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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday February 14 2019

Here.  The verdict is: They knew what they were moving into.  They should install blinds or net curtains.

Or, turn the viewable-from-the-Tate-Extension living rooms into art installations.  The judge didn’t say that; I’m saying that now.

I’m rather surprised by this verdict, but also pleased.  Because this is now one of my favourite London photo-spots, and there is lots to be seen looking south, besides into other people’s living rooms.

From this spot I have photoed many, many photos, of which these are just four, taken in July and August of 2016:

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Those photos all illustrate the problem that the flat-owners now have.

But, this next little clutch of photos, taken at the same time, illustrate what could be another answer:

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In these photos, what dominates is the way that light, rather than coming through the window from those living rooms, is instead coming from outdoors London and bouncing off the windows.  At the time I took these photos, I was thinking about that (to me) rather appealing crinkly brick surface that this Tate Modern Extension is covered in.

But now, it seems to me that I was photoing another sort of answer to the problem that these flat-dwellers now have.  Could the glass windows be replaced by glass that is more reflective of light, while still letting the outside view in?  Or, could the existing windows have some sort of plastic film or sheet stuck on them, preferably on the inside but maybe on the outside, that would contrive the same effect?

A problem stated is often well on the way to being a problem solved.  The judge said: It’s up to you to stop the light bouncing off the interior of your home from zooming up to the onlookers at the top of the Tate.  You knew this was going to happen.  Sort the problem yourselves.

It will be interesting to see how things change with these windows, and inside these living rooms, in the months and years to come.

Wednesday February 13 2019

Last night: Manchester United 0 Paris St-Germain 2.

This evening: Tottenham Hotspur 3 Borussia Dortmund 0.

From a BBC report on tonight’s game: How could anyone underestimate the resolve of this Spurs side after the manner in which they have kept pace with Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Liverpool without any squad strengthening and recent injuries to key figures Kane and Alli?

But: Oh dear.  Because this makes it that bit more likely that Man U will sack Solskjaer and buy in The Poch.  Which it would seem they can do and Spurs are powerless to prevent, unless The Poch decides for Spurs.  As he well might.

I really, really hope Man U contrive some kind of miracle revival in their away leg in Paris.  As to what Spurs manage in their away leg, well, I just hope they get through, and that nobody else important gets injured.

And that the way Spurs are now playing says to Poch: You can’t walk away from this.

PLUS (later): This

Tuesday February 12 2019

I left it too late and I am now too tired to do anything here today, so here’s a random quota photo:

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Taken in May 2015, from the South Bank, looking north across the River.  I’m pretty sure that’s the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.  But feel free to disagree.

I hope - although I promise nothing - to do better tomorrow.

Monday February 11 2019

The Guardian quips:

You wait decades for a city …

The city in question being London.

… to get a world-class concert hall and two come along at once.

GodDaughter2’s family used to live in Wimbledon, back in the last century.  Something tells me I will be back there quite a lot in the next few years.

The first of these two halls is, I should say, this one.

How about another superb state-of-the-art concert hall somewhere in the Thames Estuary, out East.  That would be very cool.  Something like this.  Maybe later, eh?

Sunday February 10 2019

The weather outside is again really nice, but it’s wasted on me and my camera.  Because, it’s Spurs v Leicester on the internet, England v Windies on the internet, and England v France on the TV.  Football, cricket, rugby.  How can a man ignore all that?  Well, maybe “a man” could, but I can’t.  Spurs have beaten Leicester (and now Man City are crushing Chelsea); and the Windies have got England back on the floor in the cricket (where England have been all series).  As a test cricket fan I am glad that the Windies getting back into the swing of doing that well.  For a while now, it has seemed that their only talent was for the limited overs stuff.

And, England are crushing (crunching) France, although a few French tries at the end would not surprise me.  Two out of three is not bad

The first weekend of this year’s Six Nations was great, but the second, now nearing its end, has been rather flat.  Ireland got back on the horse against Scotland yesterday, and Italy, as they do, lost.  Now England are doing what all the commentators said they’d do to France, following their great win over Ireland last weekend.  The charm of the Six Nations is how unpredictable it can be.  On the first weekend France got beaten by Wales after being 16 ahead at half time.  Italy got no less than three late tries against Wales when they were looking down and out, which was a definite surprise.  When England got the final try to settle it against Ireland, the commentator said: Who saw this coming?  Not me.  But so far this weekend, it’s all gone with the not-especially-smart money.  France are now 36 behind, so even if they get five late tries, they’ll still lose.  It’s all looking a bit “waiting for the end” just now.  The serious business of the game was being sorted when England got their four first half tries, which meant that their bonus points, for four tries and for winning by more than seven, were both settled, along with the win.  Can England get over 50 points against France?  Maybe, but it doesn’t feel like it matters.  Yes, a commentator has just said: “The match has rather fallen asleep.” Indeed it has.  The most important moment of this match may prove to be when one of the Vunipolas walked off injured.

