Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Thursday February 28 2019

I don’t hate paintings that look like this, as so many paintings of a certain vintage do.  Hatred is for things you can’t avoid and mere paintings can usually be avoided with ease.  But I don’t respect paintings that look like this:

image

But that isn’t a painting.  It looks like a painting.  But, it’s a photo.  And I really like it.

It was photoed by Real Photographer Charlie Waite.  Read his tweet about it here.

Outside my front door, a few days ago:

image

I like how the sun picks out some of the branches at the top, but only some.

More “The February Summer of 2019” photos, of a similar sort, at Mick Hartley‘s.

Wednesday February 27 2019

Patrick Crozier and I have just fixed our next podcast, which we will record early next week.  Read about and listen to earlier ones here, and in due course this next one will go there too.  And for this next one, we will talk about … Brexit.  I knew you’d be excited.

Many claim that they are bored by Brexit, and maybe many are.  Although I suspect some are really just pissed off with not getting exactly what they want.  (And who is getting exactly what they want?) Either that, or actually only bored with other people’s opinions, but not with their own.  Me, I find the whole process rather fascinating, now that I have got over having been so wrong about it.  I thought that Brexit would lose the Referendum, but it won.  And I thought that once it had won, it would happen without too much fuss, because the Conservative Party leavers would mostly bow to the inevitable.  As of now, that hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.

Brexit is a subject that Patrick has strong opinions about, which is good because although this will not stop me interrupting (I’m afraid I always interrupt), it may at least mean that some of the times when I do interrupt, he’ll interrupt back and shut me up until he’s finished the point he was making before I interrupted.

Here is a Brexit photo I recently photoed, of a bus driving around and around Parliament Square, saying Believe in Britain and LEAVE MEANS LEAVE, but with nobody in the bus apart from the driver:

image

They all left, I guess.

Tuesday February 26 2019

On Sunday evening, and then again yesterday during the day, my water supply was interrupted.  This has never happened before.  Electricity, yes, that has been interrupted, I seem to recall.  And once, my hot tank refused to stop heating its water, which was alarming.  I had to switch off all my electricity myself, to stop my boiler boiling itself and perhaps exploding like a steam locomotive having a crash.  But, no water?  That was a new one for me, here.

When my taps first ran out of puff, I didn’t know what was causing this.  At first, I thought the problem might be my own personal arrangements, as it had been with that over-eager heating system.  But, I knocked on the door opposite and discovered that my neighbour had received an email threatening water disruption, and it all started to make sense.  One of our neighbours was having work done which necessitated a block-wide water switch off.  This was on Sunday evening, but the email concerned threatened disruption on Monday, disruption that duly occurred.

I wasn’t even completely sure if the water, when restored, would automatically fill up my pipes again, once it had abandoned them.  You know how you can get water to to go up and down in pipes, in school physics lessons.  What if interrupted water supply created a permanent unwillingness of the water to travel along my personal pipes, to my personal taps?

When the water returned later on Sunday evening, it was quite a relief to see it gushing out of my taps again, of its own accord, with no suction pump needed to coax it back into action.  But then, disruption happened again, exactly as threatened, on Monday.

It’s only when you are deprived of something you are used to having that you realise how much you depend upon it.  For washing, of me and of the things I eat from and off.  For flushing the loo.  There was an event I wanted to attend on Monday evening.  No go.  Unclean.

I had never had anything to do with my lady neighbour before this little water drama.  Interesting that things not working properly and “community” go together like this.  When the great machine we all depend on stops working, we suddenly become more dependant upon each other, if only to find out what the hell is going on and when it is likely to stop.

Monday February 25 2019

How to photo the Wheel?  Well, here is one way:

image

Last Friday, as darkness approached, from Vincent Square.

Dominic Frisby, on Facebook:

Yeah, yeah, you all think you’re really clever and successful and stuff but how many of you have been to an anarchy conference in Acapulco and got selfie with David Icke?

image

Like.  I’ve not done either of these things, let alone the two of them together.

