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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: Food and drink

Saturday January 30 2016

Yes, I have struggled over the years to get good photos of what my meetings are like.  The problem typically is that I can never get everyone into the same picture, and the pictures look like about half as many people attended as actually did.  Since the number wasn’t that huge to start with, that’s not what you want.

Here is a different approach:

image

That was the scene today following last night’s meeting, me having done almost zero tidying up to that point, bar hoovering up a few crisps.  Now, Imagine that space with as many people sitting in it as you can fit in.  That was what it was like last night.

If you reckon that the “table” in the middle looks like it could be improved upon, you are not wrong.  There was a disaster when it collapsed last night, luckily not during the Tim Evans talk, and some fruit juice hit the carpet, along with lots of potato crisps.  And it was then only imperfectly reassembled.  More work is needed on that front.  But it was a great evening, partly because of the table collapsing, because that sort of thing adds to the anecdotage factor.  But mostly because it was an excellent talk, and because a very classy group of people who came to hear it.  Including a baby, who was very welcome.

Talking of unsatisfactory tables, I wasn’t feeling so good myself today.  My sleep last night was full of weird dreams, which I can still remember bits of, which is not normal.  Plus, I have a new blender, and this morning’s concoction was terrible.  The trouble with most vegetables is that they don’t taste of anything.  Or, they taste rather nasty.  Thank goodness for cherry tomatoes.  But, all my current stash of cherry tomatoes got consumed last night by all the people that you can’t see in the picture.

Thursday January 28 2016

This is weird.  When I did a posting at Samizdata called My 2015 in pictures, I intended to include a picture I took of one of my meetings last year, the one at which Aiden Gregg spoke.  But, although I talked about it, I didn’t actually include the picture.  Rather humiliatingly, nobody noticed, or if they did notice, they didn’t care, or if they did care, not enough to complain.

So here is that picture:

image

I have also added it to that Samizdata posting, which absolutely nobody at all will notice.  But, get it right, eh?

I think I got this picture by standing on a chair.

I mention all this now because I have another of these meetings, the first of this year, tomorrow evening.  Speaker: Professor Tim Evans (also mentioned in that Samizdata posting), talking about Jeremy Corbyn and all that.  Turnout looks like being just right, with the room comfortably as opposed to uncomfortably full.  Luckily the seating arrangements have been improving.

Here, for good measure, is the photo I took of Tim when he gave his Inaugural Professional Lecture at Middlesex University, last summer, and which was also included in that Samizdata posting:

image

Not being accustomed to the ways of Academe, that get-up makes Tim look, to me, like he is in a very trad production of Wagner’s Mastersingers.

Wednesday January 20 2016

Today, went to the top of the Westminster Cathedral tower, again, to check out whether I could see the Wembley Arch.  I could.  Just.  But, then went to a Christian Michel evening.  Rob Waller speaking.  Very good.  But, me now rather drunk.  So, cannot discuss Wembley Arch.  Instead, here is a picture of west London and its cranes, from the top of the tower of Westminster Cathedral:

image

Hope you like it.  Sleep well.  I will.

I make it eight cranes.

Sunday January 17 2016

My life, in this digital century, has contained quite a lot of wonderful expeditions which I never got around to mentioning here.  Take the trip that I and G(od)D(aughter) 1 made to Beckton Sewage Works, on September 21st 2013.  The only time I mentioned this here, it would seem, was in this posting, where I mentioned that I otherwise did not mention it.

So, to go some way towards correcting that, here is a picture of some birds that I took that day:

image

You want to know why London contains so many birds?  Sewage processing, that’s why.  Birds love that.  The Beckton Sewage Works is one great big open air bird canteen.

And here is a picture of a sign that I took, which explains that a huge new sewage tunnel was in the process of being constructed, at the time of our visit:

image

More about that here:

The 75-metre deep Beckton overflow shaft is the entry point for the Lee Tunnel, a £635million project just as ambitious as the more highly-publicised Crossrail. Over the past five years, engineers have built a 6km tunnel stretching from Beckton up to Abbey Mills pumping station in Stratford, east London. The Lee Tunnel will help prevent more than 16 million tons of sewage from overflowing into the River Lee each year by capturing it and taking it down to Beckton. The sewage treatment works itself is being upgraded and expanded by 60 per cent to enable it to deal with the increased volume.

And the Lee Tunnel is just the first phase of the even more ambitious Thames Tideway Tunnel, a 25km tunnel that will handle sewage from Acton in west London through to Abbey Mills in the east. The Thames Tideway Tunnel will deal with the 34 most polluting overflow points along the Thames. Work on the £4.2billion project, known popularly as the London super sewer, starts in earnest in 2017 with engineers pulling the chain, so to speak, in 2023.

And here is another photo I took that day, which I include in this posting because I like it:

image

Behind that fence may, or may not, be activity associated with the digging of the big tunnel.  But, I think it was.

