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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: My photographs

Wednesday June 29 2016

I must have walked past it a hundred times, from Currys PC World and on my way down Tottenham Court Road towards to Maplins, seeking blank DVDs and plastic DVD sleeves.  But yesterday I actually noticed it.  Above a back alley called Beaumont Place, just before it arrives at the back entrance of University College Hospital, there is a a footbridge:

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A rather strange one.  Hospitals often have these little footbridges, connecting the Somethingtrics Department to the Somethingology Ward, or whatever, so medics and more to the point patients, don’t have to go down to ground level and into the big outdoors.

But unlike many such bridges, which were clearly added years after the original buildings were erected, this one looks to have been part of the original design, to attach the new green building to the older dark grey and boxy building.  (Form, as is usual with Modern Architecture, is following fashion as well as function.)

What is that strange lump on one side of it, on the bottom?  And what’s with the big sticking-out dark grey and boxy bit that the bridge is attached to?

That strange curved pointy thing, to be seen in the left hand picture behind the bridge, sticks out high above over that back entrance.  Perhaps the idea was to draw attention to the entrance, but if so, it contributes very little along those lines.  Having the words “University College Hospital” and below that, in bigger letters, the word “Entrance” , does that job far better.  Aside from being physically pointy, the high-up pointy thing just looks pointless.  But maybe it has some other more meaningful purpose.

Monday June 27 2016

Usually, I do quota postings in the small hours of the morning.  Today, I am doing my quota posting in the big hours of the morning, to get it out of the way before a rather busy day, at the end of which I do not want to be fretting about doing a quota posting.  Although, actually, this posting has now turned into something a bit more substantial than that, and I changed the title to something more meaningful.  So anyway, yes, cranes:

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Ah, cranes!  Those structurally perfect votes of confidence in the sky.  Those cranes were snapped from the south bank of the river, looking across at The City, on the same day earlier this month that I snapped yesterday’s quota photo.  What that new Moderately Big Thing is, that some of the cranes there are ministering to, I do not know, but I like how it looks, in its incomplete state.

With Brexit, will the cranes vanish for a few years, until London sorts itself out and finds itself some new business to be doing?  Crexit?  (You can always tell when a word has well and truly caught on, because people immediately start trying to apply the same verbal formula to other things.  Brexit, verbally speaking, is the new Watergate.  Frexit, Swexit, Thisgate, Thatgate, etc. etc.) I thought that the cranes were going to depart after 2008 and all that, but the money people managed to keep the plates spinning on their sticks, and London’s cranes carried on.  How will it be this time?

Here is a very pessimistic piece about Britain’s prospects, for the immediately foreseeable future.  Does this mean that my crane photo-archive will, in hindsight, be the capturing of a moment of the economic history of London that will now pass?  If the cranes do go, how will they look when they return?  When the new cranes move in, in ten years time or whenever, will cranes like those above look strangely retro, like digital cameras circa 2005?

Or, will the cranes never return, but instead be replaced by magic electric guns which fill the air with muck and sculpt a building out of the muck, 3D printing style, all in the space of an afternoon?

Sunday June 26 2016

Taken by me earlier this month:

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Blackfriars Station being the one that has its own bridge.

I’ve not yet checked out this edifice, but of course I will, Real Soon Now.  Equally of course, it’s what I will be able to see from it that now excites me, rather than any of the stuff I might encounter in it.  That top layer of windows looks like it has an open balcony in front of them.  I hope to get out there.  You can read all you want on the internet about arrangements like this, but there is no substitute for actually going there and seeing for yourself.

But, there is also the matter of other photoers to photo.  They may be photoing the stuff inside.  If I come across them doing this, then I will, even more of course, join in.

Friday June 24 2016

LATER: I was, see below, tired and tipsy when I did this posting.  By the above title what I meant was it was a brilliant talk, not that the talk was given by “Brilliant Brian”, aka me.  So, to continue ...

And here is the guy who gave it:

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I usually forget to take photos at my Last Friday of the Month meetings, but this evening I remembered, and took that photo of my speaker, during the socialising afterwards.  I am too tired and too tipsy to say much about the talk, but it was indeed brilliant, and Anthony J. Evans is a real rising star.  I’ve heard him talk before, but this was something else again.  Basic message: Yes, national crises do create opportunities to insert “neo-liberalism” into countries, and a good thing too.  Persuading a political tyranny to liberalise on the economic front often leads on to political liberalisation.  Example: Chile.  “Neo-liberalism” has good outcomes.  Unlike the policies favoured by the people (Naomi Klein, George Monbiot) who complain about neo-liberalism, which only unleash disaster.

