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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: History

Friday February 08 2019

When I was a kid, “Air Forces Memorial” meant this building which looks out over Runnymede, and which was only a walk away from where we lived.

But there are, of course, several RAF Memorials in London, and here is a photo I often try to take but seldom do very well with, of the eagle which perches on this memorial:

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This eagle usually comes out blurry, with only the trees behind coming out well.  All that reflected light off the gold of the eagle seems to frazzle the brain of my camera.  But not on the Monday before last.

The above photo was taken from the other side of the river, with maximum zoom.  Swivel to the left a bit and you see this even more famous item, which is now, as already noted, smothered in scaffolding:

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I especially like the pile of staircases on the left of the scaffolding.

Tuesday February 05 2019

imageEmmanuel Todd has written another book, and it has been translated into English.  And, it is a book by Emmanuel Todd that I have been awaiting for a long time.  The title alone is the clue.  “From the Stone Age …”.  What that tells me is that there is at least a good chance that Todd will tell me something of how he thinks those distinct family structures of his, the ones that explain ideology and are among the causes of progress got established in the first place.

£30 is a lot to be paying for a book, and usually I wait for Amazon to do its thing and bring the price of such books down to a tenner.  But this time, I don’t think I’ll be wanting to wait like this.  I want this one as soon as I can get my hands and eyes on it.  On May 3rd, in other words.

Monday February 04 2019

6k: (I know someone who will like this picture …) Who can he mean?

He’s talking about this picture:

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I like it.  And like I say, the Age of the Smartphone will be with us for quite a while yet.

I can remember when places like the Louvre used to forbid photoing.  But they can hardly complain if students … take notes.

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 February 03 2019

Last Sunday, I was again photoing photoers, among other favourite photoer spots, on Westminster Bridge:

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All four photos were chosen for their artistic effect rather than to make any point, but despite that, the point makes itself.  All smartphones.  I especially like the one with the Eiffel Tower on it.

The world is starting to speculate that the Age of the Smartphone may, like the Age of the Personal Computer before it, be drawing to a close.  But what this means is merely that the age of selling millions upon millions of new smartphones may be ending.  Smartphones will still go on being used, because people like them and have got used to them, and see no cause to jack them in for an only slightly better but hideously expensive replacement.  Similarly, I periodically upgrade the personal computer that I am typing this on, with new appendages which are now priced like the generic commodities that they are, but I have no plans to stop using this contraption.

Wednesday January 30 2019

I like One Kemble Street, and I like the BT (two links here) Tower.  So, imagine my delight when, while exploring my photo-vaults, I came across this very sweet Big Thing alignment, photoed from the top of the main bit of Tate Modern (i.e. not the taller Extension building behind):

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This was taken in February 2008.  Which means that that the BT Tower still had its big circular things attached.

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.

Sunday January 20 2019

... but it ended up there.

This posting included the fact that I am out and about this evening, so here, today, that’s your lot.

Tuesday January 15 2019

Yes, I do believe it has finally happened.  Stokes, Woakes and Foakes are all in the same England cricket team.  Truly, an historic day.  Too bad Stokes is not Stoakes, and that Chris Woakes is not Ben Woakes.  As it is, we have to make do with Bens Stokes and Foakes, and Chris Woakes.

In other news: this.  My opinion?  What Steve says.

Monday January 14 2019

Last night, Spurs lost 0-1, at “home” (i.e. Wembley), to Man U.  I had been half hoping that Spurs might lose, because this would make it less likely that Man U would want to replace their current manager, Solskjaer, with the man whom he outmanaged last night, Spurs manager Pochettino.  Spurs really need Pochettino to stay, and they want Man U to back off trying to lure him away with their infinite money.  It is all explained in this piece.  I said that!  But alas, I didn’t say it soon enough.

This being why the Spurs strikers were so careful to aim all their shots at goal straight at the Man U goalie, David de Gea.  They want The Poch to stay with them too.

Just kidding.  de Gea did really well.  And concerning that, I liked this tweet at the end of the game last night from Watford goalie Ben Foster:

I see a lot of people saying all De Gea saves were straight at him, please factor in that the guy has some mad sense to know where to be at just the right time, you can’t teach that. Proper goally

But not very proper punctuation.  What has Ben Foster got against full stops?  Maybe he used up all his stops, performing a similar miracle to de Gea, for Watford against Crystal Palace.

I recall hoping on a previous occasion that my football team would lose.  England were playing Germany at home.  It was again a management issue.  It was worth England losing to Germany if that resulted in Kevin Keegan ceasing to be England manager.  Keegan is a great guy, but was wrong to manage England.  England did lose.  Keegan did step down.  Soon after this, England beat Germany in Germany, 1-5.  But sadly not in the World Cup or the Euros or whatever it was, which England and Germany both qualified for.  Germany presumably won that.

My thanks to Patrick Crozier, with whom I dined earlier this evening, for lots of details about the above, which I had either forgotten or never knew in the first place, like Foster being the Watford goalie and England playing Germany in the last game at old Wembley and then winning 1-5 in Germany.

Sunday January 13 2019

The reason I’m showing so many ancient photos here just now is because the weather in London is so very dreary, and I’m not going out much.  Instead, I am doing lots of tidying up and chucking out, provoked by those sofas.  And, I’m back to doing more at Samizdata than of late.

Here’s another relic from another era.  This is Southwark Towers, photoed by me on May 31st 2006:

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Relic because this really quite Big Thing was demolished in 2008, to make way for London’s ultimate Big Thing, The Shard.

At the time I took this photo, I had no idea that what I was photoing was about to disappear.

If in doubt, photo the photo.

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.

Friday January 04 2019

Or maybe that should be: How Twitter rots the brain.

Instapundit is a daily destination for me, and yesterday, there’s a posting about a piece at Quillette by Cathy Young about Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

So I read that, and am impressed.  Solzhenitsyn was a hero of mine when I was at school and university, and like Young, I was puzzled by his subsequent opposition to Western liberalism and fondness for Russian nationalism, along with all the nasty baggage that is liable to bring with it, like anti-Semitism.

At the bottom of the Cathy Young article is the suggestion that I should consider following Cathy Young at Twitter.  I do so.  I scroll down, and soon find myself smiling at otter jokes, all the otter jokes being based on the fact that “otter” is only one letter away from “other”.  Significant otters.  In otter news.  (Yes, Happy New Year again.)

And: Why did the otters cross the road?  To get to the otter side.

This didn’t take long at all.

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.

Monday December 31 2018

At the end of April and the beginning of May of 2018, I visited the city of Quimper, almost certainly for the last time.  The friends I have stayed there with several times are now living in the south of France, and their Quimper home is now someone else’s.  So, farewell Quimper.

On May 4th, on my last full day in Quimper, my hostess drove me to see the superb lighthouse at Penmarc’h, which is on the south west tip of Brittany.  And no, I don’t know how “Penmarc’h” is pronounced, and nor do I know what is really the correct name for this mighty edifice.  It seems to have many names.  But, it is a lighthouse, and it is in the town of Penmarc’h, so Penmarc’h Lightbouse it is.

Although she needed to get back in quite a hurry to prepare supper, she let me take the time to climb up the Lighthouse and savour the views of the town of Penmarc’h and of the Brittany coast.  Which were spectacular, as was the weather that day:

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The lighthouse I went up is the furthest from the sea of three structures, which would appear to have been doing, in succession, a similar job.  As time went by, they got smaller, nearer to the sea, and more dependent upon electronic technology.  Photo 3.1 shows the two smaller ones, as seen from the big one.

That same morning, I also checked out a huge and totally marvellous second hand shop in Quimper, and an equally huge and totally marvellous cheese factory, which was really more like a cheese refinery.

So, a really good day.  One of my favourites of 2018.  Except that the day after that day, in Paris, was probably even better.