Ferraris – well lit

On the same night (but later, when it had got dark) that I photoed this rather artistic roof clutter, I also photoed these rather more self-consciously artistic works of art:

Photography is light. If the Ferrari shop in Kensington was not intending that passers-by should take photos, well, they shouldn’t have lit their cars so well. I took only a few shots, and most came out (see above) pretty well.

These Ferraris are displayed in chronological order by my photoing, but they look good as a set (see above also). Pointing outwards, if you get my meaning.

I feel the same way about Ferraris like this, behind a shop window, as I do about tourist crap in tourist crap shops or Big architectural Things like the Shard or the Gherkin. I don’t want to buy it. Far too much bother. (Where would I put it?) But I can enjoy the amusing way it looks, by merely photoing it. If, like me, you are a collector, you can now easily collect how things look, without collecting the things themselves.

“Other creatures” in the category list is because of the Ferrari horse.

Stephen Davies is writing a horse book

Much as I would like to replace the late Findlay Dunachie, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a book reviewer. It takes too much focus. While you’re doing it, you can’t afford to get stuck into reading anything else. When it comes to book blogging, blog postings provoked by some particular thing in a book is probably the best way for me to go.

But, I am trying to review The Wealth Explosion (you can read bits from this book here – here and here) by Stephen Davies, and I am determined to get this done, Real Soon Now.

Part of my homework for writing this review was attending an event at the IEA last week, at which Davies spoke about this book.

Which was fun, of course. But for me the biggest and best surprise came afterwards, when I asked Steve about his next book (about the Devil), and then if he was doing any more books after that Devil book. Yes, he replied. Two more. I forget the second of these two, but the first is going to be about the history of the horse.

That being my excuse for mentioning this today, Fridays being my day for cats and/or other creatures.

Historically, I surmise that the contribution of the horse in quite recent times, like the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is a rather neglected subject. I remember reading how horses multiplied during the early decades of the railways, to get people and goods to and from railway stations. More recently, I read, I think in one of James Holland’s book’s (this one maybe?), how the Nazi war effort, for all its much touted mechanical virtuosity, was amazingly dependent upon literal horsepower.

I’m really looking forward to Steve Davies’s horse book. Given how much people love horses, now more than ever, it just might sell very well. Consider the success of this recent horse-based show.

(Something similar applies to how much people disapprove of – yet are fascinated by – the Devil.)

Trafalgar Square Things

Yesterday, I walked about in London with GodDaughter2’s Sister. We walked through Trafalgar Square. What we first encountered, on the 4th Plinth, was this:

Spot The Wheel.

Read more about and watch video about what the above Thing “means”, here. It’s to do with the destruction of Things in the Middle East.

However, GD2S reckoned that the best 4th Plinth Thing ever was the Blue Cock. I agree, so I agreed.

Here are some photos I photoed of this, in the Spring of 2014, when it was there:

Scrutinise the label, bottom right, and you will learn that this Big Blue Cock was unveiled, on July 25th 2013, by Mayor Boris Johnson. Very appropriate.

There was another Big Thing on view in Trafalgar Square yesterday:

That being an enlarged replica of the Cricket World Cup. The miniature original of this will be presented to the winners of tomorrow’s final at Lord’s, between England and New Zealand.

In the semi-finals, New Zealand beat India, as has already been mentioned here in passing. This was a surprise. If England had beaten Australia last Thursday, that would not have been a huge surprise. But England smashed Australia, which was a bit of a surprise. As of now, England are favourites. So, and with due apologies to the massed ranks of my readers in New Zealand, no more surprises please.

Rich people look after exotic animals better than poor people do

Because they can.

Human Progress Dot Org:

Why are wolves increasing all around the world, lions decreasing and tigers now holding steady? Basically, because wolves are in rich countries, lions in poor countries and tigers in middle income countries. Prosperity is the solution not the problem.

Flagging up this piece by Matt Ridley.

A bowling machine

This bit of video is all over my Twitter feed just now.

Prediction, the best cricket batsmen are about to get a lot better, because the bowling machines they practise on will be getting a lot better.

And then? A new game will be invented, consisted of bowling machines bowling an identical set of deliveries to competing batsmen, the way they now deal identical hands to competing bridge players.

How soon before robot bowlers compete against robot batsmen?

Note how the bowling machine actually bowls underarm.

But the funniest thing about this robot overlord is how it goes back to its default submissive posture, after it has done its apocalyptic damage.

An advertising agency in Pimlico

A handful of years ago now, Samizdata’s Perry de Havilland and his lady used to live in Chelsea, and that caused me quite often to be walking along the north bank of the River, between, one way or the other, Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. While doing this I of course I looked (and photoed) across the River.

Having recently been pondering how London has been building itself a lot of machines for living in lately, as opposed to more recognisable and truly Big Things, it occurred to me that I might do that same walk between Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge, on the north bank, there to look (and photo) across the River, at all the machines for living in that have been and are being built there now, especially around Battersea Power Station.

I have journeyed along the south side of the River, from Vauxhall to the Battersea, several times, to inspect all that turmoil and cranage from closer up. How was all that looking from the other side of the River?