Monday June 20 2016

One of the more intriguing consequences of the not-now-so-very-recent (what with another one coming along) Scottish independence referendum (which happened in September 2014) was that, rather suddenly, the world (by which I really mean: I) suddenly found itself (myself) contemplating the idea of the Union Jack flag disappearing into the history books.  Had Scotland gone separate, the Union Jack would surely have had to be redesigned.  I would not have regretted Scotland detatching itself from England, in fact I would have voted for this if I could have.  But, I would have regretted the passing of the Union Jack, if only because it is such a great design, so recognisable that it is capable of being endlessly mucked about with, while still remaining the Union Jack.

The new, non Scottish version of the Union Jack might have looked a bit like the bag on the left here, as we look:

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That snap was snapped in 2015, after the Scottish referendum, but I don’t think those designs have anything to do with politics.  They’re just simplified and rather dull variations on the Union Jack theme.  The one on the left just happens to look a lot like the Union Jack minus the Saltire.  (Saltire is the Scottish flag, right?  Yes.) But what does the one on the right signify?  In terms of the flags that go towards the Union Jack, it takes the blue stripes from the Saltire and turns them into a background for the red bits of the Welsh and English flags.  So actually, it’s just a blue bag, with bits of red Union Jack-ish stuff on it.  Maybe there was also a red one with white Union Jack-ish stuck on, to complete the red white and blue set.  I might never have bothered showing the above photo here, if it hadn’t been for the Saltire subtraction angle.

I had already been snapping Union Jack snaps, since quite a while before that moment of the Union Jack’s possible moment of disappearance.  I long ago added “funny things being done with the Union Jack” to my mental photo-category list, alongside such things as bald blokes taking photos, utilitarian and commonplace footbridges, taxis covered in adverts, Big Things seen from a long way away in among foreground clutter, and so forth and so on.  But, since that earlier referendum, I have been taking photos of Union Jacks with particular zeal.

Here are a couple of very recent Union Jack snaps I did.  The first is of some flip-flops, on sale at the Parliament end of Westminster Bridge:

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I reckon it’s the cellophane that gives that its artistic effect.

And here is a London taxi wing mirror:

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That taxi décor isn’t part of an advert.  It is just a taxi decorated with the Union Jack.

And then, while I was ruminating on a posting along these lines, came this piece of graphic Union Jackery, from the Spectator, to decorate their decision to back the Leave campaign in the forthcoming EU referundum:

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This reminded me of a picture I took in East London five years ago, of some Art:

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I could continue, with yet more Union Jack snaps, but I will end with some more Brexit propaganda.  Still on the flying theme, just before I took the above snap of how fabulous Britain will be and will feel if we Leave, here, taken just moments earlier, is another Artistic-type picture of how ghastly things will be and will feel if we Remain.  That’s the EU there, trying and failing to take wing, because its bureaucracy is far too big and heavy and its wings far too feeble and misshapen, crushing us as it plummets to earth:

image

Are you thinking that there really needs to be a Union Jack on that car, to make this point even clearer?  But that’s exactly point!  The EU scrubs out the Union Jack. Look!  The Union Jack is nowhere to be seen!  The EU has totally obliterated it!  What could be clearer?

Slightly more seriously, the EU’s rulers will not be happy until they have driven the Union Jack into the history books, not by breaking up Britain, but by swallowing it and turning it into either fuel for itself, or shit.  The only Union they want, and want celebrated with a flag, is their own.

Tuesday June 14 2016

So I photo this guy outside Westminster Abbey who is wearing a Chicago Lions shirt:

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Later I ask him what sport the Chicago Lions play.  He doesn’t know, but the magic WWW in the sky knows, because it knows everything that there is to be known.  Turns out the Chicago Lions play rugby. I couldn’t find any Chicago Lions shirts looking like that one, that colour.  But I could find no other Chicago sports team called that, so that must be it.

In the course of googling I also came across some Lion statues in Chicago, and further news of how these Lion statues were made to wear Chicago Bears helmets (American football), and Chicago Blackhawks helmets (ice hockey):

imageimageimageimageimage

Such is the world.  Such is Chicago.  Such is the internet.

