Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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


Recent Comments

Monthly Archives

Most recent entries


Advanced Search

Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Transport Blog


2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
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
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
diamond geezer
Dizzy Thinks
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
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
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
Gaping Void
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Idiot Toys
India Uncut
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
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
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
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
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
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Publius Pundit
Rachel Lucas
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist 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
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
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
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


Mainstream Media

The Sun
This is London


RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0


Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Career counselling
Cats and kittens
Civil liberties
Classical music
Computer graphics
Current events
Digital photographers
Emmanuel Todd
Expression Engine
Food and drink
Getting old
How the mind works
Intellectual property
Kevin Dowd
Latin America
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Other creatures
Pop music
Quote unquote
Roof clutter
Science fiction
Signs and notices
Social Media
South America
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
This and that
This blog

Category archive: Painting

Tuesday October 18 2016

Yesterday I again went to the top of the tower of Westminster Cathedral, but the early onset of the dark surprised me, and the light (which I depend on rather a lot) was too dark and too horizontal and shady for very good results.  But I still like these two shots, of the new Wembley Arch, testing my zoom lens to its outer limits:

I like the serendipity of this.  The fact that if the big lump of a building on the right as we look had extended twenty more yards, there’d be no Wembley Arch to be seen at all.

I particularly like the version on the left, with that little bit of sun slashing through a gap in the clouds, off to the left as we look.  I include the one on the right because of the contrast.  In itself, it would not really have deserved a showing.  For once, a crane intrudes, in the left hand picture, and I am not happy.

It occurs to me that when people started taking photos like this, just as blurry but in black and white, maybe it got the painters thinking.  They could both imitate the blurriness, but also do it in colour, as the photographers for a long time couldn’t.  Et voilà.  Impressionism.

What the tower on the left is, I do not know.

Tuesday August 30 2016

I just opened up my camera to look at the latest snaps I’ve been snapping, and it turns out that, last Friday, in addition to fretting about my meeting and then being pleased about my meeting, I also, while out shopping for my meeting, took this:


If you like that, then you should definitely be a regular visitor to this blog.  I’m thinking of postings like: this, this, this, and this.  To name the most recent ones with pictures of a similar sort.  Trawl back through his archives and you’ll find many more.

In fact, I reckon that had it not been for Mick Hartley’s infuence, I would probably not have taken my photo, of this Hockneyesque, Hartleyesque sort.

Saturday June 25 2016

Now that it’s been decided that we shall Brexit, Dezeen reports on what creatives have been creating to mark the event.  Here are the two images they reproduce which I think are the most striking:


Both of these images are intended as expressions of regret that Britain has voted for Brexit, but neither quite say that, or not to me.  What, after all, is so great for a balloon about being stuck in a whole bunch of other balloons?  It’s creator says: “sad day”, but it doesn’t look that sad to me.  It just looks like a change.  If he was merely describing, relatively objectively, what had happened, then I guess: fair enough.

As for the disintegrating, weeping Union Jack, that would work far better as an expression of regret, in the event that Britain had voted Remain rather than Leave.  It is national flags like this one one that the EU has been working tirelessly to replace with its own flag.  Very odd.  But, a striking image nevertheless.

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:


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:


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

And here is a London taxi wing mirror:


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:


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


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:


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.

Monday April 25 2016



Photoed by me, just after photoing this.  That particular part of London is a maelstrom at present.  As are lots of parts of London at any given time.

A new crossrail station is being completed, and Centre Point is being given a makeover.  I doubt it will look any different, but you never know.

Any decade now, Centre Point’s exterior will burst into colour.  But Centre Point right now, temporarily wrapped in this and that, is as colourful as it is likely to be for a decade or two yet.  A generation of monochromist modernist architects still has to die, before colour can really start happening in London.  At present (see the previous photo) Renzo Piano is the only fashionable architect being colourful.

While I’m showing you pictures of that rather angly station entrance, here is another, taken moments before the one above:


Lots of signage of various kinds there.

For another view, looking down Tottenham Court Road, of this strange station entrance, see photo 3.2 of these.

Wednesday April 20 2016

As regulars here know, I am fascinated by unusual vehicles, and by almost all commercial vehicles.  Whereas cars tend to be reticent about making any sort of personal statement, commercial vehicles have to communicate.  They have to radiate an atmosphere.  They have to dress themselves like they’re going on the pull in a nightclub.  Well, they don’t have to.  But most commercial vehicles are an opportunity to do marketing, so why turn it down?  And these vehicles consequently radiate as many different atmospheres as there are commercial purposes being pursued in and with them.

