Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.


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Monday October 12 2015

I’ve been photoing a lot of taxis-covered-in-adverts lately, and this is one of my recent favorites, both because if came out so well in such discouraging light (my camera is not called “Lumix” for nothing) and because it is of that generic thing, an advert for adverts.  You want to stick an advert on your taxi.  This is who to contact:


I also like the big old advert behind.

As for the adverts on taxis, the thing I notice is that they are now often very temporary.  You associate adverts on vehicles with permanence, or I do.  On a taxi, you advertise a product which isn’t going to change for the next few years, like a drink or a holiday destination or an estate agency, right?  Well, not so much now.  Now, you often see adverts on taxis that are for events.  Here, for instance, is one I have been noticing recently:


Now that I look at this carefully, I see that although a big fuss is being made of London Fashion Week, this is actually an advert for one of its sponsors, Sunglass Hut, which didn’t vanish on September 22nd, just because London Fashion Week folded its tents on that date.  Nevertheless, if this London Fashion Week advert hangs around for a few months, it will look very out-od-date, and Sunglass Hut with it, which is surely not what they will want or will allow.  It will be interesting to see if this advert is still to be seen, say, around Christmas or after.  My guess would be not.

While doing this posting, I actually found out about Verifone Media for the first time.  Blog and learn.

Sunday October 11 2015

Man on horseback – and cranes

As quite often happens, some of the better pictures I took on my recent Richmond expedition were taken right at the beginning, near to where I live.

When I set out last Thursday, I found that a new bike lane is being constructed along my side of Vauxhall Bridge Road, which has caused my usual bus stop for making my way to Vauxhall Station to be abolished.  On my way back, I discovered that this bus stop had simply been moved back up Vauxhall Bridge Road a bit.  Had I turned right instead of left at Vauxhall Bridge Road that Thursday morning, I would quickly have found the relocated bus stop.  Instead, I turned left, and walked across the river to the station.

With the result that I saw the strange sight of a man on horseback, beside the river (it was the final remaining one of these four).  That having got me into the swing of photoing, I also, just before entering the station, photoed a rather fetching (because of the light lighting them and the sky behind them) crane cluster, craning away between Vauxhall and Waterloo.


The cranes, I decided, needed to have some buildings to their left cropped off of them, which turned the snap into a square.  And the man on horseback also worked as a square.  So, squares they are.  Click on them, and you get bigger squares.

What I particularly like about the cranes is how vertical they mostly are.

Saturday October 10 2015

I feel an orthodoxy developing.  Former England rugby international Austin Healey:

For now, let’s postpone the period of introspection and focus on maintaining what has the potential to be the best World Cup ever. Even with the final few pool matches to be played, it has been the best tournament in terms of attendance and the overall quality.

There you go.  We may be crap at playing these games, but we invented them all, and we have lots of great stadiums.  We know how to organise a game, even if we can no longer play it.

Plus, we have lots of immigrants from everywhere on the planet to come and cheer for everyone taking part.  We do tend to hate and fear foreigners quite a lot, especially in large clumps, but not as much as the damn foreigners do.  Which is what passes for friendliness, in the world now.  And these are not the kind of foreigners who want to live here in huge numbers of one nationality, and to corrupt our women and steal our jobs and defraud our welfare system.  (None of that applies to England’s football fans, who seem to be about two percent scum of the earth, which can rather spoil things.)

As for me, I find that I really am enjoying this jamboree.  I am enjoying all the pent-up anger of England’s anti-Lancaster tendency (I like to think of them “Yorkists"), who have been biting their tongues for the last few months, but who are now letting it all spill out.  Their ire seems mostly concentrated on Lancaster’s dithering and bizarre selection decisions, which have indeed seemed peculiar even to an ignorant onlooker like me.

Also, freed from the torture of hope, I find I am settling down to enjoy the rugby.  This afternoon’s game, for instance, is looking like an absolute belter.  As of now, with the clock having just past 35 minutes of the first half, it stands at 23-23.  Correction, make that 26-23, to Samoa, against Scotland.  Next up, Wales v Oz, and then England v Uruguay.

In the latter game, if all goes well, England will capture that vital third place in the group spot, and thereby qualify for the next World Cup in Japan.

Friday October 09 2015

Later on, in Richmond, still beside the river, but upstream, practically in the country, I espied a cat.  Here is the context, and the cat:


In other cat-related news, 6k did a cat-related posting for me to link to last Friday.  He mentioned me in the first line, and then showed one of my photos, but I only realised that there was cattery later in the posting too late for last Friday so I had to wait a week.  He went on to mention that video of that giant white fluffy Goodie stroke James Bond villain kitten attacking the BT Tower.  Said 6k:

Yes. Kittens were huge (literally) in popular culture, even before the internet was around.

Very true.

And if Brian reads this before the end of the day, he’s got a lovely Feline Friday tie-in opportunity with his post from yesterday.

Better a week late than never.  (There is also a cat connection in this posting, which is about the head of another sort of big cat.)

