I’ve already featured a photo of No. 1 Croydon here. And here is another photo here of a small poster featuring this favourite-building-of-mine, which shows that I am not the only one with a special place in my heart for this building.
But neither photo was photoed during a deliberate expedition to Croydon. The first was photoed only when I was doing a change at a Croydon Station, on my way back home from Epsom Race Course. And the second, of a little poster, is not anywhere near Croydon. I spotted it in the company of Michael Jennings, a walk away from where he lives, out east.
Follow the first link above to see the way that No.1 Croydon is usually photoed, in splendid isolation. What I did was photo it in context, in the spirit of the second of these two photos, the one by Michael Jennings of that Gehry Museum in Bilbao.
Photo 6 is like my earlier photo, just not as flattering. And photo 7 may be a reflection (photo 8 is definitely a reflection) of No.1 Croydon, in some windows. Not sure, but I think it is. I only really included those two to make up the numbers. Seven photos would have to be in a line. Nine photos make a nice square, which I prefer.
Photo 5 includes lots of wires in the foreground, another favourite phenomenon of mine. These are wires for Croydon’s trams, as you can just about make out.
Yesterday I visited Croydon, and one of the more entertaining things I saw and photoed was this, of the frosted glass windows of the exit that rises slowly up from East Croydon station platform towards the main entrance:
Which is London’s most remarkable Big Thing? The Shard? The Gherkin? The Wheel? The BT Tower? The Walkie Talkie? The new and biggest one one still known only as 22 Bishopsgate? I hereby nominate: The Helter Skelter.
The two remarkable things about the Helter Skelter, a representation of which is to be seen in the above photo on the right, is, first, that it was never built, but, second, that the way it would have looked if it had been built still lingers. It certainly lingers here.
The expression “can’t wait” is overused, by people who can wait easily enough but who would rather they weren’t having to. But, those designers whose job it was at that particular moment in London’s history to plug London, by reproducing selections of its Big Things, actually could not wait until the Helter Skelter was finished before they started incorporating its presumed likeness into their designs.
But the fact that almost all the internetted photos of this building look like that is misleading.
Here is a corrective, in the form of the exact sort of photo of this building that the pros earn their money by doing the exact opposite of:
Yet one more illustration of a belief I have long held about us amateur photoers, which is that we amateur photoers often tell you more about how a building actually looks, if you actually go there, than many of the photos carefully contrived by the professionals.
Everything depends now on the cost. Can you get further, for less, with one “filling”? If so, then there follows the rapid switch, followed presumably by a price hike (to stop regular electricity bills going through the roof and (worse) regular electricity supplies being buggered up and to encourage popular demand for new power stations (surely including nuclear)), followed by the slow but sure demise of the petrol car.
I take the point made in the comments on the earlier posting about how this will cause demand for electricity to rise. Nevertheless, a step-by-step process is easily imaginable, unlike with electric scooters going more than trivially faster than regular scooters. Electric scooters of a speed worth bothering with will require infrastructural upheaval. The difference between building this charging station, and that power station, repeatedly, each in just the one place, and on the other hand re-building the entire road system, all gazillion miles of it, to the disadvantage of all larger vehicles (definitely including electric cars), at huge expense, is all the difference.
Castelnou is a small and impossibly picturesque hill town in the lower reaches of the Pyrenees, in the far south of France. GodDaughter2’s parents and I went by car, just over five years ago now, in May 2016, to check it out. And yes, the weather was as marvellous in Castelnou as it has recently been unmarvellous in London.
Nowadays, I find that my expeditions have as their officially designated destination a spot where I have arranged to meet up with a friend and exchange chat, rather than just a particular physical place I especially want to check out. But as my death approaches, not as fast as I feared it would last Christmas but still faster than I had previously supposed that it would, I find that mere Things, in London or anywhere else, aren’t enough to make me get out of the house at the time previously determined. Partly this is because if I fail to arrive at the Thing at the planned time, the Thing won’t ring me up and ask me where I got to, whereas people are inclined to do just that. And partly because the Internet tells you lots about Things, whereas actually meeting people bestows knowledge and pleasures more profound and subtle than you could obtain by any other communicational means.