Anyway, it’s over now.  44-8 England.  Plus, when I was trying to find a report on England crunching France, I came across our Ladies crunching their Ladies.

The England men, meanwhile, have been transformed by their returning-from-injury South Sea Islanders, the Vunipola brothers and Manu Tuilagi.

Tuilagi is odd, in that he is pronounced Tooey Langy.  Except by Jonathan Davies of course, who says Tooey Largy.  Davies also says Viney Polar instead of Vooney Polar.  The world needs to find a way to mispronounce “Jonathan Davies”, and keep on doing that until he learns his job.

But, hello.  What’s this?  The Windies 59-4 (after being 57-0!), replying to England’s 277.  Two wickets in two balls to Moheen.  Two more wickets in two more balls to Mark Wood, who I didn’t realise was playing.  By the sound of it (i.e. from reading the Cricinfo chat), Wood should have been in the England side from the beginning.  Only four wickets on day one.  Ten wickets already on day two, and it’s not yet tea time.

It is now!  Windies 74-5.  Another to Wood.  “England are rampant.”

Saturday February 09 2019

Yes, that’s what this Thing is called:

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And, as I think you will probably deduce from the number of photos I took of it, I rather like it.

It is to be found just south of The Dome, and I got a look at it from across the river when I visited Docklands, pn Thursday January 17th of this year, where I also took other photos, like this one, and these ones, and these ones.

I don’t really know why I like this thing so much, but I surmise that part of it may be that it contrasts itself with the surrounding banal architectural rectangularities not by being completely different, but by being more subtly different.  Sculpture often seeks separation from its urban surroundings by going totally curvey.  No straight lines at all, except maybe in the form of a flat plinth.  This Thing stands out too, but in a more dignified and respectful way.

Plus. It’s a lot of fun how different it looks depending on the exact direction of any sunlight coming towards it.  I only got about two versions of this, but there are surely many more to be enjoyed.

Plus, it’s bigger than your usual Art.  I like that.

Soon, I will return to that part of London but an extra Tube stop away, and I will take a closer and more 360 degree look at this very pleasing Thing.

Friday February 08 2019

When I was a kid, “Air Forces Memorial” meant this building which looks out over Runnymede, and which was only a walk away from where we lived.

But there are, of course, several RAF Memorials in London, and here is a photo I often try to take but seldom do very well with, of the eagle which perches on this memorial:

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This eagle usually comes out blurry, with only the trees behind coming out well.  All that reflected light off the gold of the eagle seems to frazzle the brain of my camera.  But not on the Monday before last.

The above photo was taken from the other side of the river, with maximum zoom.  Swivel to the left a bit and you see this even more famous item, which is now, as already noted, smothered in scaffolding:

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I especially like the pile of staircases on the left of the scaffolding.

Thursday February 07 2019

There’s a bridge right near where I live that is wending its way through politics to the point where geography and physics and civil engineering will take over, and they will actually start building it.

I refer to the biking-and-walking-only bridge that will eventually join Battersea to Pimlico:

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The bridge is at the stage where they are trying to pacify objectors to it.  Hence this Canaletto-like pseudo-photo, in which the actual bridge itself is hardly to be seen at all!  How could anyone possibly object to this wraith-like presence, scarcely visible through the mist rising from the river and bathing everything in obscurity?  The steel struts that will eventually to be seen holding up the actual bridge are invisible in this pseudo-photo, so it’s just as well that the bridge itself, as (just about) seen here, is made by laser-beams projecting into the mist and weighs nothing at all!  If you want to protest, protest about those big lumpy old boats clogging up the river and making such a rumpus, not the ghost bridge.

That’s the trouble with infrastructure.  Those who will be disrupted by it know exactly who they are, or they think they do.  But the far greater number of people who will have their lives somewhat improved by by this or that item of infrastructure only find out about this after it comes on stream.  On in this case, on river.

My guess is: I will like this bridge, and will quite often walk across it, if only to avoid a there-and-back-the-same-way walk to and from Battersea.  (Now, to avoid this, I often take the train from Battersea to Victoria, and then walk home from there, past my local supermarkets.) But that’s only a guess.  Meanwhile, those who now live in the peace and quiet of Georgian Pimlico just know that their sleep will from now on be ruined by noisy bike gangs at 4am, making their way from Notting Hill (after a spot of carnival rioting) to Brixton, and if not by that then by something else equally unwelcome, perhaps originating in Battersea and walking across the river, while probably being drunk.  Why take the chance?  So, if they can stop the bridge, they’ll stop it, just to make sure.

Wednesday February 06 2019

The Monday before last really was a very good photoing day.  (I’ve been calling it Sunday but actually it was Monday, Monday January 28th.  I remember at the time being confused about what day it was.)