Also like, from the comments: “Anarchopulco”.

Sunday February 24 2019

Well, well.  Look what I just found in the photo-archives.  I wasn’t looking for this photo. I just found it, while looking for just anything interesting to stick up here, instead of a proper posting, which I don’t have the energy for:

image

That photo was photoed on April 20th 2006, according to my computer.

The reason I was so pleased to find the above photo is that I was photoing the very same edifice, this very afternoon.  This was a resolution I proclaimed to the world in this posting here, a few days ago.

I can now report that the Welbeck Street Car Park is, as of now, still there.  There’s no P on it, like there is in the above photo.  There are now, I believe, no cars in it.  It awaits demolition.  But it has yet to be demolished.  It is still all there.

Here is the similar photo I took today, that makes it look like the car park that it is:

image

No P.  Different light.  Otherwise little seems to have changed.

Here is this same car park, bounced off the front of a car.

image

That takes me back.  Time was when I was fascinated by what you could see in the shiny bits of cars.  But I don’t recall ever doing a car reflection photo as fun as that one.  It’s the pattern of the concrete that makes it.

This Welbeck Street Car Park thing is very interesting I think.  I mean, why the fuss about some manky old car park, just because its facade is made of triangular concrete lumps instead of the usual rectangular concrete lumps?  I promise nothing, but may even supply the answer to that question, some time.

Saturday February 23 2019
Friday February 22 2019

Yes, about that horse’s head sculpture that I showed a photo of here, a week ago.

I complained about how the way its neck was sliced through was maybe too obtrusive a part of the whole effect.

Well look at this other photo I took of it:

image

Sorry about the bus, but this is my only photo from anything like the angle I need to make my point.  Which is, that the severed neck looks like a face, and the horse’s ears look like little arms pointing upwards.

And the whole thing looks like one of those idiotic Olympic mascots.

Not, surely, the look the sculptor was going for.

When GodDaughter2 and I took a walk through Hyde Park last week, we inevitably walked past the Serpentine, and next to the Serpentine, there was a lot of bird feeding going on, and I mean a lot.  Great screaming flocks of birds, birds of all sorts all muddled together, were assembling themselves around happy humans, who were chucking stuff at them.  It was also noticeable how very insistent birds were about checking out strangers, like me, to see what stuff we might have on our persons to chuck at them.

Here is a particularly fun photo I took of all this avian drama, fun because it turned out so artistic, being mainly monochrome (because photoed into the sun) and monochrome is artistic.  Monochrome, that is, apart from the bright red feet of one of the bigger birds (also because photoed into the sun – this time with the sun shining through those feet), which makes the photo even more artistic:

image

But why was all this bird-on-human excitement happening, so intensely and on such a scale?

The answer lay in a shop next to the water.  To my extreme shame, I did not photo the outside of this shop and cannot recall what it looked like.  I only snapped interior scenes, of intriguing products on sale inside the shop.  One of these products was the answer to this bird-human mystery.

The usual feelings that humans have about feeding birds in parks are (1) Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to feed the birds?  But also (2) Don’t feed the birds!  It will give them a stomach ache.  It might even kill them.  Don’t feed the birds!  Often there are signs to this effect.

But at the Serpentine, there is a different and non-contradictory regime in place.  Feed the birds … this!  And all was explained:

image

I computer enhanced that to make it less dim and dreary, what with the dim and dreary (at least compared to the bedazzlement outside) interior light.

You can bet that the shop assistants in that shop spent a quite large proportion of their day explaining to customers that yes, we know, you want to have fun feeding the birds!  But, no indeed, you must not feed the birds human food!  So, feed them this food!  Fun for you!  Food for the birds!  Win win!

