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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: London

Monday March 02 2015

Indeed:

image

That’s the new Blackfriards Bridge railway station, with its ziggy zaggy solar panels roof.  Taken just under a year ago.

What you get when you click on the above horizontal slice is actually a whole lot better, despite the fact that this horizontal slice is what makes the picture as a whole such a nice picture.

Wednesday February 25 2015

It often happens with me that, while rootling around in the archives for one picture, I stumble across another which strikes me as worth showing to the massed ranks of BrianMicklethwaitDotCom’s readers.

Pictures like this, for instance, which I took at the top of the Monument, in November 2012:

image

Small, blurry, totally recognisable.  Definitely a Big Thing.

As for all that wire netting (which I believe dramatically lowers the cheese content of the above shot), well, here is another shot, of how matters at the top of the Monument used to be not so long ago:

image

I took that in July 2007.  (Note the pleasingly dated camera.) The change from prison bars to wire netting, which happened soon after that, was presumably because of different versions of health and safety.  Originally there was neither, just some waste high railings.  See this hand-done photo “by Canalleto (after)”, whatever that means.  (His production line, but not him, maybe?) And see also this picture.

Sunday February 22 2015

Somewhere between posting a photo of totally recognisable strangers that you took without their permission in 1930 and posting a photo of totally recognisable strangers that you took without their permission yesterday afternoon, there is a line.  I took this photo ...

image

… in 2007.  Did I cross that line?  Perhaps.  But they just look so great, and so happy.  When it comes to totally recognisable strangers who look bad in the photo I took of them without their permission, I think I’d give it another decade or two.

I love all the white space behind and around them.  It makes them look, in combination with the signpost, like a piece of sculpture.  That spot often does that.  Which is why it is one of my favourite photographic spots in London, up the steps that are attached to Westminster Bridge on the north side, looking up over the road towards the Houses of Parliament.

Friday February 20 2015

Yes, just back from a talk at Christian Michel’s.  Didn’t drink “too much” wine, but did drink a lot, far too much to still be sober.

Cat news?  You want cat news?  Okay, the cat news is that lots of people have got into trouble of various sorts because they have too many cats, or killed too many cats, or something along those lines.  Google “cats” news, and you can find the details for yourselves.

Meanwhile, here is news of a new Big Thing, in London:

image

This is the replacement for the Pinnacle.

Everyone commenting on this is angry about it.  But then, everyone commenting on new Big Things is always angry.  It’s ugly!  It’s a joke!  It’s random!  It’s …

Excuse me while I eat a Sainsbury’s Basics egg bite.  Several, actually.

… something else terrible!

But give it a few years, and we’ll all be complaining about how the next London Big Thing is spoiling the view of this Big Thing.

Thursday February 19 2015

Whereas yesterday was the first first day of spring, today is right back to being just another day of winter, cold, damp, cloudy, miserable.  So I am back rootling in the archives for sunnier memories.

Here’s a good one, of me (in the middle), Goddaughter 2 (on the right), and (on the left) a suitably anonymised photographer photoing a suitably anonymised group of people:

image

Taken last August, on one of the Hungerford Bridge footbridges.

When posting this, I was informed of a previous posting here entitled shadow photography.  Also fun.  Less anonymised strangers though.

Sunday February 15 2015

While half-watching the rugby yesterday I was also half-rootling-around in my photo archives, and I came across a photo of a carpet.  I had put it in a special separate directory, on its own, but then forgotten about it.  It had a rather interesting message to impart.

Click on this …:

image

… to get the bigger carpet.

But whose carpet was this?  This is where the internet comes in.  I googled “true hearts and warm hands” and immediately learned that this is the motto of the Worshipful Company of Glovers.  Turning to images, I found no other pictures of the actual carpet, but scroll down to the “Glover’s window” here.  The same graphics as on the carpet.

As for my picture, I took it on November 6th 2006, at an event organised by the Globalisation Institute, now long gone.  The event was attended by, among others, the Prime Minister.  Most of the pictures I took, including those I took of the Prime Minister, were very bad, because my camera was no good in poor indoor light, such as prevailed that evening, somewhere in the City of London.

Did you know that Shakespeare’s father was a glover?  If you didn’t you do now.

Monday February 09 2015

Me having written here about Anish Kapoor, he of the Big Olympic Thing, someone today emailed me about an art website which includes him.  None of the pictures of Kapoors at that place strike me as very interesting.  Certainly not nearly as interesting as the Big Olympic Thing, or as interesting as The Bean.  So instead I googled for other Kapoor imagery, and found this rather excellent Kapoor photograph, of him posing in front of one of his creations, outside the Royal Academy, in London, in 2009:

image

Click on that photo to get a bigger version, which I recommend doing.

What I (of course) like is that you can see the little clutch of photographers, including (of course) the photographer who took this photograph, in the photograph.

Sunday February 08 2015

Thank goodness for the I Just Like It! file.  Today was yet another long and annoying day doing other things besides blogging, and yet, I want to stick with the habit, without being insultingly brief.  That’s when some here’s-some-I-prepared-earlier snaps can come in really handy.

