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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: Roof clutter

Thursday March 07 2019

My expedition to check out the Optic Cloak got me appreciating the new version of the Greenwich Peninsula, the post-Dome version, that is now taking shape.

Here is a picture of it, one of those computer fake photo things:

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The Optic Cloak is an invisible smudge of grey, just after the C of OPTIC and just above the K of CLOAK.  That’s because this picture is not about the truth as such, but about new tall buildings, and the Optic Cloak, although quite tall, is not a building, so, in this picture, it is ignored.

However, what the above photo does show is the big double-barrelled road which takes traffic into and from the Blackwall Tunnel.  And you get a great look at this mighty traffic artery if you climb up onto a footbridge that takes you over it.  Over it if, for instance, you are walking south from North Greenwich tube station, in order to get a closer-up view, from the West, across the big road, than you’d get otherwise, of the Optic Cloak, as I was when I went there, however many weeks ago it was.

You can just about make out this footbridge in the picture above, just above and to the right of the C of COPTIC.

Here are a couple of photos that I photoed of this footbridge:

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And here are a couple of views from it, of the Optic Cloak:

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But I especially liked the sort of views you get from this footbridge, looking north, towards the Blackwall Tunnel:

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Most of the towers in the distance there are across the river, in Docklands, and already that view, as you approach the Blackwall Tunnel is quite something.  As the Greenwich Peninsula itself fills up with more towers, it will look even more mini-Manhattan-ish.

Here are photos I took from the bridge of a couple of interesting vehicles, going north (left) and south (right):

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Plus, here is a close-up of that roof clutter, in the left hand of the two looking north photos, above:

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This roof clutter makes a point, as do those two views looking north, and the traffic.  This new Greenwich Peninsula has the feeling of old-school work getting done, just as I presume the old one had.  Stuff that really hurts if you drop it on your foot is being made, modified, bought and sold, in this particular part of London, just as it always was.  Noxious gasses and fluids are being propelled hither and thither, in pipes and cans and lorries.  You get the feeling that this isn’t going to stop any time soon, the way it has in Docklands.

It could just be all that Blackwall Tunnel traffic thundering by which gives off that feeling.  However, I don’t think so, if only because the thundering traffic creates the sort of place where the Financial Services Industry wouldn’t want to be.

Here, finally, is the kind of close-up of the Optic Cloak that I had come for …:

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.. with a lorry roaring by, full of noxious fluid.

There can be no higher praise for the Optic Cloak than to say that it fits right in with all this hustle and bustle and noise.  Indeed, it dominates it.  It presides contentedly over it.  Most “Art” in such a place would look ridiculous.

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 ...:

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… 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:

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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.

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:

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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.

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:

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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.

Wednesday January 30 2019

I like One Kemble Street, and I like the BT (two links here) Tower.  So, imagine my delight when, while exploring my photo-vaults, I came across this very sweet Big Thing alignment, photoed from the top of the main bit of Tate Modern (i.e. not the taller Extension building behind):

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This was taken in February 2008.  Which means that that the BT Tower still had its big circular things attached.

Thursday January 03 2019

And all in the one photo:

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Also, trees without leaves.  Taken in January 2009.  On my way home, looking out towards Vauxhall Bridge Road and beyond, in the general direction of Battersea.

At present, sofas are more important to me than blogging, as the above blatant quota photo well illustrates.

This morning, the new sofa finally arrived.  It is my hope, and the promise of Westminster City Council, that the old sofa will depart tomorrow.

Tuesday January 01 2019

Happy New Year to all my readers.  Every time I go out to a party, I encounter people who read this thing, despite all its technical stupidities and despite the fact that the subject matter is just me musing aloud.  So good morning to you all and I hope that not only I, but also you, have a good 2019.  (Yes, I’m managing to keep up, approximately speaking, there also, where my musings are more structured and disciplined.)

This being Jan 1st, I offer you a sunrise:

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Usually when the sky is that colour in my photos, it’s a sunset.  But it all came back to me when I chanced upon these photos, of an expedition to Alicante.  Basically, I visit all the bits of France and Spain that my ex-Quimper friends have or have had bits of property in.  And they had a place in Alicante, or they rented it, or something.  Maybe they still have it.  So, I went to Alicante, in January 2010.  And, the above photo was taken by me at a bus stop in Vauxhall Bridge Road, looking back across Vauxhall Bridge, while waiting for a bus to take me and all my holiday clobber in the opposite direction along Vauxhall Bridge Road to Victoria Station, where I eventually caught a bus to the airport.  With much confusion, as I recall it, about exactly where the damn bus departed from.  Had I not happened upon another traveller who knew, I might have missed that airplane.

All of which clarifies a fact that has for me become more and more clear over the years, that although blogs are not diaries, photo-archives are.  I have photoed many photos which I would not even consider sticking up here.  But they have all piled up on my hard disc.  I live, you might say, a double life.  There’s my, you know, life.  And then there’s my photoed life, which I can relive any time I want, and see all my friends and relatives and remember all the private things we said and did, the way you people very rarely get even to hear about, never mind learn the private details of.

This blog, meanwhile, is a severely edited subsection of my diary, with some added words, added in a way that I hope doesn’t make me appear too ridiculous.  Very different.

To add some words to the above photo, I realise that in addition to loving roof clutter, I am also becoming ever more fond of street clutter, which, due to the anarchic and non-mutually-communicating nature of London’s public sector, London possesses an abundance of.  Much of it is, like most modern roof clutter, severely utilitarian, which I like, because nobody is trying to make it look pretty.  But much ground clutter is very beautiful, especially London’s more showy street lamps.

Love the new keyboard.  So solid and strong.  Happiness is being able to check all the letters and symbols on your keyboard, as you type.

Saturday December 08 2018

Stow-Away is a recent arrival in Lower Marsh:

Stow-Away is a new sustainable and eco friendly apart hotel concept. Stow-Away Waterloo is our first London base made from 26 re-purposed shipping containers, stylishly designed to provide a snug comfortable Stow-Away sleeping experience.

Lots of people have tried to do architecture with old shipping containers, but personally I doubt if it makes much sense.  But, if your task is to sell hotel rooms, then shipping containers are perhaps a good gimmick, for attracting attention and for giving guests something to talk about.  “I slept in a shipping container.” Etc.  I’ve never done this.

It got my attention:

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I enjoy in particular the various reflections there.

All but the last of these photos were photoed in one burst, last September.  The final photo was photoed more recently, in the evening.

I think this hotel is quite good fun, especially those strange looking shades, red on the inside, that are a feature of the front.  But, I regret the trend of which this “apart hotel” is a part, which is the transformation of Lower Marsh from a fascinating and quite cheap thoroughfare, full of diverting shops and eateries, into a dreary and expensive thoroughfare, stripped of all those diverting shops and eateries.

This happens all the time.  A street contains lots of lively and amusing stuff.  Word of that liveliness spreads, and the rents then go through the roof.  The liveliness is priced off to another part of town.  Such is urban life.

What I am really saying is: RIP Gramex.  Follow that link and you find “an important message to our much-valued customers”.  That would be me.  But this “important message” is dated 4th August 2017.  I gave up hope at least a year ago.

