Ravenscourt Park photos

Yes, I was in Ravenscourt Park on Thursday evening, having a Libertarian Lads dinner in restaurant there.

As I usually do when visiting spots that are unfamiliar, I was anxious not to be late and so got there very early. Which meant I had plenty of time to photo.

Here are the four:

The first was, obviously, taken at the tube station when I got there.

The second was also taken from the tube station, and makes the local Premier Inn and the building nearer look like all one, with the Premier Inn itself emerging out of the roof clutter which is actually across the road from it. (I do love aligning Things, don’t I?) Premier Inns: Machines For Staying In.

Photo three, taken of and through a bookshop window, is an illustration of the strong Polish presence in Ravenscourt Park. I assume that got started right after WW2, when exiled Poles decided they’d prefer to stay that way, what with the USSR having conquered their preferred country of choice.

Photo four is a motorbike. I love to photo motorbikes, especially in France, but also in Ravenscourt Park, if Ravenscourt Park is where I am and if Ravenscourt Park is where the motorbike is. This motorbike is trying to be an abstract sculpture, but it didn’t fool me. (It should have hidden its wheels better, for starters.) This is another in my ongoing series of photos that I like, that look like works of Art of the sort that I don’t much like. This fondness of mine, for photos that look like they’re Modern Art but which actually aren’t was something which I later persuaded some of my dining companions to discuss with me, and out of that I got one answer as to why I like such photos, which I may or may not (I promise nothing) tell you about, later, in a different posting.

Rubbish photo

Indeed. I photoed this scene while walking along the south bank of the Thames from Greenwich to the Dome. My objective was to get another view of the Optic Cloak. But I also observed this, which I think is also sculpture:

As with so much Art these days, whether a Thing is Art or not depends not on its objective nature, but on the intentions of the person who made it, or in this case, who assembled it. Maybe the person who gathered up this rubbish was doing a sculpture. Or, maybe he was just collecting up rubbish, prior to disposing of it.

It looks like Art to me. But Art or not, this has been the photo on my computer for the last month or so. So, I don’t whether it’s Art, but I like it. Although, when I say “it” what I mean is I like my photo of it. The Thing itself, not so much.

A bit before that, I photoed this:

That’s definitely Art.

Red chameleon in Stoke Newington

One of the things explained in the article linked to in the previous posting is that product placement often happens in a quite subtle way, without the brand being spelt out clearly, for everyone to see. Street art adverts can be part of a campaign, and the street art bit only makes sense if you also notice the rest of that campaign.

So, for instance, is this, also spied in Bermondsey by me the day before yesterday, also some kind of advert?:

Maybe.

I googled “red chameleon” and found two books both called that, but no other products. No beer. No deodorant. No dating site for psycho-communists.

So, maybe it’s just a painting, of a red chameleon.

LATER: And it would appear that these are just flamingos:

I also saw them on my Stoke Newingtonian travels.

Both the flamingos and the red chameleon are, it would seem, the work of Frankie Strand. That she signed the chameleon was a clue. And a little googling got me to her particular fondness also for flamingos.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Street Art sells beer instead of political ruination – pro-political-ruination writer not happy

Christine Macdonald complains, in an article recently linked to by Arts and Letters Daily that:

Street Art Used To Be the Voice of the People. Now It’s the Voice of Advertisers.

Given what Ms MacDonald means by “the People” (the people who ruin all the places they get control of), this development is to be welcomed. Compared to ruination by a diverse array of people, all with the same ruinous opinions, advertisers trying only to sell you stuff are a breath of fresh air.

Here is an example of this process at work, spotted by me in Stoke Newington, the day before yesterday:

And here is another van from the same stable, which I spotted and photoed on the same day that I spotted and photoed these other exercises in profit seeking and actual people helping, nearer to the middle of London, while out and about a while back:

Vans like this are different, and thus attract attention. They certainly got mine. Many beer drinkers will surely have been persuaded to wonder what this particular beer tastes like. If it tastes like crap, advertising won’t save your product. But if the product is good but is being ignored, advertising is just what you want.

But, all you graffitists who have sold out or who would like to, be warned. Soon, this style will look rather ordinary, once lots of others have started doing it. At which point people like me won’t photo it any more, and commerce that is trying to attract attention will be on to the next aesthetic fad.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The Optic Cloak from closer up

Some close- and closer-ups of the Optic Cloak:

What these photos, photoed just after I’d photoed these photos, only show a few glimpses of is how different the OC looks, depending on the light’s strength, its direction, and its colour. All of the above photos were photoed from the western, upstream side of the OC, as I moved from north to south, and all on the same day. There’s a whole different set to be taken from the east, or from the West on a different day.

This is something that all the best London Things, Big or, as in this case, not so Big, have in common. (I’m thinking in particular of the Shard and of the Walkie Talkie and, more recently, of the Scalpel (which is only very small in that photo, but which does wonderful things with the light).)