So here are a few snaps I picked out about a month ago from the archives, but never got around to posting at the time.  The common theme is dancing.  Two are males, dancing by mistake.  The other two are of females, dancing on purpose.

Enjoy:

image imageimage image

Every now and again, I recommend that someone do a ballet about digital photography.  All that posing both by photographers and the people they are photoing.

Although, one of the blokes is playing with a frisbee rather than a camera, and one of the dancing ladies is a statue.  And a favourite object of my photographic devotions, as it happens.  This time, though, with added airplane exhaust.  And scaffolding.

Taken in November 2006, July 2008, September 2008 and February 2012.  The one top right, July 2008, would, I’m pretty sure, have featured a very big Shard in the background, had it been taken more recently.

Thursday February 05 2015

Yes, the talk this evening went well, I think.  Lots of people said they enjoyed it, and they didn’t have to do that.  They could have said, as my mother said about things I did that she didn’t like, that it was “interesting”.  But they didn’t say it was interesting.  They said they enjoyed it.  I’m guessing they really did.  I did.

However, in the course of the talk, I alluded to a clever question asked by Ayumi Meegan, after a talk given by Richard Carey at my home a while back, and instead of calling here “Ayumi”, I called her “Mayumi”.  Twice.  She being present this evening, and me identifying her, by name, wrongly.  Not good.  I hope that a correction can be added, as and when any video of the talk appears at Libertarian Home.  I am grateful to meetings organiser and Libertarian Home Supremo (and video man) Simon Gibbs for telling me that I had made this mistake, twice, so that I was able to apologise to Ayumi immediately.  Ayumi Ayumi Ayumi.

Also, I hope Simon will add the name of David Mitchell, the comedian to whom I alluded in my talk while failing to remember his name, at all.  I didn’t even get that wrong.  I mentioned a clever short video lecture by Mitchell that was mentioned by Rob Fisher in a comment on this posting here.

No doubt if I ever do get to watch this performance on video, I will learn of even more serious blunders in what I said, but those will do to be getting on with.

Meanwhile, for the benefit of anyone who heard the talk and is now checking out this blog, hello, and here is something I quite like to do here, quite often, which is to post quota photos.  These being photos put up here simply to ensure that something gets posted here, each day, as it almost always does.  I mentioned this rule of mine in the course of the talk.  Although, I suppose these particular photos aren’t really quota photos, because without them there would still be the ramblings above here today.

Whatever,these particular photos are of three of London’s Big Things, namely the BT Tower, the Gherkin and (when it was still under construction) the Cheesegrater:

image image

The twist here is that all these Big Things are in a state of photographic blurriness.  The focus is instead on mere things, in the foreground.  Yet, the Big Things are still entirely recognisable, which is one of the key qualifications for being a Big Thing in the first place.  For the same reason, Big Things are instantly recognisable from a great distance.

Click on these little pictures to get them a lot bigger, and also a lot blurrier, even though all they are is the same thing only bigger.

Wednesday February 04 2015

I’m giving a talk tomorrow evening to (for?) Libertarian Home, and am, as usual when I give a talk, fretting that I am now weeks behind with preparing it.

Today I had a haircut.  The talk will probably be videoed and I am too old to do the tramp look.  It makes me look like a real tramp.  The effect of the haircut was much as it usually is, only instead of the Cary Grant look in the second After picture there, back in 2006, now it’s grey Cary Grant.  With a big bulge under the chin.  And ugly.  And unable to sit cross-legged like that.  More classic BMdotcom fashion analysis here.

Basically, what I am saying is: I’m busy and wish me luck.

Tuesday February 03 2015

Recently, circumstances took me up from the South Bank walkway onto Waterloo Bridge.  As I recall it, the idea was to walk across the bridge to one of the District Line tube stations on the north bank.  But before I did that, I took pictures from the south end of the bridge, from which a lot can be seen.  This isn’t the half of it, but it is some of it: 

image imageimage image

Time was when I’d have taken only pictures like that last one, of Big Ben through The Wheel.  Note that all the other pictures contain things that will soon pass.  Cranes.  And two adverts for entertainment, one for this and one inside the Thing the advert is on the outside of.  Also, in among taking these shots, I also took this one, which was very temporary indeed.

That Big Ben shot is through a gap between, I think, the Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery.  Between two of those South Bank concrete lumps, anyway.  I do like gaps.  And then I moved a few yards south, and through the same gap between the lumps, or maybe through another gap, I saw this:

image

Here are two pictures I took a few days later, to explain what the above roof clutter is, both taken outside Westminster Abbey:

image image

As you can see, the spikey bobble is on the top of Methodist Central Hall.  And the roof clutter is one of London’s great roof clutter clusters, on top of top of New Scotland Yard.  As so often with roof clutter, such a bland facade.  With such a crazy hairdo.

The man scratching his back is, I think, St George, commemorating the Crimean War.  But that could be quite wrong.

As I get to know London better, I learn to connect distant views to close-up views, not just of obvious stuff, but of everything.

Saturday January 31 2015

My Last Friday meeting last night went, from where I sat, very well.  The speaker (Professor Tim Evans) gave a bravura performance.  Not everyone was convinced, and said so, but that’s fine.  That’s a feature, not a bug.

Best all, the exact right number of people attended.  The room was full. Every seat was taken.  Nobody had to stand.

From my personal point of view, the rearranging I did to the furniture set-up turned out beautifully.  From when they resumed at the start of 2013 until last December, these meetings have suffered from the presence of a sort of sideboard thingy, that sticks out from the wall of CDs, to your right as you step into the room.  From this sideboard, drinks and nibbles have been served.  But this didn’t work.  Most people couldn’t easily reach for sustenance during the meeting, and the sideboard broke the circle of seating, in a most ugly and unsatisfactory way.

But last night, food and drink, rather than being stuck away at the side, were instead dispensed from a central table, made of three big plank-like objects bolted together for the evening.  It worked much better, because everyone could then just reach out for their junk food and junk drink, instead of either pining for it in frustration or else traversing the room.

And, the intrusive sideboard thingy was replaced with what God had always intended should be there instead, more CD shelves:

image

There is always room for more shelves.

Details of this sort may seem very foolish, but they are what the craft of hospitality consists of.

imageAnother personal highlight for me was the wine I found at Sainsbury’s in the afternoon.  The only way it could have been improved upon, for my purposes, would have been if it had come from Tesco.

My wine-savvy guests laughed, but were also curious.  Yes, I’ll try a glass, they said, one after another.  And the verdict?  “I’ve tasted worse!” One of them said that in a loud voice, and the others concurred.

The cheapest wine usually costs a minimum of £4 in London, but this was £2.50.  Don’t you just love that it came in a plastic bottle (photoed by me afterwards, empty and with no top).

The attenders were as fine a bunch as I and my speaker have ever managed to assemble, being greatly improved by the presence in our midst of Goddaughter 2 and a couple of her Royal College of Music friends, a soprano and a baritone.  Word is that they had a good time.

I also personally enjoyed both the beginning and the end of the evening.  I always like it when the first person to arrive is a particular friend, rather than someone I only half know and am fretting about impressing, or failing to impress.  And last night the first person to arrive was a friend.

And, I like it when the last few people are also friends, or at least people I am not in any way anxious to be rid of.  Last night, two especially agreeable people (they know who they were) were the last to leave, but not before we had discussed the whole business of the scarcity of sociability, and the consequent possibility that I might, rather suddenly, wish to be alone.  The point is, knowing that I could tell them this without causing offence, I found that I did not want to.  My sociability was running very low, but an ordeal that you can switch off at any moment can often cease entirely from being an ordeal, and so it was last night.  Instead, we had an extremely interesting conversation.  They left in time to catch the last train, having absolutely not outstayed their welcome.

So all in all, everything went very well, for me personally.

Will I have anything to say about the speaker, Tim Evans, and what he actually said? Well, on that, time will tell.  I’m still thinking about that.

Friday January 30 2015

Busy day getting ready for a Friday evening meeting, then having a Friday evening meeting.  Now knackered.  Therefore another quota photo.  But it is at least one of mine:

image

As you can see, it’s another snap taken at that Charlie Hebdo demo in Trafalgar Square.  What I like is the stoical dignity of the statue, surrounded by the demo which is completely not interested in the statue, and is something very different.  I am not blaming anybody for anything, or comparing anyone to anyone else’s advantage or disadvantage.  I just like the effect.

I didn’t make any use of this picture at the time, because what on earth would it illustrate that I wanted to say then?  Nothing.  It’s just a picture.  And one that I happen to like.

More about Cunningham here.

Monday January 26 2015

What the hell was I thinking, putting up this photo of that demo, when I also had this one to show you:

image

?

Two men who are, between them, wearing five different items of headgear.  The majority of them rather interesting.

Sunday January 25 2015

Before and after perusing the remains of that demo I chanced upon yesterday, I was photographing photographers.  Here are a few of them:

image image imageimage image imageimage image image

As you can see from the top left snap, he is photoing Westminster Abbey, and those two dramatic crouching shots, top middle and top right, are of photographers wanting to get the upper reaches rather than the lower reaches of Westminster Abbey in the background behind their friends.

Several quite good additions to the Interesting Hats sub-directory there, especially the gent, middle left, who looks to me like he’s in The Hunt For Red October.  Is he being post-modern and ironic?  Or does he, perchance, actually mean it?  Either way, I don’t like it.  I mean, do people now wander around London with swastikas in their hats?  But, if you were guessing who the spy was, you’d have to pick the one in the Union Jack hat.

The lady bottom middle is a bit out of focus.  But, her hat gets her included nevertheless.

And the gent at the bottom left is not very bald, but he is a bit.  He makes it into that sub-directory.