Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Saturday May 13 2006

From the roof of my flat you can look out over lots of other roofs of London SW1 and surrounding areas, and beyond them, you can pick out a few of the landmarks in that part of London.  There is Parliament of course, with Big Ben, and behind that the Wheel, peaking out over the new post-modern-fascist-style slab on this side of the southern kink of Horseferry Road (1.1).  There is the distant telecom tower, with the old sixties/seventies Soviet Home Office, now vacated for something more ingratiating (1.2).  (It’s what goes on inside the Home Office that is now brutal and scary.) There is the upside down giant coffee table that is Battersea Power Station (1.3).  There is, beyond lots of other clutter, the new public bit of MI6 (1.4).

image image image image

And there is one of my favourites, though it has had very mixed reviews, the new St George Wharf flats, with their winglike roofs (2.1).  I also quite like that tower to the right of St George Wharf, because I know how much more ugly it used to be before they covered it with sexy modern tinted glass.  Plus, that tower and the winged apartments are a familiar view looking down Vauxhall Bridge Road, across the bridge, when I am wending my way home from Tescos.

Next comes Parliament and the Wheel, again, on a different day and with a different lighting director supervising (2.2).  Next is another local favourite, the tower of Westminster Cathedral, the red brick Catholic one, from where I live monstrously upstaged by a monstrosity knock-off miniature pretend Pan Am building (2.4), and you can just see also the much more tactful new shoperama at the top end of Victoria Street, with the sports car bonnet type roof (2.3).

image image image image

So far so ordinary.  Just vaguely unfamiliar angles on picture postcard material.

So, last night, when I had finished watching the test match highlights on the telly, featuring England creaming the wretched Sri Lankans under a cloudless London sky, I wondered how that cloudless sky was looking as the cloudless day was ending.  At first I snapped away at the usual vistas, but just with pinker lighting (3.1, 3.2, 3.3).  But then, . . .

image image image image

. . . (3.4) look at that!!  Yes it’s the totally unimpeded evening sun smashing one of the St George Wharf wing-topped apartment towers in the face, setting it on fire, and then blasting back right into my face!!!  Snap snap snap.  Look what all that blazing glass does to the colour of the sky!!!!

So I start playing silly photographic buggers with this extraordinary circumstance.  I do the big panoramic shot, to show you what the colour of sky was really, approximately (4.1). And then there are the best of the award-winning type photos that I took.  There is a pair of shots of the same view, but with the focussing switched (4.2, 4.3), and finally, an artful view of St George Wharf on fire, a different bit of it now because it’s ten minutes later, viewed through a satellite receiver.  And the sky has now turned entirely white!

image image image image

Notice how the matter of roof clutter has inserted itself into this little set of snaps.  There is all the clutter between my rooftop and those landmark buildings.  And then there is the clutter on the roof itself, getting itself artfully into the foreground.  Aaaah, roof clutter.  That is a story in itself, and will be the subject of further posting.  Maybe.  I promise nothing.