Nelson statue in Greenwich

I remember the time well. It was when I first had a really nice camera, and I explored the banks of the River Thames, finding all manner of things that I never knew existed until I chanced upon them, camera in hand. This statue of Lord Nelson, for example, which is outside a pub called the Trafalgar Tavern, in Greenwich, which I encountered in July 2007:

The www offers two sorts of pictures of this statue. There are the ones that show his face and medals, with the Trafalgar Tavern behind his Lordship, often with the word Trafalgar carefully included. And there are the views from behind, like mine, which provide a modern background, in the form of the Docklands towers or the Dome.

I did take a front view of this statue, but it was totally ruined by my shadow blasting its way into the middle of the picture. The fact that I didn’t bother to retake that shot tells you that I preferred the modern background shots.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Seven London bridges (again)

I was very proud of this photo of seven London bridges …:

… when I first posted it here.

Today I took another photo of these same seven bridges:

I said I’d check this model of the City of London out, and today I did.

I wish this model included Westminster as well as the City, but it’s a model of the City.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

New Tricks is popular because it is full of old people and it is mostly old people who watch telly

While channel hopping in search of an entirely different TV channel earlier this evening, I happened to catch this snatch of dialogue, from the TV show New Tricks:

“When you’re looking for something, it’s always in the last place you look.”

“That’s because when you find it, you stop looking for it, you berk.”

Well, I laughed. And I reckon it’s an improvement on any of these.

I didn’t know New Tricks was such a success in foreign parts:

These curmudgeonly coppers, baffled by new technology, hating modern policing methods and clearly in no state to mount a rooftop chase, proved gripping to viewers across the globe.

Actually, it’s pretty obvious why New Tricks is so popular with TV viewers everywhere. It’s because TV viewers everywhere are mostly the same age as the curmudgeonly coppers in New Tricks, and at least twice the age of all the other cops on television.

Speaking as an oldie myself, I can tell you that jokes about not being able to remember where you put things speak to me, very loudly. Yesterday, my oldie friend was helping me with my Ryanair checking in (another thing not all oldies to put it mildly are very good at sorting out) and during this my debit card was required. So I produced it, from my wallet, and two seconds later I placed my wallet … into a black hole, and couldn’t for the life of me find it anywhere. It just totally vanished into thin air, into a parallel universe, with its entrance portal on the far side of the moon. And then it reappeared, on top of the plastic sugar jar.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A model of London now opening to the public

The Londonist is telling me that I should Visit This Incredible Model Of Central London, Newly Open:

For many years, a wonderful secret has resided in a basement beneath the Guildhall. This highly detailed 3D model of London, used by planners, developers and architects, has been off-limits to the public, except for rare open days. From 23 April it will be freely open every week for anyone who cares to take a look.

And you should take a look – it’s fascinating on many levels. Stretching from Holborn to Wapping, the scale model gives a superb overview of the different styles of architecture that make up central London. It also looks ahead, including any building that has received planning permission. Many towers under construction are here shown complete. Below we snapped the ‘Can of Ham’, soon to rise next to fellow picnic-able skyscraper, the Gherkin.

My first reaction, to the photos – not to the model itself (which I have yet to see) – is how very unrealistic it looks, despite (I’m sure) everything being the exact right size and shape. I’m not complaining, just saying. Models are often like that.

Not that I need convincing to visit this thing. Fridays and Saturdays, apparently. I’ve got various things coming up, so it may be a while before I get do this, but do it I definitely will. And when I do, expect more photos.

That the model includes everything that has received planning permission will sometimes mean temporarily including Things that are never actually built, merely permitted but then abandoned. Like the Helter Skelter, for instance. Which presumably had a starring role in this model, for a while.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Recent taxis with adverts photos

Yes, I’ve been continuing to photo taxis with adverts. Here are half a dozen of the most recent such snaps.

First up, further proof, if you need it, that the internet has not abolished television. People still like to be passively entertained, surprise surprise. But the internet is in the process of swallowing television, so that they end up being the same thing:

Next, become an accountant! Note how they include the word “taxi” in the advertised website, presumably to see whether advertising on taxis is worth it. Note to LSBF: I have no plans to become an accountant.

