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: Art

Sunday October 23 2016

Fact about London that is little known by those who don’t live there or don’t go there: black cabs, at least as likely as not, aren’t.

Here are four that I photoed recently:


The Easyjet taxi is orange all over.  The other three have adverts only on their sides, but two out of three of them aren’t even black on the bits of the taxis where the adverts aren’t.  Only two of these “black cabs” are even partially black, and the RAW taxi is only partially black (ish) because the advert is (ish).

Quite a lot of taxis can be seen which have no adverts, but are just a different plain colour.  White, grey, blue, red, whatever.  I realise that those who live in London or who visit London from time to time know all this, but the world does contain people who do not fall into this category, and maybe you are one of them.  Unlikely, I know, but there are people like this who do read this blog, even if most of them are only spam commenters.

Adverts on vehicles strike me as very photoable, because in a few months the adverts will be replaced, and even the enterprise itself is liable to be gone in a few years.

Speaking of taxis which aren’t advertising anything, but are just not black, how about this one?:


I spotted that one recently, outside Victoria Station.  I was in a hurry to meet someone, so I had no time to scrutinise it carefully to see if an advert is actually buried in there, somewhere.  But, I rather think that if that is an advert involved, it is an advert for the artist who did it.  Maybe the artist was paid, or maybe the artist paid.

It might make sense for the artist to pay.  I recently asked a black cabbie how much he got paid for his black cab to be embraced by an advert, and he said it was around seventy quid a month.  That might be worth it for an artist, to put himself about, by flashing pictures of the cab that he had unblackened around amongst his mates and potential customers.  But, what do I know?

Saturday October 08 2016

Whenever I see an old car, of the sort that was the latest thing when I was a kid, I photo it, or I try to.

See, for instance, those delightful old Citroens in Roupell Street.  Which were there, I have since learned, not because someone in Roupell Street is collecting them, but because someone in Roupell Street is repairing them.

And see also, this ...:


… which I saw earlier this week, while on my way to a violin and piano recital at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square.  A Rolls Royce, on the way to what turned out to be a Rolls Royce performance.

I used to have a Dinky Toy version of that car.

I am increasingly coming to believe that many of our most powerfully felt aesthetic prejudices are formed in the nursery.  And that a lot of Modern Art is the recreation of those happy sensations, in an enlarged form, suitable for the enlarged people that the nursery dwellers turn into.

But Dinky Toy cars don’t have to be enlarged, because they already have been.  Enlarged Dinky Toy cars are called: cars.

Come to think of it, I also had a couple of Dinky Toy Citroens, a DS19, and a 2CV.  Yes, this explains a lot.

Sunday September 18 2016

Here are some pictures I took in the main part of Tate Modern, while on my way to and from the New Extension.

Once again, what I saw in this grand building, now even grander, is this amazing paucity of Art.  I presume there is plenty of Art in this place, if you go looking for it.  But I have never before visited any Art gallery where you have to go looking, half as determinedly as you have to in this one:


Art being somewhat lacking, the people came into their own.  I photoed people.  And I photoed people photoing people.

The lady with the blue hair and the blue fingers is herself a work of Art.

Monday September 05 2016

Yesterday evening, London burned, and people lined the river to watch:


That being a horizontal slice of one of the pictures here.  A big wooden sculpture based on the London that was destroyed first time around was put on a barge, floated into central London, and burned.

The work of Artichoke.

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.

Thursday August 11 2016

Indeed.  Photoed by me yesterday, inside the original bit of Tate Modern:


Actually, if you look carefully, you see that these people aren’t exactly the same distances apart.  The ones further away are a bit further apart.  Which only adds to the effect.

More fundamentally, my picture shows people, but no Art.  The contrast, between the bigness of these buildings - Tate Modern, Tate Modern Extension - and the almost complete absence of Modern Art in most of these huge spaces, is truly bizarre.  Modern Art dwarfed by Architectural Modernity, you might say.  There are these pokey little collections of stuff in medium sized spaces, off the big main spaces, and I looked in on one of these shows.  I thought it was downright pathetic.  Not offensive or nasty, you understand.  Just feeble and totally underwhelming.  It looked like a few giant toys, that someone had forgotten to tidy up, lying about in a giant nursery.  And I don’t think it was just me.  I heard others commenting along similarly underwhelmed lines.