Monday June 13 2016

Indeed.  Just after snapping that WWWhite Van (see below) in Lower Marsh, on Saturday, I then photoed, in the same road a bit further on with a new name (The Cut) another means of transport of interest, in the form of this:

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I have not seen an electric car being charged before, in the flesh, as it were.  Not in London, not anywhere else.  As you can see, this electric car originated in Brighton, the San Francisco of England.

I am sure all my libertarian friends would want to tell me that such cars only exist because of Big Green Blob giving them Money, and that in a real market, they would not exist.

Sunday June 12 2016

Photoed by me yesterday, in Lower Marsh:

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How soon before you will be able to take a smartphone photo of such a vehicle, and then, on your screen, press on the Twitter or Facebook squares, or on the website, and get there.  Presumably, with that squiggly square, you can already do something like this.

That would certainly be an “intelligent advertising” improvement on what I have heard threats of, which is that adverts will change when they see you coming, to something they believe you are interested in.  But I don’t believe that will happen any time soon, because how would you stop other people seeing what the advert thinks you are interested in?  Leaving it up to you to investigate further, if you want to, will be much more civilised.

Saturday June 11 2016

To you, yes, I hope that you had one, but actually what I’m saying is: I did.

England came belting back against Sri Lanka at Lords.  After sampling the London weather last night, I had a feeling that might happen.  It was not bright and sunny, more overcast and sweaty.  It felt like swing bowler weather, which made SL’s reply yesterday afternoon (to England’s 416) of 162-1 rather strange.  Dropped catches apparently.  Well, this morning, order was restored and SL are now 218-6.  Woakes, luckless yesterday, got a wicket with his first ball.  England now look likely winners of that series 3-0.  The longer the series goes on, and the more the Lankans get acclimatised (following seriously inadequate practising games), the more it counts beating them.  The first game, where SL collapsed twice, meant nothing, I reckon.  I’ve been following the score here.

Deep thanks to Michael Vaughan, who mentioned on one of the bits of cricket commentary I listened to that England were also playing Australia.  At rugby.  Aus 28 Eng 39.  Must have been some game, and according to the BBC live updates, it was.

And before all that, I even managed a quick (they’re often the best) Samizdata posting, about something odd I heard on the radio, about the EU.

Here is one of the funner pictures I took while out and about last night, this one taken at the Parliament end of Whitehall:

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Great reflections in her sunglasses, right?  On the left, as we look, the two devices she is holding, and on the right, you can just see a tiny Big Ben.  Is that red thing she is holding a charger?

Plus an elephant.

The onward march of mobile phones into photography continues apace.

I haven’t always been blogging here as early as I’d like to in recent days, but today, I did it.

If you had as good a morning as I did, lucky you.

Thursday June 09 2016

Indeed, with cranes and with intervening roof clutter in the foreground:

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One of the oddities of the internet is that if you google new us embassy london, you get lots of Big Boxy Things, all looking different from each other.  By which I mean, it’s the same box, but the architectural wrapping is different.  Basically what you are looking at is all the different guesses or early suggestions about how it was going to look or how people thought it ought to look, which then just hang about for the next few years.  Until such time as the Big Boxy Thing is finished, at which point huge numbers of new photos of it will drown out the guesses and the failed propaganda.  This makes it hard to know, now, when the Big Boxy Thing is still being constructed, if what you are seeing is the Big Boxy Thing in question, or some other Big Boxy Thing.

But, in among all the imaginings, I found actual photos of the new Embassy as it actually is, in the process of being built, and the above photo is definitely of the actual US Embassy.  No doubt about it.  More views from the same spot, above my head as I write this, here.

What is happening is that Spook Alley, which starts near Waterloo Station, continues via all those James Bond enterprises in anonymous Big Boxy Things, and then takes in the new MI6 building, is now being added to with an American strip of boxes of comparable scale, further up the river on the south side.  This is the Special Relationship in steel and concrete form, and the idea that this relationship is now cooling is visibly absurd.  It has never been more solid.  A whole new district of London is being created, basically for spying on terrorists, and on anyone else that the spooks take against.

As the rest of London expands down river, towards places like the new Container Port way off to the east, governmental London moves in the other direction, up river, west.

Sunday June 05 2016

Bad news: quota photo.  Somewhat better news: this quota photo:

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I got a better photo of her than she did, I think you will agree.