6k is taking a bit of a break, or so he says.  I’ll still keep checking in, just to see.  “For personal reasons”.  Ah yes, there are lot of those about, rampaging the earth, closing blogs and generally causing havoc.  Me, I try to avoid having personal reasons.

Another favourite blogger of mine features more cattery here, in the form of East End high end graffiti.

Thursday October 08 2015

When I photo a scene, I like to get other people’s screens into my pictures:


The weather was grim and grey today, when I took the above snaps, but the paintings were bright!

Painting.  Before computers, this was how they did Photoshop.

Wednesday October 07 2015

This light, which is in my bedroom, …:


… is behaving strangely.  Strangely in a way that quite a lot of lights behave, come to think of it.  But it’s still strange.

I refer to the fact that when I switch it on, it never actually comes on.  I have to manhandle it, by reaching up to it with my late uncle’s cricket bat.  I push it around a bit, until it comes on.  Then, it stays on, until I switch it off, with the switch.  When I switch it on again, again with the switch, again, it again never works, and it’s cricket bat time, again.  Every time.

Just now, I switched it on, jiggled it on with the cricket bat, and then switched it off, straight away.  Then switched it on again, again straight away.  Nothing.  Only further jiggling made it work, again.

It would seem that the mere physical position of the bulb and the socket is not the point.  The point is that once a connection is made, it stays made.  But once the connection is broken, it remains broken.  It’s like the electricity is a radio signal that has to be tuned into.  Once tuned in, it stays tuned in.  To tune it in, you have to “point” it in the right direction.  Merely cranking up the electricity doesn’t do it.

And like I say, I think this happens quite a lot, with quite a lot of lights.  What is this about?  Does anyone else have experiences like this?  And whether they do or not, what causes this?  Anyone?

Tuesday October 06 2015

August 15th of this year was a good photography day for me.  I did particularly well on the Blokes photoing front, although I’m not sure if all the male humans here pictured are actually Blokes.  Bottom Middle and Bottom Right definitely.  But Top Middle and Top Right are probably what you’d call Guys.  Bottom Left might well be a Gent, if we looked at his face, and the face of his lady.  And as for Top Left, well, you decide.

image image image
image image image

Once again, I have confined myself to subjects whose faces are not visible.  Apart from the subject Top Left.  That Top Left one was taken in one of my favourite Strange London Places, which is the little market space, off to the left of the trains (as you look towards the trains) in the concourse of Charing Cross Station.  From it, you can then walk along the side of the street towards the river, but at about second floor level, looking down on the street, until you arrive at the down-stream half of the new Hungerford Footbridges, which are on both sides of the old Hungerford railway bridge.  It’s one of my favourite little London walks.

The two definite Blokes are both photoing Big Ben, I think.  The Bloke holding a “selfie stick” is, I believe, not actually using it as a selfie stick.  I’m pretty sure he is photoing what’s in front of him rather than himself.  Big Ben, in other words.  Could he be far-sghted?

The fountain, being photoed by a Guy, is the one outside the Royal Festival Hall.  The other Guy is photoing that Citroen DS23 that has already been shown here.

The bald Gent photo is not technically very good. But he too is photoing Big Ben, as you can see on his screen, which is what makes the photo non-banal.

Nobody ever comments on my photo-collections-of-photoers postings.  Which makes me suspect that I am the only one here who really likes them.  But, that’s all it takes for a posting here to be a posting.

Monday October 05 2015

Photoed by me last night, at Southwark tube station:


Next to the ticket barrier at Southwark tube there are a number of these little history lessons, of which this was my favourite.  This is the kind of thing you can usually chase up quickly on the internet, and find a fuller account of.  But, my googling abilities are such that I can find no reference to this fish-discouragement story.  Anyone?

Sunday October 04 2015

England got dumped out of their own Rugby World Cup last night.  Not having had any great hopes for England this time around, I was not that distraught, but I do regret this.  I have nothing original to add to what all the proper commentators are saying.


That’s a photo I took earlier this evening.  I find newspaper front pages to be excellent souvenirs, when I look back at them, months or years later.

I do, however, have an observation to offer about London soccer.  Here is a list of the London teams (all of which I support (but Spurs the most)) in the Premier League: Arsenal, Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford (is Watford a London club? - don’t know), Chelsea.  And at the moment, that is the order in which they stand in the Premier league.  2 Arsenal, 4 Palace, 6 West Ham, 8 Spurs, 12 Watford, 16 Chelsea.  Chelsea now have 8 points from 8 games.

Is this just early randomness?  In two months time will Chelsea be 4th, West Ham 13th and Crystal Palace 15th (with Arsenal 2nd and Spurs 8th, as now)?  Or has something actually changed?  Is it like this at the beginning of every season, and does it then right itself?

After writing the above, I put that question to Patrick Crozier, and he said that Chelsea are in real trouble, on account of their Manager, Jose Mourinho, having a go at Chelsea’s medical lady, when she was just doing her job.  This upset the entire team, because you are apparently not supposed to criticize “members of the team” in public, and she is a member of the team.  And the entire team is now playing badly.

There is also the fact that this medical lady is prettier than Mourinho, which I am guessing is a situation he is not used to having to deal with.

We shall see.  Chelsea now have a mere 10 points fewer than leaders Man City.  That’s surely not much of a gap, at this point in the season.  A month of good results and this gap could quickly vanish.

Saturday October 03 2015

Here being Epping Underground Station, which is not actually underground, but you know what I mean.

As already recounted here, I was recently in Epping.  But I just looked again at the photos I took that day and realised that, fascinating though the M11 is, this sign is even more interesting:


I did not know there was such a thing as the Epping Way.  But there is.  It is 82 miles long.  Did you already know about this “way”, from Epping to Harwich?  I didn’t.

This is not really a case of “blog and learn”, but blogging did help, because as so often I was looking for something interesting to pass on.  Which meant I first had to learn something more about it besides its name on a sign.

I also like the photo.  Without photography I would have completely forgotten about this.

When I was at Essex University, I used to go there from London by train, or by car, or by bus.  Now I learn that I could have walked, by what would presumably have mostly been a rather scenic route.

Friday October 02 2015

This posting combines two of my interests, white vans, and the way that glass has made buildings so much more fun:


When I took this picture, I knew a white van was involved, because there it was.  But I only guessed that the glass was being used architecturally.  My guess was right.

White van photoed by me today, underneath the railway out of Waterloo.

Thursday October 01 2015

I spent my blogging time today starting two different postings, both of which got longer and longer and are still not nearly finished.


Which only left me time for a quota photo, taken in April of this year.

LATER: 6k borrows the picture (which I am very happy about) and tells us more about the BT Tower.

Wednesday September 30 2015

Remember this shiny little car.  That one was advertising a golf shop.  Today, in Chelsea, I spotted another shiny little car, but this one wasn’t advertising anything.  It was just shiny:


Even more amazing, to me, was what brand of car this was.  Would you have guessed Aston Martin, if I hadn’t already told you with the title of this?  Yet, an Aston Martin it was:


And since I was basically photographing a mirror, I decided to include myself in the picture.

I now discover that this little car is just a Toyota with an Aston Martin badge on it.  You wouldn’t catch James Bond in one of these.  This being because he, in one, wouldn’t catch anyone else.

Tuesday September 29 2015

Photography is light, and in this rather odd photo the light was coming from behind the object I photoed, making it look … odd:


But there is no way to take this photo again, because just after taking the photo but before looking at the photo, I chopped the object into bits with a bread knife and stuffed the bits into a black plastic rubbish sack.  The point here being that Modern Life is all about getting rid of clutter, an in particular, packaging clutter.

Like so much packaging clutter, this piece of packaging clutter was amazingly beautiful in its making, being of a very elegant, abstract sculptural shape, and made of a sort of cross between polystyrene and sponge of the sort you wash with.  Its structural strength and its ability to look after the piece of electronics it was cushioning, on its journey from China to me, had all been perfectly calculated.  How can you just throw something like this away?  But, you must, or you will drown in such stuff.

The packaging industry has clearly been one of the great growth industries of the late twentieth century.  Remember when you used to buy sweeties or paper clips or screws from a bloke in a brown coat, who would shovel them into a brown paper bag, and decide what to charge you by weighing them with a pair of scales?  Perhaps you don’t because those days are now long gone.  Now shops selling sweeties or paper clips or screws sell them in small packages.  Nobody weighs such things in shops any more.  The little things cost about twenty times as much, per little thing.  The packaging also includes anti-theft devices.  The process of selling is speeded up.

Supermarkets still weigh certain sorts of fruit and veg, but I bet they are working flat out to get rid of the need for that, by regularising the size of individual fruits and veges, and by packaging them in ever more cunning ways, with the price already decided for each package, and with the weighing done way back in the supply chain.  (When they do, I might consider using those shopping robots in supermarkets.)

All of which involves literally tons and tons of packaging.  And a discipline of modern life is knowing that such packaging must be binned, no matter how handy you might think it might come in in the future.

Equally troubling to me is cardboard boxes.  These also have to go, and often that involves chopping them up, so that the bloody bits will fit into bins.  When I say “bloody” bits, I am not just swearing, I am describing.  Recently I cut my hand while doing this.  The cushiony thing above was, on the other hand, very easy to carve into bits, and by its nature did not threaten my hands in the process, the same cannot be said of cardboard.

The ultimate expression, so far, of the urge to package is the shipping container, which has literally transformed the economy of the entire world.  Imagine if everything you bought came inside those and you had to chop those up, until the bits fitted inside bin bags.  I would have died of self-inflicted wounds long ago.

Monday September 28 2015

Here at BMdotcom, we like a bridge.  Even if, from some angles, it does not look much like a bridge.  Like a bridge that I encountered yesterday, near Epping:


Looking back through the day’s snaps, I especially enjoyed the contrast between how this bridge looked, above, as I and my walking companion were approaching it, and what we saw, only moments later, from it:


That’s the M11, snaking its way towards London, just before it arrives at its junction with the M25.

You can tell it’s London because if you look (carefully) in the top right hand corner of that picture (after you have doubled its size by clicking on it) you can just make out the tops of the Docklands towers.