A swan photo with a difference, and now a horse photo with a difference. Well, I like it:
A friend went riding in Windsor Park this afternoon. I grew up around there, and went to school in Windsor for a while.
I love cranes. By which I mean tall metal things for lifting stuff. Not so much cranes like this:
It’s not that I object to feathered cranes, more that such birds already have numerous human champions, while many humans still turn their noses up at the metallic sort of crane. Some regard metal cranes as, at best, a necessary evil. And if you hate the whole idea of any new buildings ever getting built, then you won’t even regard metal cranes as necessary. Just evil. And I dissent vehemently from all that sort of talk.
Given the double meaning of the word, both sorts of craniac, metallic and feathered, find their internet searches for news of their preferred cranes heavily diluted.
Here. and there, I added some rather rambling verbiage about how I had mixed feelings about such demos. Do they work? What do they achieve? That kind of thing.
And I really liked Perry de Havilland’s comment on my Samizdata piece in response:
Demonstrations are much misunderstood; particularly ones like this (& this was a huge demonstration).
They are not going to change state policy directly because that just isn’t how things work, they are mostly about deisolating activists, they are about demonstrating to the demonstrators that they are not crazy (even if some of them are as is the case in any group of disparate people).
Demonstrations are a building process. Demonstrations in this case are particularly effective at highlighting assorted lies about this particular disease. After all, get hundreds of thousands unmasked unvaccinated people shouting for a few hours face to face, there is going to be an observable spike in deaths each time, right? Right? 🤣
Some demonstrations against the lockdown got hammered by the police earlier on … why? Because they were small enough to get hammered by the police to try and discourage other demonstrations. In this demonstration, the police were so vastly outnumbered, by a march that refused to even tell the police where it was going to march (by design), there was never any chance it could be stopped with truncheons. And the demonstration’s organisation was connected yet dispersed, utterly protean: a couple organisers were arrested before the march to try and derail it, and expecting that, others on various platforms seamlessly took over.
What THAT demonstrates to the marchers is that resistance is not futile, they are not alone. In fact, they are legion. It was an anti-lockdown march but it was also an anti-media march, giving lie to the idea that utterly dominating the media dominates public opinion (as if Brexit had not already proven the falsity of that in the internet age). How many times do crap opinion polls have to get it wrong for demonstrable things (such as election & referendum outcomes) for you to stop believing them when things are less demonstrable?
If you don’t ‘get it; then who cares; you are most likely not the target audience. But these marches are not a pointless hissy fit like some marches, these particular marches are literal in-your-face defiance of instructions by the state intending to protect you from “the inevitable consequences of a terrible disease spreading amongst crowds”. These marches are an absolute refusal to obey & a demonstration that the state relies on your willing even if grudging compliance, because there is a tipping point beyond which they do not have enough people with truncheons to force your compliance. That is what demonstrations like this are for & it is working just fine.
Perry and I have since talked further about this, and it is clear, from his and other comments, that libertarianism, as I merely speculated hopefully, really is spreading amongst those demonstrators. In general, says Perry, a lot of people are going to be radicalised by Covid, more precisely: by the response to Covid. This will take time, as the economic damage done by this response makes itself felt and as the facts start emerging in greater detail, both the scientific facts and the policy making facts. Of course, nothing like all of this radicalising will be in a libertarian direction, but a lot of it will.
And I had completely ignored the crucial point that this one was a demonstration in favour of the right to demonstrate, and in defiance of the claim that demonstrations would spread The Plague.
Perry and I also agreed that if it had been a real Plague – dead bodies in the street, double digit percentage deaths and so on – our attitude would have been very different. This is an argument about the mishandling of medical data, not just a libertarian “hissy fit”, to quote his phrase.
Although, I rather suspect that for many, “hissy fit” is simply a demonstration they don’t agree with. Which was why I mentioned those pro-Remain demos in what I wrote at Samizdata. I disagreed with those demos, yet they were clearly demos, and they clearly will have consequences, even if not those that the demonstrators will be fully satisfied with, of just the sort that Perry described.
Perry also mentioned how getting to know this lady had informed his thinking on these matters. He zeroed in on this sentiment, that I also mentioned in that earlier posting:
Being a dissident wasn’t about overthrowing the regime; it was merely about staying sane.
In other words demos say, if only to the demonstrators, but typically also to many sympathetic but timid onlookers: You are not the only ones thinking like this.
And, there’s now more of it than there used to be:
And that’s the new bit, off to the north west of London.
To me, this is an interesting photo, because it highlights the imperfections of this model. I don’t know about you, but to me it looks like large swathes of north west London are flooded, especially, because of the accidents of lighting, in the top right of the photo. That being because both the buildings and the ground they are stuck on are both, actually, so very rudimentary. The land is just a shiny sheet of plastic. And there’s no up and down to be seen, of the land. Only of the buildings.
And those railway lines. They look like continuous railway stations, I reckon.
I look forward to the day when you can flap about over London, for about one fine day, in a helicopter, hoovering up photos, and then shovel all the photos into a 3D-printing machine which can then spit out the final model. And, that model then looks an order of magnitude more realistic than this one does. With all the right colours and shapes and heights, as big as you want, any scale you want, just as it would look from an airplane. That would really be something.
