Today I did the longest walk I’ve done in a month. I could show you a photo from that, but honestly, it would be quite the effort, after all my earlier efforts.
So this, when I got home, was a very nice surprise. GD2S, whom regulars here may recognise from that acronym and who for the benefit of irregulars is a lady friend of mine, sent me this photo that she had photoed, of men at work, with a window pane sucker and a crane:
Manhandling big sheets of glass into place on the outside of buildings is central to what the latest architecture now is, as anyone who pays attention to these things will already know. Typically, these days, the outside of a building is covered in sheets of glass so big that getting them up inside the building would, as likely as not, be impossible. So, the skills you see being applied in the above photo are doubtless finely honed. Especially when you consider how expensive, in cash and confusion, a mistake would be.
Come to think of it, here is a photo I photoed late this very afternoon, illustrating the exact trend I’m talking about:
There, in one photo, is that trend. In the foreground, we see Architectural Modernism from the Concrete Monstrosity era, with its windows all of a manageable size and uniformity and frankly not looking that expensive. Lose one of those window panes and getting another wouldn’t have been much of a bother. But in the background, rising up in the new new iconic style, is One Blackfriars, entirely covered in sheets of no doubt fabulously expensive glass, each sheet a different size and shape, capable of resisting all that the weather can throw at it. I presume that a fabulously more elaborate version of what is to be seen in the first of these photos is how all that glass got itself into place.
But, as of now, I am too knackered to pursue the matter, and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Whatever the real story, I still very much like that first photo there. I don’t know where it was photoed Somewhere in London, with an iPhone, is all I can tell you.
I really like all the reflections in that photo, in the regular windows, and in the new window that’s just arriving.
Same formula as the previous post. Ooh that’s nice:
But puzzle. What is it? We see the Shard there, but where are we? What direction are we looking at the Shard from?
We are at the Dome end of the Dangleway, looking across the Greenwich Peninsular towards the towers of Docklands, with central London beyond. The City cluster is not visible, but the Shard is.
I still don’t know what that blob in the middle of the sky is. Mercifully, it isn’t to be seen on any of the other photos I photoed at this time.
The tall pole with sticking out bits in the original photos is for hanging banners, saying things like: “London Olympics 2012”, 2012 being when all these photos were photoed. Now, there are Machines-For-Living-In Things in the foreground, next to and just south of the Dome, and a great many more bigger Things in the Docklands Tower Cluster.
The photo on the right, featuriing the Dome, was photoed as I began a Dangleway journey across the River to Victoria Dock.
I love that part of London. An essential part of that being because it keeps on changing.
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.
Indeed. My Lockdown locks, to coin a phrase that I bet others have coined too (yes), were today lopped off.
Here is a pair of selfies, taken before and after the haircut I had this afternoon:
In haircut shops they often, as in my local one, have mirrors that enable you to see the back of your hair as well as the front. So, clickety click. I don’t think this was vanity. I just wanted a souvenir of this weird little moment in this weirdest of weird years. I am one of many men, men especially, with a weird hair story to tell now-abouts.
For the last few weeks, my hair had never been as long since my teens or twenties, and this time around, it turned washing into a dreary ordeal of slight but never ceasing hair loss, handful after handful. I say hand full; what I really mean is: never quite empty. If I were a stand-up comic I’d turn this into a gag about how, as I have got older, my hands have become stronger. And I suppose you could say that I am, among other things, a sit-down comedian and I just did this gag. If I did, it was little consolation for the hair-related annoyances of the last few weeks. The only cure for my condition was today’s shearing.
I left a bigger tip than usual. Cutting long hair is no harder and takes no longer than cutting shorter hair, and I just wanted most of my hair gone. Nothing fancy. Just get rid of it please, as per usual. But from where I was sitting I was paying by the yard and I got many more yards than usual of value.
One of the things I have learned from my stats page, which has been operating since the end of April of this year, is that quite a few of the people who come here like to rootle around in the archives. This makes sense. Much of goes up here doesn’t date. A pretty photo is a pretty photo, no matter when it was taken.