Stow-Away in Lower Marsh
Statue with roof clutter
Stanford-le-Hope but not cranes
Chimney pots and blue sky
The view across Ten Broadway
Cranes caught in the searchlight
Photoing The Wheel from Tottenham Court Road
Views from the John Lewis roof garden
Roof clutter viewed through an RCM window
The Great Pagoda of Kew Gardens – and its dragons
Another go at Bartok – and two competitions
A concrete pump?
Pimlico roof clutter
A new Big Thing alignment as seen from the Oval
A view from the Shard
Orange umbrellas in Lower Marsh
Uncluttered French train roofs
A photo-rumination on French rail clutter
Quota cloud
Big Thing Alignment with an appropriate slogan in the foreground
One Kemble Street and the ME Hotel Radio Bar photoed from the Royal Festival Hall
The Peak and its window cleaning crane
Hammersmith - cranes - sunset
Here are some I took earlier
Weird Piccadilly photos today
Another crowd scene
South Kensington roof clutter
Creature photos
Up on the roof
The light and the lights of Victoria Station
A better photo of One Kemble Street
A good day
Cathedral dwarfed by modernity
Two Seifert roof clutter clusters
One Kemble Street and its roof clutter as seen from the ROH floating bar
Flypast photo
London is being Benidormed
Victoria chimney cluster
Burlington Arcade (with roof clutter)
Around Tower Bridge – July 2014
Window cleaning cranes in Victoria
Views from London Fields
Beltane & Pop van parked on the South Bank yesterday afternoon
New River Walk
Chronicle Tower and its roof (and window-cleaning crane)
Two sunsets and two London towers
Men on Gherkin
To Tottenham (6): The Spurs Shop
Merry Christmas from the Pilot Store (and from me)
Fog in Victoria
Early dusk
Roof clutter on my roof and from my roof
More birds on a TV aerial
Another TV aerial
Pigeons on a TV aerial
Not a shot tower – no longer a pumping station tower
Photoing Tate Modern from the Oval and the Oval from Tate Modern
Centre Point and surroundings as seen from the top of the Tate Modern Extension
David Hockney comes to Pimlico
Bridge in Germany with houses on it
More photos from last Friday
Another London Big Thing alignment
The hottest day of the year (4): An antique view from Waterloo
The draw that turned out not to be
Bird – and bird close up
Photoers photoing the views from the Tate Modern Extension
Views from the new Tate Modern Extension
The new US Embassy – from my roof
South of France electronic clutter
Bird takes off from a TV aerial
The difference between roof clutter and roof clutter
Spring
Today I am checking out the Big Olympic Thing
Photo of Mountbatten on Sea Containers House
Barcelona owl
Looking across Vincent Square
Avian Friday
Rain on netting
Stairs
Dark Satanic Millbank Tower
Rainbow over Millbank
Brightly lit against a dark background
A couple of old squares
Leaves
The light outside the Proud Archivist on the evening of July 22nd
Sunlight (selectively) on roof clutter
Light
The view from outside Waterloo Station
Blue sky
Why I mostly write about architectural design rather than about interior design
Along the river towards Battersea
More Big Olympic Thing photos
Snohetta does zig zag roofs for competitive cities
Viewing the clutter at Centre Point
Made-up London detectives in real London places
Fantastic day
Quota scaffolding and quota roof clutter
A weird view of the Wheel - and cats in Tiger
Views from Waterloo Bridge
Posting difficulties so see you tomorrow
French roof clutter
I’m an adjective!
To Covent Garden (2): Rough roofs – smooth roof
Quota roof clutter
Quota towers
Roof party
Parisian roof clutter gets the Real Photographer treatment
Big Things through a gasometer
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
Big Things from high up at the Oval
Two badly lit views of “Victoria Tower” and why Big Ben is not St Stephen’s Tower or Elizabeth Tower
Camel
The ROH from the ME Rooftop Bar
Three more Paris pictures
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
More photos of things past
Sunrise from my roof
My own personal Big Thing viewing platform with close-up Roof Clutter
Here are two photos I took earlier
Another picture from yesterday
Quota clutter
Is this the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of Roof Clutter?
Shard with roof clutter and a crane
Blank-faced tower – crazy hairdo
Rooftops
Wheel clear - Wheel in cloud
Strata behind roof clutter
Misc March
Someone doesn’t understand what I mean by roof clutter
In Alicante
London cricket roof clutter
As found roof sculpture
Victorian roof clutter
Getting that roof clutter onto my computer