Cat in Istanbul shop window

As not promised (see below), here’s a rather charming photo that Michael Jennings took in Istanbul last December, of a shop window:

Not just signs, but the place where they’re done from. And a cat. I recall Michael writing, somewhere, somewhen, that there are many cats in Istanbul and that they are very well respected by the humans of that city.

You can always tell how well cats are treated in this or that place that you visit, by how sociably they behave towards you. When cats hide from you, that’s a sign of a nasty neighbourhood, I think.

John Duffin painting on Blackfriars Bridge ten years ago

Ten years plus a few days ago, I was checking out the work that was beginning to be done making the new BlackFriars Bridge railway station. And today, I checked out the resulting photos, Here are six of them:

Photo 2: Sampson House and Ludgate House, again. Photo 4: The Shard, just getting started. Soon after those photos, I photoed that black bus.

It was a somewhat gloomy day, and my camera wasn’t as good as what I have now, so I was glad to come across a couple of photos of a painting. And because I took such a good note of the painting, in the form of a photo of the painting and of its title and creator – memo to self: always do this – I was able quickly to track down a better digital version of the painting:

Reminds me of this photo of mine, but it’s far less of a muddle.

John Duffin, it would appear, sees London in the same way I do and, I’m guessing, the way lots of others do. He pays attention to landmark buildings, and all those bridges of course, and kind of recedes everything else more into the background. Cameras don’t discriminate. You have to point them at particular things if you want them to emphasise those things. Otherwise, to emphasise this or that, you have to do bullshit graphics manipulation. Or if you can’t or won’t do that (that would be me), write an essay.

I thought: does John Duffin have a website? Of course he does.

Here are a couple more Duffins:

On the left, many more London bridges, from the Albert (I think) Bridge in the foreground, all the way to Tower Bridge. And on the right, oh look, that’s Lord’s cricket ground. Nice player shadows.

I love how, with a camera, and provided you photoed notes as well as photos, you can pick up where you left off a decade ago.

Thumbnails for a Remainer demo

I have been struggling with posting “thumbnails” here. Thumbnails are small photos, which if clicked on, result in us viewing a different and bigger photo, of which the thumbnail was only a smaller bit.

Finally, I have had a little success:

Each of the above squares that you see are thumbnails. Click on any one of them, and you get to the bigger picture from which that thumbnail was cropped. Also, click on any one of them, and right or left click on that, and you get the rest of the big original photos, just as you would with any other gallery here.

So, progress. Trouble is, if I tell WordPress to have only four thumblnails to a row, instead of the rows of five that you see above, big gaps of white start appearing between the thumbnails. So, a way to go before I’m on top of this, but it’s a start. Until today, I couldn’t do any of this, despite several tries. Now, I can do a bit of it.

This is what our century is like. Disentangling little conundrums like this. There are plenty of people who could probably have helped with this particular concundrum, but I am not sorry to have done this little bit of sorting myself. How else do you learn?

The photos above were of a Pro-Remain demo, which I chanced upon in Parliament Square in February 2019, one of the many too-much too-late eruptions of Remainer political sentiment that followed the Referendum that the Remainers had lost. The thumbnail thing, where you crop out one of the messages being waved by demonstrators, works rather well for showing galleries of such photos.

Note in particular the one that says “No-one voted for this mess”. I must admit that once Leave won the Referendum, I though leaving would be easier than it has been. But the more of a mess leaving turned out to be, the more I favoured leaving, on the grounds of EUrope being the sort of arrangement it was so very messy to get out of, even though we’d voted to do this.

The Screen of the Red Death has gone away

For the time being, anyway. Earlier in the month, I reported that any attempt to access the Old Blog would get you to The Screen of the Red Death. Well, the good news is that The Screen of the Red Death has now retreated. Google still describes the Old Blog as “Not secure”, but now, when I try to go there, I get there. And I’m guessing the same applies to you.

I promise nothing, and if you still get the dreaded Red Screen, do please comment accordingly. In general, any comments educating me about what is going on with all this would also be most welcome.

Sampson House and Ludgate House

Before everything went arse over tits up in the air into the melting pot and threw a spanner out of the frying pan into the pigeons, they were talking about a new London Thing Cluster, to go here:

Here being between Tate Modern and all the South Bank Music Things.

Here is what was still being reported early in May:

One of South London’s biggest landmark brutalist buildings is to be replaced by blocks of flats which will tower above the South Bank and Tate Modern on the Thames.

IBM’s former offices at Sampson House, on Hopton Street, Southwark, is being demolished to make way for Bankside Yards, one of the capital’s largest regeneration projects – with 1.4 million sq ft of shops, hotels and flats.

