On how I may now not resume buying classical music magazines

Every month for as long as I can remember, I’ve been buying paper copies of Gramophone and the BBC Music Magazine, “Music” being how the BBC refers to classical music.

All over my home, these magazines have accumulated in shelves and in heaps:

I haven’t had these magazines on order, because I don’t trust my neighbours not to let in burglars through the front door we all share, and because I like the exercise of actually walking to a shop and buying these magazines.

Which means that during the recent Plague, I’ve not been getting either of these magazines. The shops where I would have bought them have all been closed.

One of the many changes I am now contemplating in my life is: Not resuming buying these magazines. Are many people now contemplating a similar decision with regard to these or other such printed publications? Surely, they are. Are many people contemplating buying printed publications they do not now buy? I doubt this very much.

If “normal” ever returns, it will, for most of us, in big ways and in small ways, be a different normal, not least among those who publish the magazines like the ones in my photo. It’s not just the obvious ways in which we will remain nervous of the Plague returning, though that will definitely happen also. It’s that by being jolted into doing this for the first time, and not doing that any more, we are all now shedding old habits and being pushed towards acquiring different habits. I try to resist generalisations involving words like “we all now …”, but I really do think that the above generalisations are largely right. (You need only look at the recent numbers for postings here per month at this blog, on the left, to see this kind of thing happening to me and maybe therefore also for you.)

So, habits are being dropped, and acquired. And, are you, like me, and provoked by the above experiences, going beneath and beyond such changes of habit, and asking yourself: What other habits should I now decide to shed, and decide to acquire?

After all, and especially for the likes of me, life has just got shorter.

Today I did Something (and saw five e-scooters (which are cool))

Typically, for the last few months, I have days and days of doing nothing other than whatever I feel inclined to do. On such days, doing two, three or even four blog postings here is doable. But give me a Something that I have to do, and there goes about two thirds of the day.

Once again, I think this is one of the many symptoms of getting old, for poor old me, anyway. Being old, I now need an hour or more to get myself worked up into a sufficiently active state to do the Something in question, and then when it’s done, I need a couple more hours to recover my wits. On a day like that, me doing three or four blog postings is a lot less likely. Today, if you include this one, I will have done three postings. But the first two were very perfunctory, more like tweets done on a blog than your actual blog postings. This one is a bit longer, but that’s just because it’s a ramble.

The silly thing is, the Something I did today was all done and dusted within about one hour. I stepped outside, went to my nearby bank, did my bank business, and then, because the weather was rather filthy, I just went straight home again. But even that made a big dent in my day.

The reason I mention all this is to make that same e-scooter point I’ve been obsessing about here lately, to the effect that e-scooters are about to conquer the world, aka London. Every time I go out, even just to the shops and back, I see several e-scooters. Today, the e-scooter count was: five. That’s a personal record. Five. In the space of less than an hour. I didn’t even try to photo any of them. Like I say, the weather was filthy, and cameras and rain do not mix well. Also, e-scooters are fast and are gone before I can photo them. That they’re fast is why they catching on so fast.

Maybe I should stop this posting now, but here’s another e-scooter thing. A friend with whom I recently discussed my current fascination with e-scooters said: You may be right about why e-scooters make sense. Trouble is: They’re naff. The people who ride on them are twats. E-scooters are not cool.

This friend, however, although far younger than me, is nevertheless no longer of the age where she gets to decide these things. It is teenagers and twenties who determine the coolness of lack of it of things like e-scooters. All my e-scooter sightings today were of teenagers or twenties. Clearly, these teenagers and twenties think that e-scooters are cool enough for them to allow themselves to be seen on them in public, given the advantages to them, in such things as speed and convenience. What old codgers think is only of concern to them if they can be doing something that the codgers disapprove of. If the old codgers, under the delusional impression that they think they can decide such things, think that e-scooters are not cool, so what? That’s just their old codger way of saying they don’t approve. Good. That’s a feature, not a bug. Bring on the e-scooters!

I am still not fully recovered from doing all that tedious Something I did earlier today. So, I reserve the right to go through this tomorrow morning and do whatever grammatical tidying and spell-checking is necessary. As of now, I’m too knackered to bother. I trust it still makes sense, despite whatever communicational blunders now afflict it.

Two black swans in Regents Park

I believe it’s a symptom of getting old that I become less apologetic about being sentimental about animals. And birds. And especially birds who evidently have something a lot like a romantic relationship. Like these two, for instance.