So it was that yesterday afternoon, I walked through Pimlico nearly as far as Chelsea Bridge, but inland rather than beside the River, and then walked back home again, alongside the River.

But before I was even at my Official Designated Destination, there was plenty to be seen and photoed, and because this is Friday, here are some fun humans, semi-humans and semi-creatures whom I attempted, with varying success, to photo, through a very shiny shop window:

Like I said, varying success. The first Dalek photo there decapitates the poor thing, with crushingly bright reflections of the buildings opposite. Only when I raised my camera up above my head, like a paparazzo photoing a celeb from within a crowd of other paparazzi, did I get anything like a proper Dalek photo. Only once I understood about photoing downwards, where the only reflection was of the relatively unlit pavement at my feet, did I get a truly satisfactory photo, of K9. The Daleks, for the uninitiated, were Doctor Who’s mortal enemies, and K9 was Doctor Who’s friend.

But, why the ducks?

More to the point, what was this place? Who was doing what in it?

My second entirely satisfactory photo:

Satisfactory because this was me taking notes, and the notes were entirely taken. “wtf”? WTF?, as the young people now type into their little mobiles. Here we go. They’re an advertising agency specialising in movies of the sort that the creatures in their Moreton Street London HQ window have parts in, and silly theme parks based on similar fun and foolishness, aimed at “families”. Well, those are the sort of projects they boast about, but I dare say they’ll also sell your estate agency for you, if that’s what you want.

I’m pretty sure that the female figure in the red skirt in the background of the second and better Dalek photo is an actual human being.

A cricket fan photoer photos Tower Bridge

My walk back from Bermondsey yesterday soothed me in many ways. During the last few days I had been worrying that wandering about photoing had been losing its charm for me. Something to do with the social isolation of it all, and the deepening fear, as you get older and more fragile, of making enemies. Also, the sheer effort. Well yesterday was an effort. But the charm was as real as ever, and I made no enemies at all that I was aware of.

One photo, for me, summed it all up, combining as it did and does two of my greatest enthusiasms, photoing photoers, and cricket:

So much for the photoing. Now look at his hat:

ICC stands for International Cricket Council, and the ICC CWC is the Cricket World Cup, now being contested here in the UK. This hat is adorned with the heraldry of all the teams in this tournament. You can only see some of these teams, but so I assume. The tiger would be Bangladesh. The silver leaf is New Zealand. The crown and three (rather indistinct) lions is of course England. “Sri Lanka Cricket” speaks for itself. The green and yellow shield must be South Africa, because that’s the South Africa flag above it. The other five teams involved in this “CWC 2019” must be on the other side.

None of which I realised at the time. Such is my eyesight that all I thought I was photoing was a photoer wearing a elborately decorated hat of some kind. I only realised what the hat was about when I got home.

Anyway, my point is that while I was taking my walk, England were playing against the hitherto unbeaten Indians in this Cricket World Cup. England were widely spoken of as favourites to win this tournament, until the tournament actually began and England proceeded, in among winning several other games quite well, to lose to Pakistan, and then to Sri Lanka, and then to Australia. Losing to India would almost certainly have meant England failing to reach the semi-finals in their own tournament. Again. So, yesterday was a very big deal for England cricket. I spent my day alternating between doing my business in Bermondsey with Michael J and having a walk and a drink and another walk with Michael and then making my way back home while all the wile photoing, and: keeping up with England’s progress on my mobile phone.

England did well. They batted splendidly, especially at the start of their innings, not least because of the return of the great Jason Roy. And they set a target they would probably be able to stop India chasing down. And sure enough, they did stop India chasing it down. It was tense, but it all ended happily. The Indians were not that bothered because they are almost certainly through to these same semi-finals already, barring implausible mathematics concerning scoring rates, and them losing their last two games.

England still might not make those semi-finals, if they lose to New Zealand on Wednesday, as they well might. But nevertheless, this was a most happy day, and the above photo is a most happy sourvenir to remember it with.

My only regret is that there is nothing to be seen on the screen of the mobile phone that the photoer I was photoing was photoing with.

Octopus and mantis

Friday, so cats and kittens, or other creatures, and again, I go to 6k to get my posting here sorted on what is turning out to be a rather busy day, involving claims by my computer that its Antivirus Protection has Expired. Not what I want.

So, yes, other creatures, very other creatures, in the form of an octopus and a mantis:

Originals here and here.

I love a good silhouette.

South Africa is a scary place.

Octopus and Mantis. Good name for a rock duo.

Boris pater mixed metaphor alert

Incoming email with mixed metaphor and Other creatures news:

Stanley Johnson, Boris pater, on Sky News this morning re Brexit deal: “We’re barking up the wrong horse …”

From GodDaughter2’s pater Tony, to whom thanks. Tor the benefit of anyone reading this who never did Latin, pater means Dad.

Stanley Johnson is an I’m A Celebrity celebrity, it would seem. Or was.

There ought to be an equal and opposite response to this, along the lines of “riding the wrong tree”, but that doesn’t sound quite right. “Jumping trees”? Still not sounding right.

As for Brexit, I personally, I hope that if Boris is the next PM, he doesn’t jump trees. And I think we can all agree that Prime Minister May has been barking up the wrong horse ever since she got the job.