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The new Greenwich Peninsula

My expedition to check out the Optic Cloak got me appreciating the new version of the Greenwich Peninsula, the post-Dome version, that is now taking shape.

Here is a picture of it, one of those computer fake photo things:

The Optic Cloak is an invisible smudge of grey, just after the C of OPTIC and just above the K of CLOAK. That’s because this picture is not about the truth as such, but about new tall buildings, and the Optic Cloak, although quite tall, is not a building, so, in this picture, it is ignored.

However, what the above photo does show is the big double-barrelled road which takes traffic into and from the Blackwall Tunnel. And you get a great look at this mighty traffic artery if you climb up onto a footbridge that takes you over it. Over it if, for instance, you are walking south from North Greenwich tube station, in order to get a closer-up view, from the West, across the big road, than you’d get otherwise, of the Optic Cloak, as I was when I went there, however many weeks ago it was.

You can just about make out this footbridge in the picture above, just above and to the right of the C of COPTIC.

Here are a couple of photos that I photoed of this footbridge:

And here are a couple of views from it, of the Optic Cloak:

But I especially liked the sort of views you get from this footbridge, looking north, towards the Blackwall Tunnel:

Most of the towers in the distance there are across the river, in Docklands, and already that view, as you approach the Blackwall Tunnel is quite something. As the Greenwich Peninsula itself fills up with more towers, it will look even more mini-Manhattan-ish.

Here are photos I took from the bridge of a couple of interesting vehicles, going north (left) and south (right):

Plus, here is a close-up of that roof clutter, in the left hand of the two looking north photos, above:

This roof clutter makes a point, as do those two views looking north, and the traffic. This new Greenwich Peninsula has the feeling of old-school work getting done, just as I presume the old one had. Stuff that really hurts if you drop it on your foot is being made, modified, bought and sold, in this particular part of London, just as it always was. Noxious gasses and fluids are being propelled hither and thither, in pipes and cans and lorries. You get the feeling that this isn’t going to stop any time soon, the way it has in Docklands.

It could just be all that Blackwall Tunnel traffic thundering by which gives off that feeling. However, I don’t think so, if only because the thundering traffic creates the sort of place where the Financial Services Industry wouldn’t want to be.

Here, finally, is the kind of close-up of the Optic Cloak that I had come for …:

.. with a lorry roaring by, full of noxious fluid.

There can be no higher praise for the Optic Cloak than to say that it fits right in with all this hustle and bustle and noise. Indeed, it dominates it. It presides contentedly over it. Most “Art” in such a place would look ridiculous.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Modern Art

I don’t hate paintings that look like this, as so many paintings of a certain vintage do. Hatred is for things you can’t avoid and mere paintings can usually be avoided with ease. But I don’t respect paintings that look like this:

But that isn’t a painting. It looks like a painting. But, it’s a photo. And I really like it.

It was photoed by Real Photographer Charlie Waite. Read his tweet about it here.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Early views of the Optic Cloak

Last Thursday afternoon, I emerged from North Greenwich tube/DLR station, and started getting my bearings. Dome right here, there, so that’s north, so south is the other way, and somewhere around there ought to be the Big Thing itself, called (it has to be called something) The Optic Cloak. (If it has a local nickname, I am unaware of it.) Because it’s a Big Thing vaguely shaped like a domino, and because it takes itself very seriously and because it’s not for people to live it, it reminds me of the Big Thing at the beginning of 2001 A Space Odyssey, despite its ziggy zaggy surface.

And very quickly, after hardly any walking south at all, I got my first sightings of the OC.

Here are nine of the first lot of photos I took of the OC:

All of these photos have something else in them besides the Optic Cloak itself, and this is deliberate.

Real Photographers are very clever at screening out all irrelevancies, when they photo a Thing like this. They go for the special effects that the Thing itself contrives, with no lampposts or surveillance cameras or cars or general crap inserting themselves into the final photo. The results often (a) are very beautiful (provided the Thing itself has something beautiful going for it), but (b) in no way prepare you for how the Thing actually looks, in its actual setting, when you actually get there. Real Photographers, to generalise, are better at lying with their cameras than snappers like me are, which means that snapper-photos are often superior, as actual guides to what Things really look like.

I especially like the trees, through which Things may now, at this time of the year, be seen, unlike in the boring old summer.

And I especially like all that blue sky.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Two beautiful days

On Thursday, perfet weather was perfectly prophesied by our brilliant short-term weather forecasters, and I journeyed to the Dome and places south, to take a closer look at The Optic Cloak:

And then yesterday afternoon, following a similarly prescient forecast, forecasting similarly perfect weather, GodDaughter2 and I, as recounted yesterday, walked through Hyde Park:

That being one of the accompanying sculptural collections next to the Albert Memorial, which at the moment I think I prefer to the Memorial itself.

I basically spent today recovering from all this self-propelled travel. You, like me, are not getting any younger, no matter how young you may now be. But this expression is only used by people of my kind of age to describe how I felt after two such days of exertion.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog