Dirty Land Rover in Soho

Yes, this is something you don’t often see in the middle of London:

You see plenty of Land Rovers in London. But not dirty Land Rovers.

Photoed by me in Dean Street, yesterday evening.

I wonder what the story of this particular Land Rover was. By which I mean: How did it get so dirty?

Perhaps it’s the latest hipster fad. Have a Land Rover, and periodically spray it with mud, so you look like … you aren’t what you are. Well, no, I actually think there probably was a good rather than stupid reason for this vehicle looking the way it did.

Fighting back against IO and dust

As I said earlier, a nasty old sofa is due to depart from Chateau BMdotcom, and nice new sofa is due to arrive. And as I also said, I hoped it would be in that order. Well, now it looks like the new sofa will be here tomorrow, while the old one is still here. This threatened chaos. In a place already suffering from severe infrastructural overload (aka IO, aka too much crap everywhere and nowhere to put new incoming crap), it’s all I can do to find space for a new copy of the BBC Music Magazine without it getting submerged. Yet today I managed to liberate enough space for another sofa and still have a large chunk of change, volumetrically speaking.

The secret was getting rid of a whole clutch of things like this:

The main things that such devices store are empty air, and dust. Lots and lots of dust.

I also found a pile of home-made versions of the same kind of thing, in which I had been storing more air and more dust, and (this time) nothing else:

That being about a decade’s worth of dust, going by all the bits of paper in the pile that I will soon be culling and compressing.

As one of my heroes, Quentin Crisp, once said, the secret with dust is not to stir it up. Do that, and you find yourself living in a dusty home. Just let it be and it behaves itself very politely.

I now learn (such is the internet) that what Crisp actually said was more like this:

There was no need to do any housework at all. After four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.

I actually do do some housework, mainly in my living room, so this doesn’t really apply to me and my home. But I like his attitude. That gag about being a “stately homo of England” is also a Crispism. The link above is to a large stack of verbal Crispnesses.

Back to my dust. To get rid of that dust, which did have to be got rid of because the receptacles containing it had to go, I had to carry them out of my bedroom very carefully, into the living room, and part of this involved stepping down from my bed to the floor. Imagine doing that with a tray full of drinks. But, all went well, and I have now liberated a hug gob of space which I had previously thought permanently clogged:

That will accommodate a lot of IO, in the days and weeks to come. Those two boxes on the right can go too, come to think of it. All they contain is big envelopes that I will never use and whose glue long ago stopped working.

Each time I have a campaign against IO, I think that I really have, this time around, completely run out of space. But, each time, it turns out that there’s more, lurking in plain sight.

A good day.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Eyes on its ears

It’s Friday, so you want cats and/or other creatures. So, what sort of other creature is this?:

It’s quite a puzzle isn’t it. I’m describing my question, but I’m also answering my question.

It was one of these.

It is rare that I categorise a posting as this and that. But this defies ordinary classification.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Heatwave jacket derangement syndrome

I don’t believe I am the only man to have been deranged by the heatwave in the manner I am about to describe, in fact I know that I am not, because I had one of those How-Very-True You’re-So-Right type conversations with GodDaughter2’s boyfriend, Only The Other Day, about exactly this matter.

I refer to the fact that I, and many other men, do not merely wear a jacket to fend off frigidity. We also wear it to carry stuff. It is our version of a handbag. In my case: wallet, cheque book and paying in cheques book (so I was born before you were – live with it) (both these items serve another purpose besides handling the financial instrument relics of the previous century, which is to fill up the pocket containing my wallet and stop the wallet falling out (which would be a catastrophe)), pen, purse, Old Git free London transport pass, keys, handkerchiefs, mobile phone, spectacle case with reading spectacles, spectacle case with spare camera batteries and spare SD cards (the latter for if I forget to put my regular SD card back in the camera), Disprins, cough sweets, regular sweets, eye allergy spray, and no doubt several other things I can’t now remember.

Unlike some men, I also carry an actual bag around with me on my travels, containing: a folder with paper to take notes, a shopping bag for if I shop, a camera, a book, a small bottle of fruit flavoured anti-dehydration liquid, any food I have bought, any spare garments I might need for if it gets colder, an umbrella, and even sometimes a laptop computer, on those days when I am in a mobile laptop computing sort of mood (although lately I have tended not to be in such a mood (too heavy)).

