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

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Category archive: Design

Wednesday January 09 2019

I continue to photo taxi adverts, whenever I get the chance.  Last Sunday, I photoed this one:

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There wasn’t space for to get the whole taxi, and there wasn’t time for me to go the other side of the road and get the whole taxi, because I was in a hurry to be somewhere else.  But I hope you agree that that photo suffices.

This being the century of the internet, I have since found this, and this, and this.

I bet Jimbo Phillips never thought he’d be selling mortgages.

Saturday January 05 2019

Indeed:

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That’s the wrapping of the new sofa, which arrived the day before yesterday.

It interests me that cardboard seems to have defeated expanded polystyrene as the delivery wrapping of choice these days.  It’s basic superiority is structural.  It is weak in compression, but strong in tension, at least in one direction.  Polystyrene is weak in every direction.  Its only strength is as padding.  And even there, cardboard (or just scrunched up paper) usually seems to suffice.  Worst of all, expanded polystyrene is (the clue is in the “expanded") takes up too much lwarehouse and lorry space.

Expanded polystyrene looks cooler.  But cardboard does the actual job better.

And consider also the sofa itself.  Central to its low price, compared to the big bulbous monster sofa style, is that it can be folded flat.  Again, far less warehouse and lorry space.

Tuesday December 25 2018

I haven’t been out photoing a lot lately, so here are some Christmas-themed photos picked out from the archives, taken during about the last five years or more.

There’s two dozen in all that are ready to go.  Here are the first dozen:

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Another dozen tomorrow.

I hope your Christmas is going well, with some of the right people with you, and not too many of the wrong people.

Monday December 24 2018

Here is Renzo Piano’s design for a new bridge in Genoa to replace the one that collapsed:

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Nice, I think.  Does the job, with no fuss and much elegance.

A lot of the “photos” make this look like the Millau Viaduct.  However, the spikes on the top are light fittings, not structural columns.  All the load bearing is done by the columns under the roadway.

Friday December 21 2018

Ridiculous:

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Octopus shorts.  Photoed by me in the Kings Road.

Not so ridiculous and just a little bit sublime:

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It’s this shop, in the Fulham Road, a few hours later.

Sublime:

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Sublime compared to the Octopus Shorts anyway.  If Jeff Koons did that, it would change hands for millions.

Not photoed by me.  A friend featured that photo at her Facebook site recently, she having photoed it.  My friend says that this unicorn is something to do with fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital, despite not being close to that Hospital.  More the Gloucester Road area.  But even given all that information Google could tell me nothing about it.

I’m guessing that, what with unicorns being very big business, this unicorn, even if it is on the www, is buried under a million other unicorny images and products and general nonsense, which have all paid Google to put them first.  Such is the internet.  If you aren’t paying, you’re the product.

Monday December 17 2018

I am now listening to this conversation between Roger Scruton and Jordan Peterson, about transcendence.  While so listening, I found myself thinking back to this morning, when I listened to the first half of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, as recorded by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.  I found listening to this recording to be an unsatisfying experience, which was why I did not also listen to the second half of it.  For me (and I emphasise that this is only my personal take on this recording), what this recording lacks is … transcendence.  To me, it sounds too brisk, too lively, too mundane, too earthly, too humdrum, too fussy.  Too businesslike.  Too lacking in legato.  Not enough grandeur.

To repeat the point in brackets above: many, listening to this same recording, will hear exactly the virtues which, for my ear, it lacks.  Gardiner himself was certainly aiming at transcendance:

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That is the cover of this Gardiner recording, which is put out by Gardiner’s own label, Soli Deo Gloria, and Gardiner will definitely have approved that cover.

Neverthless, tomorrow, I think I will search in my CD collection for a different and older recording of this work, a less “authentic” one, the one conducted by Eugen Jochum.  This one.

Pause.

During that pause, I conducted that search, so that tomorrow morning I won’t have to search, or to remember that I must so search.  The CDs will be there, next to my CD player.

I also encountered, in one of the Amazon reviews of Jochum’s Bach B Minor Mass, praise for his recording of the Bach Christmas Oratorio.  I also placed this next to my CD player.

Christmas is, after all, coming.

And, what do you know?  The B Minor Mass gets an explicit mention in the Scruton/Peterson conversation.  I hour 18 minutes in.

Sunday December 16 2018

As I said earlier, a nasty old sofa is due to depart from Chateau BMdotcom, and nice new sofa is due to arrive.  And as I also said, I hoped it would be in that order.  Well, now it looks like the new sofa will be here tomorrow, while the old one is still here.  This threatened chaos.  In a place already suffering from severe infrastructural overload (aka IO, aka too much crap everywhere and nowhere to put new incoming crap), it’s all I can do to find space for a new copy of the BBC Music Magazine without it getting submerged.  Yet today I managed to liberate enough space for another sofa and still have a large chunk of change, volumetrically speaking.

The secret was getting rid of a whole clutch of things like this:

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The main things that such devices store are empty air, and dust.  Lots and lots of dust.

I also found a pile of home-made versions of the same kind of thing, in which I had been storing more air and more dust, and (this time) nothing else:

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That being about a decade’s worth of dust, going by all the bits of paper in the pile that I will soon be culling and compressing.

As one of my heroes, Quentin Crisp, once said, the secret with dust is not to stir it up.  Do that, and you find yourself living in a dusty home.  Just let it be and it behaves itself very politely.

I now learn (such is the internet) that what Crisp actually said was more like this:

There was no need to do any housework at all. After four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.

I actually do do some housework, mainly in my living room, so this doesn’t really apply to me and my home.  But I like his attitude.  That gag about being a “stately homo of England” is also a Crispism.  The link above is to a large stack of verbal Crispnesses.

Back to my dust.  To get rid of that dust, which did have to be got rid of because the receptacles containing it had to go, I had to carry them out of my bedroom very carefully, into the living room, and part of this involved stepping down from my bed to the floor.  Imagine doing that with a tray full of drinks.  But, all went well, and I have now liberated a hug gob of space which I had previously thought permanently clogged:

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That will accommodate a lot of IO, in the days and weeks to come.  Those two boxes on the right can go too, come to think of it.  All they contain is big envelopes that I will never use and whose glue long ago stopped working.

Each time I have a campaign against IO, I think that I really have, this time around, completely run out of space.  But, each time, it turns out that there’s more, lurking in plain sight.

A good day.

Friday December 14 2018

Two creature-related BMdotcom-Friday-friendly images from the Niagara of Trivia and Abuse that is Twitter, to feast your eyes, and your brain, on.

The first is American:

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Which I encountered here.  I miss Transport Blog.

And the second is Anglo-Canadian:

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The Canadian being Jordan Peterson, and the Anglo being a Fox, and what’s more a Fox with an animal tattoo on his arm.

Thursday December 13 2018

For reasons too complicated and undignified to elaborate upon, I have been sitting at home, waiting for one sofa to be taken away and for another sofa to be delivered, preferably in that order.  This has caused me to be stuck indoors throughout most of the daylight hours of the last week or so, which is why I have posted only photos from the archives, rather than any photos taken more recently.

But, I have been able to get out after sofa-moving hours, which I take to end by about 6pm at the latest.  And during the hours of darkness I have reminded myself that whereas most things do not photo well in the dark, taxis with adverts on them look quite good.  Not as good as they do in bright sunshine, but still quite good.

Here is a clutch of taxis with adverts in the dark, taken during the last twelve months, but mostly more like during the last two or three months:

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The seventh (3.1) of these twelve advertises Huawei, who have been in the news lately, for being a front for Chinese state skulduggery.  Other than that one, these are just regular adverts, on taxis.  I particularly like the one for The Phantom of the Opera.

But they keep changing, and I’m thinking that my next taxi advert posting might come from me going back to when I first started noticing taxi adverts, and photoing them.

Saturday December 08 2018

Stow-Away is a recent arrival in Lower Marsh:

Stow-Away is a new sustainable and eco friendly apart hotel concept. Stow-Away Waterloo is our first London base made from 26 re-purposed shipping containers, stylishly designed to provide a snug comfortable Stow-Away sleeping experience.

Lots of people have tried to do architecture with old shipping containers, but personally I doubt if it makes much sense.  But, if your task is to sell hotel rooms, then shipping containers are perhaps a good gimmick, for attracting attention and for giving guests something to talk about.  “I slept in a shipping container.” Etc.  I’ve never done this.

It got my attention:

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I enjoy in particular the various reflections there.

All but the last of these photos were photoed in one burst, last September.  The final photo was photoed more recently, in the evening.

I think this hotel is quite good fun, especially those strange looking shades, red on the inside, that are a feature of the front.  But, I regret the trend of which this “apart hotel” is a part, which is the transformation of Lower Marsh from a fascinating and quite cheap thoroughfare, full of diverting shops and eateries, into a dreary and expensive thoroughfare, stripped of all those diverting shops and eateries.

This happens all the time.  A street contains lots of lively and amusing stuff.  Word of that liveliness spreads, and the rents then go through the roof.  The liveliness is priced off to another part of town.  Such is urban life.

What I am really saying is: RIP Gramex.  Follow that link and you find “an important message to our much-valued customers”.  That would be me.  But this “important message” is dated 4th August 2017.  I gave up hope at least a year ago.

Thursday December 06 2018

On the same day, September 24th 2013, that I took all those artistic photos not of cranes, I also photoed something else that wasn’t a crane either.  In addition to liking cranes I also like bridges, but this other something wasn’t a bridge either, despite looking a lot like one.  I refer to this contrivance:

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So far as I can work it out, this is a structure to protect a road against some power lines which are crossing that road.  The road in question being the A1014, aka “The Manorway”, just before it runs out of puff at a roundabout.

I know.  Why this one structure, there?  What’s so special about these power lines?  Were people about to start working on them, and were they scared that they might fall on the road and set light to a lorry laden with some highly inflammable liquid, of the sort they concern themselves with in Coryton?  Could be.  According to this, there used to be a refinery there (hence yesterday’s ruins).  Now, there either already is or there is about to be a diesel import terminal.  Yes, apparently this got going last year.

