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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: France

Thursday May 05 2016

Postcards like this one, which I photoed this morning, in ... well, you can see where:

image

Why not just take my own photos?

Well, I do take my own photos, a ton of them, and many of them look extremely like the ones in this photo of a clutch of photos.  But what I learn from these picture postcard pictures is what in, in this case, the small historic town of Castelnou is considered by all the others who visit Castelnou to be most worthy of photographic attention.  I may agree.  I may disagree.  Either way, I consider this to be interesting information.

Wednesday May 04 2016

I went Ryanair to Perpignan to get here.  I made a point of booking a window seat, but tragically, the wing was centre stage, thus:

image

I choose that photo to show you what sort of window my window seat was next to.  There are nice, clean, easy-to-see-through windows, and there are Ryanairplane windows.  So, I didn’t attempt many photos on my journey.

But as we approached Perpignan airport, from the sea, which involved the Ryanairplane obligingly taking a sharp right turn and lowering its wing out of the way, with the snowcapped Pyrenees way out in the distance, I had to at least try:

image

That being what I finally saw, after I managed to persuade the Thuirian computer that I am now laboriously using, to show it.

I am in the town of Thuir, near Perpignan, for a few days.  Last night, in fading but still fabulous light, looking more amusing sights.  I was not disappointed.

I’m guessing that the thinking here is that nicking a crane, or even getting inside a crane, is quite an operation, what with cranes being rigged so they’re unenterable if you are not the designated owner.  But, nicking a cement mixer is just a matter of lifting it onto your vehicle.  So, here is how you protect your cement mixer when you go home at night:

image

Cranes.  Is there anything they can’t do?

Typing text is a struggle in Thuir, because in Thuir, they have slightly different keyboards to what I am used to.  But photos, which in Thuir need different software to work, are also a struggle.  So, blogging here for the next few days will probably (I promise nothing), as always here, be light and perfunctory, the difference being that here I have an excuse.

Tuesday May 03 2016

Imqgine what it would be like to be able to see this from the top of your house:

image

I don’t have to imagine this.  I am doing it now.

Having had no sleep at all last night, I am in no state to say much more.  What I can tell you is that those are the Pyrenees.

Sunday March 27 2016

Or: Spoughts thoughts?  You choose.

Sport (spought) has been good to me of late.  Last summer, England won the Ashes.  My local cricket team, Surrey, got promoted to division one, and also got to the final of the fifty overs county knock-out tournament.  England then defeated South Africa in South Africa.  England (a different England but still England) won the Six Nations rugby Grand Slam.  And now (back to cricket again) England have got to the last four of the twenty overs slog competition, alongside the Windies, India and New Zealand.  Few expect England to win this.  But then, few expected England to get to the last four.  No South Africa (beaten amazingly by England).  No Australia (beaten today by India (aka Virat Kholi)).  No Pakistan or Sri Lanka.  But: England still involved.

Concerning the Grand Slam, the best thing about it was England winning all its games, but otherwise it was … a bit crap.  The recently concluded World Cup, in which England did rather less well loomed too large over it.  The World Cup featured no Six Nations sides in its last four, and when watching our local lads stressing and straining against each other you couldn’t help (a) thinking that the Southern Hemispherians would murder them, and (b) that a lot of the best Six Nations players seemed to be Southern Hemispherians themselves.  I mean, what kind of rugby world are we living in when the most threatening French back is called Scott Spedding and was born in Krugersdorp, South Africa?

The Six Nations was worth it just to hear Jonathan Davies, a man whose commentating I have had reason to criticise in the past, say that a certain game is “crucial”, and that Wales have “matured”:

curry-yoosh-ull

mat-yoo-ard

As for the twenty-twenty slogfest now in full slog, well, I have been rooting for England (England’s best batsman being a bloke called Root), but also for Afghanistan.  You might think that as a devout anti-Islamist, which I definitely am, I would be rooting for the Muslim teams to lose.  But actually, I think sport is one of the leading antidotes to Islamo-nuttery, and it is my understanding that the Islamo-nutters regard sport and sports-nuttery not as an expression of Islamo-nuttery, but rather, as a threat to it.  Sports nuttery ultimately causes fellowship with the infidels rather than hatred of them, underneath all the youthful antagonisms which it does indeed inflame.  It’s hard not to get pally with people when you play or follow games with them and against them, especially as you get older, and remember previous hostilities with fondness rather than anger.

So, in short: go Afghanistan!  The Afghanistan twenty-twenty cricket team, I mean.  Afghanistan gave England a hell of a fright and nearly beat them.  And yesterday, they actually did beat the West Indies, even though it didn’t count for so much because the Windies had already got through to the semis and the Afghans would be going home now no matter what.  But, even so, beating the Windies was a big deal, and the cricket world will have noticed, big time.

Here is Cricinfo, at the moment of Afghan triumph:

image

I love it when a T20 game really boils up, and they put “dot ball” in bold letters, the way they usually only write “OUT” and “FOUR” and “SIX” and “dropped”, or, as in this case, “an amazing, brave, brilliant running catch!”

And soon after that climax to the game, came this:

image

Chris Gayle is quite a character.  Having scored a brilliant century against England that won the Windies that match and put England in the position of having to win everything from then on, his commitment to the West Indian cause is not in doubt, as it might have been had he celebrated like this with the Afghans without having done any other notable things in this tournament.  He has quarrelled with West Indian cricket bureaucrats over the years, and has definitely seemed to have like playing for the Bangalore Royal Challengers more than for the West Indies.

His demeanour after today’s Afghan game is in sharp contrast to his lordly impassivity after taking the wicket of David Miller of South Africa, which reduced South Africa to 47-5, a predicament from which they failed to recover

image

One of the delights of virtually following this tournament is that it has been possible to watch little videos of dramatic moments, like the one of Gayle taking this wicket and then not celebrating very much.  The graphic additions to this posting are merely screen captures.  Clicking on them accomplishes nothing.  But if you go to the original commentary from which I took my graphics, you can click on the little black video prompts, and get a little video of the drama just described.

Also: Happy Easter.

Friday March 04 2016
Thursday February 11 2016

C’est Magnifique:

image

Paris has been casting about for exciting new buildings.  That one was rejected, but le www can soon put that right.

After a long period of imposed timidity, the architecture of Paris is coming back to life.

That modern house perched on the top is inspired.

It’s London envy, I think.  All those French people under thirty who can only find work in London, going to London, and then reporting back that (a) London is cool, and that (b) a lot of this is down to its recent Big Things.  So, make some Grand Choses for Paris.

My theory of why it was turned down.  That what this wondrous Chose proves is that if people were allowed to do exactly what they like, in cities like Paris, it would be magnifique.  To put it another way, this wondrous thing makes planners feel unnecessary, and they really don’t like that.

It is strangely lacking in colour, but again, this is easily correctable.  Perhaps the monochromeness of it all is to make the architects feel more necessary.

Monday February 08 2016

More and more, as I browse around in places like dezeen, I come across pictures looking like this:

image

The this in question being the idea of connecting the tops of towers with footbridges.  And that particular picture having been produced to advertise a new scheme for jazzing up Paris.

I love bridges of all kinds, and footbridges just as much as any other sort, so I have been paying attention to such pictures as the above for quite a while now.  And I reckon there’s now something of a buzz developing around this idea.  Simply, there are about to be a lot of such bridges as those fantasised above, connecting the tops of buildings, and often for the use of the general public, rather than just the people in the buildings directly connected.  There will, in some big cities, in only a few years, be entire new alternative worlds at the old roof level, where you will be able to travel for miles without ever touching the regular old ground.

I am now going to scroll down at dezeen, to see if I can find more pictures like the above.  Bear with me. …

Well, it took a while.  Dezeen has lots of postings about stand-alone little modernist buildings, which, frankly, don’t interest me that much.  My feeling about such stand-alones being: we already know how to do those.  Modernist versions of big sheds or older school houses are just stylistic tweaking.  Nothing profound is going on.  But pictures like this …:

image

… and this …:

image

… (which I found in this posting, and which I remember being very struck by when I first set eyes on them) tell me that a seriously different urban future will soon be happening, in cities all over the globe.

The underlying story here is that cities are ceasing to be mere machines for living in and for working in, with occasional little spots that tourists will like to visit and have fun in (but which the locals ignore).  They are becoming nice experiences.  Everyone is becoming a tourist in them, you might say.