The only popular enthusiasm that I observed was being expressed for the view from the top of the new Extension building.  London is as fascinating and variegated to gaze out upon as Modern Art, to judge by the stuff I saw, is dreary and banal.

Friday July 01 2016

Friday here used to be a day for cats and kittens, and it still is, but I have recently been broadening it out to give other non-feline creatures a mention.  Which I do anyway, but now it’s official.  So, this Friday, I show you a pig, photoed by me about a year ago:


This pig was to be seen outside Casa Manolo in the King’s Road.  There are several Casa Manolos in various parts of London, and it took me a while to work out which Casa Manola this was.  (I had photoed the shop sign, but had no record of which road I was in.) But the photo here is definitely of the same group of shops in one of my photos.  No pig in that photo though.  Either the pig is now gone, or, more probably, the photo at the other end of that link was taken before the pig arrived.  Or, the pig lives indoors and only comes out sometimes.

And here are a couple of dogs, in Tottenham Court Road a few days ago, in the entrance to Heal’s.  I don’t know what they are supposed to be doing there.  “Chanel” says they’re advertising perfume, but that seems strange.  Whatever, I like them:


It’s like someone saw a dog with one of those muzzles on it, and thought: I could make an entire dog that way.

There is also a cat inside Heal’s, advertised outside, which Heal’s claims is famous, even “infamous”.  More about that (maybe – I promise nothing) after I’ve taken a look at it myself, and had a go at photoing it.

I realise that none of these creatures is actually alive, but that’s what comes of living in London.  Plenty of alive creatures, but also plenty of pretend ones.

I also realise that all the Art in these photos (see below) is in what is photoed.  But that’s fine.

Thursday June 30 2016

6k writes about the long journey from journeyman amateur snapper to Artist:

I don’t pretend to be a photo ninja. I can point, and I can shoot, and sometimes the results can be pretty good. Very occasionally, they can be startlingly good, but only very occasionally. I need to work more at not just pointing and shooting to increase the percentage of those startlingly good shots. We’ll get there.

There follows a picture of a bird spreading its wings.  In other words, the capture of a fleeting moment.

6k photos his family quite a bit, as they do things like explore the spectacularly beautiful coastline near where he lives, in South Africa.  Photoing your loved ones is also a matter of capturing the exact right moment.

With me, I think I get nearest to Art when I’m lining things up with each other.  I have a mental list of things I like, and a picture counts double in my head, if I can line a couple, or maybe even more, of these things.  The most characteristic of such alignments over the years have typically involved a digital photographer, with a London Big Thing in the background.

Here are a couple of efforts I might pick out to enter a competition, if someone told me I had to do that:


In these two cases, there is also an element of me waiting for the right moment, or more accurately me snapping lots of promising looking moments and picking out the best one.

Those two are from this huge collection of unrecognisable photographers, which I doubt many of you scrutinised in its entirety.  So there are two of them again.  I particularly like the one with the blue balloon.

And here is another exercise in lining things up, captured just a few days ago.  This time, the object at the front is a plastic water bottle, resting on the anti-pigeon netting in the courtyard outside and above my kitchen window.  Behind the bottle is a thing that regulars here will know that I like a lot, namely: scaffolding!  This being the scaffolding at the top of the big conversion job that’s being done across the courtyard from me:


That picture involves something I don’t usually like to do, which is cropping.  The original snap was rather bigger.

I don’t know what exactly I’ve got against cropping, but it feels to me like only one or two notches up from cheating.  Maybe I take rather excessive pride in (the Art of) getting the snap I want to emerge straight from the camera, no muss, no fuss, no photoshop.  The truth, of course, is that cropping is itself very much an Art.  But because I don’t do cropping that much, I probably could have cropped this photo a whole lot better than I actually did.

