Came across this in the New York Times, New York being where this double sculpture is to be seen, or was in January of last year:
The internet wander that took me to these sculptures began with the Diamond Geezer, who, in this posting, says:
Mon 16: A sculpture of a dog and a rabbit on a bike has appeared at Canary Wharf, entirely off the radar of the usual websites and social media influencers who’d normally be going nuts over it (because nobody’s getting out and about any more).
That got me to Gillie and Marc, who made this double thing. There I saw a photo of a sculpture of a pack of photoer dogs could learn no more about that there, so I did an image search, and that got me to the New Yorker piece linked to above, with the above photo at the top of it.
Two photos I took within moments of each other at Vauxhall Station, in January 2011:
I show you that one because I really like it. The Three-Eyed Elephant-and-Castle Tower looked particularly good when isolated, as it no longer is, and when framed by stuff in the foreground.
And then there’s this one, which does not score nearly so well for artistic effect, but which does show you that the Shard was then in the process of being constructed:
There the Shard is, or at any rate what they’d so far done of the concrete spine of it, on the left.
I can remember having friendly disagreements with Michael Jennings about whether they’d actually build that Thing, despite all their protestations that they would. I thought they’d build it, because I’m a pathological optimist. He doubted it, because he did. Because of that, the building will always have, for me, a slightly miraculous quality about it. Michael only had to have been a bit more right than he was (and we are talking about a man who is very right indeed about a lot of things), and like the Helter Skelter, the Shard might never have happened.
I was out and about in the Victoria Station area this morning, and it was very cold and very bad photoing light. But, taxis with adverts usually photo well. I saw two taxi adverts I’d not see before.
This, for perfume:
And this, for I don’t know what, but I’d not seen it before:
It had the look of the sort of advert that only happens when when the real advertising is happening a lot less, and they have spare slots going.
Because, that was my overriding impression. Hardly any taxis with adverts, whether I’d seen them before or not. And lots of taxis without adverts:
The ratio was about three or four to one, no advert to advert.
Then, the clincher:
That’s right, a taxi with an advert for taxi adverts. A taxi advert in both senses, in other words. An advert for taxi adverts, on a taxi.
So, here is just another business going through very bad times. Has anyone, I wonder, committed suicide because he’s in the taxi advert business, and is heading for unavoidable financial disaster? It’s not a silly question.
There are just fewer people, and in particular far fewer high spenders and deciders-of-these-things, wandering about in London being influenced by such adverts.
I hear conflicting rumours and stories about just how bad, medically speaking, the Coronavirus story really is. In particular, I am hearing that it’s not just deaths that are freaking out the decision-makers, but the serious and often long-term damage done to people who don’t die. But I am still strongly of the belief that the cure is one hell of a lot more damaging than the disease.
Mick Hartley has been checking out the Alexandra Palace part of London. And his basic point in this posting is that real birds perching on the heads of pretend birds is quite amusing. But then he includes this photo, like it was an afterthought that was too good to ignore, which has nothing to do with birds perching on other birds:
So far as I can tell, this tree looks entirely different from how it would have looked if humans hadn’t constantly been decided where each bit of it would go next.
Whether that’s right or not, I for one am very sure that trees are usually much more interesting when they aren’t smothered in leaves. This one definitely is.
Spotted by me this afternoon, as soon as I set out to the Medical Centre:
That’s two dogs there, and two e-scooters. You can tell they’re e-scooters rather than just scooters, because of the wires, and because what couple, with dogs, would have, you know, scooters? That they had to push along? Also, they walked right past me, and I got a close look.
This charmingly convivial scene doesn’t tell us that e-scooters will survive the resumption of, if you get my meaning, London. When the traffic finally roars back, will e-scooters be safe enough for such people? I now somewhat doubt it. But maybe they’ll find their niches, in the quieter and more bike-friendly bits of London, like the bit where I live, the quiet bit between Horseferry Road and Vauxhall Bridge Road and north (or is it east?) towards Vincent Square. I saw several other e-scooter drivers today, including, rather interestingly, a guy with an e-scooter which had a wider platform than usual, so he could stand with his feet next to each other, in the manner of this gizmo.
What the above photo does tell us is that there are maybe more people than is widely realised who would like e-scooters to have a future in London. This couple are not your normal e-scooter drivers, burly singleton types speeding to and from work, or with rucksacks on their backs and delivering at speed. These two look like they’ve settled down, and would like that settling down to include e-scooters.
Like I’ve been saying for months now, we shall see.
Things here have been a bit casual today, so here’s a quota photo to beef things up, of the I Just Like It sort:
This mysterious photo was photoed by me somewhere in the Centre Point Covent Garden sort of area of London, in May 2015. I don’t think I have ever done a blog posting about it before. I think that because I still don’t know what I could possibly have said about it, and I don’t know now either. What does it mean? He really wants to see what is in front of him, and what’s behind him, is all I can think of.