Or, these two:

I encountered these two love-birds in Regents Park, in April 2005. This being after I had descending from Primrose Hill, where I had been photoing the Big Things of central London, from a great distance, with a camera that needed to be a lot better. At the time, it was the Big Thing photos that continued to interest me, and not these birds at all, until now. And while I was photoing them, I was probably just as interested in how that fence was reflected in the water as I was in the birds.

Just as there is confusion about whether the two birds by the river, linked to above in this, were ducks or geese, so too, these “swans” would appear really to be geese, approximately speaking. And according to this piece, geese can live for as much as twenty years. So, this Evening Standard piece dated January 2013, also about a pair of black swans in Regents Park, is probably about the couple I photoed.

If so, it seems that the birds I photoed split up, were then reunited, and then ended as a couple when the lady black swan got killed by a fox. Foxes eh? Cute, but no respect for bird rights.

It turned out nice in Stoke Newington

The way I see it, I can do an elaborate photo-expedition, which I did today. Or, I can do an elaborate description of some of the things I saw during my photo-expedition. But don’t ask me to do both on the same day. (See this category.)

So instead of an elaborate description of anything, here are two contrastingly lit and contrastingly backgrounded buildings, which I photoed at the very beginning of my wanderings, in the Stoke Newington area:

On the left, well, I don’t know what they call it, but I like it, because I like any building that is brightly lit, with a dark cloud background behind it, and lots of excellent roof clutter on top of it.

And on the left, the building that is now the Castle Climbing Centre. This time, the background is blue. The dark cloud was the bad weather of the morning and early afternoon, which was departing. The blue sky was the good weather that had just arrived, perfectly in time to illuminate my subsequent wanderings.

Which were fascinating, but exhausting. Sleep well, when the time comes for you to do that. I will, very soon.

Strange creatures in Exhibition Road

Just over a year ago, in May of 2019, I was making my way from South Kensington Tube, up Exhibition Road past Imperial College, to the Royal College of Music, there to witness a performance which involved GodDaughter2. While making this journey, I encountered this strange creature:

I wonder what that was, I thought to myself from that moment on. Then, while rootling through the photo-archives, as I do, I encountered this taxi-with-advert photo, which seemed to feature the above creature:

Now I had some words to work with, so googling went from difficult to easy, and I began to learn about the One-Eyed Creature. He is one of the stars of a juvenile movie franchise, involving such things as One-Eyed Creatures, but also similar but Two-Eyed Creatures. Despicable Me. Also Despicable Me 2. At around that time, Despicable Me 3 was being plugged. Also there is a Bean Boozled connection, involving some sort of toy. Now that I know I could understand all this, I no longer feel any need actually to do this. How do I feel about having once cared? Despicable Me, that’s how.

I think a symptom of getting old is that you see more and more things that baffle you, and you don’t like the feeling. It’s not that we Oldies really do care about knowing trivia like this. What we care about is not knowing.

Soon after photoing this One-Eyed Creature, I photoed this couple:

I don’t feel quite so Despicable for being entertained by these two, but I still do somewhat. I found a few mentions of them on The Internet, in connection with Halloween. But this was May, so, no reason for them to be out and about in South Kensington. But then again, no reason for them not to be.

Zoom out

I just tried, for the first time, to make Zoom work. I wanted to hear what was said in a virtual meeting I had been invited to “attend”. But, I could hear nothing. I have no microphone, but I just wanted to hear what the others were saying. I could see various familiar faces yapping away, but could hear nothing. My speakers are working fine. (I now have music playing.)

Like all computer programmes, and there are no exceptions whatsoever to this rule – none, Zoom is trivially easy to make work if you know how to work it, and impossible if you do not.

Fucking computers. Trouble is, they know how to do a million things, so you have to be able tell them exactly which of those million things you want. If you fail to do this, which you often do because computers have zero common sense, you’re screwed.

There must a lot of this sort of crap going on just now.

LATER: There must be a lot of this sort of crap going on now because the time-honoured way to solve a problem like this is for a Zoom-savvy person to drop by and show me how to work it. Clunky, but the way to sort it. Except, that can’t now happen. The very problem Zoom was going to solve, not being able to have a proper meeting, is undeployable by me, because I can’t have a proper meeting to make Zoom work.

See what I said yesterday about how cities will never go away. Physical proximity is never going to stop being useful. Never.