The right moment and the right alignment
The new Tate Modern extension from inside Blackfriars Station
The Union Jack’s near death experience(s?)
The Sugar Land selfie statue
Art comment
Horizontal French signs
Looking in at the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery in Goswell Road
Van Art
John Cage does Sudoku
Dirty art on White Vans
Barcelona owl
Bach’s development of the most intense musical vision from a straitened environment
Asking about the Southbank Mosaics Gallery and asking about London’s Big Things
A still life and a cat cushion in Kentish Town
Two mice and a cat on a Wicked Van
The laboriousness-to-effect ratio at Colossal
Anonymous guys taking (and making) pictures in Trafalgar Square
Coloured lights in bottles outside the RFH
Phil Tufnell paints cats!!!
A rather argumentative van
Cats and cricket – cats and drones
Two strangers photoed by Mick Hartley and shown there (and here) without their permission
Old London by the Buck Brothers
Seaside muralist
Snohetta does zig zag roofs for competitive cities
A Shiny Thing by Frank Stella Hon RA
Big 4
Marc Morris on how the Bayeux Tapestry ought not to exist
CATable at the Building Centre
From a cat cushion to Bill Murray and a nude to a demon horse sculpture that killed its creator
Anish Kapoor photoed next to his big shiny balls
Hand done photos
Golden Gate being built – Severn Road Bridge ditto – C20 photography – Hitler’s paintings
Hirst’s Hymn outside the Tate Gallery
Non-faceless architecture in Rome
How the internet is cheering up Art
As found not-art
The Poppies (2): The crowds
The Poppies (1): What they look like
Shard shots
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)
Photographers in Tate Ancient
Tate cat
Out and about in the sunshine
Cats … on scaffolding … with shadows …
Colossal fun
I see cats
Homer Simpson on Thames
Lego bridge in Germany
Finally working out what I liked about those Gormley Men
Art has its uses – but where did it have its uses this time – and what is it?
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
Good question
Sandcastles that will live for ever
Digital photography as telepathy
David Byrne on the constraints of artistic form
Smaller is more legible – big is more fun
Owl at Canning Town railway station
Edwin is a bad person
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
Rothko Toast
So painters also used to “take” pictures
Hong Kong housing that looks like abstract art
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Lunch at Gessler at Daquise
Wandering about afterwards
Art without Artists
Cheap hippos are hard to find
An afternoon in Croydon
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom internet headline of the day
Flat cat
Photographers at Eros and Art in the tube
A happy British Summer Time to all my readers
Hockey Stick art
A pill that turns sweat into perfume
Release Ai Weiwei
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Blue Men on a boring building in Borough High Street
Quota photo by someone else
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
Spray can girl in Leake Street
A good bit about the future of art galleries and how to rescue good bits
Biker shadow
Scaffolding ball
Large areas the same colour on the first first day of spring
The right to photograph
Abstract satellite expressionism
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
Structural decoration
Cat blogging and Gormley blogging
The Wheel through some Art
“Dying is a fulltime business. You haven’t time to do a lap of honour.”
More random links
A little drunk blogging
“… the idea is to remain ignorant of how dumb you look …”
Is the contemporary art bubble bursting?
Cat Car
P. J. O’Rourke confuses the average with the significant
If it’s not Art it can be rather fun
An abstract view of Kings Place
Lump art and dinner in sky
It only takes One Rich Lunatic
John Carey on Shakespeare and the high-art/ popular-art distinction
Keith Windschuttle on history - truth - Robert Hughes
Official bias
Two adverts in the tube
French cats
Photos are better
Art is always a value judgement
Classic car thinness
Sounding like a different country
Girls these days flashing their cleavages it’s disgusting don’t know what the world’s coming to …
There’s a crack in the cracks at Tate Modern
Three proper photos … and three Billion Monkeys!!!
Photography is not dead
Underground art
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
It only takes two idiots
Man may not sit on Art bed and be photoed by Billion Monkey lady friend!
Venus undistorted
Venus by the river
Tate Modern Extension
Wichita line (and colour) man
Skill and Post-Skill
The Million Dollar Homepage
Date art