Developers Native Land have today announced they have appointed four British architectural practices to develop designs for four buildings within Eastern Yards, part of the £1billion Bankside Yards.

That “landmark” brutalist building, Sampson House, was duly demolished soon after that was written. I know this, because it was one of the things I was looking for on a walkabout I did on May 30th. (Next on my list that day was some statues – later I chanced upon this.) By then, Sampson House was gone.

Also gone, quite a while before then, Ludgate House.

Sampson House is really rather splendid, if you like that sort of thing, which I do in moderation. It was built in the late seventies. I don’t recall any big public fight to preserve it, and if that’s right, I am rather surprised, what with the row that erupted not long ago in aid of another landmark brutalist building.

Ludgate House, on the other hand, is a somewhat more anonymous product of the late eighties. By then, concrete exteriors were out and the era of totally glass exteriors was upon us. I think it looks pretty good, but only in a way that lots of other similar buildings do. I’ll somewhat miss it.

I went looking for photos of these two ex-buildings in my photo-archives. After much searching, I finally came upon this, photoed in August 2016:

On the left, Sampson House, and on the right, Ludgate House. Top right, you can just see the spikey top of 240 Blackfriars.

But I don’t think that even that photo was me truly photoing Sampson House and Ludgate House. I was photoing Strata, the Thing with the holes in the top. At the time, Sampson House and Ludgate House merely happened to be making the gap through which Strata could be seen, in the distance.

Here is another photo I took of Sampson House and Ludgate House:

That shows where they both were very well. But again, what I was photoing there was a fake photo of One Blackfriars, on the edge of the site where they were going to build it. Sampson House and Ludgate House just happened to be present. But I didn’t care about them, which is why they are leaning over. One Blackfriars is vertical. That’s what I was photoing.

Here are some more Sampson House and Ludgate House photos I’ve photoed over the years, in each case showing me concentrating on something else:

Photo 1: a strange bus; 2: a sign about One Blackfriars; 3: 240 Blackfriars from the top of the Tate Modern Extension: 4: Random reflections in One Blackfriars; 5: 240 Blackfriars, as seen from the south end of Blackfriars railway station, the one on the bridge; 6: A very blurry view of, well, London, through a window at the top of the Walkie-Talkie; 7: One Blackfriars takes shape, viewed from the Tate Extension; 8: Tate Modern photoed with maximum zoom from the top of the Shard.

As you can tell from this list, I was obsessed with One Blackfriars and 240 Blackfriars as I was indifferent to Sampson House and Ludgate House.

But another thing that always distracted me, whenever I was in the vicinity of these two buidings, was this:

So much more intriguing to photo and ponder, especially when they were making themselves useful.

Finally, also photoed on the 30th of last month, a recent addition to the Thing Cluste, rising up near where Sampson House used to be, …:

… in between 240 Blackfriars and One Blackfriars.

Will this cluster ever get finished in the near future, what with all the anti-urban disruption unleashed by You Know What? A different question, for a different posting.

Abney Park

Recently I was in the general vicinity of Lambeth, Stoke Newington, that sort of part of London, seeing things like a lion statue. But that lion was nothing to what came later.

Which was this:

This being a truly amazing place called Abney Park.

There are plenty of forests in London. And God knows (because invariably He becomes involved in all such arrangements), there are plenty of graveyards.

But, have you ever seen an honest-to-God graveyard, in an honest-to-God forest? Well, now I have, in the shape of Abney Park. The photos above all emphasise this weird and wonderful combined fact.

The roots of the trees have yanked a lot of the graves way out of the vertical. And we’re not talking about modest little graves. A lot of these are guy-with-biggest-grave-wins graves, erected in honour of seriously rich people, including lots of celebs and luvvies. There’s one with a big lion on it, and what’s more a far more impressive lion than that statue I photoed earlier. There’s even a big old statue, of this guy.

When I and the friend who showed me this amazing place were there, the weather was that particularly perfect sort of perfect that consist of perfection which had been preceded by rain. My photos (with the possible exception of photo 0 (or photo 2.4 if you prefer) don’t really show that, but trust me, it was weather to die for.

More about Abney Park in this. Turns out the guy buried under the lion was a lion tamer.

I love London.

Signs in Seattle

Here:

I agree with what Matthew Continetti says in this piece, which the above photo adorns, that this is froth. History as farce, Tom Wolf style. This “Seattle Soviet” is going nowhere. It’s “signs and notices”, to quote one of my more frequent categories here, rather than revolutionary architecture of any substance. That being why the above photo is the most informative one I have seen concerning these dramas.