First, seconds after I had stepped out into the sunlight, there was this:

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That being me, in among the branches of the tree.

Then, following further excitements yet to be revealed, there was this lighting effect.  And then there were these smartphone-photoing ladies.  And then these guys, also photoing, with another shadow selfie added by me onto their backs.

Then I went past the Wheel, and gave that the Wheel and Tree treatment:

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And just before it got dark, I ended up at the top of the Tate Modern Extension.

When it was dark, I climbed into Blackfriars Station, and walked over the river to Blackfriars Tube.  And enjoyed the view, with its weird reflections of the station in the sky above the City Cluster:

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I love how the black sky turns blue in that.

But before I went home, I dropped in on Waterstones, in Piccadilly, to see if the newly released paperback version of The Devil’s Dice was on show.  And it was:

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I am finding it exhausting just thinking about that day, and how it ended.  It was very cold, and the cold takes it out of you, by which I mean me.

Tuesday February 05 2019

imageEmmanuel Todd has written another book, and it has been translated into English.  And, it is a book by Emmanuel Todd that I have been awaiting for a long time.  The title alone is the clue.  “From the Stone Age …”.  What that tells me is that there is at least a good chance that Todd will tell me something of how he thinks those distinct family structures of his, the ones that explain ideology and are among the causes of progress got established in the first place.

£30 is a lot to be paying for a book, and usually I wait for Amazon to do its thing and bring the price of such books down to a tenner.  But this time, I don’t think I’ll be wanting to wait like this.  I want this one as soon as I can get my hands and eyes on it.  On May 3rd, in other words.

Monday February 04 2019

6k: (I know someone who will like this picture …) Who can he mean?

He’s talking about this picture:

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I like it.  And like I say, the Age of the Smartphone will be with us for quite a while yet.

I can remember when places like the Louvre used to forbid photoing.  But they can hardly complain if students … take notes.

Last night I dined at Chateau Samizdata, which is in the Fulham Road.  I always get there early, but like to be exactly on time in order not to disrupt the preparations.  So, I typically walk about a bit, looking for photo-ops.

Last night I walked east along the Fulham Road towards the centre of London, and came upon Michelin House, which I knew was somewhere around there, but had never clocked before as being so very near to Chateau Samizdata.  This building occurs at the point where the Fulham Road is turning into Brompton Road.

It has a wonderfully eccentric stained glass window, at the front, at the top ...:

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… which had been thoughtfully lit from behind.

I image-googled this building, and I could not find this particular view of it.  There are one or two views to be seen of this window from inside the building, but none that home in on the window, in the dark, from the outside, with that all-important internal lighting.

I think that this window deserves to be viewable in as many ways as possible, from inside, and from outside.  As does the whole building.

I considered cropping my photo, but the photo exactly as taken supplies just that little bit of architectural context, so I left it as was.

Sunday February 03 2019

Last Sunday, I was again photoing photoers, among other favourite photoer spots, on Westminster Bridge:

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All four photos were chosen for their artistic effect rather than to make any point, but despite that, the point makes itself.  All smartphones.  I especially like the one with the Eiffel Tower on it.

The world is starting to speculate that the Age of the Smartphone may, like the Age of the Personal Computer before it, be drawing to a close.  But what this means is merely that the age of selling millions upon millions of new smartphones may be ending.  Smartphones will still go on being used, because people like them and have got used to them, and see no cause to jack them in for an only slightly better but hideously expensive replacement.  Similarly, I periodically upgrade the personal computer that I am typing this on, with new appendages which are now priced like the generic commodities that they are, but I have no plans to stop using this contraption.

Saturday February 02 2019

Recently I paid a visit to Docklands.  The Big Things there add up to a quite impressive cluster, but are, on the whole, individually, unlike quite a few of those in The City, rather characterless and bland.

There is, however, an exception.  This:

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It’s One Park Drive, now nearing completion.

Here are a few more photos of it that I photoed:

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Circular in plan.  Its surface changes from one effect to another as you move up or down.  Next to a stretch of water.  I’m guessing they were thinking of these two towers in Chicago.

Friday February 01 2019

This is definitely my favourite Other creatures story of recent months. Months because this was reported on before Christmas, and I’ve only just got around to mentioning it here.

Parrot used Amazon Alexa to order items while his owner was away:

So far Rocco the African Grey, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, U.K., has demanded treats such as strawberries, watermelon, raisins, broccoli and ice cream.

He has also ordered a kite, light bulbs and even a kettle.

Rocco likes to dance too and tells the voice-activated device to play favorite tunes. Sometimes they are slow numbers, but he generally prefers rock.

Where is voice recognition when you need it?

Alexa needs a setting, for junior members of a household, for whom she is allowed to play musical requests, but from whom she is not allowed to take purchase orders.

You’d think that with lots of kids in the world, many causing havoc, Alexa would be able to make the necessary distinctions.  But it sure is entertaining when she doesn’t.