Swans being so very elegant, I am only one of many who likes to photo them, and there’s nothing special about my swan photos, unless the swans are the wrong colour, that being a posting here that keeps on being visited from time to time. But these knitted swans are definitely swans with a difference.
All eyes are on Wembley just now. I am even now watching The Final, England being one up after half an hour, having been one up after two minutes of course. Italy are getting back into it though, and as if to prove the beginning of this sentence spot on, just when I typed in the previous comma but one, they nearly managed an equaliser. The England goalie was well beaten. But now England have just missed a goal, so as of now I have no idea how it will end.
Having nothing useful to contribute in the way of football analysis, I went looking for Wembley photos in the archives, and encountered this trove of photos, all named and numbered and resized and ready to go but which have yet to be displayed here, of what I still think of as the “new” Wembley, when they were busy constructing it, way back in 2005:
September 20th 2005 to be exact, again with the Canon S1 IS, which was as I’ve said earlier in the week, very hit or miss. But quite a hit that day, I think. I have seen a game inside this new stadium and it is a stadium much like any other. But that arch was a stroke of genius. If we still want to think about football in a few days time, I may gather together some more of my Wembley photos, this time of how it looks in the bigger London picture.
It’s now half time, and the BBC commetators are all explaining why England are winning. But Mancini will have plenty to say to his team, and Italy will surely be better than they were at the start of this.
New bridges, even footbridges, of any distinction are somewhat rare these days. So this new bridge, in Hull, is welcome:
I found that photo here. Read more about it, and see more photos of it, here.
Says Jonathan McDowell, director of Matter Architecture:
It’s wonderful to see people beginning to make use of the new routes and viewpoints, and we are proud to see the dramatic form of the bridge already becoming a landmark within the city’s identity.
“Becoming a landmark” is what this is all about. Making a real bridge, for trains or heavy lorries, look “iconic” is very expensive. But do this to a footbridge and if you do it okay, it’s not a lot of money, very well spent. That being why architects got involved in this at all.
Even then, with my antiquated Canon S1 IS, I was already photoing goodish photos, or at any rate photos I thought were goodish (and still do). It was just that the success rate then was a bit lower, and the light had to be perfect. That day, it was.
I reckon about a third of those views would look exactly the same now. However, anything with a camera or a map in it is now history. Cameras and maps are now the same things, apart from that tube map on those pants. Mobile phones can’t yet double up as underwear.
Plus, the City of London Big Thing cluster is now … a cluster, rather than just isolated oddities. Who knew then how quickly the Gherkin would be smothered by other Bigger Things? Well, probably a lot of people knew, but I was not one of them.
I have a particular soft spot for photo 6, the one with what looks to me like a thing made of cocktail sticks. It looks to me like a thing made with cocktail stick because I used to make things like that with cocktail sticks. Although, that one in the above photo is extremely primitive compared to some of the things I made, shapes I have never seen since. Memo to self: I must dig out the photos of those, such as the photos were. My stick objects, sadly, predated digital photography.
Here’s the other odd thing I saw in Croydon yesterday, and after that, I’ll concentrate on the more serious stuff, the sort that will require an essay. So, here’s the weirdness:
On the left, well, that was the scene the friend I was meeting up with (a regular commenter who can decide for himself whether to be identified here by name or not) saw, when he said “Oh look, there’s a stormtrooper in one of those windows.” Not having his eyesight I had to be told where to point my camera, photo the photo, the photo in the middle of the above three, and then satisfy, myself by expanding the photo on my camera screen, that there was indeed a stormtrooper to be seen. And photo three is the money shot, or would have been if I were the kind of photoer who ever got paid money for photoing which of course I am not.
Without my friend to tell me about this stormtrooper, I could never have photoed it, because I would never have seen it. So, thanks mate.
And now that I know about this stormtrooper, I can go a-googling and ask: Is this stormtrooper one of these guys?
Coming soon (I hope (I promise nothing)): The tallest tower in Croydon, in colour. Also, another look at No. 1 Croydon.
Okay, not bad. But the interesting thing is how far away I was. This next photo, done about a minute later to emphasise this, shows that we are actually way down Victoria Street, next to House of Fraser, quite a bit further away than, say, Westminster Cathedral:
That vertical smudge of sunshine between the big column in the foreground and the building on its left as we look is where a tiny and distant Pavlova was doing her dance. My eyesight is such that although I knew that’s where she was, I couldn’t properly see her.
But my camera, a rather recently acquired Nikon B700 (and yes mine is red also), was able to see Pavlova very clearly. Although, the slightest motion of the camera meant I completely lost her from the picture, so I had to have several goes at photoing her before I got what I wanted.
