This taxi-with-advert couldn’t be cropped down to 1000×500

1000×500 is usually the size I crop taxis-with-adverts down to, for display here. Or to put it another way, first I chop them down into a big 2×1-shaped horizontal rectangle, and then reduce that down from whatever it was to 1000×500.

But I couldn’t do that to this taxi-with-advert, now could I?:

I may do so eventually, if and when this taxi-with-advert takes its place with another big gallery of taxis-with-adverts. But in the meantime …

This photo was photoed in January of 2014, hence the absence of 22 Bishopsgate, the Biggest Thing in the City of London Big Thing Cluster, yet despite that, so boring that it is still seems to be known, if known at all, as “22 Bishopsgate”.

The far less boring Scalpel was also yet to be built.

Lambeth signs

This afternoon, I plan on retracing the steps I took last Wednesday, past Tate Ancient, along the river and across the River, to check out that Ancientist Tower that commenter Alastair so kindly identified.

Meanwhile, here are some more photos I took on the far side of the River on that earlier expedition, of signs:

I love signs, and I love photoing signs. Photoing them is good because signs can be tedious and time-wasting to read at the time, but fun to read at your leisure. They are informative in the obvious way, and also wondrously varied in style and atmosphere. Signs, for instance, can tell you a lot about the politics of a place. How well-governed, or alternatively intrusively and officiously governed is it? By what sort of people? What’s the crime rate like in these parts? Are strangers welcome? Animals? That kind of thing. Even a mere photo of a street sign, if you include some context, can tell you a lot. A defaced sign, as in photo 8 above (a bit), tells you something, about local behaviour and about local official concern about such behaviour.

I am particularly fond of the officially erected maps that adorn all big cities these days, especially the bit where it says “You Are Here”. London’s signs of this sort are a fine example of the genre, which I constantly photo (see the first photo above), both for their aesthetic appeal, and to tell me where I was.

By the way Life (see photo 4) is not life; Life is (see photo 5) a kitchen appliance showroom.

All the enterprises referred to in the above signs are now, inevitably, shut. Long may that not last.

Strange creatures in Exhibition Road

Just over a year ago, in May of 2019, I was making my way from South Kensington Tube, up Exhibition Road past Imperial College, to the Royal College of Music, there to witness a performance which involved GodDaughter2. While making this journey, I encountered this strange creature:

I wonder what that was, I thought to myself from that moment on. Then, while rootling through the photo-archives, as I do, I encountered this taxi-with-advert photo, which seemed to feature the above creature:

Now I had some words to work with, so googling went from difficult to easy, and I began to learn about the One-Eyed Creature. He is one of the stars of a juvenile movie franchise, involving such things as One-Eyed Creatures, but also similar but Two-Eyed Creatures. Despicable Me. Also Despicable Me 2. At around that time, Despicable Me 3 was being plugged. Also there is a Bean Boozled connection, involving some sort of toy. Now that I know I could understand all this, I no longer feel any need actually to do this. How do I feel about having once cared? Despicable Me, that’s how.

I think a symptom of getting old is that you see more and more things that baffle you, and you don’t like the feeling. It’s not that we Oldies really do care about knowing trivia like this. What we care about is not knowing.

Soon after photoing this One-Eyed Creature, I photoed this couple:

I don’t feel quite so Despicable for being entertained by these two, but I still do somewhat. I found a few mentions of them on The Internet, in connection with Halloween. But this was May, so, no reason for them to be out and about in South Kensington. But then again, no reason for them not to be.

A shortcut to a Blockbuster photo

I’ve been a bit of a latecomer to the use of shortcuts to favourite photos. Now I find them essential, simply to keep track of where my most favourite photos from long ago times are to be found on my hard disc.

For a long time, what I would do is copy the file of the entire photo to a new directory. But that has a big drawback, which is that when posting photos here I like to be able to talk intelligently about these photos. When they were taken, where, and above all, simply, what they are of, that often needing to be explained. That can be hard to see when the photo had been snatched away from the directory where all the photos on that particularly expedition are to be found, especially including those taken just before and just after the one I want to talk about.

