Brian Micklethwait's Blog
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Category archive: Billion Monkeys
I just bought a new camera, the Panasonic Lumix FZ150, and it is great. Here are some snaps I took with it, on Monday, of a few of my fellow digital photographers:
The light was fading quite fast while I was taking these, and trust me, these are much better snaps than I could have taken with my previous donkey-driven camera.
On Saturday I went to St Paul’s Cathedral, front of, to hear Kevin Dowd and Gordon Kerr address the Occupy St Paul’s people. In the event I head very little of what they said, Kerr having been and gone before I even got there. But I was very impressed that they did it.
If my time at Occupy St Paul’s was anything to go by, it has all been thoroughly domesticated. Somebody is definitely in charge of this thing, and with a combination of threats and negotiation, a stand-off agreeable to all has been achieved. There is no sense of impending violence. Nobody yelled at me when I wondered about in among the tents, taking photos. Nobody yelled at Kevin or Gordon for spouting Austrian Economics.
Click at will for the big pictures.
My usual preoccupations are in evidence. There are many signs. There are, of course, digital photographers, because I was not the only one taking photos. Many were just photo-ing St Paul’s.
The bloke in the cap taking photos is Nigel Meek, the Editorial and Membership Director of the Libertarian Alliance, who apparently showed up as a result of that Samizdata posting (already linked to above) that I did flagging this up. Afterwards (he told me later) he went out drinking with Kevin and Gordon and had a great afternoon of it.
If this demo is anything to go by, the tent makers have done a good trade.
Than it was a short while ago.
But, you still still can’t tell exactly how high it will finally be. Will the converging glass cladding insist on entirely joining up into a point at the top, like … a shard of glass? Or will the various converging shards of glass be content to get quite near to each other, and then just have a little extra roof in there?
Note also the excellent fifth finger of the left hand of the digital photographer, on the right. This reminds me somewhat of the Star Trek salute that Trekkies do, which was featured on an episode of The Big Bang Theory last night. But it is of course more sensible, being rooted in the necessity for the fifth finger not to feature in any photographs.
Although, I suppose the Star Trek salute might also be rooted in something “sensible”.
Early last week, via the Londonist, I heard about a big occupation of Regent Street that was going to happen yesterday, not by idiot hippies with no agenda (thank god), but by cars – veteran cars, E-type Jags, Minis, boringly modern cars, and surely plenty of etc. type cars.
But, come yesterday morning, I really wasn’t in the mood to get out, and nor was the weather very getoutful. But I am very glad that I forced myself to attend. I have never seen so many interesting cars assembled in one spot. Any one of them would have deserved a photographic effort. All of them congregated together was stupendous.
The light was poor, the kind where you have to hold your camera still or it’s disaster. But I held it just about still enough, and snapped away like a mad thing.
There were, as promised, lots of E-Type Jags:
Lots of E-Type Jags and Minis:
Yes, lots of Minis, and we’re not talking the fake German Minis of recent years, that aren’t even that Mini. These were real Minis:
The reason for all that Mini Jag action being that both are this year celebrating their fiftieth birthdays.
Better yet, there were lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of vintage cars, of the sort constructed over a century ago, when they were still trying to work out what a car was:
There were other cars, some exciting, like the knee-high red rocket car, and some dreary, like all the cars that demonstrated different varieties of fuel, such as electricity. The dreary thing about the modern cars on show is that they look exactly like ordinary cars, i.e. in the nature of this, dreary cars. You can’t see all the bizarrely new mechanical stuff, or not most of the time, because it is hidden behind dreary metal, just like a regular car:
But despite the dreary modern cars, it all added up to digital photographer heaven. Many of the above pictures contain photographers, whom I couldn’t have avoided snapping had I been trying to avoid snapping them, and of course I wasn’t. Was I going to be the only digital photographer present? Of course not. Here are some more of my tribe in action:
But what exactly, besides cars, were we all photo-ing? I believe I was not the only one who was particularly noticing all the details of the vintage cars. Like I say, they hadn’t (around 1900 or so) fully worked out what a car was supposed to be, and you can see them experimenting and juggling around with this and that arrangement, these and those luxury appendages, these and those sorts of seats, these and those sorts of bonnet shapes, right there in front of you. Things had to be somewhat different from horse-drawn carriages. But how different?
