Red dog – red cat

Mick Hartley has been spotting red pets, out East in Mick Hartley land:

Woof. Miaow.

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.

More London

Back in March 2019, on the same day and just before I photoed these photos, I photoed this photo:

What I like about that is what I also find weird about it, which is the way that this metal circle of 3D map information kind of hovers weightlessly over the pavement.

Luckily I soon found another photo which explained this weird effect with logic:

But now, there was another mystery. What is “morelondon”? Turns out it’s More London, which was the place where I was.

Here are some more photos I photoed at the same time as the two above:

The reason I made them look so small in this posting is in the hope that you will be deceived about what is going on, in photos 1 and 4 there, 1 especially, 4 in a general way, but 1 in a very particular way. Click and you’ll surely see what I mean.

The strange coloured-in statues are, I now learn, by Stephan Balkenhol. More about him here. At the time I recall wondering if they were Art, or just advertising of some kind. Art, it would seem.

A Japanese lady sits on a shop front

Photoed by me last Tuesday, in Acton:

See eleven more photos of this mural and further information about it here.

As my title says, I like how Fin Dac has used the details of the surface he was faced with, turning bugs into features.

Fin Dac is Irish, so this is cultural appropriation. Which is fine. If we’re not going to allow cultural appropriation, we might as well close London down now.

Mirror and white

As I said, I didn’t do much photoing when I met up recently with GodDaughter2. But I did do some. Of this dazzling object, for instance, in a shop window:

This is why I love digital photography. I would hate to live with that Thing on a permanent basis. But photoing it was great fun, not least because I had no idea how it would turn out, what with all those reflections.

I called the photos “Silver+White”. But … silver? Is “mirror” a colour? It is, see above, now.

I made me think of Jeff Koons, whose work is of this same sort of tastefulness and restraint, is it not? Has Koons ever done a car like this? I googled “jeff koons silver car”, and got the answer. No, he has never done a car like this. But, he has done a car like this. A BMW as it happens. Again, glad someone photoed it, even if not me. But, definitely wouldn’t want to own it.

The Tower Hotel could benefit from Magic Paint

One of London’s more impressive architectural survivals from the Brutalist era is this building:

That’s the Tower Hotel, with Tower Bridge in the foreground. I am fond of this edifice, not only because of its Brutalism, but also because of its impressively cluttered upper reaches, which look like this:

Both of the above photos were photoed by me in 2016. (What is that VW sign doing there? Never noticed that before.)

I love the combination of orthodox Brutalism in the main body of the building and anarchy on the top of it. (See also this splendid edifice of the same architectural vintage.)

I also recall that this hotel played a prominent support role in the final scene of a long ago movie called Sweeney!, which was a movie spin-off from the TV show of that name. A sinister villain played by Barry Foster is being put on a boat by British spooks, after he’d stayed the night at the Tower Hotel, which then looked quite new and “modern”, not dated at all. But Regan (John Thaw) showed up and arrested the Barry Foster character for making money off of immoral earnings, and the Barry Foster character was immediately shot dead, by two other villains in a taxi, to stop him spilling any beans about even more sinister villains. (Regan was angry with the Barry Foster character because he had had a prostitute (Diane Keen) killed, and Regan wanted revenge.) All of which took place on the river bank between the Tower Hotel and the River. For some reason, this scene had a big effect on me, and a lot of the reason for that was the Tower Hotel.

The reason I mention this building is that it is a fine example of the sort of building that might go up in public estimation if it were decorated with the Magic Paint that I mentioned-stroke-invented in this earlier posting about Colourful architecture in the past and in the future. This was about how various ancient buildings, now as dreary in colour as the Tower Hotel has always been, used to be a lot more colourful, and about how similar effects might yet be contrived again, with … Magic Paint. (Magic Paint is paint that can take on any painted pattern at the flick of an electronic switch. Inventors: get busy!)

And the reason I mention this earlier posting about Magic Paint, colourful gothic cathedrals, and the like, is that someone on Facebook with quite a following has recently linked to this old posting, causing a rather gratifying spike in traffic here during the last few days. But, all I can learn from my traffic analysing page is that the link comes from somewhere on Facebook. It could well be someone I know, or know of, and therefore someone that some of my readers might know, or know of. Anyone? Maybe you, sir or madam, have just come from that very Facebook location of which I write, and can tell me who it was. That’s if you feel inclined.

The lights of Piccadilly Circus – and for once I’m impressed

London contains many tourist attractions that are truly attractive, truly impressive. But I have never thought that the lights of Piccadilly Circus are one of those attractions. What a let down. Is that it? Is that all?