Thursday January 14 2016

In a piece that I just linked back to, from this posting, about keeping up appearances, I wrote this:

What this ...

...this being “facadism” …

… tells you is that architectural modernism has utterly conquered indoors, but that out of doors, modernism is only popular because its totalitarian impulses have been held at bay, by what you might call ancientism.

But I realise now that this is not quite right.

The key point is not that modernism has triumphed indoors, but that indoors, we are not at its mercy.  We can decide about whether to keep it.  We control indoors, with furniture, wallpaper, carpets, etc.  If we want ancientism indoors, in the living room, say, or in the bedroom, we can unleash it at will, and there is not a damn thing that any interfering architect can do about it.  Therefore, we do not mind if indoors is totally modern, when we move in.  We can change it, just as much (or as little) as we want to.

Outdoors, however, we cannot just change things at will to suit our personal preferences.  Therefore, if a large number of us want some ancientism to go alongside all the newly arriving modernism, we have to bully the architects and planners into allowing it, or even into doing some more.  We did, and we did.

Modernism has definitely triumphed in the kitchen.  In the kitchen, a place which did not exist in its current and highly mechanised form in ancientist times, it makes such total sense to have smooth white rectangles everywhere.  Kitchen cupboards are for storing stuff, not for showing stuff off.  You want the cupboard and fridge doors to be a vertical note pads for stick-on notes, not sculptures.  You do not want your work work surfaces and wall areas and cupboard doors in the kitchen to be elaborately decorated like the outsides of ancientist buildings, or shaped like curved like car bonnets.  You want them flat, to do things on and put things on.

Above all, you want everything easily cleanable.  What if someone bangs into a saucepan and spreads slurpy food everywhere.  In the kitchen, you want clean, clear, white surfaces, like outdoor Modern Movement modernism.  You want horizontality and verticality, whiteness and cleanness, because you want convenience and cleanliness.  The kitchen is a machine for cooking in.

Here is a picture I took when I recently visited my brother’s new home.  It is a new home in more ways than one.  It is new for him, and it has just been built.  This is what the kitchen looks like:

image

Okay, once again, zero points for artistic impression.  But look at what is being photoed.  The Bauhaus is stationary in its happy, plain white, rigidly rectangular modernistical grave.  This was what buildings were all going to look like.  They don’t, thank goodness.  But this is what most new kitchens now look like.

I wish I had also photoed the outside of the building where Pete lives.  This is rather kitchy and cutesy, not at all purely “modern”, although you can clearly tell that it’s recent.

As with the work done in kitchens, so for the work done in other places.  Modernism prevails wherever work is done, of the sort done by “workers”, work that involves doing stuff, to stuff.  (When the work involves creating appearances, setting a particular tone, all bets are off.) The world of work is the world in which modernism evolved.  When we want beauty and pleasure (and particular sorts of appearances or tones), modernism is just part of the mix.  It is kept in its place.

Thursday December 31 2015

I spent a lot of today doing an elaborate Samizdata posting with twelve photos in it, and now I am doing the same here.  Most of these ones are just of the I Just Like It sort.

Whether I have the time and energy left after posting the photos to say something about them remains to be seen.  Anyway, here they are, one for each month, in chronological order:

image image imageimage image imageimage image imageimage image image

Okay, let’s see if I can rattle through what they are, insofar as it isn’t obvious.

1.1 was taken outside Quimper (which is in Brittany) Cathedral, where they were selling that sugary stuff on a stick called I can’t remember what.  I stalked the guy for ever, until he finally obliged by sticking his sugary stuff on a stick in front of his face.  Never clocked me, I swear.  Although, when others stalk me when I’m photoing, I never notice them.

1.2 is the amazing coffee making equipment owned by the friend also featured in these earlier pictures.

1.3 is the men’s toilet in the Lord Palmerston pub, near Suicide Bridge, photoed soon after I took those.

2.1 explains itself.  2.2 is Anna Pavlova, reflected in the House of Fraser building in Victoria.  2.3 was taken on the Millenium Footbridge.

3.1 is 240 Blackfriars.  What I like about it is that in some photos, such as this one, it looks like a 2D collage stuck onto the sky, instead of a 3D building in front of the sky.

3.2 is the new entrance to Tottenham Court Road tube/crossrail station, outside Centre Point, seen from further up Tottenham Court Road.

3.3 is the Big Olympic Thing, seen from Canning Town railway and tube station.  A tiny bit of it, anyway.  To me, unmistakable.  To you, maybe an explanation needed.

4.1 shows me photoing shop trivia, in this case a spread of magazines dominated by the scarily intense face of one of British TV’s great Tragedy Queens, the actress Nicola Walker.  I first clocked her when she was in Spooks.  Now she’s in everything.