The point of this Castelnou expedition was that it was with GodDaughter2’s parents, not that it was to Castelnou. Castelnou was just an excuse for us all to spend time with each other, plus it gave us things to talk about.
But of course, once in Castelnou, I photoed photos galore, of which these are just a few:
A few more things to say.
First, there are cats and dogs involved (as well as a bird statue), hence this posting appearing here on a Friday. The cats were very friendly and sociable. The dogs were more cautiously proprietorial, but none were aggressive. Which I think reflects well on us tourists. We all behave well towards these creatures, and they behaved towards us accordingly.
Second, what’s wrong with being a tourist? I am sure that “tourists” have been featured on the popular TV show Room 101. But if I was ever on Room 101 I would want to banish from the world “tourists who complain about all the other tourists”. Tourism is a fine thing, enjoyable for those of us who do it or we wouldn’t keep doing it, and profitable for those who cater to our needs. Many good things happen because of us tourists. Besides all the deserving people who get to earn a living from it, there are the conversations that tourists have with the locals whom they encounter, and with each other, which can sometimes have have wonderfully creative consequences. Many an economic success story has started with a conversation involving tourists. Tourists bring the world, as it were, to particular places, and places into contact with other places, and thereby are able to provoke creative thoughts that would otherwise not have occurred to anyone.
Does tourism “spoil” places like Castelnou? Hardly. I’ll bet you Castelnou is a much happier, prettier and more interesting place than it was before it started attracting tourists.
And finally, Castelnou is a fine example of an aesthetic process that fascinates me more and more, which is the way that when an architectural style first erupts, it is hated, but then when it settles back into being only a few surviving ruins, people find that same style, to quote my own words in the first sentence of this posting, impossibly picturesque. Castelnou began as a castle, which then gathered dwellings around it. And you can bet that the people in the vicinity of this castle hated it and feared it, that being the whole idea. But once the castles stopped being built in such numbers and when the castles that survived began turning into ruins, they then also turned into objects of affection, first for locals, and then, even more, for visitors from many miles away.
Tangenting somewhat, I was yesterday predicting that the next wave of architectural fashion is going to be a lot more colourful. And it is. But, lots of people will, for as long as this new fashion lasts and seems to be on the march (the military metaphor is deliberate), hate that fashion, and regret the passing of the drearily monochromatic tedium that they now only grumble about (because that is now still on the march).
Is Castelnou perchance the French, or maybe the Catalan, for Newcastle? Sounds like it to me.
Yesterday’s posting got nearly all the way to the finishing line, but I failed to push the “publish” button. Which I expect threw your whole morning out of kilter. I mean, if you can’t rely on another inconsequential posting from BrianMicklethwaitDotCom, what can you rely on? Anyway, it’s up now, and here is another posting on the same theme. Yesterday’s was about a crowd of people now, and here’s another photo of other crowds:
Only this time they are crowds of people in the air, in airplanes, one of the airplanes being the one I was in.
But alas, I did not photo this photo at all recently. Judging by the sky over London nowadays, such an aerial traffic jam still could not now be happening anywhere.
The particular one in the above photo was seen over the Channel, just after these photos were photoed.
Air traffic control must be a pretty easy job just now. Let’s hope it starts getting a lot harder, very soon.
For the last few weeks, a strange glitch has been afflicting this blog, involving spacing. If I stick up just the one photo, stretching all the way across the width of the blog’s column of text, all is well. But if I stick up a gallery of photos, which is something I very much like doing, there has been a problem. Too much space was suddenly, ever since a recent software update or some such thing, created below the gallery. Any attempt I made to remove this space only resulted in further spatial havoc below, in the form of too much space between subsequent paragraphs of text.
But now, either because the guardians of this software have sorted this out, or because the technical curator of this blog, Michael Jennings, has sorted this out, things are back to how they were. Good. Very good. I attach great importance to how this blog looks. If it looks wrong, I hate that. It demoralises me and makes me want to ignore the damn thing rather than keep on updating it the way I actually do. This was especially so given that galleries look so very good when they are working properly.