Thursday February 21 2019

The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel is what Wikipedia calls it.  Sheraton now calls it the Sheraton Park Hotel. Whatever we call it, this is one of my favourite London buildings from the concrete monstrosity era, partly because nobody who worries about being aesthetically elevated likes the work of its architect Richard Seifert.  Such people also do not like One Kemble Street, or Centre Point, also by Seifert, either.  Too commercial.  Too brash.  Too assertive.  Too symmetrical.  Starchitecture before Starchitecture became chic, and not chic enough.

All the photos you see on the internet of this Park Hotel tend to look like this ...:

image

… i.e. photoed from nearby, so that you can’t see the magnificence of the Roof Clutter on the top.

So now I will correct this regrettable imbalance, by inserting these views of the Park Hotel photoed by me last Friday from way off in the middle of Hyde Park, into the vast ocean of internet imagery, in the hope that public attention will be drawn to this wonderful and spontaneous assemblage of roof sculpture:

imageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimage

I especially like that last one.  Trees, mist, and then Park Hotel, in soft focus.  Or, out of focus, as we digital snappers say.

Norman castles were evil stone monstrosities when first inflicted upon this green and pleasant land.  But as that style retreated, they turned into picturesque ruins.  The Concrete Monstrosity style is already in headlong retreat, and I like it more and more.

Memo to self: check out this car park, before they destroy it, which they have now decided that they will.

Wednesday February 20 2019

I like this:

Never make fun of someone if they mispronouce a word.  It means they learned it by reading.

One of many items of wisdom from that prolific memer, Anonymous.

And if someone misspells a word, I guess that means they learned it by hearing it.

I know what you’re thinking.  How is “memer” pronounced?

And what acts did auto do?

I have a busy evening in front of me.  Here, you get what you pay for.

Tuesday February 19 2019

This afternoon I was in Bermondsey, seeing a man about a blog, and without doubt, the oddest photo I took in my Bermondsey wanderings today was this one, of a garage door:

image

Here is a closer up view of the writing at the bottom:

image

Click to get that a lot more legible.

Do you care about this?  It made me smile, but I really do not care if it is true.  If you do, and haven’t already acquainted yourself with this tale and made up your mind about it, then read this, which merely reports on the claim (made in 2008 by a mate of Tommy Steele’s), or this, which is more scornful, or this, which is very scornful indeed.  Elvis did fleetingly visit Scotland, apparently, but was stuck at the airport.  The most scornful of these reports is Scottish, assuming that I am correct in believing “Shields” to be in Scotland.  Can’t have the damn Sassenachs steeling their thunder.  Ho, ho.

Rather surprisingly, I only found one other photo featuring what I photoed today, here.  But that could just reflect my inadequacy as an internet searcher.

Monday February 18 2019

Being logical about it, there are five Six Nations weekends each year, during which each of the Six Nations plays all the other Five Nations, and there are forty seven Six Nationsless weekends.  But Six Nationalists like me know which weekends I am talking about.  I’m talking about the one between week 2 and week 3 and the one between week 3 and week 4.  The Six Nations is happening.  But, it’s not.  The Six Nations is under way.  But it’s stuck.  I have just endured the first of these two weird ordeals.

But in between these two black holes of non-Six Nationsness, the key game of this year’s entire Six Nations, Wales v England will be happening, in Cardiff.  Both England and Wales have won their first two games, and only they can each still win a Grand Slam.  England, with their three South Sea Island hulks playing, have been unbeatable, so far. And they have many times started out unbeatably against Wales.  But then the Welsh play catch-up rugby, which is a game that they, unlike any other Six Nation these days, can actually play, and they often then win, despite England’s scrum being on top for the whole game.  So I am taking nothing for granted.  Especially when you consider that England will have only one Vunipola playing, the other one having hurt himself against France, as earlier noted here.  But England will have a Tuilagi playing, in addition to the surviving Vunipola, so I just about fancy them to win.

Meanwhile, how did I survive the recently concluded weekend?  Well, there were two good cricket matches to be following.  There was an amazing test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka, which SL won by one wicket, following an unbeaten last wicket stand of 78, and what was clearly a wonderful 153 not out by their wicketkeeper Kusal Perera.