So, every so often I do a burst of transferring stuff to here from the old blog, making you liable to bump into it here. (At the old blog, you’re liable to be bombarded with “not secure” propaganda.) And yesterday, I was mostly been concentrating om Pavlova. Some of the postings at the other end of that link have been here quite a while, but several went up here yesterday for the first time.
And my favourite Pavlova photo that I copied across was, this one:
Which originally appeared on the old blog in July 2015.
I liked that photo in July 2015, I like it now, and I believe I’ll like it in 2025. And I hope something similar applies to you, if not with this photo, then maybe with some other photo, or some other bit of verbals, from way back.
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.
I was there, around a year ago. to photo a model of Old London Bridge, which I had found out about in some way that I now forget. And the model was there. That wasn’t the frustration. What was the frustration was that photographically, this model pretty much defeated me. Although clearly visible and clearly identifiable for what it was, it was protected by the photographic equivalent of armour plating, in the form of a very shiny glass box.
I still took lots of photos, and from the selection of those that I now show you, you do get some idea of what sort of model this is and how it looks in its ecclesiastical surroundings:
The less these photos are about the details of the model and the more they are about the model as a whole and its surroundings, the better they are, and I biased my choice of what to post here I had in that direction. So they are worth a click through, if London’s eccentricities and oddities are of interest to you.
I image-googled this model, and the results were not as disappointing as my own efforts but still rather disappointing. This model has been there since 1987, but at no time, then or since, has anyone taken any really classy photos of it, or not any that the internet seems to be have been told about. (If commenters can prove me wrong, I’d be be very happy.)
There are some photos of this model, which are definitely better ones than mine from the point of view of showing the details of the Thing, here. But even that photoer struggled, I think. As did this guy.
It would be nice if this church were to pick itself a Real Photographer, and let him have a go at this Thing, with Real Photographer type lighting, with the glass temporarily removed, and maybe with some specially supplied backgrounds to screen out the church clutter, and also all the uneven light that crashes into the church through its church windows. Maybe let the RP take the whole Thing to a studio of some sort.
That would be nice for the likes of me. But maybe the people running this church already rather resent the number of godless tourists of my sort who already come tramping into their House of God to gawp at and and to photo this bridge model, and who then tramp out again, ever to be seen again unless they want more photos of the model. And the last thing they want is to encourage a whole new flood of such people. If my guess is right, I can’t say I blame them, but it is just a guess and I could be quite wrong.
I could find no reference to this London Bridge model at the church’s own website, but again, that could merely be because I am terrible at searching websites.
There is another picture of this church in an earlier posting I did here about the Monument, showing how near that edifice is to this church.
One of the last really successful photo-walkabouts I had in London was on May 30th of this year. I remember having two designated destinations, rather than just the one. There was where they are starting to build these Things, as noted in this posting, and then there were some statues, of Lord Dowding and Bomber Harris, back across the River, that I wanted to check out. As I duly did.
But before all that, I did lots of photoing in the victoria Street Parliament Square Westminster Bridge part of town where I so like to photo:
Those photos are not the ones I might normally have chosen. I would have gone for more information, and less artistic impression (which quite often involves suppressing mere information thereby isolating the mere effect and making it that little bit more effective). But the light that day was so strong, and doing such amusing things that my photo-selection is strongly skewed in the direction of lighting effects and away from mere facts about statues, buildings and the like. So: lots of reflections and lots of shadows and lots of silhouettes, all of which work especially well in very strong light, and lots of light illuminating those big sheets that scaffolders like to decorate their scaffolding with these days.
Originally the photo that caught my attention was photo 12, and the original plan was just to show that one. But I soon realised that there were lots more I also felt like showing you, so there they all are. I hope that at least some coming here will be entertained.
I’ve already done several photo-postings about that walk Alastair and I did, from Blackheath to the Dome. There was that posting that rhymed. There was a cat. There was that amazing photo of the River that Alastair did. There was Lord Nelson. Well, time for some photos taken at our Official Designated Destination. Our actual first thing we decided to visit which would supply me with plenty of photo-opportunities, after we had met up at Blackheath Station, was this:
Beyond the Point Hill sign is The Point. We got to that by walking up … well, here are a couple of maps. On the left, how to get from Blackheath Station to The Point. And on the right, why you would bother, the point of The Point being what you can see from The Point:
The point of this first photo is to explain why the photos that follow are the sort that you might not consider to be that great:
This was not the first photo I photoed from The Point, but it makes my point, which is that what you can see from The Point is most of it a really long way away. The photos that follow are all very zoomy.