I took about half a dozen photos of these two, and in all of the other photos, you could (a) see the lady photoer’s face, and (b) not see the other lady’s … well, you know what I’m talking about.  But then, her hand went in front of her face, and a gust of wind caught the other lady’s dress, and ...

I must have known that posting this on the www within only hours or only days of having taken it would not have been the proper thing to do, because I entirely forgot that I had taken this photo.  Today, when I chanced upon it, clicking around at random in the photo archives, I had no recollection whatsoever of having taken it.

It was taken towards the end of the previous decade, in the month of never you mind.  I reckon that the passage of that much time makes it okay to stick it up here, now.  I hope you all agree.

Saturday June 04 2016

Well, not quite a decade.  I’ve been photoing photoers since well before this, but the first of these particular snaps was taken in July 2007.  They illustrate that I have been concerning myself with the photoing of photoers while contriving, in one way or another, not to photo their faces, for a long while now.  When I started taking photos of photoers, face recognition was a mere idea, used by implausibly attractive detectives on the telly but not yet a real thing in the real world.  Now, with the social media and ubiquitous digital photography, faces (not just big faces but faces in crowds) can be dated and placed and identified, of everyone, and very soon by everyone.

I just picked out a few photos that I like (although, it soon became a bit more than a few).  I like them because the pose is fun (6.2, 6.4), or because they’re strongly back-lit (1.1, 3.4), or because the screen is so clearly visible (6.1), or because the faces of photoers are hidden by bubbles (7.3), or by a coat (7.1), or by an orange bag with the Eiffel Tower on it (that one is the one snap of these that was not taken in London (that’s Paris, Feb 2012)), or because they’re photoing through some bars (in this case at the top of the Monument (1.3)), or because they were just too far away (in one of the pods of The Wheel and on the other side of the river (5.3)), or because they are simply facing the other way or holding their cameras (or their arms or their hands holding their cameras (1,2, 1.4, 4.1, 4.3, 5.1, 6.4, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4)) in front of their faces.  My favourite face-blocking device here is the blue balloon (2.1) saying visit Mexico.  The balloon goes very nicely with the Testicle (click and look on the blue square below if you are baffled).  Happy times:

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The most recent of these was taken when I was photoing that model of the City of London (8.4).  Someone else was also.

After assembling these thirty two snaps, I did more browsing, and I soon realised that I could easily have found another thirty two more, and more, many more, of equal fun-ness.

Like with everything else, good photography comes from doing the same thing again and again.

Thursday June 02 2016

I constantly walk to St James’s Park tube, and often past it.  Seldom do I actually notice what is above it, namely the until recently) headquarters of London Underground, 55 Broadway.  This evening, on my way to a Libertarian Home meeting, I did notice this extraordinary, Mussolinian edifice:

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According to Wikipedia, when 55 Broadway was completed in the late nineteen twenties, it was the tallest office building in London.

Tuesday May 31 2016

Yes, quota photo time.  I have spent the day doing ... other things, and am in that familiar tizz of having to shove up any old thing before going to bed.  So here is another snap, to add to the one I earlier showed of all those bridges, of that model of the City of London, in the City of London, which I visited last Saturday:

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The point of this picture being that it doesn’t just show what is there now.  It shows what it is intended will soon be built.

The biggest of those Big Things there is, I presume, this.

Isn’t it terrible how horrible modern skyscrapers are ruining the view of the Gherkin.

Monday May 30 2016

As nudged by Simon Gibbs yesterday, I did indeed make my way to Trafalgar Square to check out Kenny and his Brexit chalk-proclamation.

The photos I sent to Libertarian Home yesterday evening were strictly utilitarian, to tell LH exactly what Kenny had written.  Read the entire thing there.

Here, on the other hand, are some pictures which give more of an idea of how it looked, what the atmosphere was, and what Kenny himself looks like:

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The atmosphere was low-key, actually. There were no scenes or arguments, although I did hear the occasional “not going to read it all because it says Out”, as people walked away.  Others, however, did stop and read.  Most significant, I would guess, were those with mobile phones who were, unlike me, maybe passing it on with twenty-first century immediacy.  (I had to wait until I got home before I could send off my photos.)

I had to wait a while for Kenny to finish his efforts.  I got there before 3pm, and it wasn’t until just after 5pm that he was done.  And he started at 10am.

But it was worth the wait, and there was plenty else in Trafalgar Square to divert me, and to take photos of.  But photos like that can wait.  First things first, and that means Kenny.