Maybe the structure I photoed is somehow a consequence of this change.

Monday December 03 2018

October 21st of this year was a good photoday for me.  There was this, and then this.  Now let me show you nine chimney pot photos, taken on that same day:

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The first four were photoed in the vicinity of South Kesington tube station.  Then I tubed myself to the West End, which is where the rest of these photos were photoed.

I think my favourite is the fifth, or perhaps 3.2, depending on how you prefer your numbering to be done.  But I like them all, or I’d not have shown them to you.

The final one, 9 or 3.3, was taken from the inside of the top of Foyles.

I’ve called this “chimney pots” because all these photos have that in common.  But there are many other kinds of roof clutter also on show.  I rejected including “roof clutter” in the title, because although most chimney pot arrays do indeed beome very cluttered, as in randomly varied and chaotic, that cannot be said of photo 4, aka 2.1.

The satellite dish in 1.3, aka 3, looks, to a casual observer, aka me when I first encountered it in the directory (not when I actually photoed I), the moon.

Which I like.  And I also like it when there are chimney shadows, as in 1.1 (1), and 5 (2.2).  And there are other sorts of shadows in 6 (2.3).

Plus there’s a crane (7 (3.1)). and a pigeon (9 (3.3)).  But, not any scaffolding that I can see.

Sunday December 02 2018

Tom Holland, agreeing with this lady, says that this thread is a perfect illustration of why the Cromwell Museum’s approach to Twitter …:

… is an absolute model of what museums can achieve with the medium …

What the Cromwell Museum was saying, quite a while back now, was this:

A myth about Oliver Cromwell seen in films & TV is that he dressed dourly in black. The idea that all Puritans did is a Victorian myth; there isn’t a single contemporary portrait of Cromwell in black. He’s always depicted instead in armour or fine clothes.

Interesting.  I agree that this is a very good use of Twitter.

I am still pondering whether to bother with Twitter.  Its censoriou left-wing political preferencesrepel me, and its wearisome slagging contests seem hard to avoid.  (Said he, slagging off Twitter itself.) Postings like the above make me suspect that I may persevere.  They also tell me how to use Twitter myself, if I ever do this more actively than now, even though I am not a museum.

LAT|ER: See also, this, about another “myth”, this time based on a misunderstanding of clothing evidence.

Thursday November 29 2018

Again from designboom, this posting about a Ukrainian rug-maker who is souping up his designs with modern references.  I particularly like this one:

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This works for many reasons, one of them being that there is something very medieval and nostalgic about the whole Star Wars franchise, and lots of cinematic and other scifi in general.  Faster than light travel, for instance, isn’t modern.  It is a bogus technology trick for turning the future back into the Middle Ages, into a world full of faraway wonders and monsters, but not so far away that you can’t reach them soon enough to still be alive when you get there and make your visit count.

By the way, I think “designboom” postings are very badly designed.  The basic problem, although not the only one, is their juvenile refusal to understand capital letters, and their determination instead only to use capital letters for acronymic organisations (like, in this case: “OLK"), but never to signal the beginning of a sentence, or the beginning of a heading.  Or for something like Star Wars.  This is stupid when you are simply writing a chunk of prose.  But it is seriously stupid at a website, because websites are tricky to make clear at the best of time.  Boom?  No.  Fail.  Pity, because they seem to have a lot of good stuff.

This blog, the one you are reading now, is much better designed.  To look at I mean.  Not how it works, which is very badly.

Further to that chat that Patrick Crozier and I recently had about transport (in which we talked about robot cars), here is a little clutch of interesting guesses by Audi, about how robot cars and robot airplanes – i.e. flying cars – might, one day quite soon, work.  “Guesses” is not an insult.  It’s all guesses at this stage in the story.

The Audi “airplane” is a big drone, like a giant photo-drone, although actually the prototype they recently showed off was the idea in miniature.  It carries a people pod, like a regular photo-drone carries its camera.  The drone extracts or drops the people pod from or into a “car, which is a car with a big hole where the people bit is in a regular car.

This makes sense to me.  Cars and big drones presumably need very different sorts of engines, and it does not make sense for the drone to be lugging a big old car engine around with it wherever it flies.  Any more than it makes sense for a “flying car” to be lugging a even bigger old set of airplane engines around with it, wherever it drives.  (I’m guessing (me too) that the Harrier Jumpjet technique would be too expensive and complicated.)

But, “makes sense” is not the same as “will happen this way”.  Nobody knows.  After all, maybe the future will just be people ... you know … climbing out of their cars into their airplanes, much as they do now.

In other robot car news, I was intrigued by an email I recently got from this enterprise about how robot car engines will be lighter and more efficient, on account of not having any longer to be so “driver friendly”.  Robots will prioritise safety and comfort.  They won’t be concerned, when driving, about having the Lewis Hamilton experience.  Again: makes sense.