Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Category archive: Signs and notices

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.

Wednesday December 26 2018

And here, as promised yesterday, are the other dozen of the Christmassy (Google reckons it’s double ss at the end there rather than the single s I used to name the photos) photos that I was gathering together yesterday.  They, like the previous lot, are shown in chronological order, the first one being from 2015 to now, the most recent from earlier this month:

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I used half a dozen of these two dozen photos to concoct a Merry Christmas photo-posting at Samizdata, in the small hours of this morning, what with there having been nothing there yesterday, until I did that.  And then faked the timing.  Just like I often do here.

Which means that, for the last week, I have not only done something for here, every day, but have done something there, every day.  More on the thinking behind this sudden burst of Samzdating here, some time soon, maybe, I promise nothing.

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.

Friday December 21 2018

The book.  The movie.

And the label:

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Another Facebook “friend” (also an actual friend) found this, in another part of Facebook.

I don’t know the answer.  Let’s ask this guy.

Sunday December 09 2018

Just came across this, photoed by me in Piccadilly, on June 4th of this year:

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So, right around now.

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.

Friday November 30 2018

On the eleventh day of this month, which was the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, I showed a little clutch of Remembrance photos, taken by me outside Westminster Abbey on November 10th.

Here, just before the month of November 2018 ends, are a few more photos taken at that same time:

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These photos all focus – literally focus - on individual regiments and their circular signs.  My angle, today being a Friday, is how such enterprises often characterise themselves as animals, or use animals to remember where they had done military service.  Here we see two leopards, a sphinx (sphynx?), and a deer.

Click on each square above to get the bigger originals, with more poppies, and more crucifixes.

Wednesday November 28 2018

On the back of a bus, near Victoria Station:

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Photoed by me a few days ago.

Quoth Google:

No results found for “a true gleaming sincerity”

That had to change, and now it has, assuming Google acklowledges the existence of this now very antique blog.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali. on the other hand …

It’s in wonderful indonesia.  As are these four ladies, wearing complicated hats and holding what appear to be complicated fans:

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More True Gleaming Sincerity there.

Also photoed by me, a quarter of an hour later, also near Victoria Station.

Sunday November 25 2018

Yesterday I found myself in Duke of York Square, which is just along the King’s Road from Sloane Square.  So, what with the Duke of York being one of Britain’s most under-rated military leaders, at any rate according to this book, I thought that, this might be a statue of the Duke himself.

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But a closer look at the plinth told me different:

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Wikipedia tells us more about this, the original Sloane, from whom, of course, Sloane Square took its name, and because of whom Sloanes are called Sloanes.  Sir Hans Sloane, it seems, was the collector of scientific specimens who first got the British Museum started.  Plus, this:

He is credited with creating drinking chocolate.

Blog and learn.  Here is a rather more artistic close-up of this same statue:

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This statue is a recreation by Simon Smith of a statue carved in 1737 by John Rysbrack.  Smith’s new statue was unveiled in 2007:

The original statue, now deteriorated, is housed in the British Museum, with a cast in the Chelsea Physic Garden. The sculptor, Simon Smith, said: “`I wanted the sculpture to show Sir Hans Sloane as a kind man with a sharp intellect and an enquiring mind. An approachable man of principle and logic, who’s morals and philanthropy are still of benefit to us today.”
The light yesterday was very dim, even early in the afternoon.  But whereas buildings often respond well to bright sunlight, I find that statue photos are often deranged if sunlight is unimpeded, and better when the light is more spread around and is coming from lots of different directions, as happens under cloud.  Less light, but of the right sort, does the job.