But, transferring all the clobber described in paragraph two above into the bag, and into the midst of all the clobber described in paragraph three above, is a serious derangement, not least because the bag gets far too full. For remember, what if, late at night, if the heatwave abates, I need the jacket? I have to have the jacket in the bag, just in case, even though it is far too hot to wear it and in fact, throughout the heatwave, it remained so. So, with everything now in an unfamiliar place, much of it buried under other bits of it, all the usual reflexes stop working. Nothing is any longer where it usually is. I start suffering from that frightful female syndrome of digging about inside the bag, frantically trying to find whatever it is. Which may in fact be in one of my trouser pockets, or maybe even my shirt pocket, for goodness sake. Oh God, where’s my wallet (which contains all sorts of priceless stuff which I dare not even itemise (see above))?!?! Etc..

Today, the heatwave sort of ended, as in: the weather oscillated between pleasantly warm and somewhat warmer. But unfortunately the London Underground didn’t get the email containing the link to the short-term weather forecast, and chose to remain full of the horribly hot air that it had been accumulating throughout the previous fortnight, or however long it’s been.

But the discomfort I suffered was the discomfort of wearing my jacket when it was rather hot. That I can live with.

But worse, just like the London Underground, I too found myself suffering a systemic hangover from the previous period of high temperature hell. Earlier this evening I was in a pub, and when my pubbing was done, I picked up my bag, and visited the toilet, prior to leaving. Luckily, while there, I realised that I had left my jacket on the back of the seat that I had been sitting on. I reclaimed it, seemingly unmolested by plunderers, except that … hell’s bells, my wallet wasn’t in it! It was, of course, in the bag, where I had recently been learning instead to put it.

It’ll be a few more days before I recover my usual calm and suave demeanour, when out and about.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Getting old – BBC Music – Lego Tower Bridge – etc.

One of the problems of getting old is that it becomes gradually harder to do more than one thing in a day. This being why my daily postings here are often rather perfunctory.

This morning, for instance, I had a most enjoyable meeting with a friend, and then, the weather being so good, I went wandering about in Soho. That’s two things there, right away. Now, all I am capable of is rather incoherent rambling about nothing very much.

I did, while meandering about in the south of Oxford Street area, finally manage to track down the latest issue of the BBC Music (by which is meant classical music) magazine, which is getting harder to come by with every year that passes. Another symptom of advancing years being that it gets harder to buy the things that you particularly like, as others who also like that thing die off.

But, good news: the BBC’s preferred best performance of the Beethoven Hammerklavier Sonata was a rather obscure recording by the rather obscure pianist, Peter Serkin, who is the less famous son of the famous pianist Rudolf Serkin. I have so many CDs that I often can’t be sure whether I own some particular CD or not, and so it was with this one. But after some rootling around, I discovered that I do possess this CD. I love it when that happens.

And yes, since you ask, I am influenced by critics. If someone who knows the piece in question very well thinks that this or that performance is very, very good, then I know that I will at least want to hear this performance, even if I don’t end up sharing the critic’s high opinion, which often I do. This recommendation means I will now listen to this CD again.

The other thing I did was take a close look at a camera that I have been tempted by, but will probably not be buying, although it was interesting. This was in a shop called Park Cameras in Rathbone Place.

Inside Park Cameras Rathbone Place I also took this photo, with the camera that I already possess:

Good to encounter a new bridge of interest, even if it is only a miniature Lego version of an old bridge. I have no idea why such a bridge was in Park Cameras Rathbone Place, but I wasn’t complaining.

I get the distinct impression that a golden age of bridge building arrived about thirty or forty years ago, but has now departed. I just picture googled new bridge, and I mostly got bridges I have known about for quite a while.

I digress.

Self storage is a strange expression

Yes. I ran it by Adriana plus her Plus One (Perry de H), at that feast I reported on yesterday, and it turns out that I’m not the only one who finds the phrase “self storage” …

… to be rather odd. (That’s this.)

I know what self storage is. It’s the name given to the process of ridding your self of some of the crap by which your self is currently surrounded and impeded, without actually chucking it away irrevocably. In particular, when your self is in between locations, or when your self has moved from a big place to a smaller place, your stuff, or your excess stuff, needs to be stored somewhere.

But self storage, taken literally, sounds like you are parking your self in a warehouse and for the duration, your life will consist only of all the extraneous crap.

You become like a zombie or something. I can understand people wanting to put their mere selves to one side while earning a living. That might make a rather profitable business. But while actually, you know, … trying to live … ?


Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog