Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
cheap ugg boots outlet on A quota thought that (luckily for me) went nowhere
ugg boots for kids on clearance on A blog as a semi-dustbin
Rebirot on Heroes?
Natalie Solent on Comrade Blimp
Michael Jennings on Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
Brian Micklethwait on Ashes to ashes
itrat batool on Ashes to ashes
itrat batool on Ashes black out
Michael Jennings on Ashes to ashes
Natalie Solent on Victor!
Most recent entries
- Ballerina with crane
- Taking photos with Big Flat Things
- Long Title (with italics)
- Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
- Comrade Blimp
- Ashes to ashes
- La Porte des Indes
- Friend on telly
- Sculpture at St James’s Tube
- Digital photographers holding maps
- More photos of things past
- Father Christmas Aerodrome
- How big should these squares be?
- Daniel Hannan’s latest book(s?)
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Boatang & Demetriou
Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
China Law Blog
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Coffee & Complexity
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Deleted by tomorrow
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Laissez Faire Books
Last of the Few
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
More Than Mind Games
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Nation of Shopkeepers
Never Trust a Hippy
Non Diet Weight Loss
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
Police Inspector Blog
Private Sector Development blog
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Setting The World To Rights
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Violins and Starships
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours
Arts & Letters Daily
Bjørn Stærk's homepage
Butterflies and Wheels
Dark Roasted Blend
Digital Photography Review
Ghana Centre for Democratic Reform
Global Warming and the Climate
History According to Bob
Institut économique Molinari
Institute of Economic Affairs
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Oxford Libertarian Society
The Christopher Hitchens Web
The Space Review
The TaxPayers' Alliance
This is Local London
UK Libertarian Party
Victor Davis Hanson
WSJ.com Opinion Journal
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Cats and kittens
Food and drink
How the mind works
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
My blog ruins
Signs and notices
The Micklethwait Clock
This and that
Category archive: Design
One of the jobs of random blogs like this one is recommend such things as restaurants. This is one of those postings. If you read no further, just know that I recently dined at La Porte des Indes, and I liked it. It’s just a short walk away from Selfridges in Oxford Street, where a friend had been working. Address: 32 Bryanston Street.
So, to the details of why I liked it. One: the food was very tasty. Always a good start. And while we were waiting, they gave us little plastic cups of soup, also very tasty.
However, although I like the way tasty food tastes, I now unable to consume very much food all at once. Perhaps I am lucky, because being unable to eat too much, I am not becoming as fat as I might otherwise become, what with so much of the food I do eat being junk.
But there is a way in which I am often unlucky, which is when I am dining out. Often, I just can’t manage to eat all that I am paying for.
So it is that a service I especially value is when I am allowed to take my leftovers away with me. A restaurant willing to package up all my delicious but indigestible leftovers will now have a special place in my heart, and stomach.
La Portes Des Indes was not cheap, when I and a friend dined there about a fortnight ago. But I still remember the delicious taste of the chicken, the pain of realising that my stomach would not be able to do it justice, and the small translucent plastic carton they used to put my spare chicken in, so that I could eat it later. I’ve had bags made available in such circumstances before, but never a plastic carton.
I paid about twice what I usually want to pay when dining out, but I also dined twice over, once in the restaurant, and then again back home, the next day.
The place looks great as well. The outside is unprepossessing, like a fast food joint at the bottom of an office block. But when you step inside, it’s like you’ve entered the restaurant equivalent of the Tardis. It’s really big. It used to be a dance hall, so they said. And the décor has been preserved from that era and added to, rather than stripped out and replaced with modernistic dreariness. Plus, the ambient noise was not too loud and we could hear each other talk without any shouting. Crucial, for me. I often leave things early for this one reason.
I took this photo on Wednesday evening, on the way back home from one of Christian Michel’s 6/20 talks:
Do you think it is gloomy and grim? Maybe so. But Earl’s Court is London’s Australian quarter, or it was in the days of Barry McKenzie. And today I am Loving the Aussies slightly less, although my reasons for this are this, rather than that.
A few days ago I did a posting, featuring one of those faked up photos, about how they are talking of moving a bridge in Porto from down by the river to uptown. Unfortunately, I muddled up two different bridges. Michael Jennings informed me by phone of this muddle and then he added to the posting this further clarificatory comment:
The Dom Luis Bridge is in the centre of town, and is the principal pedestrian route from one side of the river the the other, the vehicle route for local traffic from close to the river one one side to close to the river on the other, and also (on the top deck) carries Porto’s light metro. The Maria Pia Bridge is the rail bridge a kilometre upstream that is no longer in use.
The Maria Pia Bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, although his employee Téophile Seyrig did much of the work. At the time it was the longest arch bridge in the world. Seyrig then (no longer working for Eiffel) built the Dom Luis Bridge, which then broke the record that had been held by the Maria Pia bridge. The two structures are similar, although the Maria Pia bridge lacks the bottom deck that the Dom Lewis bridge has. The two bridges are often confused. Also, perhaps rather sweetly, Dom Luis and Maria Pia were married to one other.
The plan to move the bridge away from the river seems a flight of fancy to me, although the basic problem that the bridge is very beautiful, very historically significant, and not presently used for anything does remain.
Michael spelt it Dom Lewis, but I’ve changed it to Dom Luis, because that does seem to be the proper spelling. Or maybe it is Don. Maybe it’s either Don Luis or Dom Lewis, and you can’t mix them. Whatever.
Michael, who happened to be just about to visit Porto when I said all this, was urged to send back photos of these two bridges. He did, for which much thanks.
Here is the bridge that is still very much in use, the Dom Luis Bridge, with a railway at the top and a road for cars and pedestrians at the bottom:
Taken with his iPad camera. Michael apologised for that, but I think it’s rather dramatic.
Later Michael sent two more pictures, presumably taken with a rather fancier camera.
First we have, again, the Dom Luis Bridge:
And here is the one they are talking about moving, the Maria Pia Bridge:
You can see why Portoans like their bridges, and why it seems like a nice idea to turn the disused one into a big piece of public sculpture.
Meanwhile, I repeat my earlier questions. Will people be allowed on top of the bridge to take photos from it? And: If Porto doesn’t want this bridge any more, can London please have it?
This is remarkable:
This is what it is:
The crows that live in Tokyo use clothes hangers to make nests. In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows occasionally take hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them into nests. The completed nests almost look like works of art based on the theme of recycling.
Or, alternatively, like a Thing made with coat hangers.
But what I particularly like about the Crows Nest of Coat Hangers (I prefer “coat hangers” to “coathangers” because that could be read as “coa thangers") is that I have never before seen anything made like that by a bird. Made like that yes, by a human. By a bird, no. All the other photos are very nice, but I have already seen similar things, stunningly photographed. Technically, the crows nest photo is not actually that great. It’s the Thing itself that is great.
It’s a technically terrible photo, back lit, in a way that focusses attention on the dirtiness of the shop window. Reflections everywhere. But, I still like it. It’s a board game:
Photoed by me last weekend, in Tooting, on my way to a Do.
Blog and learn.
… in among all the stuff that does not.
Foster’s flaccid Gherkin used to advertise erectile dysfunction treatment. Personally, I don’t think the Gherkin looks like a penis, more like a vibrator. Certainly not a gherkin.
And: Synthetic creature could “save nature” says Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. Has this woman never seen any horror movies?
Related: Will Jellyfish Take Over the World?
Yes, incoming from Rob Fisher:
I am fascinated about why old things look old. Certainly print quality is part of it. Change, too: the Heinz beans logo (which has never changed as far as I can tell) does not look old in the way that some of these logos do.
I’m guessing this is follow-up to what I said here about how photography used to make people from the past look overly solemn, and what Rob said there, in jest, about the past being all in black and white.
Mark Twain must surely have been a bit more merry, in general, than he looks in the photo of him there, now colorised but still very grim looking.
What a lot of the colorised photos look like is stills from “historical” Hollywood movies. You expect Brad Pitt, dressed in olden times clothes, to step forward at any moment.
As for the logos, it is noticeable (although this doesn’t apply to all of them) that in quite a few of them, there was a flurry of (often quite radical) changes in and/or up until the 1950s and 1960s, but somewhat less in the way of change since. Often the later changes (see for instance: VW) are mere polishing. It’s like they were trying to get it right, and then they do get it right and stuck with it. At first they didn’t know quite what a logo was for and what logos are. They they did know. That is reinforced by the Firefox logo, which started in 2002 and then did the one early change in 2003, and that’s it.
How has the internet affected logo design?
London already has many interesting bridges, but might be about to get another:
Changsha on the other hand, a place I had never heard of until today, and going only by the picture below, has rather little by way of visual excitement, or will have until they build this bridge, as it appears they definitely intend to:
Architect John van de Water says the form is also intended to reference traditional Chinese crafts. “It refers to a Chinese knot that comes from an ancient decorative Chinese folk art,” he explained.
Ingratiating bullshit being a core architectural skill.
Not that this makes it a bad bridge. On the contrary, it looks like a lot of fun, that will cheer the place up no end.
And I agree with Heatherwick, and with his celebrity booster Joanna Lumley, that the exact part of the Thames (the north end would be at Temple tube station) where they have put their proposed bridge could indeed do with some further livening up.
So instead, here is a link to a story, from April 2011, about Copenhagen’s Sperm Bike. How did I miss this? Probably because the site is called Treehugger, and peddles stuff about the need to screw up Western Civilisation because of the weather getting too hot if we don’t.
This is what the Sperm Bike looks like:
If you are wondering about how the steering works, I think this explains it.
This time last year I was speculating that Halloween seems to be supplanting Guy Fawkes Night, here in Britain, as indeed it does seemto be. Many reasons for this were suggested by me, and by various commenters. Undoubtedly one of these reasons in that Halloween offers shops more chances to sell stuff, stuff that, thanks to China etc., is now unprecedentedly cheap, compared, e.g., to food.
So it was that the imminence of Halloween announced itself to me a few days ago, in what is basically a food shop, Tescos:
That stuff all looks rather jolly, rather than scary or “spooky” (the claim made on the jars of sweeties), doesn’t it?
Part of the joy of digital photography is that you can photo mad crap like this for free, rather than waste any money, and more to the point space, actually buying it and taking it home.
Later, in the Kings Road, I encountered a much spookier clutch of Halloween stuff, in the window of a shop that specialises in selling “gifts”, unlike Tescos. The Tesco stuff was for kids.
This is more like it:
It was the headless woman having her breasts cradled by the hands of a skeleton that got my attention. But, they surely missed a chance with the blood round her neck. It ought to be dripping down from the bloody stump.
Time for me to ask, yet again: Why are decapitated women in shop windows not creepy?
I am at the moment struggling to complete a long piece for Samizdata, about America 3.0 and Emmanuel Todd, and so forth and so on, so as of now, all other bloggings are off. I hope that saying this here will get me finishing this, but fear it may delay things even longer, because that is what often happens when I make promises of this sort. I generally prefer to promise nothing.
Meanwhile, here is a photo of a butterfly, taken by me in Burgess Park, in May of this year:
I took that photo on the same day that I took this photo. Alas, the Butterfly also had to twisted anti-clockwise.
Read more about the strange history of this butterfly here. Apparently that building is now a boxing club. Muhammed Ali - Mr “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” - would surely approve.
For some reason, descriptions of crazy economic times seem always, sooner or later, to involve toilet paper. It was true in Russia. It is true now in Venezuela. And it was true in Zimbabwe:
That’s one of the pictures that Corrie (short for Coralee) Chipps showed to members of the End of the World Club, when she gave a talk to us about the Zimbabwe inflation earlier this evening, at the IEA. Not exactly what you’d call entertaining, but most informative. I hope to blog more about this.
Yesterday was a grey and drizzly day, as was today come to that.
This didn’t look as good as it would have on a sunny day.:
That’s Barclays Bank, Kings Cross. I can’t help thinking that all that razzamatazz reflects rather badly on Barclays Bank, Kings Cross, even though Barclays Bank, Kings Cross, is not itself razzamatazzed.
This, on the other hand, is just what you want on a grey and drizzly day:
However, although you may want it, so (I fear) will tramps, and tramps always win such contests, don’t they? Whoever smells worse and looks scarier wins. So, unless you are yourself a tramp, this will be a no go area for you, as for me.
Just for now, however, no tramps, and here is how it looks when I point my camera upwards:
Very seventies. Very trashy. But, it keeps the drizzle off. I guess what’s happening here is that middle-aged architects, who were tiny tots in super-trendy seventies households with all the trappings of the time, are now powerful enough to be doing it again, in a vain attempt to recapture their lost youths.
This roof is between Westminster City Hall and that new office block with the crazy angled walls, in Victoria Street.
I am still looking for a suitable sofa.
This is the very unsatisfactory arrangement that I want to improve upon, a lot:
That’s just a mattress on a plank on some boxes. The mattress keeps sliding forwards, and it requires continuous effort to remain seated on this mess.
I wrote at Samizdata, back in June, about wanting something better, not long after spotting, in a Pret a Manger, this:
That would be excellent.
So would this, which I spotted in my local dentist’s waiting room yesterday:
What both the above sofas have in common, aside from the detail of not collapsing when you sit on them, is that both are quite narrow, from front to back. Most sofas these days, certainly of the domestic sort, seem to be monstrous in size (especially from front to back), partly because they just are, and partly because they often seem to insist on being beds as well. I already have a sofa that turns itself into a bed, and the last damn thing I want is another of these contraptions.
I asked at the dentist where they got that sofa, but they just said what everyone always says, which is to google “office furniture”. Easy. The lady receptionist, like lots of other people I have asked about this, thought that it would be the work of a moment, by the above method, to locate such a sofa.
This has not been my experience.
So, if you think it is easy, or would be easy, to locate a narrow-front-to-back sofa, in London, which I can look at and measure with a tape measure and sit in before having them deliver it at an agreed time to my home, you go ahead and tell me where the hell I can find such a sofa. If, thanks to you (and the photograph of the sofa that you email to me (see “Contact” above left) together with the address I need to go to to buy the thing), I find the sort of sofa I am looking for, I buy it, and it arrives without fuss in my home, I will pay you £50, in addition to what I paid for the sofa.
Yes, there’s an amazing post, with an abundance of amazing photos, at the amazing Dark Roasted Blend, entitled Huge Semi-Submersible Ships. These ships are carrying loads so huge that most of the ships doing the carrying, while they’re doing it, are under water.
Why not? It’s like these ships are half ships, and half submarines. They never go completely under water. The conning tower, so to speak, where the crew does its job, remains permanently above water. But the rest of the ship is mostly under water, when doing its job, and utterly waterproofed against any waves that might go over the top of the tiny horizontal slice of ship that still remains above water.
That’s the USS Cole, damaged, being brought home for mending.
I am having a big ship phase, brought on by reading that book about shipping containers.