As Kurt Schlichter (who his now being seriously noticed by his enemies) says, the important thing about this Seattle drama is the impact it has on the forthcoming Presidential election in November. Will Trump get the blame for it? Or will the local Democrat politicians? And by extension, the Democrats nationally? Schlichter says the Democrats will get the blame for this Seattle farce, this being why Trump is leaving the local Democrats to not deal with it, until America landslides in his favour. “Silent majority” and all that.

Schlichter combines partisan rhetoric way beyond the point of self-parody with very shrewd observations and analysis. I read him regularly. He is like one of those crazy American lawyers, who seems insane, yet who is taken very seriously, and for good reasons, by his enemies. And as I understand him, which is only a bit, this is because Schlichter is one of those crazy American lawyers, who seems insane, yet who is taken very seriously, and for good reasons, by his enemies.

New River walk with GodDaughter1 from Bounds Green to Enfield

On April 2nd 2016, GodDaughter1 and I went on a photo-expedition along the New River. It was most enjoyable, and I prepared another of those big photo-clutches that I could seldom bother to do on the Old Blog, so that you can now, if you feel like it, click-click-click through them on this New Blog. But I also wanted to link back to an earlier posting I did about a rather exotic looking duck that we had encountered that same day.

For reasons explained in this posting, all postings on the Old Blog linked back to from this blog have to have been transferred to the New Blog. So, here I am linking back to What sort of duck is this?

But, problem. That posting itself linked back to a posting about Trees pruned into strange sculptures, because GD1 and I encountered a really strange piece of tree surgery (photo (6.2), on that same expedition.

Which, in its turn linked back to Losing the leaves in Victoria Park, because, well, because it did. So that had to be transferred across too.

When I put it like that, it all seems pretty simple. But following the link chain backwards and then forwards again, opening up each posting about four times over, was the Grandma of all muddles that I had not seen coming, and muddles you do not see coming can get really muddled.

Anyway, it’s all sorted now, and here are all those photos I mentioned, at the top of this:

My favourite is the plate-shaped foliage that has been emptied upside down into the water (photo 28 (4.4)).

There’s lots more I could say about all these photos, but this posting has already gone on far too long, and I confine myself now to saying: See also the plaque about Sir Hugh Myddelton (photo 37 (5.5)), who designed the New River. Designed? You don’t design rivers. They’re just there. But yes, he designed it. The point being it was designed and built, to supply London with fresh water, right at the beginning of the seventeenth century. So, at a time when so many stupid things were in the process of happening, something truly creative also happened.

Well, one other thing: the occasional interpolation of extreme urbanness (e.g. a newspaper headline about Ronnie Corbett (photo 27 (4.3)) and the van covered in stickers (photo 21 (3.5)) is because when you walk along beside the New River, it sometimes dives underground and you have to go up to regular London, until you get to the next bit.

Lordship Park lion

A rather mangy old lion, with a disproportionately big head, encountered yesterday:

This lion, once part of a two-lion team, no longer guards Lordship Park, because Lordship Park is now only a street. It now stands isolated, on a decaying plinth at one end of this street.

London contains many lion statues, and if they are in the tourist parts in the centre of town, or if they stand next to a building that still counts for something, like a town hall, they still get looked after. But my guess is that unattached lions, like the one above, are pretty much left to take their chances.

I just image-googled britannia and lion, and if the above speculations are right, I think the results I got tell us why that would be. All that imperial symbolism just doesn’t cut it any more. And especially not in Stoke Newington.

Pigeon scarers in focus – Strata out of focus and in focus

I am now wrestling with the writing of a potential Samizdata piece about The Riots, so here, by way of fending off a day of oblivion here are some quota photos.

First, a favourite photo of mine photoed several years ago, of a surveillance camera with some anti-pigeon spikes on it, just next to the south end of Waterloo Bridge:

I think you can see how such spikes wouldn’t protect statues very satisfactorily from pigeon shit. Like I said, towards the end of this, someone should invent a miniature electronic version of this, which would freak out pigeons but be invisible.

Note how, above, the Strata (the one with the three holes at the top) is clearly identifiable, even though hopelessly out of focus. As is Strata in this next photo, which I photoed yesterday, from a bus, through one of its windows:

This is a key test of a Big Thing. Can you still tell what it is when out of focus? If no, then it’s not a Big Thing. Strata is. (What with it also being Big enough.)

And here is the Strata photo I photoed of Strata about one second later, with the focus now working, again through the same bus window:

That may be it here until tomorrow. If I don’t see you again today, or even if I do, have a nice today.