Amazing. That all took hardly more than an hour. Throughout, it was threatening to rain, but it never did until I was ready to leave. I love how, when you visit something with a camera, you can photo it, and then go home and look at it all at your leisure.
Including “Sport” in the category list is because today, many of these cars will have been racing down to Brighton.
To everyone except cricket fans, WWW means the “world wide web” (yawn), but to us true believers it spells hat trick, three consecutive wickets in three consecutive balls. Which was what Stuart Broad got this afternoon against India, in among a couple of other Ws.
Antoine tW . . | . 1 . . 4 1 | . . W W W . | . Wittered that I must have been all excited, but actually I missed it. I was out in the sunshine. I only clocked it, on my laptop, when I stopped in at Marie’s Cafe in Lower Marsh for some of her delicious chicken and cashew nuts with rice, after visiting Gramex (also in Lower Marsh) to stock up on cheap classical CDs.
By then, England were already batting, and it was nearly the close. There had already been another W (Cook – having a rotten series (12, 1, 2, 5 so far) – cricket eh? funny old game), but mercifully there were no more.
I said in this, a couple of days ago, that if India hit back hard after their Lord’s disappointment, this has the makings of the best series here since 2005, and behold, India have hit back. England will have to bat very well tomorrow.
While in Lower Marsh, I took this artistic snap. Well, I like it:
And what with all the sunshine and all the great cricket (Surrey also won in a very close finish - earlier on in that game, Ramprakash was given out for “obstructing the field”, which happens in proper cricket about once a decade if that, and which I heard on the internet radio commentary just before I left home) and the great CDs I’d bought, I was in a really good mood. So instead of just getting the bus home, I strolled across Westminster Bridge like it was 2005 and took photos of people taking photos. Here are my favourites of those snaps:
When I got home and got to see the test match highlights on the telly, I discovered that the middle W of Stuart Broad’s hat trick should never have been given. Harbhajan Singh clearly hit it before it struck his pad, yet the umpire gave him out LBW. Still, the Indians would insist on not having techno-reviews, so they kind of deserve it. Hard on Harbhajan though.
Talking of techno-reviews, everyone is trashing Hot Spot, which is the one that shows if the ball has struck the edge of the bat, sometimes. What the players are saying is that sometimes, the ball does strike the edge of the bat, but doesn’t show up on Hot Spot, especially now that the batsmen all put Vaseline on their bats, in order to confuse Hot Spot.
However, correct me if I am wrong, fellow cricket fans, but this merely means that Hot Spot shouldn’t over-rule an umpire’s on-the-pitch opinion that the batsman did snick it. If Hot Spot says he did snick it, but the umpire says not, then Hot Spot is still right. Right? So, Hot Spot is still some use, and should not be totally got rid of. The rule should be: If the umpire says you’re out and Hot Spot says not out, you’re out. If the umpire says not out and Hot Spot says out, you’re out. Only if they are unanimous that you are not out, are you not out. You say that that is hard on the batsmen? I say it would serve the bastards right for putting Vaseline on their bats.
Today, late in the afternoon, I took a walk towards Westminster Abbey, looking for things to photo in the aftermath of the public upheaval that was the royal wedding.
I know why people grumble about this wedding. It’s not that they are forced to pay attention to it. They are not. Their problem is that they don’t like how much others seem to be attending to it, without being forced to any more than they are. They don’t like the way this rather mediocre family occupies a place in British society, and in British affections, that they think ought to be occupied by a person who is - or persons who are - more politically qualified, by which is meant more political. I used to think like this, but now believe that any more “rational” arrangement of this sort would merely strengthen the power of politicians by giving them yet another hold over us, which would be bad. I still feel no reverence towards the family, but no longer favour any alternative arrangement. It’s been quite a while since I would have lifted a finger to support any change in our Head of State arrangements. Now, I might lift several fingers to keep them as they are, were the need for that ever to arise.