For me the most striking Things to be seen were the Docklands Towers. There are now quite a lot of them, compared to how many there were when I vaguely recall last visiting this spot.
First, two views of the entire Docklands Cluster:
And next up, a couple of close-ups of this same cluster:
The light could have been better, but it was what it was.
I really like how Docklands is turning out. One or two of the towers there have a bit of distinction about them, especially One Park Drive. But the sum is greater than the parts, I think. This is because almost all these towers go straight up. There are no Gherkins, Cheesegraters, Scalpels, Walkie-Talkies or Cans of Ham. Just gravity following towers done in the most efficient way possible. And the result is a classic spontaneous order of skyscrapers, all done in the modern vernacular. Without gravity, there’d be little logic. But with gravity, and without the starchitectural urge to defy it, it is all starting to look rather impressive. I like the City, with all its weirdness and eccentricity, but I’m glad London also has a classic skyscraper cluster in the form of Docklands. It can only grow and only get more impressive.
I like the idea of people looking at photos of it, and saying: Where’s that? “London.” London? I’d never have guessed.
Off to the right, we can see the Dome:
The stuff to the left of the Dome is the muddle on the other side of the River, to the east of Docklands. The sooner that muddle gets gobbled up by the Docklands Tower Cluster the better. To the right of the Dome, south of it, on the Greenwich Peninsular, there’s already more stuff rising up, with more to come.
Off to the left, all the eccentricity of central London is duly on show, but even further away:
Let’s take closer-up looks at bits of that:
The photo on the right is a different photo. But the image on the left is a detail cropped out of the bigger and more panoramic shot. In that left hand shot you can clearly see the BT Tower in the distance there, as also One Blackfriars, looking very squat and far less elegant than it might have. For which, Alastair reminded me, we can thank Prince Charles.
And speaking of way in the distance, Alastair also helped with this next photo. Basically, he directed it and I just pushed the button, what with his eyesight now being so much better than mine:
Now that I’m home and looking at a screen twenty inches or so away from me, I can clearly see both The Wheel, and … the new Wembley Arch. I could dimly perceive the Wheel on the day, but the Wembley Arch I totally took on trust. Yet, there it is, way off in the distance on the right, being hovered over, like waiters, by two cranes.
And on the right, a new central London architectural eccentricity, in the form of that strange white triangle that is often to be seen now in photos of London from the south east. It looks like something you might click on to get video to play. But that’s the Scalpel.
So, there it is. That’s how the Big Things of London are/were looking during the Lockdown of 2020. Will London continue to develope, or will it pause for a decade? Or longer? We shall see. Or I will. I hope.
Memo to self: Go back there on a sunnier day. In a few weeks time, after it’s cooled down a bit.
Which sounds like a description of a particularly florid piece of writing about a pavement, but actually I’m talking about this:
Passages like that one are one of the oddities of modern urban life. They happen when a rather posh building is being erected right next to a narrow pavement, over which they want to get some serious work done, but beneath which they do not want to antagonise potential customers and word-of-mouthers thinking about and talking about the people doing the building, thereby threatening the subsequent selling of the apartments or offices in the building, when it’s finished. If the developers mess with the lives of passers-by while they’re building, that at least suggests that they might have a similarly casual attitude to their actual customers. There is so much money at stake here, so big a gap between feast or famine for the developers, that a bit of extra bother at ground level, just next to the site, is well worth going to. Factor in the recent intensification of health-and-safety, and the desire by developers to avoid damaging fights with local bureaucrats, and you have yourself an entire new urban form, the scaffolded pavement passage.
In this particular one, which is in Victoria Street next to and beneath The Broadway, the shininess of the cladding on the inside and the colourful lighting combine to striking effect. We’re looking south east towards Parliament Square. The right hand photo is basically a close-up of the middle of the left hand photo.
I took these photos yesterday afternoon. As with so much that happens in cities these day, if you don’t like it, you needn’t fret. It’ll soon be gone.