Here’s a picture of Perera celebrating that amazing win:

image

But, note those empty seats.  I wonder how many people actually paid to be present at this game.  Rather few, if that’s anything to go by.  People are now saying, as they have been for many years, that Test Cricket is dying.  But it keeps being interesting, in a way that the other crickets now played can’t ever really match, any more than a number one pop song can quite match a Bruckner Symphony.  That’s if you like Bruckner symphonies.

The other good cricket game was one of those other crickets games, the final (finally) of the Big Bash League, contested between the Melbourne Poisonous Spiders and the Melbourne Big Hairy Bastards.  Or some such belligerently metaphorical contestants.  It was definitely Melbourne v Melbourne.  Melbourne won, but not before Melbourne had looked certain to win but then suddenly collapsed, allowing Melbourne to snatch the trophy.

The two semi-finals having happened on Thursday and Friday mornings, I was up promptly on Sunday morning to follow this game.  But it happened in the Australian afternoon instead of in the evening, and it was all done when I clicked in.  Oh well.  It was fun to read about.

Sunday February 17 2019

Last Thursday afternoon, I emerged from North Greenwich tube/DLR station, and started getting my bearings.  Dome right here, there, so that’s north, so south is the other way, and somewhere around there ought to be the Big Thing itself, called (it has to be called something) The Optic Cloak.  (If it has a local nickname, I am unaware of it.) Because it’s a Big Thing vaguely shaped like a domino, and because it takes itself very seriously and because it’s not for people to live it, it reminds me of the Big Thing at the beginning of 2001 A Space Odyssey, despite its ziggy zaggy surface.

And very quickly, after hardly any walking south at all, I got my first sightings of the OC.

Here are nine of the first lot of photos I took of the OC:

imageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimage

All of these photos have something else in them besides the Optic Cloak itself, and this is deliberate.

Real Photographers are very clever at screening out all irrelevancies, when they photo a Thing like this.  They go for the special effects that the Thing itself contrives, with no lampposts or surveillance cameras or cars or general crap inserting themselves into the final photo.  The results often (a) are very beautiful (provided the Thing itself has something beautiful going for it), but (b) in no way prepare you for how the Thing actually looks, in its actual setting, when you actually get there.  Real Photographers, to generalise, are better at lying with their cameras than snappers like me are, which means that snapper-photos are often superior, as actual guides to what Things really look like.

I especially like the trees, through which Things may now, at this time of the year, be seen, unlike in the boring old summer.

And I especially like all that blue sky.

Saturday February 16 2019

On Thursday, perfet weather was perfectly prophesied by our brilliant short-term weather forecasters, and I journeyed to the Dome and places south, to take a closer look at The Optic Cloak:

image

And then yesterday afternoon, following a similarly prescient forecast, forecasting similarly perfect weather, GodDaughter2 and I, as recounted yesterday, walked through Hyde Park:

image

That being one of the accompanying sculptural collections next to the Albert Memorial, which at the moment I think I prefer to the Memorial itself.

I basically spent today recovering from all this self-propelled travel.  You, like me, are not getting any younger, no matter how young you may now be.  But this expression is only used by people of my kind of age to describe how I felt after two such days of exertion.

Friday February 15 2019

This afternoon, GodDaughter2 and I walked from the Royal College of Music, up past the Albert Memorial, then through Hyde Park to Hyde Park Corner, and then on to Soho Square.

At Hyde Park Corner, GD2 directed me to this sculpture, which I never knew about until today:

image

GD2 likes this, especially at night when it’s lit up. 

This guy also likes it.  This guy, on the other hand, hates it.

Me, I’m not sure.  It’s very striking, was my first reaction.  But now, I’m troubled by the way that, because the head is pointing downwards, the cut through the neck of the horse seems like a real cut, rather than just a sculptural convention.  It made me think of that famously gruesome horse’s head in the bed scene in The Godfather.  Perhaps more seriously, I feel that the way the neck is cut like that makes the shape of the object as seen from a distance excessively determined by the cut, rather than by the fact that it’s a horse’s head.

The problem is that, what with this sculpture being called Still Water, the horse’s head has to be pointing downwards, because the horse is presumably drinking that water.  So if you want only the horse’s head, that head has to be cut off, one way or another, and any way that happens is liable to count for more than it should.

Thursday February 14 2019

Here.  The verdict is: They knew what they were moving into.  They should install blinds or net curtains.

Or, turn the viewable-from-the-Tate-Extension living rooms into art installations.  The judge didn’t say that; I’m saying that now.

I’m rather surprised by this verdict, but also pleased.  Because this is now one of my favourite London photo-spots, and there is lots to be seen looking south, besides into other people’s living rooms.

From this spot I have photoed many, many photos, of which these are just four, taken in July and August of 2016:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

Those photos all illustrate the problem that the flat-owners now have.

But, this next little clutch of photos, taken at the same time, illustrate what could be another answer:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

In these photos, what dominates is the way that light, rather than coming through the window from those living rooms, is instead coming from outdoors London and bouncing off the windows.  At the time I took these photos, I was thinking about that (to me) rather appealing crinkly brick surface that this Tate Modern Extension is covered in.

But now, it seems to me that I was photoing another sort of answer to the problem that these flat-dwellers now have.  Could the glass windows be replaced by glass that is more reflective of light, while still letting the outside view in?  Or, could the existing windows have some sort of plastic film or sheet stuck on them, preferably on the inside but maybe on the outside, that would contrive the same effect?

A problem stated is often well on the way to being a problem solved.  The judge said: It’s up to you to stop the light bouncing off the interior of your home from zooming up to the onlookers at the top of the Tate.  You knew this was going to happen.  Sort the problem yourselves.

It will be interesting to see how things change with these windows, and inside these living rooms, in the months and years to come.

Wednesday February 13 2019

Last night: Manchester United 0 Paris St-Germain 2.

This evening: Tottenham Hotspur 3 Borussia Dortmund 0.

From a BBC report on tonight’s game: How could anyone underestimate the resolve of this Spurs side after the manner in which they have kept pace with Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Liverpool without any squad strengthening and recent injuries to key figures Kane and Alli?

But: Oh dear.  Because this makes it that bit more likely that Man U will sack Solskjaer and buy in The Poch.  Which it would seem they can do and Spurs are powerless to prevent, unless The Poch decides for Spurs.  As he well might.

I really, really hope Man U contrive some kind of miracle revival in their away leg in Paris.  As to what Spurs manage in their away leg, well, I just hope they get through, and that nobody else important gets injured.

And that the way Spurs are now playing says to Poch: You can’t walk away from this.

PLUS (later): This

Tuesday February 12 2019

I left it too late and I am now too tired to do anything here today, so here’s a random quota photo:

image

Taken in May 2015, from the South Bank, looking north across the River.  I’m pretty sure that’s the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.  But feel free to disagree.

I hope - although I promise nothing - to do better tomorrow.

Monday February 11 2019

The Guardian quips:

You wait decades for a city …

The city in question being London.

… to get a world-class concert hall and two come along at once.

GodDaughter2’s family used to live in Wimbledon, back in the last century.  Something tells me I will be back there quite a lot in the next few years.

The first of these two halls is, I should say, this one.

How about another superb state-of-the-art concert hall somewhere in the Thames Estuary, out East.  That would be very cool.  Something like this.  Maybe later, eh?

Sunday February 10 2019

The weather outside is again really nice, but it’s wasted on me and my camera.  Because, it’s Spurs v Leicester on the internet, England v Windies on the internet, and England v France on the TV.  Football, cricket, rugby.  How can a man ignore all that?  Well, maybe “a man” could, but I can’t.  Spurs have beaten Leicester (and now Man City are crushing Chelsea); and the Windies have got England back on the floor in the cricket (where England have been all series).  As a test cricket fan I am glad that the Windies getting back into the swing of doing that well.  For a while now, it has seemed that their only talent was for the limited overs stuff.