Here are a couple of vans I spied today:


Both are somewhat self-conscious, I think.  There is a lack of earnestness here, a certain ironic distance, a certain slightly bogus artifice, not to say Art, involved.

But, all part of what makes wandering about in London such an endlessly entertaining pastime.

Sausage Man website here.  I tried googling “Oliver London”, but all I got was a lot of stuff about a stage musical.  The small tricycle van looks oriental to me, and that its presence outside an oriental restaurant is not coincidental.

Tuesday April 19 2016

People talk about how “nothing says London” quite like … and then they say something that happens quite a lot in London or gets eaten quite a lot in London, or some such very London thing, assuming you already know that that’s what it is.

I contend that nothing says London quite like a big sign, saying “LONDON”.  With that, there’s no ambiguity.

Here is a LONDON sign – well, more like a painting – that I photoed in Goswell Road late this afternoon:


That particular sign saying LONDON is a bit cleverer than your usual LONDON sign.  The more usual sort of sign saying LONDON would say LONDON even more clearly, by just saying LONDON.

A bit more seriously, I’m surprised you don’t see that particular game played with the letters of the word LONDON more often.

Goswell Road is not a familiar place for me, in fact I don’t believe I’ve ever walked along it before.  It’s all rather arty and designy, in an urban decay kind of way.  That big LONDON sign has a definite Pop Art feel to it.  Unlike the sign saying CAR PARK.  Arty signs and car parks both being what you do when an urban site becomes temporarily vacant.  The usual rules about what is proper don’t apply.

Tuesday April 05 2016

Today I made the mistake of going out to do something before I had shoved something up here.  So this is not a complicated posting.  It’s a rubbish lorry, which I photoed today, just before doing something, near the Angel tube station:


Dirty Harry’s Waste Management, of Chingford, would seem to be the kind of enterprise that doesn’t have its own website.  It is merely mentioned on lots of other websites, of the sort that enable you to do research on enterprises that don’t have websites.

The art on the side of this rubbish collecting lorry reminds me of that on these Wicked Campers.

A rubbish lorry posting
A still life and a cat cushion in Kentish Town
Painting the bridges of Richmond
Dark Satanic Millbank Tower
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
White cat – Mick Hartley’s photos and other photos he likes – black and white and colour
Phil Tufnell paints cats!!!
Two strangers photoed by Mick Hartley and shown there (and here) without their permission
Seaside muralist
London is getting more colourful
Hand done photos
Golden Gate being built – Severn Road Bridge ditto – C20 photography – Hitler’s paintings
Non-faceless architecture in Rome
Why I am a point-and-shoot photographer rather than a Real Photographer
The illustrations for Christian Michel’s talk this Friday (plus some thoughts from me)
How Bill Bryson on white and black paint helps to explain the Modern Movement in Architecture
Union Jack Minis
Tate cat
Out and about in the sunshine
Stones created from layers of old paint from car factories
Black cars next to coloured pictures
Big Blue Cock photos
Painted people
Lego bridge in Germany
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
Good question
Bad and good in bad weather
Edwin is a bad person
Billy Fury Way
A scaffolder likes Jeremy Clarkson
Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
So painters also used to “take” pictures
Lunch at Gessler at Daquise
Art without Artists
The graffiti says he won’t get his keys back
If you can’t beat them hire them
Spray can girl in Leake Street
One child poster
Everybody draw Mohammed every day!
Abstract satellite expressionism
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
Strange purple cat with four eyes
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
The concrete monstrosities of the South Bank may be about to get colourful
Is the contemporary art bubble bursting?
If it’s not Art it can be rather fun
Painted Billion Monkey!?!
It only takes One Rich Lunatic
Two adverts in the tube
Photos are better
Church covered in church pictures
Classic car thinness
Underground art
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
Photo-ing Venus
Russian weirdness for the Anglos
At the dogs
By the rivers and canals of East London with Goddaughter One
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
Venus undistorted
Venus by the river
Also no relation
Tube photos
Dye hard
Rubens massacre of innocents and an innocent
And I know him as well
Some art to be linked to from elsewhere