I don’t think the family can be expected to do anything beyond keeping the politicians away from the Head of State job, like preserving British sovereignty, or some such chimera. If the politicians are determined to destroy that, destroy it they will, and the family will tag along.
Not being a reverent sort of royalist, I had no difficulty ignoring this wedding. In order to notice it, I had to take active steps, which today took the form of wandering about London after it had finished, with my camera, to see whatever I saw.
Here is one of the photos I took, of a shop window:
And here is another shop window:
And of course, today as always, my fellow digital photographers were out in force:
Those ones were photographing the front door of Westminster Abbey. This looked to me much as it always does. But I suppose if you find the family exciting, there is something extra about photo-ing the front door of the building where one of their weddings was, only hours after it happened.
These blue Men reminded me that I have been meaning, ever since I took them, to display here some of my photos of some other Men, the ones put by Antony Gormley all over the South Bank and related areas (like bits of the North Bank), in the Summer of 2007.
I wouldn’t recommend solemnly looking at all of these, but click on a few at random, until you get the picture (I think it was not knowing how to do squares that caused the delay.)
For some damn fool artistic type reason that need not concern us unless we want it to, Gormley called these Men “Event Horizon”. (Artists who make nice things but talk bollocks about them are a characteristic type of our time, I think. I don’t blame them. If they didn’t talk bollocks they’d never get their careers cranked up. Anyway, it makes a change from a generation ago, when the things they made were almost entirely bollocks also.) The Gormley Men are all based on Gormley himself.
Critic Howard Halle (see here) out-Gormleyed Gormley by saying this:
“Using distance and attendant shifts of scale within the very fabric of the city, [Event Horizon] creates a metaphor for urban life and all the contradictory associations – alienation, ambition, anonymity, fame – it entails.”
Whatever. In other words, you see in these metal Men whatever you want to see, much as you see whatever you want to see when confronting actual men.
As for me, I liked how they humanised the mostly very unlovely buildings of the South Bank. And I liked how children would run about among them pointing excitedly and saying: “There’s another!”. And I liked how my fellow digital photographers photoed them, and how I was able to photo some of them photo-ing them.
They also reminded me of the angels in the Wim Wenders movie Angels of Desire, and even more of the angels in the Hollywood remake of that called City of Angels.
I really liked these Gormley Men, and have missed them ever since, whenever I have visited the South Bank. Thank goodness for digital cameras, which can ensure that such passing moments in the history of a city are thoroughly recorded and celebrated.
And in an attempt to illustrate that proposition with a link, I have just discovered that the Gormley Men paid a visit to New York, in the year 2010, I think.
And to Rotterdam in 2008.
Well done them.
Blog and learn.
Oh and: spot the deliberate mistake.
I like this, from Roger Kimball:
Like many conservative books, the only place Encounter books appear in The New York Times is on their best-seller list.
That list always did strike me as a Trojan Horse waiting to burst open with news that contradicts all the other news.
I also like the picture Kimball has here. (Spot the Billion Monkey (= digital photographer - which I have to put to stop any passing strangers thinking I am calling Barack Obama a monkey).)
And I like the fun he has with the word “structural” in this. As a general rule, I tend to be confused by the use of the word “structure” (structure of the economy, structure of the population, or, as in Man, Economy and State: “structure of production") to describe anything except an actual structure, of the kind that engineers erect and which hold stuff up, or just themselves up so they can do things like be cranes or bridges. Usually a word like “pattern” or “shape” would be better, and “structural” would improve clarity by being deleted. “Structure” suggests that this bit of whatever it is is doing something causally significant to that bit (in the way that the lower bits of an actual structure support the higher up bits), when often all that is happening is that this bit just happens to be next to that bit. Although, I suppose I have just answered the question of why Rothbard talks about “structure” of production, because this bit of production does indeed make the next bit of production possible, in the sense that making machine tools makes it possible for machine tools to make other things. But I still find the word confusing, even in that sense. I would prefer “nature of production”, or just “production”.