And, England are crushing (crunching) France, although a few French tries at the end would not surprise me.  Two out of three is not bad

The first weekend of this year’s Six Nations was great, but the second, now nearing its end, has been rather flat.  Ireland got back on the horse against Scotland yesterday, and Italy, as they do, lost.  Now England are doing what all the commentators said they’d do to France, following their great win over Ireland last weekend.  The charm of the Six Nations is how unpredictable it can be.  On the first weekend France got beaten by Wales after being 16 ahead at half time.  Italy got no less than three late tries against Wales when they were looking down and out, which was a definite surprise.  When England got the final try to settle it against Ireland, the commentator said: Who saw this coming?  Not me.  But so far this weekend, it’s all gone with the not-especially-smart money.  France are now 36 behind, so even if they get five late tries, they’ll still lose.  It’s all looking a bit “waiting for the end” just now.  The serious business of the game was being sorted when England got their four first half tries, which meant that their bonus points, for four tries and for winning by more than seven, were both settled, along with the win.  Can England get over 50 points against France?  Maybe, but it doesn’t feel like it matters.  Yes, a commentator has just said: “The match has rather fallen asleep.” Indeed it has.  The most important moment of this match may prove to be when one of the Vunipolas walked off injured.

Anyway, it’s over now.  44-8 England.  Plus, when I was trying to find a report on England crunching France, I came across our Ladies crunching their Ladies.

The England men, meanwhile, have been transformed by their returning-from-injury South Sea Islanders, the Vunipola brothers and Manu Tuilagi.

Tuilagi is odd, in that he is pronounced Tooey Langy.  Except by Jonathan Davies of course, who says Tooey Largy.  Davies also says Viney Polar instead of Vooney Polar.  The world needs to find a way to mispronounce “Jonathan Davies”, and keep on doing that until he learns his job.

But, hello.  What’s this?  The Windies 59-4 (after being 57-0!), replying to England’s 277.  Two wickets in two balls to Moheen.  Two more wickets in two more balls to Mark Wood, who I didn’t realise was playing.  By the sound of it (i.e. from reading the Cricinfo chat), Wood should have been in the England side from the beginning.  Only four wickets on day one.  Ten wickets already on day two, and it’s not yet tea time.

It is now!  Windies 74-5.  Another to Wood.  “England are rampant.”

Saturday February 09 2019

Yes, that’s what this Thing is called:

imageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimage

And, as I think you will probably deduce from the number of photos I took of it, I rather like it.

It is to be found just south of The Dome, and I got a look at it from across the river when I visited Docklands, pn Thursday January 17th of this year, where I also took other photos, like this one, and these ones, and these ones.

I don’t really know why I like this thing so much, but I surmise that part of it may be that it contrasts itself with the surrounding banal architectural rectangularities not by being completely different, but by being more subtly different.  Sculpture often seeks separation from its urban surroundings by going totally curvey.  No straight lines at all, except maybe in the form of a flat plinth.  This Thing stands out too, but in a more dignified and respectful way.

Plus. It’s a lot of fun how different it looks depending on the exact direction of any sunlight coming towards it.  I only got about two versions of this, but there are surely many more to be enjoyed.

Plus, it’s bigger than your usual Art.  I like that.

Soon, I will return to that part of London but an extra Tube stop away, and I will take a closer and more 360 degree look at this very pleasing Thing.

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:

image

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:

image

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

Thursday February 07 2019

There’s a bridge right near where I live that is wending its way through politics to the point where geography and physics and civil engineering will take over, and they will actually start building it.