I wish I could tell you that these photos were photoed in the last day or two, but sadly, they were not. Last September.
Architects only get to do big buildings when they are about sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety. Until then, they get fobbed off, and that’s if they’re lucky, with jobs like designing street furniture. This is because the people who decide who does big buildings are themselves so very, very old.
Now, look at these photos again, and imagine all the children in the photos thirty years older, and doing big noticeable buildings.
It will be a different world.
And as I have recently already said and will now say again, lots of people will hate the new style and suddenly become nostalgic for the dreary rubbish we all have to put up with now.
Architects are soon going to get over their obsession with black, white, brown and grey, and generally pale and lifeless shades of boring … and start doing proper colour on the outside of their now boring buildings, big time. This is a stylistic pulse that I do happen to have my finger on, … and I know whereof I speak. And it can’t come too soon, I say.
Well, when I wrote that I was feeling impatient. My message today is: it’ll happen, but I’ll have to wait a while. The kids doing this are still only kids. As in: around thirty. But give it another thirty years …
This photo, which I just this moment encountered on my Twitter feed, is exactly the photo I would have photoed, were I ever allowed into such a place:
Up to and including the facts that (a) I would have been indistinctly reflected in the mirror at the back, (b) everything is ever so slightly not quite vertical (that being a constant problem I have), and (c) there is a cat involved.
Castelnou is a small and impossibly picturesque hill town in the lower reaches of the Pyrenees, in the far south of France. GodDaughter2’s parents and I went by car, just over five years ago now, in May 2016, to check it out. And yes, the weather was as marvellous in Castelnou as it has recently been unmarvellous in London.
Nowadays, I find that my expeditions have as their officially designated destination a spot where I have arranged to meet up with a friend and exchange chat, rather than just a particular physical place I especially want to check out. But as my death approaches, not as fast as I feared it would last Christmas but still faster than I had previously supposed that it would, I find that mere Things, in London or anywhere else, aren’t enough to make me get out of the house at the time previously determined. Partly this is because if I fail to arrive at the Thing at the planned time, the Thing won’t ring me up and ask me where I got to, whereas people are inclined to do just that. And partly because the Internet tells you lots about Things, whereas actually meeting people bestows knowledge and pleasures more profound and subtle than you could obtain by any other communicational means.
The point of this Castelnou expedition was that it was with GodDaughter2’s parents, not that it was to Castelnou. Castelnou was just an excuse for us all to spend time with each other, plus it gave us things to talk about.
But of course, once in Castelnou, I photoed photos galore, of which these are just a few:
A few more things to say.
First, there are cats and dogs involved (as well as a bird statue), hence this posting appearing here on a Friday. The cats were very friendly and sociable. The dogs were more cautiously proprietorial, but none were aggressive. Which I think reflects well on us tourists. We all behave well towards these creatures, and they behaved towards us accordingly.
Second, what’s wrong with being a tourist? I am sure that “tourists” have been featured on the popular TV show Room 101. But if I was ever on Room 101 I would want to banish from the world “tourists who complain about all the other tourists”. Tourism is a fine thing, enjoyable for those of us who do it or we wouldn’t keep doing it, and profitable for those who cater to our needs. Many good things happen because of us tourists. Besides all the deserving people who get to earn a living from it, there are the conversations that tourists have with the locals whom they encounter, and with each other, which can sometimes have have wonderfully creative consequences. Many an economic success story has started with a conversation involving tourists. Tourists bring the world, as it were, to particular places, and places into contact with other places, and thereby are able to provoke creative thoughts that would otherwise not have occurred to anyone.
Does tourism “spoil” places like Castelnou? Hardly. I’ll bet you Castelnou is a much happier, prettier and more interesting place than it was before it started attracting tourists.
And finally, Castelnou is a fine example of an aesthetic process that fascinates me more and more, which is the way that when an architectural style first erupts, it is hated, but then when it settles back into being only a few surviving ruins, people find that same style, to quote my own words in the first sentence of this posting, impossibly picturesque. Castelnou began as a castle, which then gathered dwellings around it. And you can bet that the people in the vicinity of this castle hated it and feared it, that being the whole idea. But once the castles stopped being built in such numbers and when the castles that survived began turning into ruins, they then also turned into objects of affection, first for locals, and then, even more, for visitors from many miles away.
Tangenting somewhat, I was yesterday predicting that the next wave of architectural fashion is going to be a lot more colourful. And it is. But, lots of people will, for as long as this new fashion lasts and seems to be on the march (the military metaphor is deliberate), hate that fashion, and regret the passing of the drearily monochromatic tedium that they now only grumble about (because that is now still on the march).
Is Castelnou perchance the French, or maybe the Catalan, for Newcastle? Sounds like it to me.