I say in the title of this, that’s hardly more than eight pence a pen. And that’s after all the transport costs and retail mark-ups and goodness knows what else have also been paid. Amazing.
Shame they can’t make food and heating and rent that cheap. The one thing that never seems to get any cheaper nowadays is energy, aka the essentials of life. Are we due another human transformation, to go beside this one, when energy gets miraculously cheaper? Nuclear? Fusion? Bring it on.
That previous kink, I recently read in one of Anton Howes‘s pieces, was maybe made to seem more abrupt than it really was by the fact that there came a moment when they finally worked out how to extract and distribute energy on a serious scale, but energy remained quite expensive, hence the sudden kink upwards in the numbers. Actually, life had been getting better for some time, and didn’t suddenly get a hundred times better, merely about three or four times times every few decades.
Meanwhile, things like absurdly good cameras and absurdly cheap ball point pens don’t show up in graphs of how much mere money everyone is chucking around. Which causes people in a country like mine to underestimate the improvements of recent decades. These have not taken the form of us all having tons more money. No. What has been changing is the stuff we can now buy with the same money. Like my latest (mobile phone) camera, and like ball point pens. Provided you have some cash left over after you have fed and housed yourself and kept yourself warm (not everyone does), then life has got lots more fun, given how many and how much better are the toys and times you can now buy for the same money.
Life has not improved much for those who have fun only when the fun they get is too expensive for most others to be able to indulge in. But that’s a thought for a different posting.
Vauxhall Bridge Road is a bit of a shambles just now, because it is being dug up. It’s as if they’ve told whoever it is doing this pipe work that now is the time to doing this sort of thing, or never.
A few days ago, on my way to the shops, I encountered some of these pipes, all gathered together on the road and ready to be buried:
And then, a bit further up, nearer to the junction with Warwick Way, I came across some of these pipes actually being buried:
It was all a big reminder that roads are not simple unchanging surfaces. Rather are they elaborate volumes, volumes that are constantly being tinkered with and rearranged.
These photos were photoed, like the photo of that piano, with my Samsung Galaxy something something Forty. It’s recent rather than the very latest thing, and definitely not the latest iPhone. Yet look how it performs in very limited and completely artificial light. Okay the buildings in the background are more than somewhat distorted, but the pipes are clear as day.
This afternoon, all being well, Patrick Crozier and I will finally get around to doing our podcast on the Industrial Revolution: Good Thing and here’s why it happened.
I will be making the running and Patrick will be heckling me, seeking clarification, etc.
Here are the books I intend to refer to:
I also intend referring to the recent writings of Anton Howes.
The reason we are able to do this is that my voice has got a lot better lately, thanks to the magic pills. I still cough a bit (so apologies in advance if that happens), but nowhere near the ghastliness of about three weeks ago.
I plan on spending my afternoon and evening today concentrating entirely on … something else, so here, it’s quota photo time, just to get it out of the way and out of my head.
Which happens to mean a couple more crowd scenes. To add to the collection.
First up, on the South Bank, and in particular on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall:
Photoed, I’m pretty sure, from a balcony near the top of the Royal Festival Hall. A bit wonky, but I like it as it is. Wouldn’t want to be cropping those cranes in the distance. Which are gone now, I assume. The only crane cluster left in London that I can think of off hand is the one in Battersea.
And here is another crowd scene, this time from way back in 2004:
Which, I think, makes it somewhat more interesting. (Photoed down from the Westminster Bridge approach, south end. I was near to the Lion statue.)
Following on from Alastair’s comments on this posting, about the stabilisation of casual fashion during the last two decades or so, I think we see in that photo the last casual fashion switch, which concerns the tucking-in of shirts. I still do this, under my always worn (because it’s full of vital stuff like wallet, handkerchiefs, purse, etc.) jacket. I still, always, tuck my shirt in, no matter how casual I’m being. But very few others were still doing this, even back in 2004. I’m looking in particular at the three guys in blue shirts, bottom left, one of whom is holding hands with the orange hair lady. One shirt tucked in, two not. Behind them, a guy in a white shirt, and a jacket, the way I still do, but that’s already rare. Note how two of the blue shirt guys at the front have small man bags instead of jackets.
I could go on, but like I say, I have other matters to attend to now.
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.