I refer to the biking-and-walking-only bridge that will eventually join Battersea to Pimlico:

image

The bridge is at the stage where they are trying to pacify objectors to it.  Hence this Canaletto-like pseudo-photo, in which the actual bridge itself is hardly to be seen at all!  How could anyone possibly object to this wraith-like presence, scarcely visible through the mist rising from the river and bathing everything in obscurity?  The steel struts that will eventually to be seen holding up the actual bridge are invisible in this pseudo-photo, so it’s just as well that the bridge itself, as (just about) seen here, is made by laser-beams projecting into the mist and weighs nothing at all!  If you want to protest, protest about those big lumpy old boats clogging up the river and making such a rumpus, not the ghost bridge.

That’s the trouble with infrastructure.  Those who will be disrupted by it know exactly who they are, or they think they do.  But the far greater number of people who will have their lives somewhat improved by by this or that item of infrastructure only find out about this after it comes on stream.  On in this case, on river.

My guess is: I will like this bridge, and will quite often walk across it, if only to avoid a there-and-back-the-same-way walk to and from Battersea.  (Now, to avoid this, I often take the train from Battersea to Victoria, and then walk home from there, past my local supermarkets.) But that’s only a guess.  Meanwhile, those who now live in the peace and quiet of Georgian Pimlico just know that their sleep will from now on be ruined by noisy bike gangs at 4am, making their way from Notting Hill (after a spot of carnival rioting) to Brixton, and if not by that then by something else equally unwelcome, perhaps originating in Battersea and walking across the river, while probably being drunk.  Why take the chance?  So, if they can stop the bridge, they’ll stop it, just to make sure.

Wednesday February 06 2019

The Monday before last really was a very good photoing day.  (I’ve been calling it Sunday but actually it was Monday, Monday January 28th.  I remember at the time being confused about what day it was.)

First, seconds after I had stepped out into the sunlight, there was this:

image

That being me, in among the branches of the tree.

Then, following further excitements yet to be revealed, there was this lighting effect.  And then there were these smartphone-photoing ladies.  And then these guys, also photoing, with another shadow selfie added by me onto their backs.

Then I went past the Wheel, and gave that the Wheel and Tree treatment:

image

And just before it got dark, I ended up at the top of the Tate Modern Extension.

When it was dark, I climbed into Blackfriars Station, and walked over the river to Blackfriars Tube.  And enjoyed the view, with its weird reflections of the station in the sky above the City Cluster:

image

I love how the black sky turns blue in that.

But before I went home, I dropped in on Waterstones, in Piccadilly, to see if the newly released paperback version of The Devil’s Dice was on show.  And it was:

image

I am finding it exhausting just thinking about that day, and how it ended.  It was very cold, and the cold takes it out of you, by which I mean me.

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:

image

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 ...:

image

… 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:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

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.

Saturday February 02 2019

Recently I paid a visit to Docklands.  The Big Things there add up to a quite impressive cluster, but are, on the whole, individually, unlike quite a few of those in The City, rather characterless and bland.

There is, however, an exception.  This:

image

It’s One Park Drive, now nearing completion.

Here are a few more photos of it that I photoed:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

Circular in plan.  Its surface changes from one effect to another as you move up or down.  Next to a stretch of water.  I’m guessing they were thinking of these two towers in Chicago.

Friday February 01 2019

This is definitely my favourite Other creatures story of recent months. Months because this was reported on before Christmas, and I’ve only just got around to mentioning it here.

Parrot used Amazon Alexa to order items while his owner was away:

So far Rocco the African Grey, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, U.K., has demanded treats such as strawberries, watermelon, raisins, broccoli and ice cream.

He has also ordered a kite, light bulbs and even a kettle.

Rocco likes to dance too and tells the voice-activated device to play favorite tunes. Sometimes they are slow numbers, but he generally prefers rock.

Where is voice recognition when you need it?

Alexa needs a setting, for junior members of a household, for whom she is allowed to play musical requests, but from whom she is not allowed to take purchase orders.

You’d think that with lots of kids in the world, many causing havoc, Alexa would be able to make the necessary distinctions.  But it sure is entertaining when she doesn’t.