It looks like a rather old photo, from the sixties or some such antique time, and maybe rather famous. But, what do I know?
I like the L-plate. Riding that would take a bit of learning.
The basic reason I do personal blogging has always been that I don’t want any constraints placed by some agenda, in my case a political one, on what I consider to be interesting, or beautiful, or amusing, or interesting, or just likeable in some indefinable way. The rule I try to stick to is: Never, if I actually do not, say what I think or feel that I am supposed to think or feel. If that results in “contradictions” between things I consider of interest, so be it.
All of which is a preamble to saying that I hope I never stop doing postings like this one, with photos like this:
All of the above photos were photoed in March of 2012, on the way to (photo 1), on the way from (photo 28), or at or from (photos 2-27) the Royal Victoria Docks, which are out beyond Docklands. This evening, I came across a little directory, where I’d put them all, with something like this in mind. All the work of selecting had been done. So here they all are. And yes, you are right, I do have very conventional tastes in sunsets, with interesting things in the foreground. But if you ever decide to dislike something you like, because other people also like it, more fool you.
I love how shoving up great clutches of photos like this is so much easier than it was at the old blog, and that it is easy for you to click through them, if you want to, just as slowly or as quickly as you like, without a lot of backwards-and-forwards-ing. I don’t think that’ll ever get old.
Two Big Things were, at that particular moment, under construction. They were finishing up with The Shard, and they were building that weird cable car thing across the River, having, in March 2012, got as far as building the towers but being yet to attach the cables or cable cars.
One of my favourite Things at these docks is the new footbridge they built across it. It’s great to look at, and it’s great to look from.
I really hope that by the time half decent weather returns, some time around March 2021, I’ll be in a fit state to take advantage of it, and do more of this kind of photo-perambulating.
While rootling through the archives today, I came upon these two photos, of a single decker train and a double decker train, photoed within a few minutes of each other in Quimper, Brittany, in 2018:
On the left, a single decker train. On the right a double decker train.
Earlier this year I did a posting in which I ruminated upon the appeal of, but the disadvantages of, double decker trains. The above photo illustrates the problems of double decker trains rather well, I think.
Basically, a lot of bother, to achieve an only rather small increase in capacity.
That earlier posting was also about how much less clunky trains have become since when I was a kid in the fifties and sixties. But double decker trains must necessarily remain clunky, to support that upper deck, and to get people up to and down from it. Commenters Crozier and Jennings concurred, which was reassuring.
It’s a different story when it comes to long distance trains. For them, where there’s not so much getting on and off per journey, double decker carriages make more sense.
When out-and-about yesterday afternoon, I lost count of the e-scooters I saw. These are about half of them, or so, maybe less. The photo-quality is rubbish, because I was usually busy photoing something else, and because, on London’s currently very empty roads, these things go really quite fast, and are usually past me before I even notice them. My speciality is static stuff, like architecture and sculpture and signs and photoers photoing and taxies-with-adverts stopped at traffic lights. E-scooters are seldom static, and when they are I tend not even to see them:
The best photo of an e-scooter by far that I photoed yesterday showed a very clear face of the person doing the e-scooting. Since there are legal uncertainties about whether and where these things are allowed, I didn’t show that one.
As Lockdown drags on, I become ever more impatient to learn whether these machines have any long term future in a traffic-heavy city like London. Lockdown has created very e-scooter-friendly circumstances on London’s roads, but that cannot last. I am zero-ing in, in my autodidactic way, on a law of transport, which says that all vehicles are really systems. You can invent a superbly clever vehicle. But if the right environment for it does not exist, or is the kind of environment that the powers-that-be are not inclined to create, then it’s no go. Steam locomotives are obviously also railway networks. Cars and lorries are, almost equally obviously, road networks, for which, in the early days of the car, there was huge political backing. Bicycles likewise need bicycle networks, or at the very least laws restraining the cars and lorries from running them over on what is basically their network.
Perhaps my waning enthusiasm for e-scooters is linked with the near miss I was subjected to very recently by a delivery e-scooter, e-scooting on the pavement I was slowly walking along. He was in a big hurry and had he hit me, I’d have suffered serious damage. I can remember when such behaviour was fairly common with juvenile-delinquent propelled bicycles, but someone or something seems to have taught some manners to the scumbag cycler fraternity in recent years. The e-scooting people will have to learn similar lessons if they want any help from the politicians, to create an e-scooter network. The e-scooting people I see, in London SW1, are almost none of them juvenile delinquent in demeanour or dress. They all seem like hard-working young citizens. That delivery guy is the nearest to an e-scooter delinquent I’ve encountered, but he too was working, very hard indeed, which is what caused the problem. Needless to say, I had no time at all to take any photos. He wasn’t stopping to apologise, quite the opposite. If he’d hit me, he’d have done a hit-and-run escape, assuming he was able to.
Once anecdotes like that start circulating, the politics of e-scooting will become more like the politics of knife crime. As in: Why the hell isn’t it being stopped?