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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: Sculpture

Friday December 02 2016

Friday is the day here for cats and other creatures, so here, among other things, is a panda:

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What this photo illustrates is the perennial problem of trying to chuck stuff out, which is that all too often, stuff is just too nice to chuck out.

I recall, a year or two after the Berlin Wall was dismantled, meeting an Eastern European lady, who complained about how the packages and pots and bottles in which produce was suddenly now sold was too good to chuck out.  Bloody capitalism.  Capitalist rubbish was better than what they had previously had as actual stuff.

In a modified form, I now suffer from this syndrome.  It has crept up on me more gradually, but throughout my lifetime, packaging has been getting ever better, probably because it is the sort of industry that politicians disapprove of, and have hence left to its own devices, an industry’s own devices invariably being better than any device devised by politicians.  The packaging industry, not having been “helped”, has thrived.

Beer bottles (the one in the picture still has beer in it so that will be consumed first), I have learned not to miss.  But even they are sometimes so artfully designed that it seems wrong to throw them away.

The coffee jar I will keep, because coffee jars are so structurally impressive.

But that panda has got to go.

Tuesday November 29 2016

Indeed.  This is not one of all-too typical late night, last minute postings.  This is me getting my blogging here done before I depart again to Tottenham, because when I get back I will be completely knackered.

Photoed by me last week, in Lower Marsh, where for some reason antique automobiles are often to be seen:

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Considering how dark it was, this came out pretty well, I think.  I took several other shots of this goddess, most too blurry to be any good.

When I showed the surviving clutch of non-blurry photos that I took of this car to a friend over the weekend, it suddenly seemed to me that this particular photo makes this car look a bit like the E-type Jag.  This is not an argument.  But it was a definite feeling. 

Here is an E-type viewed from a similar angle.

I think what made me see this similarity is that this is the angle that de-emphasises that characteristic upward bulge on the E-type bonnet, a bulge which means that from most angles, the Citroen DS and the E-type do not look the same.

More on my fascination (widely shared) for antique cars in this earlier posting.

Sunday November 27 2016

Indeed:

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imageimageimage

People taking photos with their mobile phones, now more commonly known as smartphones because of all the other things they can do also besides phoning people when out and about, is now something you see everywhere.  Above is a typical such photoer, whom I photoed at the top of the Big Olympic Thing last Tuesday, just before it got dark, on the same day I took these photos.

1.1 and 1.2 both show classic finger-work, of the sort I have long been familiar with, but which I nevertheless never tire of seeing and photoing.  These shapes always make me smile.

2.2 is a classic screen shot, with everything on the screen very visible, as it is often not.  Normally I like bright, outdoor light, but when it comes to photoing other people’s screens, the worse the light is the better.

Perhaps 2.1 is the most interesting one, because it shows what dirty windows there are up there.  The human eye doesn’t see through dirty windows very well, but cameras do this better, unless the camera is photoing the dirt, in which case it really photos it.

Monday November 21 2016

For the last week or two or more, I have been unable to reach the 6k blog, which is one of my favourites.  I’ve been able to reach everything else I wanted to, but not 6k.  Odd.  My computer has been behaving strangely in recent weeks, so it’s almost certainly me rather than him.  Or maybe, as The Guru suggests, it might be my internet provider. Whatever the reason, it’s been a frustration and a worry.

But today, for no reason that I can think of, I clicked on 6k yet again, and back it came, like it had never been away.

To celebrate, here are some more lighthouses, something which 6k likes, and which in a more ignorant and casual way I do too:

image

That’s a crop from the middle of a hastily snatched shop-window shot, full of reflections and general confusion.  Memo to self.  Next time I visit my friends in Brittany: better lighthouse shots.  Of postcards, of toy lighthouses like these ones (I seem to recall entire walls of lighthouses in tourist crap shops), and of actual lighthouses.

image6k likes lighthouses so much that the little square graphic at the top of the window where his blog is windowed, or whatever is the word for that, is a red, white and blue square from a red and white lighthouse picture.

Friday November 18 2016

Ah the countryside, where the other creatures - other than cats, I mean - live:

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And contribute about as much to the world as most cats do, by the look of them.

Actually this is not really the countryside.  It is north east London.  To be more exact, it is the gap between the King George’s Reservoir and the William Girling Reservoir, which is named after William Girling, who was the Chairman of the Metropolitan Water Board at the time of the reservoir’s opening.

I found myself in this spot in the summer of 2015, and don’t worry, I had a destination in mind that was nothing to do with horses.  I was on my way to Yardley Hill, to take photos like this:

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As I made my way towards Chingford Station, I also came upon a horse, wondering whether to kick a dog or run away from it.  And I also encountered an Indian elephant, outside an Indian restaurant:

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But I kept well clear of the cattle.

Monday November 07 2016

Today I am rather ill, and so is my computer, or to be exact, my internet connection.  My internet connection does still work, but only some of the time.  There are regular interruptions, an earlier manifestation of which I suspect of having helped to cause those database problems.

My illness was cause by me swallowing a toothbrush bristle, which damaged my throat.  That’s the second time this has happened recently.  Am I going to have to start buying ridiculously expensive toothbrushes, and to throw them away more often?

So, to celebrate all this woe, here is a picture of nothing:

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To be exact, that’s the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, with nothing on it.

I preferred that arrangement, photoed in September, to what is there now, which is a elongated thumb.  It’s supposed to be all about being positiv.  Whenever artists say things like that you suspect ironic distance.  But whatever the wording for this thing, I just don’t like how it looks.  I preferred Nothing.

The good news is that nothing on the Fourth Plinth is now permanent.  By which I mean not that it always has nothing there, like in September, but that no thing ever stays there permanently.  If you like whatever it is, you can photo it and remember it fondly.  If not, you can forget about it.

Wednesday October 26 2016

I’ve been photoing the Pavlova Statue outside Victoria Station for a long time.  On the left here is how she was looking, on a particularly sunny day ten years ago:

imageimageimage

But look at the state of her now, as shown on the right.  I got quite a shock, I can tell you, when I came upon her about a fortnight ago, looking like this.

The Victoria Palace Theatre is being refurbished.

Wednesday October 12 2016

Indeed:

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Click at will, to get bigger, less square pictures.

Displayed in chronological order.  Taken between May 2011 and August 2014.  When I took that last one, of the bikini-wearing bottle openers, that got me collecting all the others.  That last one is definitely the one where the Union Jacks are having the most fun.

Saturday October 08 2016

Whenever I see an old car, of the sort that was the latest thing when I was a kid, I photo it, or I try to.

See, for instance, those delightful old Citroens in Roupell Street.  Which were there, I have since learned, not because someone in Roupell Street is collecting them, but because someone in Roupell Street is repairing them.

And see also, this ...:

imageimageimage

… which I saw earlier this week, while on my way to a violin and piano recital at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square.  A Rolls Royce, on the way to what turned out to be a Rolls Royce performance.

I used to have a Dinky Toy version of that car.

I am increasingly coming to believe that many of our most powerfully felt aesthetic prejudices are formed in the nursery.  And that a lot of Modern Art is the recreation of those happy sensations, in an enlarged form, suitable for the enlarged people that the nursery dwellers turn into.

But Dinky Toy cars don’t have to be enlarged, because they already have been.  Enlarged Dinky Toy cars are called: cars.

Come to think of it, I also had a couple of Dinky Toy Citroens, a DS19, and a 2CV.  Yes, this explains a lot.

Tuesday September 27 2016

Sunday was a good photography day.  After lunching with a friend in the Waterloo area, I made my way, as reported yesterday, to the Tate Modern Extension.  When up at the top of this I took many photos, and some quite good photos.

But none, for me, was better than this, which I spied just before getting into the lift from Floor 10 back to the ground:

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I can’t remember exactly when the change happened from plaster casts to … that, but happen it did, and I am impressed.  I’m guessing that one of the many advantages of this system is that you can take it off and put it back on again, to do things like assess progress, or deal with skin discomforts.

I’m further guessing that you can dismantle one of these things, give it a good wash, and then use it again.

More from me on the subject of plastic and its newly devised applications in this at Samizdata earlier today.

Sunday September 25 2016

I love the various visual effects you sometimes get when a piece of reinforced concrete is being destroyed and when it puts up a fight.  I can’t say that it always does this, because you wouldn’t see anything when it is routed into oblivion in the space of a few hours, would you?  But when it does fight for its life, it can be quite a sight.  These effects are particularly worthy of being photographically immortalised because however long the fight lasts, it will still end, and pretty soon.

And, I find that the more I see of 240 Blackfriars, from near and from far, the more I like it.

So, here is today’s photo, taken today:

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I took this while on my way from Waterloo to Tate Modern and its Extension viewing gallery, which I am visiting a lot these days, before the Let Them Get Net Curtains row causes the place to be closed or at least severely curtailed.

240 Blackfriars is the work, I have just learned, of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, whom I have now started to learn more about.  I never heard of them until now.

Preliminary findings: I think that 240 Blackfriars will probably turn out to be my favourite of their buildings so far.  And: they make a lot of use of colour, which I favour, but which can often look very tacky and Seventies-ish if you don’t do it right.

Wednesday September 21 2016

The directory with all the snaps I took in Quimper and surrounding places, ten years ago, contains some fine images.

And some rather weird ones:

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Okay, Citroens made of wood is not that weird.  Certainly not in France.

But those really rather realistic black baby dolls is something we surely don’t do nearly so much over here.  I’m guessing we have too much of a history of what you might call derogatory black dolls, unrealistically racist dolls, and that means that all black dolls are now tainted in our eyes, even much more realistic ones like the ones in that picture.  They evoke a tradition and a way of thinking we would prefer not to be reminded of, or worse, to be thought to be perpetuating.  When the British are being sentimental about black babies, they do it in those (I think) ghastly charity fundraising telly adverts.

But what do I know?  I’m just thinking aloud.  Maybe we do have lots of dolls like these in British shop windows, and I merely haven’t noticed them.  But, my first reaction when I say these black babies was, as I say: weird.  Certainly striking enough to take several photos of.

Thursday September 15 2016

Mick Hartley celebrates the addition, now complete and in business, of a slide to the Big Olympic Thing, with some pictures of it that he has taken.

He of course shows the whole thing.  Me, I am more and more coming to see that the quality I most value in these Big Things is their instant recognisability.  Hey, look at that.  That can only be … That!

So here is another photo of the Big Olympic Thing from my archives, showing hardly any of it, but still (for me anyway) instantly recognisable:

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Click to get the bigger original.  Rather artistic, I think.

Taken the same day, and from the same place, that I took this photo of the Shard and the Gherkin directly in line.

Wednesday September 14 2016

This I knew:

Seven Dials is a small road junction in Covent Garden in the West End of London where seven streets converge.

But this, I did not know:

At the centre of the roughly circular space is a column bearing six sundials, a result of the column being commissioned before a late stage alteration of the plans from an original six roads to seven.

I used to work in Covent Garden and Seven Dials was a favourite spot then.  There was a hardware shop in one of the Seven Dials spokes, so to speak, and I used to go there a lot.

Here is a picture I took of this column and of some of its surroundings, this (very sunny) afternoon:

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But, here is a picture I took of the inscription at the bottom of the column, which I never noticed before:

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So, was a replacement column put up, around that time?

Yes.  The original column went to Weybridge, via Addlestone, which reminds me of trains from Egham when I was kid.  “Virginia Water, Chertsey, AddleSTONE and Weybridge”, an old man used to yell, just before the train for these locations departed.  I used to love that.  But I digress.  Here’s what happened to the original Seven Dials column:

The original sundial column was removed in 1773. It was long believed that it had been pulled down by an angry mob, but recent research suggests it was deliberately removed by the Paving Commissioners in an attempt to rid the area of “undesirables”. The remains were acquired by architect James Paine, who kept them at his house in Addlestone, Surrey, from where they were bought in 1820 by public subscription and re-erected in nearby Weybridge as a memorial to Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, Duchess of York and Albany.

The replacement sundial column was installed in 1988–89 to the original design. It was unveiled by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on a visit to commemorate the tercentenary of the reign of William and Mary, during which the area was developed.

Original design presumably means that, just like the original, the new column only has six dials at the top.

Thursday August 11 2016

Indeed.  Photoed by me yesterday, inside the original bit of Tate Modern:

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Actually, if you look carefully, you see that these people aren’t exactly the same distances apart.  The ones further away are a bit further apart.  Which only adds to the effect.

More fundamentally, my picture shows people, but no Art.  The contrast, between the bigness of these buildings - Tate Modern, Tate Modern Extension - and the almost complete absence of Modern Art in most of these huge spaces, is truly bizarre.  Modern Art dwarfed by Architectural Modernity, you might say.  There are these pokey little collections of stuff in medium sized spaces, off the big main spaces, and I looked in on one of these shows.  I thought it was downright pathetic.  Not offensive or nasty, you understand.  Just feeble and totally underwhelming.  It looked like a few giant toys, that someone had forgotten to tidy up, lying about in a giant nursery.  And I don’t think it was just me.  I heard others commenting along similarly underwhelmed lines.

The only popular enthusiasm that I observed was being expressed for the view from the top of the new Extension building.  London is as fascinating and variegated to gaze out upon as Modern Art, to judge by the stuff I saw, is dreary and banal.