Reflection

Not the sort you do inside your brain; the sort you can see:

My photo walks tend to happen in the afternoon and early evening, after I have done morningy things at home. But today I took a quite long walk, quite early in the morning by my getting old standards, in order for the light to be coming from a different direction and thus to photo certain Things better. And of course everything looked a bit different, including the River, because light was bouncing into it and off of it in unfamiliar ways from Things that didn’t usually look like that. It helped that there was hardly a cloud to be seen anywhere in the sky.

When I first got a digital camera I couldn’t photo The Wheel enough. What a great Thing. But soon I realised that just photoing the Thing itself wasn’t good enough. You had to play photo-games with it in some way. Line it up with other Things, seen through it. Or reflect it, in a window for instance. Or water.

I like how the foreground foliage blots out any direct view of the Thing itself.

The above photo was just one of my favourites so far from today’s expedition. There were other nice photos also, but the above will suffice for now.

Anyone know what those two little golden crosses are, in the River? Image googling for “golden cross”, got me nowhere helpful.

Time tricks

When I woke up yesterday, I could have sworn it was Friday. And I at once did two things. I checked for an incoming email telling me when a food delivery would happen, which wasn’t there. Odd. And, I did a blog posting about a bird photo. On a Thursday rather than on a Friday, Friday being my usual day for such things.

I’m not the only one suffering time derangement. I am hearing this lots, in the course of all the phone calls with friends and relatives I am doing to stay in touch. People everywhere are losing all track of what time it is, what day of the week it is, what date it is. Let’s see what The Internet has to say. Yes, this is now an official Internet Thing:

In my case, two forces are at work. At any moment I am either absorbed in something, with no fear that if I stay absorbed I will miss something that’s coming up. In which case I lose all track of time, and it goes far faster than I expect. Or, I’m doing nothing, wondering what to get stuck into next, in which case I also lose all track of time, because it then seems to go so slowly. Combine these two things, and I really lose all track of time. All of this quite aside from the fact that I am getting old, a major symptom of which is … losing all track of time.

What is lacking for me, and for many others, is Things Which I Have To Be At Or To Pay Attention To At A Particular Time. Work. Events. Meetings. Sporting events, for real or live on TV, which are not retro-wallowing but which are actually happening now, at a definite time which you have to be aware of or you’ll miss it. And it turns out that if you lack such Events to keep reminding you of the time, which includes the day of the week and the date as well as merely whether it’s 10am or 4pm, you … lose track of time.

Hence the bird.

Good news, the food delivery has now been delivered, that email having earlier arrived telling me when to expect it. These people. Recommended to me and now recommended by me.

Computer battles

This blog is working fine, but my computer is not. It demanded a major upgrade of Windows, and life has not been the same since it deigned to do that, after the usual switch-it-off-switch-it-on-again palaver. My Photoshop(clone) is refusing to process photos, and everything looks different. Black mostly. Windows Photo Viewer or whatever the hell it is is a shambles compared to what it was. And now, it seems, I can’t even copy and paste a damn link, for phux ache. I wanted to insert the getting old link at this point, but my computer refused to even do that.

On the plus side, in the course of my various battles, I blundered into a way to make all the text on my screen 25% bigger, so i can now clearly read all about how my computer is failing to do what I want it to.

I think there are too many windows open. But that’s something to have a go at tomorrow. For tonight, good night.

At least the above bollocks seems to be loading okay.

LATER: Sorted. Switched-it-off-switched-it-on-again, again. I am indeed getting old.

And not a cloud in the sky

On and from the roof of my block of flats, yesterday:

We’re all confined to barracks, and the best weather of the year so far, by far, chose to arrive to celebrate the fact. About five solid days of not-a-cloud-in-the-sky perfection, ideal for any number of different and interesting photo-expeditions, and all we’re allowed to do is a little shopping shopping, go straight to and from work, and take a bit of exercise. As I get older, I become less and less inclined to incur the wrath of strangers, and me creeping about taking photos might, I can’t help feeling, incur the wrath of strangers. Up on the roof seemed like the best place to go photoing, and in particular to photo the annoyingly perfect weather.

Photo 1: The Broadway, taking shape. Photo 2: Millbank Tower, and new south bank apartments beyond. Photo 3: Parliament, The Wheel. Photo 4: looking towards Vauxhall. Photo 8: Central Hall Westminster. Photo 9: Shard.

Photos 5 and 6: Roof clutter, close up.

It’s Photo 7 that is the mystery. I’m going to have to go back up there and check that out. What’s the big tower on the left? What are the towers in the middle? Looks like they’re under construction. Guess, we’re looking towards all the building around Battersea Power Station.