I recently attended a picnic in a London square, the sort with a small park in the middle, and photoed this strange tree with its extra bits. Left to right: lots of context, some context, and just the Things:
I image-googled the London square where I photoed these photos, mentioning the strange Things on the tree, and got nothing. I’m guessing the inhabitants of the square, who include my hosts, would probably like to keep it that way. So, no name of the square. Just the fun of seeing the Things, and a question: What are they? Any suggestions?
Yesterday’s weather, as prophesied at midday yesterday:
And today’s weather, as prophesied later on yesterday:
Which means that today, there’ll be a photo expedition. Another trip to the Dome and nearby parts, I think. There’s some sort of copy of New York’s High Line going on over there.
The plan is to go to Maze Hill station, head north to the River, and then walk all around the Greenwich Peninsula until I get to the High Line thingy, checking out the Optic Cloak and the Quantum Cloud as I go. (Too busy being about to go out to insert links. Look them up.) Then, depending on my mood, I might take the Emirates Dangleway over the river and see in particular how the stuff on the bank on the north side of the River is now looking, from above. Then, with or without the Dangleway journey, home.
The further plan is that by putting this plan here, I make it more likely that I will actually do it.
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.
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.
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.
One of my favourite silly websites used to be This is why I’m broke, and yes, there seems to be a particular UK version of this now. But it’s been ages since I’ve been there.
This evening I corrected this, and here are some toys that, for this or that reason, I found amusing and/or diverting.
This at home 3D printer amused me because the useless objects it is shown as having just printed tell us, yet again, that these devices are pointless. The only reason to have a “domestic” 3D printer is to learn about 3D printing. But the same applies to something like a domestic staple gun or a domestic welding kit. Either do it for a living, or steer clear, would be my advice.
These something something skates interest me, because all forms of power-assisted “pedestrian” transport interest me, and this one would appear also to be power-assisted. More and more of the future of cities is going to be made of personal transport gizmotics of this sort, I think.
I wouldn’t, on the other hand, want a screenholder shower curtain, but for those who never wash because it means being separated from their various screens, it could be just the thing.
Now would I want this inflatable pull-out couch. But for people who want a big pull-out couch, but who are constantly moving, again this might be just the ticket.
Like so much of This Is Why I’m Broke stuff, this roll-up keyboard is a nice idea, but in truth, although I might carry it around with me, I probably wouldn’t actually use it. Laptops are ubiquitous for good, if somewhat complicated, reasons.
At the old blog, it was quota photos. Now it’s quota galleries, because they’re so easy to do (at least compared to how hard they used to be to do). And just as I didn’t expect you to expend any more time than you felt like expending on those quota photos, so I don’t expect you to even glance at all these photos, unless you want to. So, click click click:
All of the above photos were photoed in Paris, on May 5th of last year, when I was passing through on my way back from Brittany to London. The weather was stupendous. Not a cloud to be seen. I love how weather like that, when combined with light coloured buildings and the automatic setting on my camera, turns the sky blue-black.
There’s a bit of a bias towards roof clutter. Well, this is Paris. And Paris is famous, even among normal people who don’t usually care about roof clutter, for its roof clutter.
Good night. It has been tomorrow for quite some time.
Yesterday evening I walked over to Battersea, to see how things are going with surrounding the old Power Station with apartment blocks, with sorting out the western end of London’s Big New Sewer, and constructing a new tube station.
In the photos that follow, I concentrate on the new blocks of flats, not least because it is easier to see that, what with it having reached the stage of mostly now being above ground. Tube line and sewer construction remains largely hidden throughout, and in general they tend to be more secretive about such things.
So how are things going with all those flats? How things are going is that there is a lot of building going on, but also, already, a lot of living.
The earliest photos in this gallery show the part where they say: come on it. This is already a place, with people, and food, and a road through to other parts beyond. Then, you walk along one of the oddest bridges in London, over and through what is still a giant building site, right next to the old Power Station, and then you arrive at the bit that is finished and already containing people.
None of the photos that follow are individually that fascinating. But click, click, click your way through them at speed, and you’ll get an idea of how this passing moment in the history of London is now looking:
The photos that concentrate on life being lived, rather than merely dwellings being constructed, concern the London Seafood Festival (that being the only link I now have the time to contrive), which I had definitely not been expecting. But many others had, and were gathered in large numbers to partake.
Then I made my way to Battersea Park railway station, with the last two photos having been photoed from the train that took me to Victoria Station on the other side of the river.
My larger point is this: that the newest and most noticeable London architecture has now done a switch, from the erection of individually crafted and highly visible and recognisable Big Things, to the mass production of generic Machines For Living In and Machines For Working In. So many office blocks and blocks of flats of a certain height, all jammed together in a formerly not so very desirable location, each higher than low but each lower than really high. So much concrete and steel being hoisted into the air by so many cranes. And so many people all being crammed into these new dwellings and new workplaces, as they beaver away at their desk jobs nearby or in The City, and relax by the river in their numerous new eateries and drinkeries down on the ground floors. Yes, this kind of thing has been going on in London for many decades, but just lately, it has shifted up a gear.
That all these new Batterseans will be within walking and face-to-face talking distance of one another is bound to have creative consequences. All sorts of new urban possibilities will become possible.
A lot more of this stuff has been happening out East, in Docklands and beyond. There too (see especially: North Greenwich) things have shifted up a gear. Battersea feels a bit more upmarket than those places down East.