Shard and Shard-on-screen

I have spent some of today transferring postings across from the Old Blog to This Blog, most of them being from January 2015. It’s a slow process, and I was combining doing it with other domestic activities, so not a lot of them got done.

But some postings did find their way here, several of them involving galleries of photos. This photo, one of the ones in this posting, seems to me to be worth another mention here:

The trick with photoing what photoers are photoing and what photoers are seeing on their screens is to do it at dusk, when artificial light and natural light are about equal. In regular daylight, the screen doesn’t stand much of a chance.

I also like the one where I aligned one of the turrets on the top of the Tower of London with the Shard, to be seen in this posting. Nice sky.

How to be optimistic about your own country

Just came across this quote in a posting at the Old Blog, and immediately transferred it across to this blog:

The state of the world is now such that, if you want to be optimistic about your own country, don’t whatever you do look at your own country. Look at all the others.

Wise words, I think, that will bear repetition, hence me repeating them in this posting. They are my words, so I’m biased. I originally wrote them in connection with China’s high speed trains way back in 2011. Miraculously, that link still, or at any rate now, works.

A favourite posting featuring Dame Edna

As already reported, those who now dip into the Old Blog are no longer greeted with the Screen of the Red Death. But Google still says it’s “not secure”, and the whole point of this New Blog is it works far better, no matter what kind of hardware you are using. So, I’m still transferring stuff from the Old Blog to here, whenever the mood takes me.

Yesterday I transferred a particularly favourite posting, from way back in 2007, which featured a photo by me of a celebrity whom I encountered in Piccadilly Circus:

There is also, in this old posting, a photo of men wearing mankinis. Being photoed by others besides me, naturally.

All this happened on the one afternoon.

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.

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.

Two Big Thing alignments in one photo

This afternoon, I found myself at Oval Tube, seeing a man about a mobile phone. The weather was filthy, just short of actual heavy rain, so you’d think there’d not be a lot of photo-fun to be had, but actually I photoed several things of note.

The photos describe just one of these circumstances.

Okay. First, I’ve arrived at Oval tube (by bus rather than by tube ut the point is that’s where I was), and I crossed the road in the direction of the City of London, that being the direction we’re now looking:

Now, here comes the kill shot, the photo this posting is all about. I’m zooming in on the what you can only see above in the far distance:

Forget the filthy weather. Just look at what we’re seeing there. There are two major Big Thing alignments happening there, in just the one photo. Top right, Shard next to Strata. (Strata is the official name of the one with three holes in the top. The unofficial name is something like “Razor”, but that’s never really caught on, because too few people in London care about this Thing to bother naming it.)

And the other Big Thing alignment, below and to the left of the centre of the photo, is the Walkie-Talkie and the Scalpel. (Another version of this same alignment, from the actual Oval, can be seen in this posting.

I did two further photos of each separate alignment there, but separate photos defeats the point of what is really happening here, which is that both are in the same scene and the same photo.

Besides which, I already blogged about the Strata/Shard alignment, in this posting from 2014. Click on that and you’ll see that what I was looking for then was to get the Shard right behind the Strata.

I just copied this posting over from the Old Blog, so I could link back to it without inflicting upon you the Screen of the Red Death. You’re welcome.

However, there seems to be a problem with that earlier posting, which is that I appear to be in the wrong place, according to the map there. In the above photo, the Shard is alongside the Strata. The actual Shard is further away and a lot taller. In order to see the Shard above the Strata, I needed to be further away. Yes, I just checked the original directory of photos (actually photoed in 2012 (from which those photos for the 2014 were selected)). To get those I was actually nearer to Stockwell tube, i.e. much further away. So it wasn’t that I didn’t notice that both alignments were photoable in one photo; I wasn’t in the right place to see it.

Besides which, in 2012, and for matter in 2014, there was no Scalpel. It wasn’t finished until 2018. So, the other alignment was not then seeable from anywhere. I almost certainly have photos to prove that, but this posting is already way out of control, and needs to stop, now.

The Screen of the Red Death – and transferring postings from the Old Blog to this New Blog

My Old Blog now, if you click on it, greets you with this graphic horror:

Which puts me in mind of this old Vincent Price movie. No passing reader who happens upon that is going to go any further.

This Screen of the Red Death stuff never happened while I was still posting things at the Old Blog, but it did start happening a few months back. Just as well this New Blog was already in business. Well, in pleasure, anyway.