Well, as I say, things have now reverted to their previous state of visual just-so-ness. And I will now celebrate, with yet another gallery:
The above gallery, however, is not a gallery of my photos, but rather a gallery of photos photoed by Michael Jennings, all, I believe, with his mobile phone. Not having got out much lately, I have found the photos Michael has photoed while taking exercise, and then stuck up on Facebook, reminding me of how my beloved London has been looking, to be a great source of comfort during the last few months. And I actually like photoing in his part of London more than I do in my own part. This may just be familiarity breeding something like contempt, but is still a definite thing with me.
I started out having in mind to pick just four photos, which makes a convenient gallery. Then I thought, make it nine. I ended up with twenty four. It would have been twenty five (also a convenient number), except that one of the ones I chose was a different shape, which might have complicated things, so I scrubbed that one from the gallery.
But you can still look at that one. Because none of this means that you need be confined only to my particular favourites. Go here and keep on right clicking to see all of them.
I have displayed my picks here in chronological order, the first of the above photos having been photoed in October of last year. The final photo (which is what you get to if you follow the second link in the previous paragraph), of the church, which I learned of today, and which is the only one done outside London, is something of a celebration, of the fact that Michael is now able to travel outside London without breaking any rules, or such is my understanding. (Plus, I like those unnatural trees (see also photo number 9)).
Patrick Crozier, the man I do recorded conversations with (see the previous post), is a particular fan of Viscount Alanbrooke, Churchill’s long suffering chief military adviser during WW2. So he’ll like that this church is where Alanbrooke is buried.
Having the previous day taken off from London City Airport, I am in Belle Isle, off the coast of Brittany. It is the summer of 2014. The light is especially strong. I notice some reflections:
If I had never seen sunlight bounced off water onto another surface in this way, would I ever have imagined that it could look like that? Like some sort of net? Seriously, it’s like these reflections are constructed out of string, just like nets. The effect is particularly strong in the second of the seven photos above. There are even knots to be seen. Weird.
But, I didn’t listen to all of it. I know I didn’t listen to all of it because there were big jumps in the score. Shubman Gill went from being about fifty not out, to having been out quite a while ago for nearly a hundred. Pant did another huge jump and a couple of Indian wickets fell, in a similar memory-hole fashion, later in the “day”.
This is not a posting trying to make you like cricket. But, one very interesting feature of cricket is how statistically detailed the unfolding of the story is, and always has been. Football can go from 1-0 with an early goal, to 1-0 with no further goals, to 1-0 as in the early scoring team wins it. You could be listening to the radio commentary and nod off a bit, and not even really be sure that you had nodded off.
But cricket scoring never stops dead like that. Runs are continuously scored, wickets keep falling. Miss out on an hour of that, and you immediately realise that you missed a huge chunk.
So it is that I absolutely know for sure that I didn’t listen to all of the India v Australia cricket last night. I listened to India making a solid start, in their chase for over three hundred in the day. I definitely caught the end, when India won it. But for big bits in between, I was … asleep.
With sleep, the difference between a bit and none can be all the difference. For cricket lag, the cricket version of jet lag, to set in thoroughly, you need to be wide awake exactly when you shouldn’t be. In my recent experience, a bursting bladder, by requiring you to be physically active, is surer way to doing that then merely dozing in a bed, listening to cricket in foreign parts, parts of it.
Will I get a good night’s sleep tonight? At the regular time? Because of the above, I do not rule out the possibility.
I don’t know why I like this photo, which I photoed a year and two days ago, in Thuir in the south of France. But here it is anyway:
Is it simply that the chairs are so nice? Is it the confident way they present themselves, confident that they are nice chairs, and confident that no vehicle will attack them?
I seem to recall being on the lookout for chairs at that time. Chairs rather like those. But of course buying some of these chairs and then trying to ship them back to England was out of the question. Any chairs I buy have to be on sale in London. Did all that have something to do with liking this photo?
It occurs to me that I am fond of arguing that modernism has totally triumphed indoors. And it mostly has.
But these chairs didn’t get the memo. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to get these chairs out of my mind since photoing them. They contradicted, by their very existence, one of my pet theories.