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.
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.
Am I becoming a cat lady in my old age? Probably. Although it may be more that, as I get older, I become less bothered about pretending not to be a cat lady, having always been one.
That’s Oscar, and a wooden cat, photoed just as I was about to leave GodDaughter2’s family in the South of France last January, and head for Carcassonne airport and back to London. I was all packed up and read to go, and waiting. So I filled the time photoing the two cats in question.
The reason I show so many photos of this photo-session is that if I merely showed you one of the last two, of Oscar next to Woodcat, you’d be assuming that Oscar was there, and I put Woodcat next to him. But, the above chronologically displayed photos show that I was photoing Woodcat, who remained immobile throughout, and then Oscar joined in. Rather obligingly, I think.
I grow increasingly fond of the statue of Oliver Cromwell, which is right next to Parliament itself rather than out in Parliament Square like Churchill, Gandhi, Smuts, Mandela and the rest of them.
Here, photoed on February 5th, is one of my more recent photos of this Cromwell statue:
I like that because although Oliver himself is very small, he is still very recognisable, and also because he is small you get lots of context. In this case, you get Parliament, in the form of … that big tower, the other one from Big Ben.
And, you get a zillion tons of scaffolding, including scaffolding with big white sheets spread out over it, which makes for a constantly changing background for this statue.
London’s Parliament is now one of the great epicentres of the scaffolding industry. This being because Parliament is sacred and must at all cost be preserved. Yet, it is collapsing, both inside and out. My understanding is that it is currently being entirely rebuilt, but that this total rebuild is having to be visually disguised as a mere refurbishment. Seriously, it might well have made more sense to flatten the entire place, then rebuild it entirely, with the outside being meticulously reconstructed to make it look as if nothing major had happened.
Meanwhile, it’s all a great background for Oliver. Memo to self: Dig out more photos of this statue, with varying backgrounds, and show them here.
A pylon is just a pylon, but if the pylon is upside down, it must be art, because what else could it be? Also, the bloke who turned it upside down gets the credit for this, rather than the people who made the pylon. Them’s the rules.
My photo of this pylon, which is in the vicinity of the Dome, photoed earlier this month:
More dramatic photos of this upside down pylon here, and here.
My photo is of particular interest to me because I photoed it with my new mobile phone, rather than with my regular camera, which for various boring reasons had run out of SD card space.
At the end of last month, I did a posting in which I grumbled about the boringness of my immediate neighbourhood. To my surprise, the effect on my state of mind of getting these grumbles off my chest and onto this blog caused me immediately to start looking at my immediate neighbourhood with fresh eyes. In the posting linked to in the previous sentence, I displayed photos of things I am mostly pretty familiar with, like those big lumpy buildings on the other side of Victoria Street. But I have also found myself searching out oddities in my locality that I had not properly noticed before.
Oddities like these two statues:
I photoed the above photos just moments after photoing these photos.
This deer, with its big twiddly antlers, and this lion, chasing the deer, are to be seen in the north easterly of two triangles of vegetation in the vicinity of, or which together add up to, Grosvenor Gardens.
So, what on earth are they doing there? Who thought that such statues would make sense? Secret London explains:
In 1993, Jonathan Kenworthy, famed for his animal sculptures, was asked by the Duke and Duchess of Westminster to create this piece for a lake at Eaton Hall in Cheshire. A second casting was placed here in 2000 to mark the opening of the gardens to the people of Westminster.
So there we are. A Duke thought it would be a shame to confine two decent and probably quite expensive bits of animal sculpture to Cheshire, and had further copies of them put in London. There was no logical connection between the bit of London he put them in and the sculptures, but he was a Duke and he owned the place, and he thought it a good notion to put these sculptures there, in Upper Grosvenor Gardens, so that was what happened. I mean, who was going to object?
Yesterday I did some grumbling about the light and the weather on the day that Alastair and I went walkabout, exactly one week ago, from Blackheath to the River and then beyond. But as that day went on the light got a bit better, and when I tried photoing the Optic Cloak, that came out rather well:
It so happens that the day when I first properly noticed the Optic Cloak, January 17th 2019, was also a day when Alastair and I met up for drink+chat+walkabout, in Docklands. Later I continued walking on my own, and that was when I first set eyes on the Optic Cloak. If you want to know something of why I like this Thing so much, follow that link.
I photoed the above photo at pretty much the same time I photoed Nelson, who stands outside the Trafalgar Tavern. This Nelson is another of my very favourite pieces of sculpture in London. Which shows I’m not picky about style. Modern, trad, I just like what I like.
All I knew about Wenlock and “Mandeville”, at the time, was that I did not approve, because I did not approve of the Olympics. My opinions on other matters determined my aesthetic preferences. But the aftermath of the Olympics was not the anticlimactic waste and squalour in the Olympic part of London that I then feared. So, now? They look like fun. How we humans do love our other creature friends, even when they’re totally made up.
It would appear that they used the same formula as they later did for buses and elephants, and suchlike. Lots and lots of copies, all identical in shape, but each decorated differently. How could I object to that?
Here we see a couple of Wenlocks, on the South Bank, in the Olympic summer of 2012, being photoed with tourists, by tourists. And by me.
There was a Wenlock decorated with an octopus and two fishes (one jelly, one regular), and I daresay with other aquatic creatures:
And there was a Wenlock dressed as Big Ben:
And, as a little image-googling quickly confirmed, many more besides.
I did some cropping to exclude some faces of kids, which meant Wenlock also had one of his faces sliced in half, while still keeping the excellent fifth finger of the left hand of a photoer. The lady waving her arms and legs in the air was making a bit of a public spectacle of herself, and is accordingly fair blogging game.