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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: Signs and notices

Saturday April 27 2019

Yes, I like to photo signposts.  You know where you are, with signposts.  Because they pretty much tell you where you are.

Here’s a signpost photo I photoed in March 2012:

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But there’s more to it than just having a note of where I was, useful though that is.  There’s something about actually seeing those particular names of particular places which makes the fact that this is where I really am – and then later: was - come particularly alive.

As you can tell from the previous paragraph, I don’t really know how to explain this fascination of mine.  And just now, I am too knackered, having spent the day recovering from a Last Friday of the Month meeting that happened last night.  Dominique Lazanski: very good.  My front room: very full.  Aftermath: lots of crap to tidy up.

Yesterday was a day when I had to be very energetic and alive, to get ready for that meeting.  So, I was.  (Hence those four blog postings yesterday.) Today, I could be knackered.  So, I was.

Wednesday April 17 2019

Yes, telling you about how I’ve been in France.

So. where was I?  In France?  Well, to give you an idea, here are some of the excellent places I visited:

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Whenever I am in foreign parts, I always photo signs, adverts, and the like.  Every place has its own style for doing such things, so signage photos can be very evocative, when you look back at them.  Also, they tell you where you were, and hence what all the other photos taken at the same time were of.

Click on the above photo-fragments to get some context.  If you are curious about any of these places, well, you now have the words you need to go searching.  Words are already links, in the sense that you don’t need me to turn them into links.

I especially like how, when you leave a French town or village, you get a sign with the name crossed through with a red line (2.3).

I also photo war memorials, keeping a particular eye open for repeated surnames.  In Lagrasse (3.1), Baillat, Fontvieille and Jougla are surnames that each get two mentions.

I also like to photo the stuff in tourist shops, especially the postcards (1.1 and 3.2).  That way, you get what tourists generally consider to be the best views, and are alerted to interesting local things which you otherwise might miss even learning about.  Although, in St Cyprien, I got a bit of aggro from a couple shopkeepers who objected to me photoing their produce instead of buying it.

Friday April 05 2019

On June 13th 2008 I was wandering about in Quimper, photoing photos.  Mostly the photos were of such things as Quimper Cathedral with its twin spires, photoers photoing Quimper Cathedral with its twin spires, that kind of thing.

But in among all those, and with no accompanying explanation (like a context photo with less zoom (memo to self: always photo a context photo if it might help)), this:

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KanaBeach seems to be some sort of Brittany based clothing brand ("Kanabeach est une entreprise de vêtements bretonne"), which a few years later seems to have crashed and burned, after which catastrophe it may or may not have made a recovery.  (A recovery attempt which involved a giraffe, for some reason.)

But, I have no idea who Jean-Francois Kanabeach is.  And I am similarly baffled by the Nuclear Rabbits From Outta Space.  Google’s basic reaction to that was, first off, to ask if I meant “Nuclear Rabbits From Outer Space”.

A rabbit was, so it says here, launched into space in 1959.  And the Chinese did some stuff on the Moon in 2013, with something called the Jade Rabbit (aka Yutu).  But Nuclear Rabbits, from Outta Space?  Quesque c’est? Usually the Internet has something to say in answer to questions like this.  But in this matter, rien.

Thursday March 28 2019

Today, thanks to GodDaughter2, who is a singing student, I got to see a dress rehearsal of a new opera being staged by English National Opera called Jack The Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel.  I had my camera with me, but these places don’t encourage photography, so I was assuming I’d emerge from the Coliseum with only the memories of what we’d seen and heard.

The story was, of course, gruesome, and GodDaughter2 grumbled about the lighting, which was relentlessly dark and depressing.  However, the music was pleasingly tonal, drenched in melodies, and most especially in harmonies, of a sort that seemed, in my youth half a century ago, like they’d vanished from the world of new opera for ever.

Back in that stricken post-Schoenbergian musical no-man’s-land, posh music was thought to “progress”, like science.  And it had progressed up its own rear end into unmelodious, unharmonious, unrhythmic oblivion, and because this was progress, no way back was permitted.  But then, that was all blown to smithereens by the likes of Philip Glass and John Adams.  Iain Bell, the composer of Jack The Ripper, operates in the musical world established by those two American giants.

So even though we were about a quarter of a mile away from the action, up near the ceiling, and thus couldn’t make out anyone’s face, just being there was a most agreeable experience.

And then come the curtaln call at the end, there was another nice surprise:

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That being the final surtitle of the show, to be seen in the spot up above the stage where all the previous surtitles had been saying what they had been singing.  So I got my camera out, cranked up the zoom to full power, and did what I could.

The curtain calls looked like this:

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I was particularly interested in the lady in the yellow dress, on the right of the four ladies (guess what they all had in common), because that lady was Janis Kelly, who is GodDaughter2’s singing teacher at the Royal College.

Rather disappointingly, for me, was that most of the photos I took of Ms Kelly were better of the lady standing next to her when they were taking their bows, a certain Marie McLaughlin:

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But I did get one reasonably adequate snap of Ms Kelly, suitably cropped (the photo, I mean) to remove Ms McLaughlin, whose nose had been sliced off in the original version that had emerged from the camera:

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My camera now has much better eyesight than I do, and the gap seems to grow by the month.  Okay, that photo is rather blurry.  But there was a lot of zoom involved. I only managed to decipher about a third of those surtitles.  One of the key members of the cast was black, but I only found this out when I got home and saw her in one of my photos (see above).

I hope a DVD, or perhaps some kind of internetted video, of this production emerges.  And I think it might, because this is a show full of pro-female messages of the sort that appeal to modern tastes, and featuring one of the most spectacular exercises in toxic masculinity in London’s entire history.

I’m now going to read the synopsis of the show at the far end of the first link above, to get a a more exact idea of what happened.

Wednesday March 27 2019

While I’m on the subject of One Blackfriars, as I was last night, here is a rather charming piece of urban sculpture to be seen outside its front door, photoed earlier on the day I photoed the photo in the previous posting:

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I’ve heard this expression but never understood what it was about.  Having read this, I now understand it a bit better:

Wet risers are used to supply water within buildings for firefighting purposes. The provision of a built-in water distribution system means that firefighters do not need to create their own distribution system in order to fight a fire and avoids the breaching of fire compartments by running hose lines between them.

Wet risers are permanently charged with water. This is as opposed to dry risers which do not contain water when they are not being used, but are charged with water by fire service pumping appliances when necessary.

Part B of the building regulations (Fire Safety) requires that fire mains are provided in all buildings that are more than 18 m tall. In buildings less than 50 m tall, either a wet riser or dry riser fire main can be provided. However, where a building extends to more than 50 m above the rescue service vehicle accesslevel, wet risers are necessary as the pumping pressure required to charge the riser is higher than can be provided by a fire service appliance, and to ensure an immediate supply of water is available at high level.

Blog and learn.

Wednesday March 20 2019

Yes, I and a friend took a stroll around Stoke Newington this afternoon, and despite the drabness of the weather, spring was in the air.

And as if to confirm Spring will indeed be with us very soon, if it’s not here already, this was the scene outside the Anglo Spice Grill:

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There were many other Stoke Newingtonian sights - animal, vegetable and mineral - to be seen and to be photoed, but today was a tiring day, with another activity in the evening before I finally got around to doing this.  So that will have to be your lot.

Monday March 11 2019

When I saw and photoed this sign, in London, yesterday afternoon …:

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…, I thought it was some kind of electronic malfunction.  ULEZ?  Is that real?  Only one way to find out.  The Internet.

And the Internet was in no doubt.  ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone.  Question answered.

I just wanted to know if ULEZ was real.  It is.  The details, for now anyway, interest me less.  If you want to know more about ULEZ, you now have the acronym and the knowledge that it stands for something real, and you can learn all you want.

Saturday March 09 2019

Another shop window photo, photoed by me on the same day as I photoed, this, this, and this:

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Click on that to get it quite a bit bigger than usual.  It deserves the detail.

I have long considered the stuff in tourist stuff shops to be an underrated object of photo-devotion.

Tuesday March 05 2019

Today a friend needed some rather dramatic medical attention, and I dropped by to provide what I hope was a little moral support.  Outside the place where this was happening, I encountered this cute little vehicle:

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Two interesting things about this little gizmo.  First, there is the way that its door opens.  The door on its right is open, in the above photos.  Useful in a tight space, I should guess.

And second is what it does, there being a website on it which enables you to learn about this.  It takes tissue or samples from sick people to a lab, where the lab decides its opinion about the nature of that sickness.

I like these little cars, which are so small they are almost motor bikes.  I certainly prefer them to those huge Chelsea Tractors, which look like they’re for doing bank robbery getaways or off-roading or maybe both at once.  Which, let’s face it, most Londoners do neither of, ever.

Thursday February 21 2019

The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel is what Wikipedia calls it.  Sheraton now calls it the Sheraton Park Hotel. Whatever we call it, this is one of my favourite London buildings from the concrete monstrosity era, partly because nobody who worries about being aesthetically elevated likes the work of its architect Richard Seifert.  Such people also do not like One Kemble Street, or Centre Point, also by Seifert, either.  Too commercial.  Too brash.  Too assertive.  Too symmetrical.  Starchitecture before Starchitecture became chic, and not chic enough.

All the photos you see on the internet of this Park Hotel tend to look like this ...:

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… i.e. photoed from nearby, so that you can’t see the magnificence of the Roof Clutter on the top.

So now I will correct this regrettable imbalance, by inserting these views of the Park Hotel photoed by me last Friday from way off in the middle of Hyde Park, into the vast ocean of internet imagery, in the hope that public attention will be drawn to this wonderful and spontaneous assemblage of roof sculpture:

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I especially like that last one.  Trees, mist, and then Park Hotel, in soft focus.  Or, out of focus, as we digital snappers say.

Norman castles were evil stone monstrosities when first inflicted upon this green and pleasant land.  But as that style retreated, they turned into picturesque ruins.  The Concrete Monstrosity style is already in headlong retreat, and I like it more and more.

Memo to self: check out this car park, before they destroy it, which they have now decided that they will.

Monday February 04 2019

Last night I dined at Chateau Samizdata, which is in the Fulham Road.  I always get there early, but like to be exactly on time in order not to disrupt the preparations.  So, I typically walk about a bit, looking for photo-ops.

Last night I walked east along the Fulham Road towards the centre of London, and came upon Michelin House, which I knew was somewhere around there, but had never clocked before as being so very near to Chateau Samizdata.  This building occurs at the point where the Fulham Road is turning into Brompton Road.

It has a wonderfully eccentric stained glass window, at the front, at the top ...:

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… which had been thoughtfully lit from behind.

I image-googled this building, and I could not find this particular view of it.  There are one or two views to be seen of this window from inside the building, but none that home in on the window, in the dark, from the outside, with that all-important internal lighting.

I think that this window deserves to be viewable in as many ways as possible, from inside, and from outside.  As does the whole building.

I considered cropping my photo, but the photo exactly as taken supplies just that little bit of architectural context, so I left it as was.

Sunday January 27 2019

There was a meeting in my home last Friday, at which Simon Gibbs spoke, most eloquently and engagingly, about “What Libertarian Home Has Done Right”.  (I made him choose this title.  He is far too modest to have chosen it himself.)

Also on Friday, at this blog, I had already featured a cat photo, taken by my friend Dominique Lazanski.

What I had not expected was that Dominique Lazanski would get a mention in Simon’s talk, but she did.  Very favourably, as a Libertarian Home speaker who did much to soften the atmosphere of a series of meetings that might otherwise have remained rather beery and blokey and not sufficiently female friendly or, to use a word Simon likes a lot and which he himself epitomises, not “kind”.  Libertarianism is, after all, all about making the world better, which definitely includes kinder.

I had been intending to put up more than one Dominique photo on Friday, but meeting preparations meant that only the cat made it, that day.  Here are all the other photos I had already liked and set aside for here, along with a photo of a cup of coffee, which I added to the collection to get the number back to a convenient one:

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Click and enjoy.  Most of these little squares are mere excerpts from the originals, so you will have to click to enjoy.  But even if that doesn’t appeal, the basic point here is that Dominique Lazanski is, like many others these days, someone who combines taking very good photos with having a very full life doing other things besides taking photos.

This is the big photography story these days.  This big story is not how good the very best photographers, the Real Photographers as I refer to them here, are at taking photos and how very, very good their very best photos are.  No.  The big photography story these days is how good people like Dominique Lazanski are at taking photos.

To find out more of who Dominique Lazanski is, go to her website, or to here Twitter feed.  To explore all her Instagrammed photos, go here, that being where I encountered all of the above photos myself.

I chose my favourites, partly by particularly noticing the last two and the most recent of the above photos when they showed up on Facebook.  In addition to being a Dominique Lazanski friend I am a Dominique Lazanski “friend” on Facebook.  And the rest I found by simply clicking through all of her Instagrammed photos very fast, and noticing which ones I found myself pausing at.

Those drinks are included because I drank one of them myself, on Christmas Eve.

It could be that I am mishandling the Social Media, again, and spilling beans that are not mine to spill.  If Dominique finds out about this posting and informs me that she regrets it and would prefer to be living in a world which did not contain it, then this posting will be expunged forthwith.

Friday January 11 2019

I was in the West End earlier this evening.  Not having done any blogging here today, and today being Friday, I kept my eyes open for something creaturely.

I spotted this, in the window of one of those very Old School shops, in Cecil Court:

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Ah, cigarette cards.  Never had them here before.  And I don’t think poultry have been featured here before either.

Click to get them a bit bigger.

Wednesday January 02 2019

I just posted something at Samizdata about a talk I’ll be doing for Christian Michel this coming Sunday, i.e. January 6th.  A rerun of this, basically, but with my thinking somewhat further advanced.

In the course of my homework for this posting, and for the talk itself, I came across these two rather fine images, which nicely illustrate the two history dates loom large in my story, the invention of the printing press …:

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… and the invention of the electric telegraph:

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I found these images here, and here.

Note how all the books are German.  A major impact of printing being nationalism.

Sunday December 30 2018

In search of worthwhile photos to show here, I find myself digging further and further back in the archives.  I looked for photos taken a decade ago, but found nothing that stirred any thoughts.  However, these four, from over fourteen years ago, do now seem to be worth showing.

The first is of the ghostly pillars of the old Blackfriars Bridge.  These are still there, looking now just as they looked then.  But, then there was no Blackfriars railway station on the more recent Blackfriars Bridge.  Blackfriars Station then only happened on the far side of the river, as we look north.

Second, a rather striking view of the City Big Thing Cluster, the striking thing being that most of the City Big Thing Cluster had not yet happened.  The Gherkin stands in almost perfect isolation, visible from all directions.  No Cheesegrater.  No Walkie-Talkie.  And definitely no 22 Bishopsgate, already the biggest of the lot of them so far.

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The third of these photos I include simply because I like it, or at least I like what it shows and how the photo is composed.  (Technically these photos are all very blurry and primitive.  The Canon A70 is the cheapest camera I have ever owned and used, and it shows.) In particular I like how we see so clearly the truncated end of the Millennium Footbridge.  (I should have a go at that view again, with my current and much better camera, on a much better day.)

And finally, the grey of the dying light suddenly looks blue, as grey did look with that Canon A70.  Tate Modern was there, of course it was.  It isn’t that modern.  But, the Tate Modern Extension, which now stands behind Tate Modern itself, is still way in the future.

I show this photo because it very clearly says “Collection 2004” on Tate Modern.  Windows Image viewer, cross-examined, also says 2004, January 17th, and I am a lot more inclined to believe that, given that I know that the 2004 bit is right.  I’m guessing that Jan 17 is right also.  Goodness knows, it’s gloomy enough to be January.  So, nearly fifteen years ago.