Central to this process is the banishment of big old road vehicles, and an alternative emphasis on being a pedestrian.  Or even a speeded up pedestrian.  Think of how the old dock districts of big cities are being turned into nice new developments with lots of waterside footpaths.  Think of what has been happening to canals.

What’s going to happen is that one city – maybe Paris? – will do this in a big way, and tourism, including by the locals, will surge upwards, in the city and on the graphs.  People will love it.  And then lots of other cities will do it.  Including London, because London has a natural pre-skyscraper height at which this will make sense, and because London is now so full of stuff that is worth seeing from this particular height.

A big reason why all this is going to happen is that it will not be all that expensive to do, one of the big reasons why pedestrian footbridges are already a major design flavour the decade being that public money is now tight, and footbridges are relatively cheap.  Designers love them, because although footbridges do not involve that much metal or timber or concrete, they do often involve a lot of design.

The picture at the top of this posting has the words “Ternes-Villiers, La Ville Multi-Strate by Jacques Ferrier” attached to it at dezeen, and I just googled those words.  And, I immediately found my way to this, here:

image

It’s not clear from this picture just how public these bridges are intended to be.  Other pictures suggest that the “community” able to use these bridges will just be the people who live in the apartment blocks thus connected.  But this doesn’t alter the fact that the general public are going to want to get involved in all this high-level fun and sightseeing (and photography), if only because it will all be so clearly visible from below.

Footbridges in the sky
Twelve 2015 photos
The culling of the Northern Hemisphere
Blog interrupted
Londres
Trois Citroens (et deux chevaux)
Credit where credit is due (in France)
A new Grand Chose for Paris
Pancake White Van
A forgotten war
A new not very big Thing in Paris
Marc Morris on how the Bayeux Tapestry ought not to exist
Not squash
The Bayeux Tapestry small enough to fit in this blog
Exit Caesar
Triple Chess and a Four Wheeled Pedal Board
Proof that there are a lot of French people in Britain just now
Smartphones and tablets at the Charlie Hebdo demo
Sixty Charlie Hebdo demo signs that say something other than “Je Suis Charlie”
Charlie Hebdo demo in Trafalgar Square
Old Quimper Cathedral
Posting difficulties so see you tomorrow
Cats in Quimper shops
Quimper and its Cathedral
French roof clutter
Touch typing or no typing at all
A French film poster advertising a British film
Tired in France
Quota photo from Paris (also a selfie)
Marginal Eurostar economics
MicheldeMontaigne.fr
Recently on dezeen
Parisian roof clutter gets the Real Photographer treatment
Back from France (plus cat photos)
Cat photo and cat news
I need a new passport but just now passports are a problem
Emmanuel Todd talking in English (about how the Euro is doomed)
The joyful excitement of the Festival lyrique international de Belle-Île-en-Mer
Bennett and Lotus on how Emmanuel Todd’s family provoked his Grand Theory of Everything
Omaha dead
Selfies of me – 2001, 2007 and yesterday
Three more Paris pictures
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
Fat bastard!
Eurostar before St Pancras
Craig Willy on Emmanuel Todd
A Fleet Street lunch
Little Lady Liberty - still in France
Mon chat se tient debout tout seul
I’m Charia Hebdo!
Les Rillettes Henaff
Summer blogging break
Empty tables and empty chairs
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
Quota frogs
Infrequent flyer
Signs from the Frenchosphere
Paris signage
Rugby shirts on drugs
Pronouncing on the Six Nations
Another link enema
Great speech by Kevin Dowd in Paris which should be available to listen to soon
France falls in love with Hugh Laurie
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
Happy New year (if possible)
The Fat Man is not alone
French cats
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Talking about St Pancras at St Pancras
Millau Viaduct with goats
Australia out! – New Zealand out! – pass forward!
Wildlife news
Antoine Clarke on the French National Assembly elections
Lots of links
Antoine Clarke on Sarkozy
Somebody else photos Billion Monkey photo-ing Notre Dame!
Volte-face
Antoine on Sarko’s win
Serious tax cutting
If they don’t get who they would have preferred then silly them
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
“It’s a shame that copyright was infringed in a thesis about copyright itself”
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Other people’s photos (5): Red balloons on a monochrome bridge in Paris
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
Singing Frenchmen in stripey T-shirts
A dangerous development