Anyway, Fareed Zakaria apparently blames President Bush for the “structural” deficit. Says Kimball:
Gosh. “Structural deficit.” That sounds impressive. How, you might wonder, does a structural deficit differ from the common or garden variety deficit? Let’s leave that to one side, acknowledging as we do that a “structural deficit” at least sounds more impressive than a deficit without that adjectival honorific.
I wonder too. Is the word “structural” rather like “social”, in the sense that it sabotages the meaning of whatever word comes next, by hinting at, in connection with something which would otherwise be real, a false theory about what exactly things of this sort really consists of and why?
Is the implication of “structural deficit” that this is the bit of the deficit that is hard to get rid of, because getting rid of it involves getting rid of the things that cause it, and that is really hard. The unstructural deficit being the bit of the deficit that can just be got rid of, without anyg other things that cause if being got rid of, because nothing does cause it. It is just lying around and sweeping it up and clearing it away is comparatively easy. Am I confusing you? Now you know how I feel.
I’m reading a lot of American stuff at the moment, with Instapundit, for now, being way ahead of Guido in frequency of visits.
Photoing the World Cup
Spray can girl in Leake Street
More photos from last week
Photos of things past
Man photographed by women!
Me taking pictures in a funny way while it’s still allowed
Large areas the same colour on the first first day of spring
Stuff in the foreground I wasn’t expecting
Mrs Billion Monkey doesn’t want to catch swine fever!
Bloke in posh suit holding Real Photographer camera like it’s a Billion Monkey camera!
Billion Monkeys in New York and London!
Globalisation Guido – and other Bright Young Things
British Summer Time is better for this blog
Another view over London
Photoing the Police
The towers of London from the Copper Horse
Parliament photoed by a bus!
Flat train picture and regular train picture
Roll out the Lino
Billion Monkeys liked photoing the nastiest poster!
Leaves in mist
Making the new look and feel like the old
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
A movie staircase and a window
Billion Monkey hits 40
Pink bunny successfully resized and posted only with Jesus!
Now I’m going to try to stick up a picture with Jesus
Edinburgh’s Billion Monkeys must be chivalrous!
SDHC success and an unblurry Billion Monkey!
They aren’t complete idiots all the time
Painted Billion Monkey!?!
Billion Monkey with icecream!
The Great River Race
Chivalry and the mad feminists
Sometimes the Billion Monkey in the background is more interesting!
Young people these days
North Carolina Billion Monkeys mad for Obama!
Heroic Billion Monkey falsely arrested by cop whom he photoed breaking law to get to chip shop!
More at Jonathan Gewirtz
Billion Monkey lady! – Gherkin! – Monument!
Billion Monkeys close up and London from far above!
Billion Monkeys earlier this evening!
Billion Monkey seen through the Millenium Bridge!
The ideal headgear for it
Billion Monkey lady ticks four (make that five) boxes!
News Media Coalition versus Indian Premier League
Billion Monkey Alan Little?
Married (make that Divorced (see comments)) Billion Monkey lady photos the Wheel
Billion Monkey lady relative photos Christmas Day sunset!
Billion Monkeys like being photoed!
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
Billion Monkey scrunched up in a ball!
The eloquence of the Bishop and a lady holding a big wheel
There’s a crack in the cracks at Tate Modern
Three proper photos … and three Billion Monkeys!!!
Blurry Billion Monkey on bus in front of even blurrier Wheel
Billion Monkey Maria Sharapova lookalikes!!!
Billion Monkeys in the rain and the dimness
Billion Monkey murderers!?!
Billion Monkey madness and a proper picture
Billion Monkeys say Happy New Year!
Billion Monkeys on Table Mountain!
Another target rich environment
It’ll never catch on
Great but not great
Billion Monkeys and a Real Photographer at the Golden Umbrellas
Photography is not dead
More St Pancras snaps
Billion Monkey lady does … “Heinrich Photography”?
Cameraphone with 3x optical zoom
Billion Monkey ladies perform triple self portrait!
Billion Monkey men - Billion Monkey ladies - and a giant dolly
Photos - four transport - two artistic
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
Billion Monkey in shiny robot head!
Feral Real Photographers and naughty Billion Monkey!
Combining the genres
Billion Monkeys photo spaceship launch!
Real Photographers worship the Logo
Rokeby Billion Monkey!
Photo-ing the weather
Billion Monkeys will stop flashing!
Back lit Billion Monkey lady and back lit Saturn!
Somebody else photos Billion Monkey photo-ing Notre Dame!
Four Billion Monkey snaps!
Bicycling Billion Monkeys!
Billion Monkeys at the wedding!
Two items of Billion Monkey behaviour
The Big Things of London
Billion Monkeys photo their own demo!
Billion Monkeys in the sunshine!
James Bond but not as I know him
Shadow and light near Tower Bridge
Susie Bubble turns shopping into a job with her blog
Stupid Billion Monkeys!
Halo over Oxford Circus
Magic Andy makes magic dragon
Dame Edna and Borats in Piccadilly Circus!
Billion Monkeys photo themselves!
It’s only a Billion Monkeys if you count mobile phones (and then it’s far more)
Displacement photo of Billion Monkey!
So what’s this about then?
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Billion Monkeys and people waving blue things!
Happy Christmas Day
London photos by Fabio
By the rivers and canals of East London with Goddaughter One
Billion Monkeys photograph things!
Why photographing Big Ben can resemble being photographed with a sandwich
Sometimes things just work out
The world now needs bad taste iPod docks
More ways to use the best pictures
Man may not sit on Art bed and be photoed by Billion Monkey lady friend!
Billion Monkeys get instant feedback!
Billion Monkey in front of Gherkin photos lovely lady!
A digital SLR that a Billion Monkey could lift!
Patrick and Brian talk about the War on Terror - thoughts about podcasting
Adriana tours her own back yard
Billion Monkey meme spreads!
Muslim Billion Monkey photos four Muslim ladies in black!
Billion Monkey spots sunlight pattern bounced off Gherkin!
Being real on digital
Other Billion Monkeys at the Globalisation Institute party!
Billion Monkey Lady photos me!
Lords pictures from last Monday
Billion Monkey Lady hangs on to her water bottle!
Billion Monkey flash strikes twice! - 7/7 a year later - Office Space on TV even though I own it
Billion Monkeys and a flock of sheep!
Quota photo and Surrey weirdness
Billion Monkeys at black and white wedding!
Billion Monkey flash!
I also miss Transport Blog
Dnalgne no emoc! - Billion Monkey snaps mental Maradona!
Billion Monkey policeman!
Billion Monkey at Tom and Noreen’s wedding!
Billion Monkey snaps shadow chancellor!
Billion Monkeys stop cover-ups!
Lovely Billion Monkey ladies!
Billion Monkey lies on the ground in front of Westminster Abbey!
Billion Monkey photos baby birds!
Billion Monkey photos flats in Bombay
Shadow on the Shell Building
More comedy and a Piccadilly Circus Billion Monkey!
Billion Monkeys photo themselves to make you visit Malta!
Billion Monkey takes photos of Mexico City from helicopter!
Billion Monkeys take pictures of themselves!
Another Billion Monkey and some Celluloid Gorillas in Victoria Street
The Billion Monkeys of Australia will continue to photograph oil refineries
Billion Monkey screen and another blurry pigeon
More Billion Monkeys including a blurry bag lady
And then I went home happy
It went fine
Photo the Billion Monkeys who work for the Government!
Fishing rods in Istambul
Light and lights in grey London
Is Africa about to look boring?
Two Tims and two more Billion Monkeys
Liberty 2005 pictures
Aussie pub window and Aussia Billion Monkey