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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

Friday August 04 2017

Today, GodDaughter 2 and I went to the top of the Shard.  I took many photos, and I will now show you one of these.  It will be first one of the many that I took that I consider worthy to be shown to you.  Then I will go to bed, and I expect to sleep very well.

So, here we go.  What have we got?  Usually I am disappointed when I first look at one of these huge clutches of photos as soon as I get home, because I still remember what I was trying for.  Let’s hope looking at these photos now doesn’t depress me too much in this way.

image

Well, I ended up looking at all of them, and I am now rather depressed, mainly by the shininess of the windows through which I was photoing, and hence the many unwanted reflections from them in my photos.  The above photo, of Southwark Cathedral and surrounding things, was rather better than most, in this melancholy respect.  Normally I like reflections, but not today.

I actually promise nothing, but it is overwhelmingly likely that more photos from today will follow here.

Goodnight.

Wednesday July 05 2017

The best thing about seeing Turandot at the R(oyal) O(pera) H(ouse) earlier in the week was definitely seeing Turandot.  But almost as good was what I saw during one of the intervals.

So, do you remember this?

image

The “this” I am referring to is the disembodied rectangular box hovering up near the roof there.  I copied and pasted the sanskrit my blogging system demands for that photo from this earlier ROH posting.  To quote my earlier description in that earlier posting:

I especially like that disembodied clutch of drinkers, suspended up there as if in mid air, but actually in mid mirror.

All of which means that you don’t need to remember it, because I just told you again.

Well, during the interval in question, I found myself stretching my legs inside this aerial box.  From it, I got views like this:

image

Which was all very fine, although I can’t really tell how good or bad this photo is, because I only have this terrible little replacement screen to look at it on.

But then, things got even more interesting.  I looked through that big semi-circular window, and saw other interesting things.  In particular I saw this:

image

That is one of London’s finer assemblages of roof clutter, made all the more magnificent by being anarchically perched, like a tiny shanty town, upon one of London biggest and blandest and most geometrically severe pieces of sculpted Big Thingness from the Concrete Monstrosity era.  Namely: One Kemble Street, which used to be known by the much cooler name of Space House.

If you image google for One Kemble Street, you get a deluge of photos of One Kemble Street, but just about all of them are taken from below.  It’s like they’re ashamed of that marvellous roof clutter.  But why?  It is magnificent.

Here is another view of part of this roof clutter:

image

That was taken in December 2014, on the same day I photoed the floating bar in the sky, in the first photo, above.

Memo to self: check it out again, and try to photo the whole thing, in nice weather like that.

Saturday June 17 2017

I just did a posting at Samizdata about the flypast over London today, that went with the Trooping of the Colour.  That I photoed from my roof, insofar as I saw it.

I stuck up a lot of Samizdata-friendly photos there, but my favourite flypast photo was this, of a couple of planes seen through some foreground roof clutter:

image

You may say: not very remarkable.  But I say: this is not the kind of thing I usually see from my roof when I go up there with my camera.  For me, this is remarkable.

Saturday May 20 2017

Around five years ago, the dominant architectural story of London was all the Big Things that had recently been erected, starting with ther Gherkin, continuing with the Shard and the Walkie Talkie.  There are few more Big Things about to arrive in The City, but the bigger story now is the much more numerous, rather less big things.  less big things like these: 

image

As you can see from the cranes, lit up by early evening sun against that cloudy sky (an effect of which I have always been fond), some of these particular Less Big Things are still being completed.  They are on the far (i.e. south) side of the River from me.  Behind them are the railway approaches into and out of Waterloo.

Call it the Benidorming of London.  By this I do not mean that London will become entirely Benidorm, merely that this is the way the architectural wind happens to be blowing just now.  Soon, another wind will blow, and people will be grumbling about that, and maybe even lamenting the end of the Benidorm phase.

Photo taken from the roof of my home, earlier this month.

LATER: To provide some context, here is another photo, photoed moments later, from the same spot, which tells you both more about where these Less Big Things are, and where I was doing the photoing from:

image

On the left, the Millbank Tower (with its glorious roof clutter cluster).  The Millbank Tower is a truly Big Thing.  As you can tell, from the fact that it has a name, and that, if you are yourself a Londoner, you have almost certainly heard of it.

Tuesday May 16 2017

This looks like an everyday urban scene, towards the end of a rather gloomy and cloudy day, with nothing much of any great interest to see:

image

But observe that cluster of chimneys, to the right of and a bit higher than the bus stop sign.

I’m talking about this:

image

I’ve lived a walk away from this delightful urban sculpture for about a third of a century, but I never noticed it, until today.

I’ll bet you anything there was a time when most people thought that the plague of chimney potted brick buildings that was marching relentlessly across London was the quintessence of ugliness, the way people think traffic jams are ugly now.  But now that such chimneys are no longer being built, but are instead merely being destroyed from time to time, we can relax and enjoy them.  And in about fifty years time, when the traffic jams start to retreat, people will realise that they look rather cute also.

Thursday May 11 2017

GodDaughter 2 and I meet up every so often, so I can be brought up to speed on her progress as a classical singer.  The last two times we’ve met, we’ve visited posh shops.  She likes viewing their contents.  I just like photoing whatever amusing things happen to present themselves to me, including, sometimes, the contents of the posh shops.

Here are some of the photos I took on the most recent wander around that we did (just after I took the photo in the previous posting).  These photos all having been taken in the Burlington Arcade:

imageimageimage
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1.1 is the view everyone thinks of, if they think of anything at all, when they think of the Burlington Arcade.  1.2 is the rather elaborate floor, which I rather like.  Then things liven up a bit.  2.1 is someone who managed to look ultra-posh, even when seated in a wheelchair.  2.2 … well, you can see why I would like a posh box for putting posh things into, with decoration on its lid like that.

But then, my eye wandered a little, and I noticed that although we were in the Burlington Arcade, there was still – wonder of wonders - roof clutter to be seen, through the windows above us.  I hoovered up roof clutter views, and here are a few of those:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

The more I wander around London, the more I notice this contrast between the stage, the places where London is trying to look its best and is all primped and permed and made-up, and the behind-the-scenes areas.

Here was a circumstance where, behind a very posh piece of retail scenery, there was still backstage clutter to be seen, just by looking upwards, through the ceiling.

Friday May 05 2017

Summer, proper summer, where sandals and no socks is obvious rather than a hope for the best, is taking an age to get here.  So here are some snaps from an earlier summer:

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I just picked out nine that I liked, nine because it makes for a good show here.  I didn’t think.  I just looked and waited for when I said to myself: ooh I like that.

Tuesday April 04 2017

I find myself becoming ever more entertained by those cranes at the top of buildings, for cleaning windows.  The ones that look like this:

image

Is it a crane?  Is it roof clutter?  It’s both!

The above photo was taken in March.  And then, in April, this month, I took this next photo, because, although not by itself very significant, it really adds to the story being told above:

image

I did a bit of cropping on both these, to make them more identical, in all but the essential difference they illustrate.

For you see (which you now do), this particular window cleaning crane has the trick of disappearing into the (very visible) roof of its building like it’s not even there.

One moment: roof clutter, of the most obtrusive sort.  Next thing you know: roof clutter gone.

There is another such window cleaning crane, very near to the above window cleaning crane, in fact just across the road from it, on the big ugly building with the curved roof, from which a window cleaning crane with a curved bit of roof on it occasionally emerges.  And in February, I chanced upon this window cleaning crane in action:

image

From form emerges function.  Function functions.  Then function disappears back into form, like nothing had happened.

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