Note also the Big Things picture of London, something I always like to show pictures of here, and note also how out of date this picture is. No Cheesegrater, for a start:

Next up, a taxi advertising a book. I do not remember seeing this before, although I’m sure it has happened before:

Next, Discover America. I thought it already had been:

Visit a beach. I didn’t crop this photo at all, because I like how I tracked the taxi and its advert, and got the background all blurry, and I want you to see all that blurriness. Nice contrast between that and the bright colours of the advert. A little bit of summer in the grey old February of London:

Finally, a snap I took last night, in the Earls Court area. And now we’re back in the exciting world of accountancy, this time in the form of its Beautiful accounting software:

As you can see, it was pitch dark by the time I took this. But give my Lumix FZ200 even a sliver of artificial light and something solid to focus on, and it does okay, I think. A decade ago, that photo would have been an unusable mess.

I am finding that taxi advertising changes very fast these days. All of the above photos, apart from the one with the beaches, was of an advert I had not noticed before.

Which means that in future years, these taxi photos will have period value, because the adverts will have changed over and over again with the passing of only a handful of years.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Anti-drone drones

Indeed:

Anyone trying to fly a UAV over the outdoor sets where the next installment of the Star Wars saga is being filmed in Croatia might be met by drones owned by the production company.

I knew there were such things, but it’s good to actually read about them.

The fun really starts when drones on spy missions like this are also armed, so they can fight off the drones that attack them.

Drone v drone fighting is going to be a spectacular sport, just as soon as it starts getting organised.

When me and the Transport Blog gang visited the Farnborough Air Show, way back when we did, it was good, but it felt rather antiquated. Drone v drone contests – real contests – would liven that up no end.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Aerobots

This is cool, says Instapundit, and he’s not wrong:

For all his joie de vivre, Jardine is a master drone builder and pilot whose skills have produced remarkable footage for shows like Australian Top Gear, the BBC’s Into the Volcano, and a range of music videos. His company Aerobot sells camera-outfitted drones, including custom jobs that require unique specifications like, say, the capacity to lift an IMAX camera. From a sprawling patch of coastline real estate in Queensland, Australia, Jardine builds, tests, and tweaks his creations; the rural tranquility is conducive to a process that may occasionally lead to unidentified falling objects.

Simply put, if you’ve got a drone flying challenge, Jardine is your first call.

So, Mr Jardine is now flying his flying robots over volcanoes. There are going to be lots of calls to have these things entirely banned, but they are just too useful for that to happen.

When I was a kid and making airplanes out of balsa wood and paper, powered with rubber band propellers, I remember thinking that such toys were potentially a lot more than mere toys. I’m actually surprised at how long it has taken for this to be proved right.

What were the recent developments that made useful drones like Jardine’s possible? It is down to the power-to-weight ratio of the latest mini-engines? I tried googling “why drones work”, but all I got was arguments saying that it’s good to use drones to kill America’s enemies, not why they are now usable for such missions.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Magnificent The Wires! sculpture gets noticed because of a concrete temple next to it

Yes, a truly wonderful The Wires! sculpture gets long overdue recognition from Dezeen, on account of a lump of religious concrete being put next to it, by an architect.

The photographer clearly loves The Wires!:

But Dezeen’s writers are under strict orders.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful and intricate The Wires! are:

The rule is set in concrete.

Don’t mention The Wires!

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A new Grand Chose for Paris

More Dezeen catching up. And this time the news is that Paris is about to get its first truly Grand Chose since the Montparnasse Tower.

Paris is, in certain Parisian minds anyway, suffering from London Big Thing Envy, and they want to change the place.

“The change in regulations is a historic moment,” the architects told Dezeen. “Paris is cautiously allowing tall buildings back into the city.”

Like Ken Livingstone, who did so much to make London’s recent Big Things happen, some of the Parisians angling most powerfully for Grand Choses are socialists.

But Big Things fit right in in London. In London the antiquarian tendency is weak when confronted by the We Want More Office Space tendency. But in Paris, it is the other way around. Paris already has a look that lots of people like, and scattering Grand Choses all over it will radically change that look. London has always grown in big ugly bursts of money-making, which everyone then gets used to and decides they like, so Big Things are just the latest version of a regular London process. Paris was kind of perfect in the late nineteenth century, and since then it has been half city, half museum. It was then neither bombed nor redeveloped by socialist maniacs, as London was. It will be interesting to see if this transformation of Paris can be made to stick or whether it will be stopped in its tracks once again.

The opposition is gathering. This particular Grand Chose has already been dubbed a poor man’s Shard, and in truth it really does look like a cross between the Shard and this infamous North Korean structure.

See also this earlier posting about Paris here, here.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog