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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

Saturday February 13 2016

Last Thursday afternoon, just before it got dark, proved to be a truly excellent time to be taking photos, and by good fortune, that’s exactly what I was doing.  Yesterday’s white van was an early snap from that expedition.  And when I got onto Westminster Bridge, in fading light but light pouring down from a cloudless lump of blue above, things got really good.

I, of course photoed my phello (my blog my rules) photoers.

A lady was photoing Big Ben.  So I photoed her:

image

And I carefully contrived it that her hand was in front of her face, so nobody could put her face through a computer and recognise her, that being another of my rules, now.  But she spoiled it, by sticking her own, I guess, face on her phone, together with, I further guess, the faces of her husband and her son.  A few seconds Googling confirmed for me that personalising the graphics on your smartphone case is now a definite thing.

So, why do I show these faces, having been so careful not to photo this lady’s actual face?  Something to do with the fact that she is obviously so proud of her family that she sticks them on her phone, and then waves her phone in the sky, photoing Big Ben, on Westminster Bridge, London.  This is me and this is my family, and I don’t care who knows it!  I mean, if you wave a photo of yourself around the place, that’s fair game, I reckon.  Well, my gaff my rules.  And when it’s borderline, I follow the Reasonable Man test, me being the reasonable man who gets to decide.

No problems, on the other hand, with this guy, also photoing Big Ben, minutes later, also with his hand over his face:

image

Although, I had to crop this one a bit, to eliminate faces in the crowd behind him.

You can see that lovely sky there.  And you can also see those delicate hand movements that photoers do, that I so love.  See especially the fifth finger of his left hand.  All the more fun to see when it’s such a big hunk of (bald-headed) manhood doing it.

Friday February 12 2016

I like white vans.  And since this is Friday, I at least want recently to have encountered, virtually or for real, something feline, but with a bit of a difference from the usual internet felinities.

So, I was pleased to notice this vehicle, outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, across the road from Westminster Abbey, yesterday afternoon:

image

More about the enterprise in question here.

It is surprising, to me, given how much attention cats now get in the popular culture, how few enterprises use cattery to advertise themselves in this kind of way.

Thursday February 11 2016

And I do mean eagles.  Yes, it’s more fun and games from dezeen:

London’s Metropolitan Police force is considering using trained eagles to grab drones from the sky following a rise in unmanned aircraft crime ...

Next step, the drones will start shooting at the eagles.

However:

Jemima Parry-Jones, director of the International Centre of Birds of Prey in Gloucestershire, told the BBC she thinks the idea is a “gimmick”.

Well, yes.  Some journo with nothing to write asked the Met about if they’d use eagles, and the Met said yes they’d consider it.  Which they no doubt did, for about five minutes.  I mean, if you were an eagle, would you want to fly towards a thing with propellers?  But where would fun come from if nobody could ever suggest gimmicks?

The story does throw interesting light on the fear provoked by drones, and, I think, on the reluctance of regular British people actually to want to buy these contraptions.  I noted the arrival of drones in the shops, but they have not, as it were, taken off.  Not in London anyway.  They are strictly specialist devices, to enable the controllers of large bits of land, mostly out in the countryside, to control the land better and more cheaply.

C’est Magnifique:

image

Paris has been casting about for exciting new buildings.  That one was rejected, but le www can soon put that right.

After a long period of imposed timidity, the architecture of Paris is coming back to life.

That modern house perched on the top is inspired.

It’s London envy, I think.  All those French people under thirty who can only find work in London, going to London, and then reporting back that (a) London is cool, and that (b) a lot of this is down to its recent Big Things.  So, make some Grand Choses for Paris.

My theory of why it was turned down.  That what this wondrous Chose proves is that if people were allowed to do exactly what they like, in cities like Paris, it would be magnifique.  To put it another way, this wondrous thing makes planners feel unnecessary, and they really don’t like that.

It is strangely lacking in colour, but again, this is easily correctable.  Perhaps the monochromeness of it all is to make the architects feel more necessary.

Wednesday February 10 2016

I still fondly remember a posting I did on Samizdata, over a decade ago now, about a banged-up police car that was claiming to be Working for a safer London.  Well, the white van below, photoed back on December 29th of last year, isn’t as big a PR clanger as that was, but it is a bit bad:

image

I know, I know.  You can’t really make data insecure by damaging the van on which it says “secure data management”.  This is the enterprise in question.  Look at where the green lines cross the phone numbers, and you will see that, in the picture there, it is not the same van.  So, they have more than one van.  And by the look of it, what these vans do is transport documents.  Nevertheless, this blemish suggests a certain sloppiness, or maybe I mean a certain willingness to seem sloppy, that does not sit well with handling data securely.  If I was them, I’d want it sorted soonest.

On the same day, on the same photo-expedition, I also photoed this van:

image

Not nearly as white as the secure data van, but more to the point: not a scratch and squeaky clean.  Which is appropriate, because this is also a business which needs to look like it is taking care when it is doing its business:

With paramount importance placed on quality and support, all equipment is thoroughly cleaned, tested and checked by our experienced engineers ...

Here’s another van, also snapped on that same expedition, that is both white and clean:

image

White vans often get rather dirty, but not this one:

Calabash are the No.1 commercial cleaning and washroom services company in London. Since 1992 we’ve been ensuring our clients maintain their premises to the highest standards ...

This, in other words, is a van that also needs to be maintained to the highest standards, and by the look of it, it is.

Tuesday February 09 2016

It is already hours into tomorrow, so to speak, and I am tired, but with a daily posting run to keep going.  Which means shoving up any old damn thing before I go to bed.

Here we go:

image

Once again, my trusty I Just Like It! directory has come to my rescue.  Although, it does need replenishing somewhat.

This photo was taken nine years ago, almost to the day, on the South Bank, in the vicinity of the Wheel, where characters of this sort are constantly to be seen posing for photos and hoping for cash.

So, what were these particular two characters saying to each other?  You decide, if you care.  I doubt anyone will, but maybe someone will not only think of something but actually add a comment to that effect.

I think the tall guy in black is saying: How much for your shoes?

Sunday February 07 2016

On the same day I photoed this stuff, up there in …

image

…, I also photoed white vans, like these ones:

imageimage

“Rimessa a nuovo e posa pavimenti in Legno” is the Italian for having sex for the first time, very elegantly (like they’re performing), on the pavement, in a place called Legno.  No not really, I don’t know what that means.  Something to do with wood flooring.

As for th van on the right, rather black but with a giant white painted piece of seafood on it, well, I like it.  Although I do miss the times when the Wright Brothers didn’t mean that, but meant the first people to fly an airplane and land it, or whatever it was exactly that the original Wright Brothers did.

Here, on the other hand, is a white van of the sort you don’t want to see:

image

Graffiti, badly covered up or badly cleaned up, and then more graffiti.  Not good.  I have never seen a white van that was an graffiti battlefield before.  Graffighting?

So, I’ll cheer myself up with another white van, this time an excellent one, photoed more recently, outside a building site in Westminster:

image

A white van for looking after tower cranes.  White vans don’t get any better than that..

Saturday February 06 2016

Today I have been what passes with me for busy.  By this I do not mean that I have been doing anything along the lines of work, of benefit to others.  Oh no.  But I have been paying attention to a succession of things, all of which involved me not being in much of a state to do anything else.

There was a game of cricket, there was a game of rugger, and a game of football.  England defeated South Africa.  England defeated Scotland.  And Spurs defeated Watford.  So, three for three. And then I went to hear a talk at Christian Michel’s, about The Unconscious, Freudian and post-Freudian.  Freud, it turns out, was right that there is an Unconscious, but wrong about a lot of the details.

On my way home from that talk, I took a photo.  Technically it was very bad photo, because it was taken through the window of a moving tube train.  It is of an advert at a tube station.  But my photo did the job, which was to immortalise here yet another assemblage of London’s Big Things, in an advert:

image

That’s only a bit of the picture, rotated a bit, lightened and contrasted a bit and sharpened a bit.

The advert was for these visitor centres, which sound suspiciously like what used to be called “information desks”.

I see: the Cheesegrater, the Wheel, the BT Tower, Big Ben, the cable car river crossing, the Gherkin, Tower Bridge, the Shard, St Paul’s, and the pointy-topped Canary Wharf tower.  I forgive TfL for plugging the embarrassing Emirates Dangleway.  If they didn’t recommend it, who would?

Because of all that busy-ness, I have no time to put anything else here today.

Tomorrow: Super Bowl!

LATER: AB de Villiers, talking about South Africa now being two down with three to play:

“I can’t help but think, shit we have got to win three games in a row to win this series. Shucks, I mean. But that’s the fact of the matter. In situations like this, whether you are 2-nil up or 2-nil down, you have to take a small step. The next game is important for us. Shucks.”

We all know what shit is, but now learn what a shuck is.

Friday February 05 2016

The other day (like there has been been just the one (which is idiotic)), I was in …:

image

… to have brunch with GD2 and her sister in their newly acquired home.

While there I took some photos, including this still life, of pots and pans and utensils, which looks rather nice, like an oil painting:

image

Staying tasteful and artistic, and seeing as how this is Friday, here is something else I snapped there:

image

Yes, it’s a cat cushion!  It was, though, probably there when they moved in.

Since a major percentage of the point of Art is to stay a couple of steps ahead of and to thereby piss off the dumbo bourgeoisie, the latest batch of Artists would probably now reckon the cat cushion to be more Artistic than the still life.

As for the bloke who painted that Kentish Town sign, he probably now works for an advertising agency.

Thursday February 04 2016

The following picture explains (a) why all my cameras must have a zoom lens permanently available, as powerful as is within the bounds of sanity, and (b) why this zoom lens must be instantly usable.  In other words why I will not tolerate faffing about with hand-attached lenses.  Which means that all my cameras have had to be “bridge” cameras rather than DSLRs.  I need wide-angle one moment, and then the next moment, by which I often mean the next second, I may need zoom and tons of it.

Here is the picture, which Antoine Clarke took, Twittered, and then phoned me about because he reckoned I would like it:

image

And I do like it.  A lot.  A lorry, with a panoramic photo-view of London on the side?  What, as people now like to say, ‘s not to like?

But Antoine’s attached Twitter verbiage reads as follows:

What’s a Japanese torpedo bomber doing there?!?

What Japanese torpedo bomber?  The world wants Antoine to zoom in on the Japanese torpedo bomber, to prove that there is indeed a Japanese torpedo bomber present.

I hoped that the photo above would download itself from Twitter, and it did.  Good.  But, it was only 640 pixels wide.  (This Blog is 500 pixels wide.) Not so good.

When I expanded what I took to be the Japanese torpedo bomber, I got this:

image

If you already know that you are looking for a Japanese torpedo bomber, then you will, just about, maybe, see a Japanese torpedo bomber.  But a zoomed in close-up would really have helped.

I know how hard it can be photoing vehicles that are, as it were, zooming past.  Often one shot is the best you can hope for, and equally often not even that.  Yesterday a Wicked Campervan zoomed, as it were, past me, with “DRINK TILL SHE’S PRETTY” written on its arse, and I completely missed photing it.  (But no worries.  I think it was the van in a photo you can find by scrolling down in this grumpy article.)

But something about the exact composition of Antoine’s shot tells me that Antoine’s lorry was stationary, or nearly so.  So, Antoine, is there a bigger version of this shot available, more like 4000x3000 than 640x480?  (4000x3000 being what my Panasonic Lumix FZ200 cranks out.) That would supply some Japanese torpedo bomber detail.  Or is there even a close-up of the Japanese torpedo bomber?

Failing that, does Antoine know what enterprise this lorry was working for?  Maybe they have a website, with photos?

Okay, now I’m being grumpy.  It took me a long time to get into the habit of photoing all the incidental detail around a good photo, for future internetting purposes.  But, with apologies for immediately demanding more when given something nice, … Antoine?

Wednesday February 03 2016

Early February is one of my favourite times of the year.  Income tax is over and done with for another year.  The days, although not yet long and warm, are at least getting longer and warmer.  (Already the day is an hour longer than its December 24th worst.) And that means that well-lit photography time expands, which means I can do the same amount of photography but do not need to start so early.

image

That’s another snap I took yesterday.  The Strata Tower was looking particularly fine in the evening sun.  Very metallic.

And, because it’s only February, there were no damn leaves getting in the way of everything, just artfully interposed branches:

image

And, there is the Six Nations.  It’s that time just before the first round kicks off, and so far, nobody’s team has lost any games.  Every team has a one hundred percent record!  How great is that?!?

Go England:

image

Also taken yesterday.

Tuesday February 02 2016

Yes, today I was in Burgess Park, which is the other side of the river from me.  I took the 148 bus, to see where it would go, and once in that bus, I spent my time wondering what Camberwell Green is.

I tried to take photos out of the bus, but the best seats, at the top at the front, were taken.  I had to sit right at the back.  But, in the vicinity of the Elephant and Castle, I did manage this:

image

I got lucky with the crane shadow, didn’t I?  The development is called Elephant Park.

I never did find out about Camberwell Green, because the bus got stuck in a jam next to one of the entrances to Burgess Park, and I got out at the next stop to take another look at this diverting space.  I visited Burgess Park once before, and liked it a lot.  Great views of Big Things.  Today was also good, from that point of view:

image

But the shot of the day, in my opinion so far, on the same evening, is this, of a photographer photoing the sunset:

image

You’ll have to take my word for it that the sunset is what he was photoing, and for that matter that he was even holding a camera.  But he was.

Sunday January 31 2016

This picture of a taxi ticks two BMdotcom boxes.  First, its a black cab which isn’t, either because it just isn’t, or because it is covered in an advert.  In this case, it’s a bit of both:

image

But better, we observe in the advert on the not-black cab two Big Things.  The Big Thing on the left says: London!  And what is actually the much Bigger Thing, on the right, says: New York!  I am collecting imagery that says: London!, and this fits that bill very well, even if it does say: New York! as well.

I quite like the replacement for the Twin Towers, but it seems to me rather bland, in a picture, when you can’t see how very big it is.  Bland being what you do not want in a Big Thing for saying: New York!  But I guess, the Twin Towers having established themselves as the Big Things that formerly said: New York, whatever replaced them was going to have to do that job as soon as it appeared, bland or not.  The Empire State or the Chrysler would no longer do, them having already been dethroned as the sayers of: New York!, by the Twin Towers.

I think it is very telling that in the New York picture there is a clump of skyscrapers rather than just one.  Because New York is not any one skyscraper.  It’s a forest of skyscrapers.  Each individual skyscraper may be rather bland, but what it all adds up to is anything but bland.

But New York is not my town, and that is only me guessing.

Friday January 29 2016

Indeed:

image

Also, on her right, some of the new buildings at the top end of Victoria Street.

It’s already deep into tomorrow morning, after my meeting.  It went well, but (or and) I am now very tired.

Wednesday January 27 2016

Quota photo time, in the form of a view of the Walkie Talkie that I didn’t find when I image-googled “Walkie Talkie tower London”, which I suppose is what you want:

image

I took this photo on the day I had actually been to the top of the Walkie Talkie, and the views from this top are, as you would expect, wonderful.  But when I skimmed through all the photos from that day just now, looking for a quota photo, this was the shot that I found myself stopping at.

Most of the pictures of the Walkie Talkie emphasise how huge it is compared to the buildings around it.  But when you actually get closer, like this, it doesn’t loom so large.  I mean, it’s not as if all these old buildings have been flattened to make way for the Walkie Talkie.  The buildings nearby look quite big, and the Walkie Talkie, a bit further away, looks big too, but not as disproportionately huge as it does when you see the same contrast from further away.