4.2 and 4.3 are both film crew snaps.  4.2 features a London Underground Big Cheese, who is a bit put out to find himself being photoed by the wrong person instead of by his own tame film crew.  He was drawing a lot of attention to himself, so I reckon him fair blogging game.  4.3 is another film crew, in Victoria Street, just loving the attention, who will be ecstatic when they here about how they have hit the big time.  I like how there’s a movie advert on a bus right behind them.

There, that wasn’t so bad.  Although there are probably several mistakes that I am, as of the smallest hours of 2016, too tired to be fixing.

Happy New Year to all who get to read this.

Tuesday December 22 2015

At that excellent party last night, the one that gave rise to last night’s spectacular non sequitur of a posting, Rob Fisher mentioned that he had thoughts from time to time which are too inconsequential and un-thought-through for Samizdata, but which are still definitely thoughts that he wants to put out there, but for which he has no outlet.  He used to have a personal blog, but not since he started writing for Samizdata.

My response was this: Write these thoughts down.  Send them to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom, explicitly identifying them as submissions to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom.  And the chances, overwhelmingly, are that I will post them here as guest postings.  After all, as last night’s spectacular non sequitur of a posting illustrates, the quality control here is very, very relaxed.  Sometimes stuff here is good, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be.  It just has to be stuff.

I just wanted to make that clear, in case Rob has forgotten, or has remembered but thought that I was just rambling drunkenly and didn’t mean it.

This is not a general invitation to all of my acquaintances to bombard me with drunken would-be bloggage.  And it is certainly not an invitation to wanker social media PR slaves to “submit” boring pieces about things I don’t care about by people I don’t care about, sometimes hinting at money that I will never get, and causing my email address to get onto yet more lists, wielded by yet more wanker social media PR slaves.  Not that me saying that will put these wanker social media PR slaves off.  But I just wanted to get it out there.

Friday December 11 2015

Photographs are, as all the world has recently been learning, except those whose business – paid or unpaid – it is to complain about what all the world has recently been learning, a wonderful aid to memory.

And many of the happiest memories of our extraordinarily comfortable and frequently very happy times involve food.  So - and the complainers complain about it with a venom they seem to reserve only for this, and for selfies - people now like to photo food.  Food that they have themselves prepared.  And food that others have prepared for them. 

And I like to photo them photoing the food.  This also makes happy memories.

Man prepares meat:  Man photos meat:  Man prepares salad:  Man photos salad:

image imageimage image

These are happy memories from last August.  Visit to friends in the outer suburbs.

The outer suburbs?  What do they look like?  Well, one of the things they look like (horizontalisation opportunity) is this:

image

That’s the large patch of grass, beyond the back wall of their back garden.  And sadly, although those things in the distance do vaguely resemble Big Things, they are actually rather smaller trees.

We are beyond the “Green Belt”.  The above photo, especially if clicked on, offers a glimpse of what the Green Belt might usefully be turned into, instead of it remaining for ever the wasteland of pointless open space that it is now.  It would need livening up a bit.  A bit of open-caste mining, or a temporary phase as a juvenile race track?  Then let nature take its course, and you’ll have a lovely place.  Apparently some industrial type activity (gravel?) is about to happen in that particular stretch of grass.  That will stir up some interesting nature, when the industrialising is done.

Finally, this being Friday, here is a visitor to our jollifications who dropped by that afternoon:

image

Like many cats in places like this, this cat seems to have a basic home of basic benefactors, and daily rounds to visit other potential and not-so-basic benefactors.  This visitor acquired no happy food memories with his/her visit, on the day I photoed him/her.  Not that day.

But I have plenty.  Without my camera, these memories would soon have gone.

Food memories from the outer suburbs
The next but one London Big Thing
Antoine Clarke on herding drunk cats
A Morris Minor advertising a ping pong night club
Calories defined
An underground history lesson
Marmite crisps are back!
Weird wide angle lens effect
Alcoholic Architecture sign
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
Golden Cheesegrater with cranes
Keeping up appearances in Sydney
It begins (badly)
Pancake White Van
Out and about with GD1 (2): How mobile phones both cause and solve meeting up problems
More keeping up of appearances
Heaven aka the Barley Mow
Tim Worstall on “reserves”
Strange London buses
Another use for a drone
Bad taste
Not squash
White Vin Van
Photoing the photoers on Westminster Bridge
The ROH bar and its floating-in-the-air drinkers
Drunkblogging a new London Big Thing
Talk tomorrow – haircut today
Incidental Last Friday details
Another place to look out over London from
Christmas Day photos
Santa’s tired helpers
ASI Christmas Party photos
At the ASI Christmas Party
Scary bunny
Hot dog shadow selfie
Friday photo-puzzles
The uniqueness of our microbiome
At the Libertarian Home cost of living debate
Letterz
Halloween buckets
Strange bread
Two guys on Westminster Bridge photoing ice creams in front of the Houses of Parliament
Triple selfie
Bill Bryson on the miracle of crop rotation
Roof party
Out and about in the sunshine
ASI Boat Trip 9: The man driving the boat
Cat photo and cat news
ASI Boat Trip 7: Other photographers
Colossal fun
ASI Boat Trip 3: Drink!
ASI Boat Trip 2: My photos were indeed better than they looked last night
ASI boat trip - one good photo to be getting along with
Quota photos of and from Tate & Lyle Park
Another London vista
Go Chef
Organised water
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
A slightly foreign part of London
Happiness is a wallet that I didn’t lose after all
South Bank signs
Two bits of hospitality trivia
A new Morrisons is opening in Strutton Ground next Monday
Camel
ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar
Church really dwarfed by modernity
Happiness is still Gold Blend at only £3 instead of £4.50
3D printer sighted!
Scott Wiener on pizza boxes
La Porte des Indes
Happiness is Gold Blend at only £3 instead of £4.50
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
Fat bastard!
Pain in the midriff
A Strutton Ground shop and a Strutton Ground pub
Jamie Whyte on deferring gratification less as he gets older
Halloween is near!
The Heron Tower restaurant
Monty Panesar: “I piss on your short pitched fast deliveries aimed at my body!”
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Rothko Toast
A Fleet Street lunch
Lunch at Gessler at Daquise
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
What Michael Jennings has been learning about and will be saying about globalisation
Photoing people who are photoing food
Talking architecture at the Libertarian Home social
Classical CDs from Gramex
Six Nations joy
Brian’s Fridays will resume on the 25th of this month
Christmas Eve feast
Cheese or font?
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
Another excellent spot to photo London from
Happy New Year
Les Rillettes Henaff
WWWhat a great afternoon!!!
Empty tables and empty chairs
No fruit juice
Choosing a Clean Food Outlet in Lawas is as easy as ABC
Just Righter
Another pub
The Armstrong Gun
Out to lunch with Alex Singleton
It’s interesting …
Female cows in TV advert shock
Thoughts on England not just keeping the Ashes but winning the series 3-1 (with asterisks)
And then give up and stay fat
Marmite spoons!
Merry Christmas
And here’s the proof!!!  Sixteen little square pictures!!!
Talk at Christian Michel’s
Cats know more about fluid mechanics than dogs
Why does a coffee lover not want coffee when he’s ill?
Blog hiati
Guerrilla webfare
To Serve Man
The long and short of conversation - Hitchens on YouTube
Graeme Swann on drink-driving charge after 3am dash to save kitten
Everyone?
iScream from Artisan du Chocolat
As strong and sweet as the free market itself
Yo! Sushi cat says:  Yo!  Stay away!
Incoming from Molly Norris!
“Is this a case of us operant-conditioning them or them operant-conditioning us?”
Sounds like a brothel with film star lookalikes
We’ll always have Chelsea
I never knew Marmite came in tanker lorries
Alfie the cat answers the Elmlea challenge
Sushi and scaffolding at Victoria
Why do pregnant women now do quite a lot of driving of their husbands?
The cats from out of town that cleared out the rats during the siege of Leningrad
My sleep and luggage and bus and fluid travel hell
My local Blockbuster Video just closed
Saying it with lights in the Victoria Station shopping centre that were still switched on!
Picture purrfection and a rather good Clive James piece
In other news …
Talking with Toby Baxendale
How building St Peter’s Rome split the Catholic Church and how marzipan was invented in Luebeck
The decor in Peter Jones - and where in London can I find a small ice-cube-making machine?
Quotes dump
Pull Tab
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
London Bites @ Sway
Summer break
Green eyed monster devouring cat food
Friend anonymous
Busy day and busy night
How technology has improved detention
The Vita-Mix 5000 at the Veggie Show
Register for your free pack and five £1-off-coupons
Acton
Even crazier crisps!
Vote for crazy flavoured crisps!
It could be a rather small funeral
Milk containers ancient and modern
Happy Christmas to all my readers
Gadget gold
There’s only one way to find out!  Fight!
Palming them off with a sunset
Inamo
England sinking fast
At Liberty 2008 all day
The uses of Jesus
When three’s company but four’s a crowd
Billion Monkey with icecream!
Jellennium Bridge
Big head and big something else
Heroic Billion Monkey falsely arrested by cop whom he photoed breaking law to get to chip shop!
Photo of some foodski
Crackers
Tea with CDs
Billion Monkey Alan Little?
Brian Micklethwait dot com quote of the day - soup
Democracy for sale – starting with football and beer
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
Renaissance Man
White Man’s Poison?
Fat Man on a Keyboard
That Rooney goal
Why photographing Big Ben can resemble being photographed with a sandwich
Male cows do not have udders
Spreading the word for free
Grassy car with blog