Meanwhile, this Store Street/King’s Cross model only hints at such excellence, in isolated moments when they decided to go all-out and make at least a few of the buildings look as they do in real life, instead of like they were made of Lego (before Lego started cheating by making special shaped bits).
For instance: Oh look, there’s Wembley Stadium, looking remarkably like actual Wembley Stadium, other than it being totally smothered in whiteness. Next Wednesday, in actual Wembley Stadium, there is apparently going to be a big international football match.
Good timing for me and Patrick Crozier, because we going to do another of our recorded conversations, this time about sport, this coming Tuesday. Patrick’s going to drop be at my place, and for first time in I don’t know how long we’ll be doing it face-to-face. However, we are going to use a newly acquired microphone, which Patrick fears may not work. So we’ll have to be careful we don’t say anything so clever that we regret not recording it properly, if that’s what happens. I’m sure we’ll be up to doing that.
Incoming from Cousin David:
Here is a pic which my daughter Molly photoed the other day when we were on a bicycle ride somewhere between Stratford and Bow – thinking that it contained elements that would appeal to you. What is curious is that the flat bit looks as if it might be part of an older building that is being preserved while new parts are built behind, but in fact it seems that it is new – and the rest of the building will be added to it. Another flat bit is going up in the background. Dashed odd!
Cousin David, to whom thanks (and thanks also to Molly), is entirely right that this photo appeals to me. As he knows, I have several times featured photos here of Ancientist facades being propped up while Modernist interiors are attached to the back of them. The triumph of Modernism but only indoors being a phenomenon of particular interest to me.
But, as he also probably knows, I have never featured a new and Modernist exterior being propped up on a building site in the same manner.
My guesses, and they are only guesses, are that, first, the standard of finish required for a building’s facade are easier to insist upon in a specialist factory than on a rather chaotic building site, and second, that having been perfected as a technique for propping up Ancientist facades, this propping up trick was then easily applied to another sort of facade. Finishing Modernist interiors in a factory makes less sense because they would be too bulky to bring in on a lorry, whereas the rectangular bits of a facade, being flat areas rather than volumes, sit quite well on a lorry. Also, once the three dimensional structure of a building is done, on site, it then protects the process of perfecting the interior, because that process can also then happen “indoors”, just as it does in a factory. (There may be a comment on this bit of this posting, mentioning a building in Croydon made of shipping containers, from the friend with whom I visited Croydon recently.)
Also, there’s a crane.
I now particularly welcome such incoming photos, what with me now being able to get out less. However, if you do send a photo in, you’ll be hard pushed to improve on the above photo in my eyes, because David realised that although I had observed this approximate phenomenon in action before, he also realised that I had probably not seen this exact version of it ever before. Certainly, if I ever have seen it, I have only now noticed it. Like I say, my thanks to him and to daughter Molly.
Indeed. Here are the rest of those photos, this time all the horizontal ones:
I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about this demo, and the many others like it, and about demos generally. When do such demos work, and equally importantly, when don’t they work? In general, i feel there has to be some sort of echo going on indoors, where the power lies, before such outdoors stuff really makes much impact.
What demos do do, I think, is create friendship networks and spread ideas amongst those doing the demonstrating. That, I suspect, may be their most important impact in the longer run.
This demo did get a bit of mainstream media coverage, despite my friend’s prophecies of a black-out. But, I suspect that this was partly because, actually, it was not that big.
Impressive, I hope you agree.
Colourful photoing like this is creating a very colourful virtual world. Then the kids go outdoors and see Monochrome Modernism, and they say: Brighten It Up! I’m not saying I’ll necessarily like all of what then happens, but I am saying it’ll happen. We are now seeing only little glimpses of this, but any decade now the floodgates of architectural colour will open.
Expect big paintings of, e.g., Taiwan Blue Magpies, on the sides of Modernist boringnesses.
Most internetted photos of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, look like this:
Which I found here.
But the fact that almost all the internetted photos of this building look like that is misleading.
Here is a corrective, in the form of the exact sort of photo of this building that the pros earn their money by doing the exact opposite of:
Yet one more illustration of a belief I have long held about us amateur photoers, which is that we amateur photoers often tell you more about how a building actually looks, if you actually go there, than many of the photos carefully contrived by the professionals.
Further to this posting about electric cars, incoming from Alastair, photoe by him a few days ago:
The temporary railings show that this is new.
Everything depends now on the cost. Can you get further, for less, with one “filling”? If so, then there follows the rapid switch, followed presumably by a price hike (to stop regular electricity bills going through the roof and (worse) regular electricity supplies being buggered up and to encourage popular demand for new power stations (surely including nuclear)), followed by the slow but sure demise of the petrol car.
I take the point made in the comments on the earlier posting about how this will cause demand for electricity to rise. Nevertheless, a step-by-step process is easily imaginable, unlike with electric scooters going more than trivially faster than regular scooters. Electric scooters of a speed worth bothering with will require infrastructural upheaval. The difference between building this charging station, and that power station, repeatedly, each in just the one place, and on the other hand re-building the entire road system, all gazillion miles of it, to the disadvantage of all larger vehicles (definitely including electric cars), at huge expense, is all the difference.