Shortcuts deal with this problem by leaving a favourite photo where it is, yet at the same time giving me big clumps of favourite photos to stir my blogging juices, and happy and/or interesting memories generally. They also direct me to whole collections of photos that I remember with special pleasure and which illustrate some particular point, or tell of some particular photo-expedition.

This photo, of a car, in snow, outside my local Blockbuster Video in Warwick Way, just off of Vauxhall Bridge Road (I can see that much at a glance), was not especially interesting when I photoed it:

But it is now, because Blockbuster is not just an enterprise that no longer exists. Blockbuster is now famous for being an enterprise that no longer exists. That makes my ancient photo of interest. So, when I come across it in the archives, four years ago, I created a shortcut to it, and put that shortcut in a new shortcut directory.

Where I came upon it recently, having forgotten about that shortcut directory. But at least when I found that directory I found a couple of dozen photos of interest, rather than just one, because I had chanced upon it in its original home. I’m old. It has taken me a while to realise that I need to get my use of shortcuts much more organised, which I have actually started to do, that early shortcut directory being an early symptom of this effort. Maybe collected into annual directories? We’ll see. By which I mean, I’ll see, and maybe you’ll see also, as in see also some further interesting ancient photos, if you keep coming here.

More importantly, from your point of view, I can tell you that the above photo was photoed in January of 2004. Since Blockbuster vacated this spot, it became an exercise parlour, crammed with exercise equipment, but never ever, whenever I looked, containing anyone taking any exercise. (Not one. Ever. Weird.)

It is now a Waitrose, and looks like it will remain that for a while.

People were also saying, way back when they said such things, that snow would become a thing of the past, which may be why I photoed this photo originally, along with all the others I photoed that evening. Turns out it was Blockbuster that melted away for ever.

One Park Drive – in January 2019 and now

For me, January 17th 2019 began wonderfully, with scaffolding.

I was on my way to meet up with occasional commenter here Alastair James, in Docklands, and it was a great day. Meeting him in Docklands was great, and what I saw afterwards was great too. Highlight: the Optic Cloak, one of my favourite pieces of London public sculpture.

In among those highlights, I also got to see the architectural state of affairs in Docklands. It helped that it was January so the trees helped rather than getting in the way.

I was especially impressed by One Park Drive, which has a real Chicago vibe to it. Right down to “Park Drive”, which sounds very Chicago to me. Definitely USA.

On the left, below, is how One Park Drive was looking in January 2019:

And on the right there is how it is looking now, in a Mick Hartley photo posted on his blog yesterday. He calls Docklands:

A ghost town waiting for the world to start up again.

Which sounds about right. Except that ghosts don’t like hot and sunny weather, do they? (Good news: nor does the Coronavirus.)

I hadn’t realised, when I saw it, how much taller One Park Drive was eventually going to be. Like so many buildings these days, it maybe looked more fun when being constructed than it looks now it’s finished. All those ziggy-zaggy bits of concrete, somewhat smoothed out in the finished Thing.

Out and across Lambeth Bridge

This afternoon, I ventured out of doors. What with the weather being so nice:

Because public transport has recently been something that Non-essential Workers (apparently the world can do without personal blogs if it has to) have been discouraged from using, so for the last few weeks, I couldn’t just go somewhere by tube or bus, then walk where I wanted to for as far as I wanted too, and then grab the nearest tube or bus back home. It no longer works like that. The further I now walk, the further I have to be willing to walk back.

So, me and my camera are focusing in a whole new way on places within easy walking distance of home.

Today, I walked through the back alleys of Millbank, past pollarded trees just beginning to assert themselves with leaves, but not so much as to become boring. I went past the statue of John Everett Millais (I took photo-notes), who stands at the back of Tate Ancient, and was then beside the River, looking at Things on the other side, and at Lambeth Bridge, which I had in mind to cross. This time, the tide was higher

What is that Ancient Tower that looks like someone stole it from Tower Bridge? The one in Photo 5 above, in the middle. I’m too tired to track it down. I was out walking in London today, and I am too knackered to care, for now. Anyone?

I did cross Lambeth Bridge, St Mary’s Gardens being just on the other side of it, next to a church, St Mary’s Church presumably.