Usually they look like this:

I’m guessing that many a tourist, searching out these lights, has walked right past them. I mean, could those be them?

But about a year ago I happened to be in that part of London, and instead of silly bright colours, what I saw was this:

You may have to click on them to work out what is going on there. Some sort of Transformer type computer-trickery, it looks like. Whatever. Again, I’m not that impressed, although that could just be my terrible eyesight, and I don’t like it because I can’t make it out properly, unless I photo it and look at it later. But whatever, I only supply the three photos above as context for what followed:

And that I did like.

There’s been quite a lot of this kind of thing happening in London recently, this kind of thing being pictures of buildings, on buildings. Usually it’s because a building is being worked on and consequently covered in scaffolding, and then on the outside of the scaffolding they stick a picture of the building they’re working on. The above piece of advertising fun reminds me somewhat of that sort of thing, although it is contrived by different means and for a different purpose.

Keeping eyes on the cows

Modern Farmer:

Chinese Entrepreneurs Develop Facial Recognition Software for Livestock

And from the same website:

Painting Eyes On Cows’ Butts Can Scare Away Predators

Like this:

And in political news from the same source, metaphor alert:

The Pork Industry Wants More Aid From Congress

In a barrel?

LATER: More about the eyes on cow butts story here. Via David Thompson.

Quota photo of a sign about Croydon Spaceport

Whatever that is.

Busy day ahead. That to-do list (see previous posting) is already demanding that I go off and do various things, which leaves little time for blogging now.

So, quota photo time, and it’s very strange:

I already like the building, but I tried internet searching about this Croydon Spaceport stuff, and am not much the wiser. Basically, I can’t tell how serious they’re being. Are they promoting Croydon, which is a place I’ve always loved? Or space exploration, which I also strongly favour? Either way I’m for it, but am still a bit baffled.

No time to do much linking now, but may add some links later.

LATER: I am none the wiser.

A mural on the South Bank – the context and The Photo

Yes, this is one of those the-context-and-The-Photo postings. The point is The Photo, and the photos that precede The Photo are merely there to explain a bit about where we are.

So, context:

And now, The Photo:

What made me want to post this was the effect of a regular painting not on a smooth surface but on a rough surface. To show that rough surface, I had to get close. But then, all context is lost, so see also: context.

Photoed by me on the South Bank, on August 15th 2015. So, exactly five years ago today.

Now I’m going to try to find out who did this mural. Google, google. Best I can do: grems. Is that Graham Prentice, who took the photos? Maybe. Don’t know.

Patrick Crozier and I talk about French military disappointments (and so does Antoine Clarke)

These disappointments happened in 1870, 1914, 1917, 1940, 1944(?) and 1954. We don’t talk about them in chronological order, because we started with 1914, which was the failed French Ardennes offensive, right at the start of World War 1. But events in all of those years get a mention.

Listen to our conversation here, where there is also lots of further detail from Patrick. Under where it says “Notes” there are 20 items of relevant information, any one of which could have been expanded into a decent blog posting in its own right.

But hello, what’s this? It’s a conversation between Patrick and our mutual friend Antoine Clarke, whom Patrick and I mentioned in our conversation, several times. This was recorded nearly a decade ago. Not having heard it before, I listened to it last night, further delaying me in putting up this posting.

My main reaction to what Antoine said is that, clearly, what I said about how the French “self image” switched, in Parisian artistic circles, from warmonger to peacenik, took its time spreading to the rest of the country. Antoine talks vividly about his ancestors telling their children that the reason they were born was to get Alsace-Lorraine back from the Germans. Also, he said fascinating things about reparations. French had to pay reparations to get the Germans out of France after the 1870 disaster. And they paid the lot, and the Germans left, far quicker than had been expected. Everyone chipped in voluntarily. I knew none of this.

In general, I think that following our chat about Lockdown, Patrick and I showed a return to form, assuming I’m allowed to say that. Maybe you’ll think better of our Lockdown chat than I do, but for me the trouble with that was that all I recall us doing was expressing our own opinions, much as anyone listening could have done for himself. But people listening need to be told at least some things they didn’t already know, just like Antoine does in his talk with Patrick, for instance with all that stuff about reparations that I knew nothing about. At least, when we talked about France, Patrick and I had read interesting books which people listening might not have read. Patrick had been reading this book, and I’d been reading this book. (I copied both those links from Patrick’s Notes.) That may not be anything like an eyewitness account following one of us having been present as a small child at Dien Bien Phu, or a great uncle reminiscing about bombing French civilians following the D-Day landings. But it is something.