Ever since I began the New Blog, on May 1st 2019, I’ve been occasionally transferring stuff from the Old Blog to the New Blog, mostly beginning this exercise with the most recent stuff there, but earlier stuff also. And a regular trickle of people coming here do seem to read postings that have been transferred from the Old Blog. Especially the postings I’ve done about Emmanuel Todd, these having been among the first postings I transferred. Anyone who knows how to automate this process and would like to earn some extra dinner money, get in touch. But, warning: transferring stuff from “Expression Engine” to WordPress is complicated. Which is why I am doing it, for now, by hand, so to speak.

One particular thing that has driven this process forwards is that if I ever want to refer back to a posting on the Old Blog, I want never to oblige readers actually to go to the Old Blog, but rather to be able to read the posting here, me having transferred it to here before linking back to it. And that can get complicated, as I may or may not relate (I promise nothing), in a future posting here.

My favourite posting that is now here but used to be at the Old Blog is, I think, this one about Two geese. Or were they ducks? Whatever they were, geese or ducks, they were having a romantic interlude beside the River, and I photoed them.

Another perceptual flip to add to the collection – and why I find such things to be interesting

Yes, I do like these optical tricks that computer graphics makes it so easy for computer graphicists to play on the world.

Says Steve Stewart-Williams of his latest discovery in this genre:

If you cover the bottom of the ring, the top is closest to you; if you cover the top, it flips around.

Indeed. I clocked what was going on simply by scrolling, which I did because I wanted to see the whole thing, not because I had read what SS-W had said about it yet. But instead of seeing it all, I stopped seeing only the top and started seeing only the bottom, and … what he said.

A big part of the core curriculum of this blog, and of its predecessor, was and is something like: “How I see things and how other people seem to see things”. What do I particularly notice? What do you notice? Do you ignore what I notice?

Sculpture draws elaborate attention to itself. So does advertising. I notice both. Roof clutter and cranes don’t care how I or anyone thinks they look. They are just getting on with their jobs. Millions do not notice roof clutter and cranes, but I do, partly because of their unselfconsciously sculptural qualities. Do you ignore or notice some or all of such things? Chances are you do notice and enjoy noticing several if not all of these things, or you’d not be bothering with this blog. But if you ignore, I’m not complaining, just noticing. People vary, a lot.

See also, which is a generalised version of the above paragraph: Art.

But optical illusions are interesting, because, aside from being interesting for the usual fun reasons that people like them, we most of us tend to experience them in the exact same way. It would, for instance, be bizarre if you looked at the above-linked snatch of video and then wondered what the hell SS-W and I were both talking about. Sharing the same sorts of brains, I see most optical illusions in just the same way you see them. Assuming you share my interest in them at all and you see them at all.

Optical illusions thus celebrate what we all have in common. (Except those of us who don’t. Guess: Optical illusions, in addition to being fun, are also a tool to identify people with brain oddities or brain damage. ?)

Here is the previous one of these things that SS-W pointed me to.

Churchill War Rooms gallery

One of the nice things about people coming to stay is that you often find yourself visiting touristy but interesting things that you’d never quite get around to seeing on your own. Later, maybe, but not today. It’ll always be there won’t it?

Touristy things like: the Churchill War Rooms. In February of last year, nearly two years ago now, GodDaughter2’s Dad was in town, and that’s one of the places we went.

And I took the odd photo or two. Well, more like 350, of which here are 84:

A big spread of photos like that would have been an impossibly tedious operation to stick up at Brian Micklethwait’s Previous Blog, and an equally tedious business for you to be scrutinising. But now, here they all are, and you can do the usual, clicking through as quickly or as slowly as you like. Enjoy. Especially if you rarely or never visit London, and have no plans to see this place for real.

There’s a million things I could say about it. One of the more striking of the photos above is photo 33, which shows how thick the concrete was protecting everything, from all but the most direct of direct hits, that passage that you see having been drilled through afterwards, when they were turning these working spaces into a place people could visit and circulate around.

Other talking points? Well, lots of signs and souvenirs, often signs made into souvenirs, for sale in the inevitable gift shop. And also: signs that are not Original but Modern. Signs with lots of words. Which is appropriate, given how important Churchill knew words (see photo 80) to be.

Most of the human figures that you see are not real; they’re sculpted. And “Other creatures” is in the category list because, inevitably, there are bulldogs.

I did all the hard work for this posting before I got ill, and I’m still not fully recovered. So, please continue to wish me well.