And then I wandered in the general direction of Waterloo, and made a strange discovery, which I’ll tell you all about some other time, maybe, I promise nothing.

This is a little patch of nearby London that I have very seldom explored. I know what I will see on the other side of Vauxhall Bridge, because I often go to Vauxhall Station, or beyond to the Oval, to say nothing of being intrigued by that weird Bus Thing. And I used constantly to cross Westminster Bridge, photoing photoers, and in search of classical CDs in Lower Marsh, and of much else, like closer-up views of how the City of London’s Big Things have been progressing. I still do, quite often. But the little patch of London life beyond Lambeth Bridge, along Lambeth Road and nearby roads, is far less well known to me. I know it a bit better now.

And then when my wanderings were done and I was knackered, I tried, for the first time since Lockdown started, to take a bus back home. And I succeeded! The bus was three quarters empty. The driver made no attempt to persuade me to continue walking, and nor did anyone else. Plus, the driver was taped off, like he was a crime scene, which was a sufficiently strange circumstance for me to reckon it worth photoing, and again, nobody thought to interrupt me while I did this:

All of which meant that I got back home sooner than I feared I would, and far less knackered than I feared I would be.

But still knackered.

New Surrey stand and thing next to the Pavilion

And they look like a typical London aesthetic cludge, so I guess they’ll fit right in.

Yesterday evening, I did a posting here which collided cricket (some recent and not so recent dramas) with architecture (how the middle of London was looking not so recently). The abrupt change of subject was signalled, as often here, by the word “LATER”, the photo of central London’s Big Things having been an afterthought of dubious relevance to what had preceded it. The only connection was that the two photos in the posting were both photoed on the same day, exactly ten years ago yesterday.

But this posting combines cricket with architecture by being about cricket architecture. Cricket has lots of architecture of its own and is constantly adding to it.

To set the scene, below is a photo I took last autumn.

Me and my Surrey cricket mate Darren went to a very boring game at the Oval on September 23rd of last year. But we had other plans beside watching the mere cricket. We began by creeping up, unnoticed, to the top of the big new stand that faces the Pavilion, at the other end of the ground. I got to take lots of photos, of the stand and from the stand, before someone came up and told us to leave. You can see a few of the photos I took that day in this earlier posting. Those photos were architectural in that they showed lots of the surrounding London architectural scene that you can see from the top of that new stand. But here is another architectural photo I photoed that day, from that same stand, showing how things were then looking in the vicinity of the Pavilion opposite:

The lighting is not good in that, but you get the idea.

Anyway, the reason I mention that expedition and the above photo is that this morning, the Surrey CCC Twitter feed featured this photo:

They’re adding a new stand and a new clutch of indoor spaces next to the Pavilion. The Pavilion being as fine an example as you could hope to see in London of Ancientism, that is to say ancient in atmosphere even when first built.

What they are now doing will end up looking approximately thus:

As always, because it’s London, I’ll probably get entirely used to it and end up liking it, but as of now I think that’s hideous, an absolute textbook example of how not to add modern architecture to ancient or Ancientist architecture.

What a shame they couldn’t get the money together to have started doing this, which was the plan in 2017:

One more marvel that never was to add to London’s copious collection of such dreams.

However things turn out, and you never really know how they’ll turn out until they finish it and let you see it for real, one thing’s for sure, which is that this view, from the summer of 2015, …:

…, which I used to enjoy photoing whenever Darren took me up to the top tier of the Pavilion, is now a thing of the past.

WIll a similar view be photoable from the new stand, and if so, will random people like me be allowed actually to photo it? Fingers crossed. In other words, the opposite of what you do with your fingers when actually photoing.

Ever Better Dressed?

Recent taxi with advert sighting:

I think it refers to this enterprise, but in my photo I see no N at the start. Also, I see no graphics at that site that resemble what I see on the taxi. I hope that all will become clearer, in due course.

Now, The Internet is going to bombard me with adverts for women’s clothes, and oh dear I just made it worse.

This morning I did a long-winded posting about something or other, and I ended with a reference to my rule that blog postings should keep it simple and short. I think you get my point.